Friday, October 31, 2008

Medicated coma

Oh everything was just fine and dandy when I had the femoral block and the sciatic catheter nerve block. No pain... happy as a clam. When the femoral block wore off, I tried not to abuse the NURSE button on my little remote control. Last night.. I have those ladies and gents quite a work out. Is it possible that this pain is worse than the x-fix or the break itself? Is the brain that kind as to not accurately recall pain?

Today is my 1st round of PT and I think I get a new half plaster cast/ace bandage dressing. If I can time things perfectly I hope to have some wicked pics of the incisions.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bionic Woman

Picture of a photocopy of my x-ray following yesterday's surgery. Kinda crazy! Click the pic for a closer view.

Day after surgery

My surgery went well yesterday. It took longer than expected (5 hours vs. 2.5 hours that was originally estimated) apparently my surgeon is a perfectionist and wanted the bones to be lined up perfectly too... yay me. I have photocopies of the x-ray showing all the hardware in my ankle now.. it is really kinda crazy. I am going to post that here when I get electronic copies.

I received 2 nerve blocks; 1 sciatic and 1 femoral. I couldn't feel my leg at all last night which was so bizarre .. it was like a leg full of Novocaine.. which of course equals no pain. I can't believe I was scared of these nerve blocks and all wishy washy about having it done. It was a life saver. This morning the femoral block wore off... so send in the drugs ;) My nurses are fabulous!

If all goes well in the next few days they will kick me out of here on Sunday -- woo! I will most likely stay with my parents for a few days to get use to my crutches.

Thank you all for your kind words, support, cards, flowers, balloons, knuudles, knitting needles, vixen pink care package (the blanket is like my wooby) derby books & mini helmet, beautiful wrap, treats galore, chocolates, a pink pony, "it sucks to be me" t-shirt and many, many visits from so many dear friends/family. I am very fortunate to be surrounded by so many that care.

All and all I am in good shape. Glad to see the light at the end of the tunnel and can't wait to sleep in a comfy bed.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Recovering :) Yay

I climbed onto the table at 9:00am and was en route to recovery around 2:00pm today. I am doing remarkably well and will write up a more proper post when I am a little more "with it".

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


It has been confirmed that I am going to finally have my surgery tomorrow at 8:30am. Hallelujah! The anaesthesiologist is going to give me an epidural for pain management which totally freaks me out (I've never had kids)

I have no idea what state I am going to be in tomorrow and the days following surgery. I'd like to ask that if you please call ahead or shoot me an email message to check in to see if I am in a proper state to entertain guests. Thank you all for your kindness and support.

Whoah! Seriously?

One doc stopped by this AM and said that they have tentatively scheduled my surgery for tomorrow. While this is really freakin awesome I have oodles of questions.. why did we wait so long? The swelling really hasn't gone down much in the past week.

My favorite RN stopped by this morning (and he isn't even in the ortho dept!) to check up on me and serve as the UW Hospital to DOA building shuttle service. He pumped me up on having the procedure tomorrow (he knows I want to get the hell out of here but am wiggly about non traditional closures) He helped me feel better about the potential of the vac dressing that may be needed because I am short on ankle wrinkles. (Thanks Pat!)

Something just feels wrong.

I will post an update as soon as I know anything!

up far too early

I really had my hopes riding on a good night sleep last night courtesy of Prince Valium. Sadly not the case last night. I've been up since 2:30, bathed, got dressed, prettied myself up and now I am twiddling my thumbs waiting for the residents to come in and poke and prod me. They'll probably say that my ankle redness is going down but that but the swelling has stayed the same :(

Monday, October 27, 2008

Operation Snugglefest

As you all know my dear friend from derby -- The Heat has been taking care of Cricket (my dog)whilst I patiently *cough* wait for surgery. We were chatting on the phone the other day and she came up with a brilliant idea -- smuggle Cricket in to the hospital in The Heat's trench coat so we could have some snuggle times. If you didn't know any better you would have thought that she was carrying a newborn around in one of those baby slings that seem to be all the rage. We had a few close calls in which we thought that the nursing staff were going to raid my room. All went well and we hope to try this again soon


I like my current doctor. He is very friendly and has a pleasant bedside manner. However, I am really concerned with how often I get "I don't know" or "I'm not sure" as an answer to my question. I met with one of his partners this weekend and was totally reassured. He comes highly recommended by a fellow derby girl (Britnee Smears)that had him as her surgeon for a similar break last year.

