I've got a leg gone AWOL and sweating with the Krank

well i hope you enjoy the little cartoon i drew up and colored with my new artist tablet. i've been having some fun 'killing time' that way and am getting acquainted to all the varying features there are. i've done a few other cartoons that i've been putting up on my Writer's Blog as well as an online greeting card site. in a related train of thought i've been continuing to work on my novel idea and have set a little daily goal to keep me accountable to keep getting something accomplished!

yes, that Krankcycle sure is a B****! haha...it brings me back to the days when i was in high school and my coach used to have me cross train on the rowing machine. i'm not sure if any of you have been ever so 'blessed' as to spend ample quality time with the rowing machine but to say it is not one of my favorite past times would be an understatement! when i moved up to oregon i thought i'd kissed that sucker good-bye forever; yet in an ironic twist of fate it has come back as the reincarnate of another machine! i jest; a bit. i'd say i have a love/hate relationship with it; i'm grateful to have something to do and a way to help me regain some level of fitness so that hopefully when i do run again i'll be able to get back quicker, but at the same time it's not exactly my first choice! but i'm trying to keep that blasted glass half full, and like i said i'm very happy to be able to get in some limited cardio even if it must come from those burning biceps!

not anything else late breaking to report; i'm relieved that my knee is getting back much more mobility and each day i can bend it just a wee bit more. this makes it much easier to put my splint back on after i air out the leg. what has been really weird, and actually it really scared me at first until i talked to my dad (who majored in exercise science), is that with more feeling in my leg there has also come some uncontrolled spasms. at first they were really painful muscle cramps, but they have downgraded to spontaneous twitches and this unexplainable 'itching' type need to move, flex, and stretch my foot. this happens more at night, and it's centered around my big toe; it seems to have a mind of it's own and wants to move! but the tendons are still broken at the moment and either physically can't move or if they do budge a bit they aren't supposed to yet until the sutures have set longer and it's painful. i also get a tingling all over; so i feel like i've got this leg gone AWOL...but like my dad pointed out lots of nerve endings in addition to the tendons, muscles, skin, and bones were put through a major trauma and are trying to rebuild. the fact that i'm getting more sensation and that the nerves are beginning to fire is a good thing in that it means they are on the road to recovery. so i guess i will accept this rebelling leg and hope that it's just a sign i'm headed in the right direction!

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Testing out my new Krankcycle - An upperbody cardio workout
so i'm very excited that i got my new Krankcycle today so that i can do all of my physical therapy here at my apartment...and stop pestering other people to give me a ride! :) i don't know who's happier, them or me, but either way the more i'm learning about this new spin on a traditional UBE machine (basically an arm bike) the more i think it is a step up from what i have been using. there are a lot more varying options with this machine; you can adjust the height of the arm cranks, you can even reverse the motion and steer away from you, and you can opt to cycle in the traditional pedal motion or instead move the arms in a synchronized method to get more power and momentum.

today was my first day using it and i feel you are able to get in a better workout and effort; by the end my heart rate was higher than that on the UBE machine. because the Krankcycle is akin to a spin bike you easily adjust the tension level by the knob and then obviously the harder you go and more rpm's you rack up you can then do interval workouts that way. right now i'm still getting used to relying on my arm muscles to do all the work and definitely need to build up my strength there so i have the ability to get this thing moving along. i'm also still adapting to the machine so i have yet to test out everything yet. but when i do start mixing things up i'll keep you posted; i'm excited to start doing some interval work on there to get in a really good cardio effort. while it is still not running, (and being a runner i'm not used to using my arms this much!) i'm still grateful to be able to do something! so i hope you enjoy meeting my Krankcycle. ;)

The Krankcycle comes from the same man who started the whole spin bike revolution, Johnny G, and you can check out the website at krankcycle.com.

