Archive for October, 2013

List envy

Did you see this map about baby girl names?  It is mesmerizing.  I accepted as a young child that I was never going to find a keychain or a license plate or a coffee mug with my name on it.  I do have a couple coffee mugs that say Chuck on them.  Since SSA is a large part of my every day life, I am well aware of the 1000 top baby names released every year.  What I was not aware of is that my name was once in the top 1000 baby names!  I made a list!  Exactly 50 years before I was born! This made my day.  Thanks, Cristi and Mental Floss, for giving me real evidence for the next time I get in an argument with a stranger who says Charlsie is not a real name.  It IS a REAL name.  It’s just an old name.  59 baby girls were named Charlsie in 1930.  Don’t worry about the fact that 237 baby girls were named Charles in 1930, it’s not relevant.    According to SSA, 1930 is the only year that the name Charlsie broke into the top 1000 names.  The name Travers has not made the list to date.  The records began in 1879, 100 years before Travers was born.

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This has been an interesting October.  I am glad the government is up and running again, but I am still baffled by the way things are done in Washington.  The shutdown was well timed for my surgery, except that I am still not sure exactly what my status was the entire time. I took two weeks of sick leave for my ankle surgery, but when the shutdown happened, all leave was cancelled for the duration of the shutdown.  After a week of furlough as non-essential, we were called to report back to work on Wednesday, October 9th and deemed to be essential.  Since I had surgery on Monday, October 7th, I was unable to report back on October 9th.  Per my understanding of the shutdown rules, my inability to report left me on continued furlough status.  I think in the end this worked to my benefit, but it was pretty stressful knowing there was a chance I wasn’t going to get paid because I couldn’t go to work.  I’m just relieved that I no longer have to listen to political ridiculous every single day to stay informed about the current status of my employment, but in general this whole shutdown has been a giant wasteful mess.

I was planning on going back to work tomorrow, Friday, October 18, because my foot was feeling better and I was getting around really well.  Yesterday was the first day that I didn’t spend the vast majority of my time with my foot elevated.  This turned out to be a mistake, because last night my foot and leg started to ache like a tooth.  I took a percocet for the first time this week, which didn’t touch the pain at all.  For a while I was convinced I had the flu.  Regardless, I spent most of the night wide awake, and I realized that it would be a few more days before I was able to sit at a desk for eight hours.  Hopefully I can go back to work early next week.

I think I’ve overdone it all week, and it’s catching up to me.  It is also possible that I started walking in the boot without crutches a tad too quickly.  Crutches are a lot of fun for about 45 minutes.  Because I have some masochistic qualities, I sort of enjoyed my crutches for about two days.  After that, the palms of my hands started to hurt and by the end of the third day I had abandoned them.  My post op instructions were – “activity as tolerated” and limping around is more tolerable to me than crutches.  I’m a little sorry I’m not sorry, but only because my foot hurts today.  Doctors need to be specific and threatening for crutches to be kept in rotation.  BUT!  In between all this hobbling around, I really have been quite the sloth.  The first week all I did was make it downstairs in the morning, post up in my little pillow nest, and fall asleep in the rare moments when I wasn’t eating something.  It was difficult to watch a whole tv show or read anything.  By the weekend I was more alert, and since then, my Stephen King novel and the DVR have kept me entertained.  Kate promised to buy me The Heat on DVD as a special treat today, and I can’t tell you how excited I am about that.  Laughter is the best medicine.

My ankle is surprisingly not that bruised, and the swelling went down after the first few days. I think the stitches could have come out yesterday, but my appointment is not until Monday, October 21.  I have become an ace at wrapping ace bandages, if you ever need a good ankle wrap, I’m your girl.  Also, upon reflection, I think I did a pretty hack job of explaining my surgery in my earlier blog post.  This blog post is a much better explanation, in case you are curious.

Now for the foot photos!  I’ve used pic stitch, to show a progression.  If you hate feet, or stitches, or bruises, feel free to not enjoy the rest of this blog post, but I feel like it could be a lot worse.