I hope I am not rockin the boat too much here... but it is my foot after all.

I am a lucky girl

I had visitors non stop starting at around 10:30am and going to about 9:00pm last night ranging from co-workers, derby girls (and ref) my aunt and uncle drove up from Janesville to visit and of course, Charles was here too :) Unfortunately for him, he happened to visit was here when I was really going down the chute. Maybe between over stimulation, not eating much (I have no appetite) and attempting to cut down on pain meds I had a rough late afternoon and night. Feeling a little better today.. taking it hour by hour.

This morning I was able to talk to my friendly payroll clerk ;) about my extended leave of absence. Of course as usual she was able to answer all my questions. I can't thank Cheryl enough for her continued kindness and on going support through my absence.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

More improvement?

Redness and swelling seem to be going down at the top of my foot. Could we actually be making progress here? Unfortunately the inside and outside of the ankle are still very much wrinkle-free. :( Bring on the wrinkles... I'll moisturize later!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Houston.... we have wrinkles

Wrinkles are important for the closure of an incision. Without these wrinkles the incisions will pop open as soon as the swelling starts from the final surgery. Yuck. When I arrived that this hospital, my leg and ankle were swollen beyond belief. Today marks day 17 and I think elevation and staying put had helped a lot because I have wrinkles!!! The redness in my ankle that I had complained about earlier (that we thought could have been a blood clot or infection) appears to have also gotten much better over night. The UW's version of Dr. House was here this AM to talk about these things and he has confirmed that I am an odd case (no objections there) and I certainly did a number to agrivate my nerves and tendons during the break. Dr. House believes that there are several reasons why things are getting better.

  1. I am actually sleeping and my body is repairing itself at night (thanks to the Valium)
  2. I am trying not to stress out every minute of every day
  3. Elevation is much higher than before
  4. I am moving my leg as little as possible
  5. I am eating now (I had no appetite before)
  6. I am drinking tons of water
  7. More time has passed
This second doctor agrees with all the conclusions of my first doc. My pain is now being managed appropriately (thanks to being the squeaky wheel) . There are no negative side effects of having to rebreak the leg/ankle if I still have to wait another 3 weeks for surgery. Screwing in plates to a bone is going to hurt...and breaking that bone again when I am under shouldn't hurt any more.

Not all the words I wanted to hear.. but I feel better. I am confident with the surgical team and of course the nursing team I also feel that having my parents here this AM imperative for our peace of mind. We all had our questions answered at the same time. (The drugs have been really messing with my memory retention)

So I am still waiting for wrinkles on the sides of my ankle (where that bone should protrude on your foot).. no surgery until they show up. Who knew one day I would be requesting wrinkles!?!

Ready to pounce

I've been up, clean, dressed, hair done (as best as can be done in these circumstances) since 3 am waiting for the head ankle dude to come in and talking to me about out plan of action. Right now the plan is seriously void of above mentioned action.