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I feel like I'm laying low in all aspects of life...do I have a bad case of sloth?
today i had a nice visit from my friend, Tracey, and i must say the company was very welcomed! it's odd how before my accident i could go about my daily schedule and not really feel all that lonely or bored, but i had the distraction of running, working, or going on errands...take all that away and you get a restless mind! and i'm not going to even mention a restless body again. :) i've been slowly getting back to a limited amount of work, but you know how sometimes once you take so much time off getting back into the grind can be even more difficult?! i feel like my brain is turning just as mushy as my muscles, and i've contracted a bad case of laziness..."i don't feel like writing articles. i'd rather obsessively refresh my email account one more time. let's see the latest facebook updates." the excuses to not be productive are never ending, but at the same time growing more alluring too! i've sort of delegated myself to allowing this to be a semi break of indeterminate length and am doing my best to achieve a few daily tasks but not feel too guilty about slacking off.

before my accident it was very rare that i would take a day off, or a break for that matter, so i think this could also be a sign that i just needed to back off and slow down in that department as well. plus, i'm at the point where i want to venture into other things and this could be a good time to do that. i want to finish the novel i'm writing, and i've been plugging away at that daily; not very much but at least enough to feel like i'm moving in the right direction. i also want to focus more on my art and i've been doing that too. so i feel like i'm dabbling in finding what makes me happy work wise and hoping that in the end things will work themselves out. a lot of the future is a question; not only physically with the injury, but financially with the mountain of medical bills piling up and then that is in turn tied to work. so instead of letting all of the unknowns bury me i'm just going to continue to think about today and hope that it all will iron out. so while i am still battling the nagging guilt of slacking off in what now appears to be all aspects of my life, i'm trying to keep it in perspective, believe there is a rhyme and reason for all of this, and just grant myself the liberty to continue to lay low for now. that being said, if anyone is in need of any graphic designs (i know there have to be some people throwing parties and want invitations; someone looking to jazz up their business cards; a tee shirt is just too bare to bear; or you have a hankering to see what you'd look like as a toon!) feel free to hit me up! haha...just kidding. ;)

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A shower has never felt sweeter...oh, and could you break my fall?!
well, i am proud to announce that there are no more sponge baths for this girl! hehe. well, as of yesterday i have returned to the land of the 'normals' at least in being able to take a shower...i cannot tell you how sweet it was to finally feel clean! don't get me wrong, those little soapy buckets from the hospital and dry shampoos are able to keep most of that BO at bay, but there is something to be said to sitting under a stream of hot water and rubbing in that Pantene! ;) okay, okay, this is not necessarily something of epic importance, but being that i've had to wait for the stitches to first come out and then give the wounds a little more time to heal up before being able to get my legs wet, i must say this was a loooooooooong time coming; it certainly goes to show it is the little things that can be very rewarding once they've been stripped away from you!

maneuvering is still a bit tricky, but i'm getting a better handle on these darn crutches. i have had a nice little streak of i believe over a week now in which i've made it up and down the stairs 'all by myself' when i say that i mean i haven't taken a dive and needed to be caught by a helping hand. although i say that and what happens today as i'm exiting the door of a store on an errand i had to run...yes, i lose my balance and come hurtling towards the ground, pavement no less. i will tell you my heart rate went sky high as soon as those crutches went flying but THANKFULLY the lady holding the door for me was at least able to help break my fall a bit in that i ended up landing more on my bum and good leg and spared the mutilated one. needless to say i think i was getting a bit too comfortable and that acted as a warning that i'm still no pro and need to crutch slowly and carefully...i think what happened is i was trying to juggle my wallet (which i thought was small enough to hold while also holding my crutches, and apparently i was wrong!) and instead of asking someone to help me i just figured i'd deal with it. so for being a dork and not asking for help i took a face plant...lesson learned.

other than that, nothing too new or exciting in the world; i've been starting to do a bit of writing again on the side for work and have continued to work on this new novel idea. i also finally got a Wacom Bamboo digital tablet and have been testing that out with my graphic designs. i've got some new cartoons and perhaps i'll be posting those soon. well, that's all for now, onto another weekend; it's odd how time seems to have entered a weird lull in which the days drag on sooooooooooo slowly but then the weeks have a way of passing; yet at the same time i think back over the past few weeks and it seems like it's been a year...so much for having any bearing on the days/weeks/time frame! hope you all enjoy your weekend and get outside for me too. :)

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Meet John, my guardian angel

after i was hit by the car and turned around to watch the driver leave i cannot tell you exactly what went through my mind; but after the shock was the pressing urge to find someone to help me. i remember looking back over my shoulder, still careful to cradle my mangled leg in my arms and support the knee in the hopes that it could successfully be realigned by the doctors, and it was then that i saw a man getting out of a black car. he was the driver immediately behind chris, who had fled the scene, and i couldn't tell what he was doing or if he saw me; i started to flail my one free arm and yelled for help. i saw him see me (i later realized he thought i was dead and he was fishing for his phone to call for help and also wanted to go after the driver who had left) and when he discovered i was still alive and in need of immediate assistance he came running over.