(This is the dead space for the foot and bruise haters)

#1 - toes on day 3, before initial dressing was removed.  #2 - toes 72 hours post op after initial dressing removal, and #3, 9 days post op.

#1 – toes on day 3, before initial dressing was removed. #2 – toes 72 hours post op after initial dressing removal, and #3 – 9 days post op.

72 hours post op, I was allowed to take the dressing off and shower.

72 hours post op, I was allowed to take the dressing off and shower.

9 days post op.
9 days post op.

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Operation Day

I’m alive! I got to the hospital at 9:30, my surgery was at 11:30, and I was home by 2. I spend the rest of the day sitting in a overstuffed chair with an ottoman with my foot propped up on a bunch of pillows, eating lasagna, snickers, and the occasional Percocet (which makes me feel itchy and pretty antsy, like I want to get up and do something, and clearly I cannot).

When I haven’t been itchy and antsy, I’ve been passing the heck out. I will be watching television, or eating a snickers, and this wave of sleepiness will wash over me and I will wake up twenty minutes later with a crick in my neck. I think this is the third time I’ve attempted to write this blog. I assume this has something to do with the anesthesia, or maybe all the lasagna.

Briscoe and I are training Mr. T (Briscoe’s name for Trav) while we are in town. He brought me a glass of water today, but drank half of it on the way. It’s a learning experience, but he’s showing real potential. He claims to be toasting me a piece of pound cake as I type, we will see if that makes it to me. I can’t be held accountable for the contents of this paragraph because of the anesthesia.

Sweet dreams my friends! I appreciate all y’all’s support and love!

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Os Trigonum Crush Saga

I’m having surgery in the morning to have an extra bone removed from my ankle.  It’s called os trigonum, and it occurs in about 10% of the population.  It doesn’t bother most people, but a series of unfortunate events can lead to the bone becoming inflamed and it can cause all sorts of problems.  It’s a problem that plagues ballet dancers, and can also be called “the nutcracker syndrome.”  From what I understand, it’s hard to diagnose, and not a common injury unless you happen to be a ballet dancer.  I am not a ballet dancer.  I guess I’m just gifted at being different.  Paul said maybe I’m just an especially evolved individual (the fact that I was born without my lateral incisor teeth supports this hypothesis).

ostrigonumfinal 0199210896-os-trigonum 1coverstory-Figure-4-Os-Trigonum

In fall of 2012, I was going to yoga two or three times a week, playing tennis once or twice a week, and trying to get a few runs in.  I started running a mile and a half before yoga, and I really enjoyed being outside and then getting the awesome stretch of yoga.  I was playing enough tennis to not lose every game, and I had a string of marathon matches.  At some point in October, my foot started to hurt.  Towards the end of November, I had a really long, really cold tennis match, and I could barely walk by time it was over.  Like an idiot, I went on with my plans for the Reindeer Run, and I played one more tennis match in December.  I was convinced that if I stopped running and playing tennis for most of December and a couple weeks in January, that it would get better.  Obviously, I should have curtailed the traipsing around downtown Charleston in high heels.  But Christmas and the New Year just scream high heels to me, and being tall is fun, and I’ve been wearing high heels with no real problems for most of my adult life.  I wore heels every day for four years, and I don’t wear them every day anymore, so who knew it was that big of a deal?

mentioned back in January that I thought I had broken my foot.  In February, I was diagnosed with posterior tibial tendonitis and planter fasciitis, and I wore a big tall boot for a full month, and I tried just about every NSAID imaginable.  I was extremely diligent with my NSAIDs and my boot, and I basically went to work, came home, and iced my ankle for a month.  I played a ton of candy crush.  In March, Briscoe tried to keep my entertained, and I had an MRI, that was basically negative.  I was able to get it together to walk around during the masters, but after the tournament my foot still hurt a lot, so I wore the boot for another three weeks.  The hardest part was that the pain moved around.  Sometimes my toes hurt, and some times the top of my ankle hurt, sometimes the back of my ankle, sometimes my posterior tendon was absolutely killing me.  The bottom of my foot hurt, right in my arch.  The most frustrating part was that I couldn’t figure out what made it worse, and what made it better.