Just got off the phone with my parents who are driving in from New Berlin for support and to ask the questions that I might not (oh and as mentioned many times before... I am drugged to the gills so I forget a lot when I retell hospital/doc stories). I am very lucky to have such a supportive family, they come up to visit me often with the comforts of home folded in bags or tucked under their arms. I know that today will go well. I have had all my favorite nurses in a row which must be a good sign: Sylvia on 1st shift (I was to submit an application for her Sainthood) Jill on 2nd (she is so compassionate and caring. After some chatting it sounds like she may be interested in trying out for derby next summer) and Nicole on 3rd (she is an angel that has been off on vacation for a while, but when she walked into my room this morning it was as if everything in my room breathed a sign of relief.. thank god Nicole is here)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Snow White Was Right

Snow White sang "Some Day My Prince Will Come...." and last night mine did. Prince Valium. I slept for 6 hours. 6!!! After struggling with insomnia for years it was refreshing to slip into a drug induced coma.

We need change

My ankle is still uber swollen. Redness/Tenderness/Pain has not changed since I was put on the antibiotic 2 days ago. Every doctor that has been in to see me for the past few days has said "this isn't an infection"... ok.. then what is it? Everyone is stumped. The one thing that they do know is that they are going to take me off the antibiotics

The head ankle guy visited with me this morning and he is going to take care of me while my regular doc is out of town. He is going to be the "fresh set of eyes" we need on this case to see if there was anything missed.

The new doc also told me that the scrape on my ankle (the one without the metal rod prodtruding from it) that was on my ankle right after they cut off my cute stripey knee high sock in the ER was suppose to be a compound fracture. We came to the conclusion that my skate kept the bone from protruding. Double EEP! That totally creeps me out. I am very glad that I got the rolled collar on my Reidell 265s. I think that saved me from a bloody spooky mess on the rink. Thanks Sin City Skates.

So sick of this

So now the doc isn't 100% sure this is an infection in my foot anymore. The antibiotics haven't made any positive changes and the pain keeps getting worse!

We decided to check for a blot clot. I was on board with this test until the technician proceeded to rub and squeeze my foot and ankle. Sweet fancy moses... that hurt more than the original setting of the bones.

So we've confirmed that there are no blood clots and got several compliments on my "beautiful arteries and veins" .... ok is it just me or is that a little creepy

I was wheeled back into my room where my mom and our dear family friend Paulette were waiting. They loaded me with narcotics and poured me back into bed. 5 minutes later Terry Hiltz appeared in my room. Unfortunately we didn't chat long because the pain meds hit me in the head with a velvet hammer. I have yet to dig thru the goodie basket that she (and Marcia Doll wrangled for me... but I do see Jr Mints thru the cellophane and they are making me drool)

Charles stopped by for a while and took care of me while Prince Valium sent me off to la la land.


So I've been in the hospital 17 days now. I've never been away from my dog Cricket for so long. A girlfriend from Roller derby - she goes by "The Heat" volunteered to take Cricket in with her dogs Murphy (golden retriever) and Ginger (lhasa apso). Sounds like they are having a wonderful time together. See photo to the right where Crick and Ginger are snugglin on the Heat's bed. Too sweet

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pain management nightmares

My pain management nightmare is that I am not sleeping to even have nightmares. I have had less than 20 hours of sleep in the 15 days I've been in the hospital.

In the past 2 days the pain in my foot and ankle has gotten progressively worse and has started to really creep up my leg. The numb, tingly and stabbing sensations are almost to my knee. I have expressed my concerns to my nurses and docs without trying to freak out or meltdown. Unfortunately they don't seem to have any answers for me. I think I need to make my voice a little louder... anyone have a megaphone I could borrow?

Like Sands Thru The Hourglass....

Just when I was getting my hopes up that surgery would finally happen this week... they were dashed Tuesday night.

I now have an infection called cellulitis in my foot, ankle and part of my calf. Cellulitus is an infection of the deep subcutaneous skin tissue. It was likely introduced to my body by the holes in my foot and ankle from the external fixater. They are hooking me up to IV antibiotics. At this time we don't have an ETA of when surgery will take place. You can see what my healthy (yet drastically swollen leg) looks like on the left. On the right you will see the same swolleness (is that a word?) on the right.

