I’m pleased to report that over the past month I’ve finally gotten over that mental hump and accepted that I’ll always have a certain level of pain. I’m calling it an annoyance factor, and as long as I can keep it to the dull roar of annoyance — by keeping my mind busy with other things — I am able to mostly ignore the pain level. However, when the weather turns stormy or when we sink back into a cycle of cold & rainy days, my ability to ignore the messages being sent from my ankle to my brain is hampered.
I’ve been reading up on why I have more pain when the barometric pressure is lower and/or when it is raining and/or when it is cold. The science behind it is fascinating even though it doesn’t make me hurt any less. I asked my Primary Care Provider if there was something I could take to relieve the pain which would be non-addicting and not harm my kidneys or liver. Basically, I’m out of luck on that front. My PCP did sign the paperwork to extend my temporary handicapped parking placard for the car so I’m grateful for the ability to have that when needed. Some days are better than others.
Joining the local YMCA and using the therapy/exercise pool classes has been helpful. My ankle seems to really benefit from the gentle water pressure. I tried walking in the lazy river (one local branch of the Y has an indoor lazy river) but the current causes the water to whirlpool and eddy, and while I hope to someday benefit from the extra work it provides for my ankle muscles, at this stage of the game it only causes major pain. (It’s one o’clock in the morning; do you know where your Percocet is?) The learning curve is real, people.
I’m also still going to physical therapy on a weekly basis. It took 30 visits but I finally made it to “lacking zero” — also known as being able to flex my foot far enough to create a 90 degree angle with my leg; this is what most people would consider normal without any effort at all, but I have to work to get there and work even more to stay there. I was really stiff and feeling pain on Sunday and it had nothing to do with the weather, unless hot & sunny days can cause pain and stiffness. I don’t use them all the time but I continue to keep Ziploc gallon-sized bags of frozen peas at hand for times such as this.
I don’t need the cane in my own house although I’m still unsteady when I first get up in the morning, or when I’m stiff (see above) but I continue to use the cane in public; it keeps small children and hurrying adults from bumping into me and I need it to navigate flights of stairs and uneven walking surfaces. I do still need to work on not limping. The limp is a symptom of favoring my left ankle instead of making it work 100%. I know it’s a slippery slope from a limp to back and hip troubles but it’s so hard to remember to really focus on not limping, especially when I’m tired or hurting (or both).
Monday, June 13th will mark my 7-month breakiversary. I wish I had less swelling at the end of the day and of course I would prefer to not have any pain at all, but all things considered, I’m doing well, slowly ramping up activities and learning to live with my new normal.
So for today, I am thankful for frozen veggie ice packs, a cane with a padded handle, handicap parking placards, physical therapists, good water pressure in therapy pools, and pain medications to take when needed.
What are you thankful for today?