i was seated on the pavement, how i did not wind up landing flat on my back i have no idea, but i was still awkwardly clinging to my knee. he put his arms around me, cradling me like a baby, or a broken doll, and told me i'd be okay. admittedly the first few words out of my mouth were something akin to, "my leg, i'll never be able to run again" but soon another more scary realization came to me and i asked, "am i going to live, am i going to be okay?"

he handled this with composure and reassurance i don't think many people would have had upon looking at my sad little state and he told me that, "yes, you'll be okay." he began to pray at that moment and i closed my eyes and fell into him, letting him support me as the pain started to hit me and i felt like i was losing strength. after that there was what felt like a flood of people, other witnesses, the police officer first to arrive, but i focused only on this man and i asked him what his name was, "John" he replied. i squeezed john's shoulder and looked up at him, trying to block out everything else; he was not only supporting me physically but the rock that kept me sane and calm until the ambulance arrived. i do believe he was the one who very well saved my life.

after being rushed by the ambulance into the ER i was just about to go into surgery when the officer at the scene came to speak to me. i had repeated john's name over and over in my head; i am notoriously horrible at remembering names but this was one i was not willing to forget. i asked the officer to please get john's number so i could later call him and thank him.

i awoke from surgery and one of my first requests was to get in contact with my guardian angel. unfortunately, and there is a story here but one to be saved for a later date, the number was lost and then by the time i got in touch with the officer again he wasn't sure which of the numbers was the man i wanted. i was disheartened at the the thought i may never be able to express my thanks to this incredible man; i thought of the possible ways to get into contact with him. perhaps putting an ad in the newspaper, craigslist, or even seeing if perhaps a local news station might be able to help.

then, out of the blue i got a call on my cell phone. i thought rather logically it would just be another person related to the onslaught of insurance and billing calls i had been amidst, but the person on the other line was in fact john. i couldn't believe it and we both ran through the scene telling our own points of view and expressing how scared we were; one common thread was that we both recognized that through it all we focused only on the other, "it was like i was in a battlefield and you were a wounded solider; i just focused on keeping you together until the ambulance came," he told me.

we both wanted to meet, and being that i wasn't in the kind of shape to really be able to go anywhere i offered for him to come to my apartment; thankfully daddy had cleaned it by that time! :) he asked if it was okay if he brought his family; eerily john's last name is chung and he has a daughter named caitlin, spelled the exact same way, and they recently began running together. i told him i would love to meet his entire family and we set it up for the next day.

i was filled with excitement at the prospect and when i saw this man, this man who saved my life, i was at a loss for words. that, for all who know me, is quite a rarity! i met his wonderful wife, three amazing children, and yes caitlin. they were so very sweet and brought me not only a stuffed monkey and balloon but a beautiful flowering plant too and i have them all set up right where i can see them every day as i camp out on the sofa. as i met each and every one of the chungs i learned about them and their lives and knew i had also found lifelong friends...and i told them what a hero their dad, and husband, was even though he blushed and said it was something anyone would do. but i looked him in the eye and said, "no, it was not what everyone did," referencing chris. and while the numerous people who did stop are a testament to the fact i believe there is more good than bad in this world, the fact is that chris fled and john came to my rescue.

we have exchanged numbers, emails, and the like and i want to go out to some of caitlin's meets as well as the basketball and volleyball games of his younger children when i get better; but most of all i want to stay in contact with the whole family. i have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support thus far and yet another positive i can take away from this horrible accident is that i have now met an amazing family; and of course my guardian angel.