Visitors Visitors Visitors

Early on, Chris Schwartz and Lisa Jorgensen spent a lot of time at Trader Joes before stopping by to visit me. I think they knew something that I didn't about my stay here in the hospital. I thought I would be here a week and they shopped like I was going to be here for a month ;)

Lisa also stopped in when I was under the veil of Valium on Wedesday 10/22 (um I think it Wednesday) with Mitchell. She also brought a fun goodie bag from Catherine (more like keeping your child occupied on a long long trip) I am certain to play with the slinky, silly putty, learn origami and many other cute little activities. Everyone is just so thoughtful... it warms my heart.

Terry Hiltz found time in her very busy schedule to visit me between meetings. I can tell you how much that has made a difference in my outlook and spirits.

Dolly Pardon Me just recently spent some time with me catching up and giggling a bit. Just about all the Vixens and a fair number of girls from the other teams have been by to check on me.

Yesterday I had lunch with my dad, Terri Oliversen, Trina Zanow, Susan Lee and Chris Schwartz. What a pleasant surprise. I think we scared my dad off with too much work talk at one point.. but he came back eventually ;)

My folks are up quite a bit. I love that they can be so flexible with their schedule. My sister has even visited when she had an appt. in Verona.

Good News/Bad News 10/21

BAD NEWS: My ankle is still so ridiculously swollen that surgery was cancelled again this morning and rescheduled for Thursday ... but he doesn't have high hopes. Maybe Tuesday or Wednesday of next week :(

GOOD NEWS I was moved to a larger room..(feels like the hospital penthouse compared to my last room) lots of windows and way more spacious. Turns out this was the room that Governor Doyle stayed in when he had his hip surgery last year. Maybe I can ask him to sign my cast?

Pushing Daisies

Thank you Charles for turning me on to the sweetest show evah.

I can haz DVD ;)

The Vixens decend on UW Hospital

My roller derby team decided to have the Vaudeville Vixen team meeting at the hospital so I could still play along. They came straight from practice at Fast Forward and were dressed all in pink and brown sparkles. The scene as they wheeled me to the elevator was fantastic. It was as if Rockstars decided to grace the Ortho floor with their presence. Some mouth were slack jawed to the point of drooling and others asked a million questions in the time it took the elevator to arrive. My smokin hot vixens got lots of head turns and cat calls as they wheeled me thru the common area of the hospital. The nurses that were not here that Sunday still ask me about it and giggle... wishing they had worked that Sunday.

Later in the afternoon Patricia Carlson from work visited me for an hour as I was circling the drain (vixen mayhem took a lot out of me). As always her advice and kind words were soothing and reassuring. Both she and her husband Pat (who happens to work at UW Hospital) have been so supportive of me and my rights as a patient. Patricia also snuck in my favorite contraband in the whole wide world... Jelly Bellys

October 16th

October 15th I was NPO (nothing by mouth) starting at midnight. No food, water.. not even gum in anticipation for the surgery to fix my ankle early on the 16th.

My doc came to my room before wheeling me down to pre-op and had a look at my ankle. He shook his head from side to side and said I didn't have enough wrinkles. (Wrinkles show that the swelling has gone down some and the stretched skin can be used to suture up the incisions properly). Never in a million years did I think I would hope for wrinkles. Ack!

So surgery was postponed and I got to order coffee and a turkey sausage w/ english muffin (the best meal they have here at the hospital)

Days 4, 5, 6 and 7 Oct 17-20th

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were miserable. Every time I moved my leg I would cry out in pain. After some discussion with the medical professionals, they decided to take an x-ray of my foot and ankle to see if any of the bones had moved since they were set on Wednesday.

It turns out that my ankle had been dislocated the entire weekend. They tried to reduce it once again with a little luck. My surgeon ordered an external fixetor to be installed Monday morning.

The x-fix (as it is known in the biz) is used temporarily set severe breaks and fractures. This immobilizes the joint and allows swelling to come down so the surgeon can repair the broken bones. The x-fix pierces the skin and is drilled into the broken bones and mobilizes with rods and clamps/bolts.

