Monthly Archives: November 2014

Pain Therapy


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I’m slow just like an elderly person crossing the street, like any home turtle in the fish tank and basically similar to a suicidal giving up on life. Except, I enter the physical therapy office with an open mind and clear objective — to make gains, to obtain lasting results, to prosper and to walk on two feet correctly (again). I have a lot of work ahead of me, but that’s okay because I like work — and because what is life without work? Or sweat? Or tears? Or blood? Or pain?

And speaking of pain: I’m pretty aware that if they called it Pain Therapy rather than Physical Therapy — the majority of people wouldn’t show up. Related: This has been the most painful PT session (the 6th one so far) yet. I inhale and exhale like a pregnant woman giving birth wildly, but, with control. I shut my eyes tighter than my thermal water bottle, pinch my eyebrows together as in “what the fuck?”, grind my teeth with grit, mush my lips together in grumble and sometimes (whenever possible) I hunch my shoulders like a white collar man over a desktop — all because of pain.

Somewhere buried in my bones and muscles fibers, I’m frightened and I’m nervous about every PT session as if I’m starting a new job. But the fear remains in a way where I’m completely detached from it at the same time. I have a reason to be a scaredy-cat for each session there are unpredictable exercises given and new progressions occurring and of course — new pain to match. Today they measured my plantarflexion/dorsi and such and such with a Rulangemeter and a Goniometer. Trust, when I say it hurts when they hold my foot and bring it up to the measurement of where it’s supposed to be.

There are parallel bars where I’m to try and learn to walk again with as much equal body weight as possible without completely noticing the occasional shout from the aid saying: Bend your knee, don’t lock out. Control the movement. Then there are leg/tibia exercises and knee/hip/glute exercises all standing and putting full weight on my right foot and ankle. It feels highly uncomfortable like I’m stepping on stones, but I’m not afraid because I have to do what I have to do, and in a weird way I like pain. Plus, let’s face it, pain is temporary.

Then there’s my favorite, the thing that scares half my training wits — the wooden balance board. This one, I perform numerous exercises on. I dislike every one of them. Still, the bright side is it gets my knees to bend and it stretches everything out around the sides, front and back of my ankle along with my deflated calve. The only issue is, the pain is dangerously wicked, but with my training mentality, I’ve achieved my personal records already.

Then there’s me having to go up/down a step. There’s the prostep-prostretch where I squeeze my foot into it and have to move my foot up and down for a deep fucking stretch! Of course, there are ankle weights and more exercises and equipment I get to play and hurt myself with. Then more ankle exercises with manual resistance by my physical therapist (who I have a fondness for ah! — plus he genuinely says sorry when he senses the pain is unbearable on my face) and ankle circles and ankle pumps before I get my relaxing massage, electrode stimulations, heat and ice.

After all the drama calms down in the PT session, I digest all that has happened and how far I’ve come. I wish I could linger on those digestions. But I move on and take in how much longer I have to go. I dwell and dwell. Still, I’m thankful for my persistence, determination, stubbornness and self-made ego. I also enjoy when the pain and inflammation dies down, even though I know I’m going home to do even more exercises and be in pain all over again.

But more than anything, when I lie in the dark alone with thoughts to myself in the physical treatment room with towels wrapped around my leg in ice and heat — happiness seems to hide in the background and no matter how many times I push the thought out, it resurfaces again. I always go back to square one with: I can’t believe this. I can’t believe I’m going through this. I can’t seem to shake off this shock.

-Pennington

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Traumatized


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I’m traumatized.
I see young boys sporting fun, blazing on skateboards.
I look down sporting misery on a broken ankle replaying the record.
Has it not happened to them yet?
Is there a thought about breaking a fall or a near journey to regret?
About a plate and a surgeon drilling screws?
And how the cold will come on certain days and remain stuck in the hardware? Knowing this, would they have pursued?
I’m traumatized.
This was my freak of nature, a happy accident.
I listen as the longboard wheels taunt me on the street as if money was well spent.
I watch every skater tumble down in my head
Without control — I feel their bone shift from a hidden force warning red.
I can hear the break like a lonely branch being stepped on.
I feel the lost of life due to a split second – and months of a thousand recovery songs.
I’m traumatized.
But I want to believe I’m fine.
I’m not a snowboarder.
And I didn’t attempt a 50-50 grind like some type of adrenaline junkie explorer.
Now I can’t wait, yet I’m waiting.
I put 70% of killer pain on my foot for 5 minutes straight – devastatingly.
Two months and the physical therapists have me in a sneaker – functional training!
And is it crazy?
How all the sad parts and all the bad parts still make these moments breathtaking.