I went to a foot surgeon in Charleston, and I went to a foot surgeon in Augusta.  They both said that I had tendonitis, although the one in Augusta was sure there was something else going on.  Neither doctor had much to offer as far as a game plan.  The one in Augusta said I could try physical therapy, the doctor in Charleston said he was sure physical therapy would exacerbate the problem.  The Charleston doctor diagnosed me with a “subtle cavus foot” and sent me to get orthotics to correct the fact that the arch in my right foot was higher than the one on the left.  The Charleston doctor kept telling me how tight my ankle cords were in my right foot, and that my problem was never going to get better if I couldn’t improve my ankle range of motion.  I promised him I stretched religiously, and he said I should stretch more.  .  Both doctors agreed maybe I shouldn’t worry about it for a while.

I stopped worrying about.  I figured if it was going to hurt when I did absolutely nothing, then I might as well do something and have it hurt.  I started going back to yoga, and I started running a mile once or twice a week.  The orthotics essentially eliminated my planter fasciitis.  With my planter fasciitis improving, I was able to increase my activity level without immediate pain increases.  Strangely, I noticed that going to yoga two days in a row, even for just an easy 45 minute basic class, was something I could not tolerate.  If tendonitis was the main problem, I would have expected the running to be more painful than the yoga.  I also noticed increased pain when it rained.

However, after about three weeks of this new “screw it, I do what I want” attitude, I left my keys at the deli by my house on a monday night, and by the time I walked back to my house, I had about five minutes to sprint back before it closed for the night.  I sprinted back, in my new Brooks glycerin and my orthotic inserts, and I got my keys, but I felt like my ankle was angry about the sprinting.

The next morning, a Tuesday, when I started to walk down my steps, my ankle locked up.  I’ve never had my ankle lock up.  I don’t guess I’ve ever really had a joint lock up at all, because this was a new, excruciatingly upsetting experience.  My ankle was stuck in a pointed position, like when I put my foot on the ground and tried to take a step, I couldn’t put my entire foot on the ground, and the attempt caused me blinding pain.  I hobbled around on my toe for a about five minutes, and then my foot magically corrected itself and I could walk normally.

I had seen the Charleston doctor the day before (of course), but I was able to see the Augusta doctor that Friday on my way to Athens for the Georgia South Carolina game.  I explained to the Augusta doctor about how my ankle locked up, and he said he wanted to look at my MRI again.  He came back in the exam room, looked at my ankle, and said, does this hurt? and I yelped, YES!  He looked up at me and said, GOOD NEWS!  I think I know what’s wrong with you!  And I can fix it! (when I had my appendix taken out, after the CT scan came back, the doctors seemed extremely pleased that i did actually have appendicitis, and that I “got” to have surgery.  To be fair, I think that kid was a med student, and I guess I sort of get it because it is better than the alternatives, but I feel like the enthusiasm can feel vaguely awkward).

Augusta doctor explained I have an extra bone in my ankle, and that he’s never taken this bone out of a person’s foot who didn’t see improvement from the surgery.  I found that encouraging and said sign me up! (My ankle has continued to lock up off and on, and I would do most anything to have that stop happening, because it is most unpleasant.

So.  Here we are.  I originally took two weeks of sick leave to have this surgery, but since the government is still shut down*, that leave has been cancelled, and I have plenty of time to convalesce in the comforts of my parents backyard.  I never have to have a real cast, and he said I can walk on my foot as soon as I feel comfortable, but that I should spend a week or two with it elevated and taking it easy.  I will be in a short boot for the next month, but after that I’m allowed to ease back into whatever I want to do, which is exciting.