I look fairly chipper in this photo.. this was taken several days after the procedure and I was heavily medicated.

Unfortunatly for Terry Hiltz, she happened to show up at the hospital shortly after I came out of recovery and experienced a very unhappy girl. The rod that was drilled through my heal on one side, then thru my heal bone and exiting my heal on the other side was probably the worst pain I've ever experienced. The ankle break was a cake walk compared to this. She did leave an Octopus behind for me (she felt that I could use a few extra legs at this point in time). When I was a little perkier.. my folks and I had fun taking pics of Dr. Inky.

If I am going to still have this bad boy on my leg at Halloween I am toying with the idea of dressing it up with some metal teeth, fake blood and maybe I can jump in a bear or hunter's costume.

Day 2

My Mom and Dad came to see me in the hospital on day 2. I can tell you what a relief it was to see them. The docs opened up the ace bandage/plaster cast to see if any of swelling had gone down,... sadly no. All was wrapped back up and they were going to look again the next day.

I spend most of day 2 sedated on a fierce cocktail of Oxycontin, Oxycodone and Dilaudid

My very dear friend Charles came to visit me as well as many Vixens. Meanie Cooper, Sour Kraut, Ninja and Toxic Spice. (I may have mentioned that I was drugged to to gills and am unsure who came on which day) They brought me the Vixen princess bag (blanket, neck pillow, and eye mask) and all sorts of activities to keep myself busy.

I think Charles has been here almost every evening since I was admitted. We watch a little dancing with the stars... football.. if only Top Chef was on! He even stays with me when the drugs for my muscle spasms make me all sleepy and I can't keep my eyes open. It is so comforting to know that I am safe and not alone.

How it all started - Day 1

On Wednesday October 8th during a pace line drill at Roller Derby Practice, I rolled my ankle and knew I broke something. My fellow skaters were wonderful whilst we waited for EMT staff to arrive (apparently they had a difficult time locating the driveway to Fast Forward). My fellow skaters were crackin jokes and doing anything they could distract me from the pain.

Once the EMT arrived and used the "Trauma Sheers" (almost my derby name) to cut off my knee pads, they got me on the gurney, rolled me out to the parking lot and proceeded to drug me up for the ride to the UW Hospital. Loquita (one of my team mates) followed the ambulance to the hospital and stayed with me rather late for moral support.

I thought that this was going to be a quick and easy cast (pink of course) that would be taken care of that night and someone would just have to drive me home. Then I could have a rink side seat to all three days of Derby in Dairyland - the WFTA Eastern Regional Roller Derby Tournament hosted here in Madison. Aaah Sarah the optimist.

Turns out that I went for the gusto when I fell resulting in several spiral breaks and fractures shattering my tibia/fibula/heel bones which requires surgery to correct including titanium plates, screws and pins.

Dr. Deihl and several residence proceeded to "torture me" by setting the bones (formal x-rays to be posted here at a later date.) Following the wrap of my leg, I was weak as a cat and they moved me to a temporary room until they could find a bed in Ortho. Another dear teammate, Meanie Cooper, went to my house and picked up a few necessities since I was going to be here a few days, she let out my dog cricket and stayed with me over night. She knew I was shocky, in a ridiculous amount of pain and deep down didn't want to be alone. She's so very sweet ... I can't tell you how touched I was by this gesture. In the mean time, The Heat (a new girl like me) took Cricket into her home. It is such a relief to send your dog to someone that you know will love her up like you do.

After sitting in my room for an hour Meanie helped me convince Dr Deihl and his interns to cut off part of the plaster that was burning and impinging on the left side of my foot. I think they got started around 2:00am! I am sure my neighbors were not nearly as thrilled as I was to have that problem corrected.

I can haz blog?

I have resisted having authoring a blog for years. Who would read it? After recent events have had friends, family and colleagues clamoring for more information... so here we go.... post #1.