-Pennington

ORIF


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Finding the right physical therapist took a lot of time, which set me back just like finding the right surgeon (and personally I think he did a fine job and I want to get him and his staff a box of chocolates – is this too intimate?). Thank the Lord!

It seems like the second time was the charm of these circumstances. And I’m just happy enough to identify the madness and to be given the tiny miracle of opportunity to change things as soon as I can. It’s been a total of eight weeks (maybe more?) and everything still feels crazy to me.

The first real therapy session – mind you aggressive! – has actually set me to a default of the first stage of grief (for some): Shock! I was zombiefied after the session. And although I’ve been doing my own research and physical therapy work at home, I felt like one of those gym people who only perform 15 minutes of cardio and 15 minutes of strength-training and for them that was the hard part besides finding the nerve to get to the gym.

But more than that is how these people tend to LOVE the SHIT out of the stretching part of the workout session. You could see the joy plastered on their faces. It’s almost disgusting!  Nevertheless, it’s how I felt when the therapy session was over. No more pain from a stranger. No more looking like a fucking noob. No more wallowing. The massage and ice afterwards felt golden. It was the best part besides feeling like a 2 year old and taking my first steps with a walker. But then, the shock hit me on the way home.

Sighs.

I felt lost in a sky like the toddler who let go a second too soon because he doesn’t know any better – he hasn’t grown into life yet. Or like the lady floating on her own balloon in the picture above – not sure where she’s going? (Where am I traveling to?)

So, what is ORIF anyway? It’s a Fracture Fibula – Open Reduction Internal Fixation! Fixation, eh? I’m certainly fixated on this current situation – so much so I feel like a hot mess, like a pair of 10 year old sneakers, abused and neglected that can be found in a corner of a gym.

Okay, so I’m making gains, progressing like the way a slug does all the while looking back somewhat. I’m stuck in a very past-present condition. I’d love to put this all behind me, however I have to learn life lessons and look at the bigger picture of several things and get this balloon of the unknown off of me so I can feel somewhat normal and like I’m back in my element. I’m tired of floating. I don’t like the feeling of limbo.

And if anyone tells me to get the fuck over this, not only will I smack them with a fucking dumbbell – I’ll display the video of my surgery and in the process break their fucking ankle. Kidding! Almost. 😉

-Pennington

Coincidence In Pending


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You were clearing out a drawer for my trivial belongings. I was spending a lot of lovely days and nights in your apartment. Casual-friendly you offered me the key to your place. I was taken aback, and although I didn’t give an answer at this time, I understood why you had asked. I was leaving clothing behind and even left shower slippers. And you even went on to buy me tank-tops, a big package of shower caps and a purple toothbrush.

I know how it looked like to the critics outside. I know what your friends say about the privileges you were giving me. I know my friends reacted as if you were making me into your live-in wife. I remembered when you came with me to visit my ill mother – it was your idea – and she told me and you at separate times how much you adore me. Only a few knew we didn’t sleep in the same bed.

However, we knew the truth. We were friends. We drank coffee all day and ate all night. We rode local streets to the gym and bridges on hefty bikes. We rode the pale white of the moon. We rode the orange out of the sun. We were two loners coming together to feed the soul of one another. And in a single moment of fun, and of building memories – a happy accident occurred.

The skateboard slipped from under me quick as an apparition. My foot became caught underneath my bodyweight on the other foot and as I fell backwards I heard a pop that came from my ankle. I felt something in my lower leg shift out of place just when the whole world went mute. I knew I couldn’t get up and walk away from this. And if I may add – the sudden anger which consumed me at the price I paid for fun.

It didn’t seem like coincidence anymore. Not the DVD player I brought over a few weeks prior nor the brand new shoes I bought and never wore. They stood in your apartment, ready and waiting, just like the drawers. One empty drawer came to be three and an entire closet too with shelves made its home available to me. Now I had the key to your apartment and the key to your bedroom without any of us asking the other. I have night tables by my side filled with poetry books, vitamins, foot powder and other personal items. Everything was in pending and now we sleep on the same bed.

Who knew I was going to need major assistance with my broken ankle and surgery. Who could have predicted I wouldn’t be going back to my place because of old buildings and their beliefs of zero elevators. Who knew that the friend I became close with these past years who was my manager a decade ago – would be the bestest person to care for me as if I were one of his children.

-Pennington