Wish me luck, I will be here catching up on all my television shows for the next week to ten days.  XOXO

* if I wasn’t having surgery, I would buy a plane ticket somewhere and go on a trip.  Tomorrow.  Too bad.

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Briscoe was initially confused this morning during our walk, she’s never seen the Fort Sumter building closed.

So, the government shut down and I’m one of the 800k non-essential personnel who were sent home yesterday around lunchtime.  Since then, I’ve been completely incapable of making a decision.  First, I decided I was going to wander around downtown Charleston and play tourist.  Then, when I got home, I realized that I had all this nervous energy about being unemployed and the government not working correctly, and I couldn’t calm down about it, so I cleaned out my pantry and my refrigerator.  Then I peer pressured some friends to meet me for happy hour and hamburgers last night.  I’m not entirely sure why I got so strung out – the federal employees who are working aren’t getting paid until this fiasco comes to an end, and those of us who aren’t working could also get paid.  So a ton of people are in the same boat, and I truly believe that the government can’t stay shut down, and that it will all work out. I think I just didn’t anticipate being upset about it, and it made me realize how much I really love my job, and all I want is to do my job and get paid for doing my job, and it’s confusing to get sent home.  That being said, no one should feel sorry for me, I’m not going to starve, I don’t need to apply for bankruptcy, my dog is not concerned.

But once we got home, she decided she didn't care that much and got back in bed.

But once we got home, she decided she didn’t care that much and got back in bed.

I had a lot of big plans today, I was going to clean out my closet, and go out for a wander and maybe make friends with some tourists, and take some stuff back to Target and get supplies.  None of that has happened.  I’ve watched a great deal of CNN.  I never watch the news.  I like to read news.  The people talking on television and arguing grate on me and I generally can’t tolerate it.  But this is a special situation, and I’ve been watching a lot of news.  I flip around, because I do like to hear different sides, and I think most media outlets are spinning me a opinion, but I’ve watched more CNN than anything else.  And I’ve learned a lot through this experience.

I’ve learned that the biggest concerns for the people who watch CNN during the day, according to advertising, are 1.  “blood flow” problems of the sexual nature; 2.  picking a nursing home for an aging parent, 3.  life alert systems for old people who aren’t interested in a nursing home; 4, low “T”, and 5.  the best biological drug for rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.  And Wolf Blitzer is pretty feisty.  And I like the blond girl who reports from congress.  Clinton and Newt Gingrich are both aging better than Obama and W.  There is something about Ted Cruz’s face that really freaks me out.  I can’t put my finger on it.  Does he look like he’s made of wax?  Is that what it is?  Like you could make a statute of him out of fondant.  I know that doesn’t make much sense, and maybe it’s his mannerisms.  It’s like he moves as though he’s watching himself in the mirror.  Or like he can see himself on a live video feed.  I do have to hand it to the guy, he’s been super effective in accomplishing his goals, in a situation where no one else seems capable of accomplishing anything.  My approval and opinion of John McCain has never been higher than it is right now.  I want to give John McCain a big hug and buy him a drink.  Does he drink?  Did you see the article about how everyone on capital hill smells like booze?

Who do you think the girl is on the Obamacare homepage?  She’s been on the news more than anyone.  I hope she’s happy with the photo.  I thought Obama’s comment about comparing the webpage to the apple website was pretty interesting.   I got on verizon today to see about ordering the new iphone, I have an upgrade.  It’s backordered until November 11th.  I find that sort of unacceptable.  By the time I buy a new iphone, they are going to be talking about the new one.

Due to indecision, Briscoe and I spent a lot of time today sitting on the front porch.  It was a beautiful fall Charleston afternoon.  The strongest impulses possessing me today are the desires to eat and buy thing.s, Denise said that the government’s irresponsibility is triggering desires to be irresponsible.  At high tide, Briscoe and I went and watched the dolphins.  I anticipate my evening plans to including some pasta and wine, and tomorrow is a new day for congress to get it together.  Stay classy, my friends.

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