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Remembering we are not alone and fighting to reach a brighter future
as i sit here with my leg elevated, propped up rather comically by a pile of pillows and pointed skyward my thoughts are drawn to the other trials and hardships that are facing not only some of my immediate friends and family members, but even the strangers i see on the news. it is easy for us all to get so wound up in our own problems that we kind of block out what is going on around us and we sometimes think we have it 'the worst.' i'm as guilty as the next person; it's easy to get sucked into that downward spiral of self pity, but it's a chasm that doesn't ever have an end and you'll only wind up ruminating over things until you're even more depressed.

in my most recent ordeal i've had plenty of moments where i question 'why me' and think i'm just the most unlucky person around; but the truth is, yes i've been dealt a tough hand but everyone has those cards sooner or later. it may come in the form of a physical hardship, an injury or even birth defect, it could also come in the form of a mental complex be it a neurosis or compulsion, and there are many other forms. in taking a closer look at the people around us, we can see that at any given time one may be suffering in some way to some degree but at the same time there are also positives in their life; be them glaringly obvious or hidden a bit and they need only look a bit harder to find them.

personally, my grandfather had an accident (ironically the same day as my car accident) and he landed himself in the hospital with a trauma to his head. at first he was fighting the system, refusing to eat, to get out of bed, to even talk but it finally took a hardy dose of tough love from a nurse to tell him that he either is going to fight to get better or he'll just end up stuck in the hospital bed he hates so much even longer. thankfully that motivated him and he started to actively participate in getting better, and getting back to life. instead of sitting there stewing about what he can't do or doesn't have at the moment he looked ahead to what he will eventually be able to return to once he overcomes this hurdle.

that can be applied to me, and lots of other problems; we get sucked into the here and now and see the future we want as unobtainable and then sort of give up on it completely. holding onto the hope that we can overcome what we have been faced with now and that we will emerge stronger is perhaps the paramount way to keep plugging away when the going gets seemingly unbearable. and another thing we can take heed to notice is that we are not alone; we all go through rough patches and i think that for the most part human nature is to offer consolation to others when we can because we were met with the same thing in our own times of need.

reaching out not only benefits the person feeling low, but it also rewards the giver. i've been lucky enough to have many wonderful people reach out to me, and at the same time i do what i can to reach out to my own friends and people i meet that may need a hand or even just a friendly smile. when things do seem overwelming i think it helps to take a moment and remember we are never alone, even if it seems like it at times, and also that no matter how far off it looks the future is there...we only need to keep fighting to make it there.

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Ditch those stitches and the leg sees the light of day!
so today was the big day...time to rip out those stitches! yikes...but i've found that sometimes if you build up an event to much in your mind that by the time it actually comes you will most likely be relieved that it isn't as horrible as you might have imagined. well, i'm not going to say it was fun, or a picnic in the park, but i did survive....haha. well, we'll get to the main event in a minute but i started off by first getting another set of xrays. to do that they took off my big cast, and when they took the full thing off the first wave of outside air felt both soothing and slightly painful; it's still an odd sensation i can't quite put into words. the nurse had to pull off some of the cottony gauze that was stuck to the skin and again that was weird. they did the xrays and when dr. cory popped those suckers up on the light board i was able to see all that hardware. but what drew my attention after seeing the two rods and sets of screws was the my tibia was actually broken a second time up more towards mid shin level. "umm, is my bone broken there also?" i asked, i was afraid that i'd have to go back in for more steel or by some crazy fluke they had missed that second fracture and this was the first time it showed up. but he explained that the biggest trauma was of course closer to the ankle and that was the main priority; i guess when compared to what was going on further south that second break wasn't that big of a deal. so dr. cory told me that the bone would heal up fine on it's own. the funny thing is that i had been noticing a strange clicking sort of sound when i straightened my leg and couldn't figure out why...i was afraid it was some tendon gone awry, but the good doc told me that's actually coming from the second bone fracture...huh, good to know! but since the whole area is still partially numb i don't feel any specific pain in the region, so no harm no foul i guess.

they got the skin all cotton free, and i will say it did look like one mr. edward scissorhands gotten ahold of me! at this point my dear friend ron, who actually put in all these fine sutures, stepped in and got down to work. i couldn't look, but ron was great and even joked, "well, the good news is this doesn't hurt me a bit!" i assured him that yes, that was the top priority! ;) because there were so many stitches i think the whole thing took about 20 minutes, but ron was a pro and it wasn't as bad as i had played it out in my mind; but i'm not going to lie in that it was painless...i'll just say i'm glad it's over and leave it at that.

so the good news is that i'm on track and where i should be in terms of what dr. cory expected. i was a bit appalled at how much my calf had atrophied, i have NO calf muscle now...haha...still thankfully some of the swelling around what used to be my calf went down. what scared me also was that my whole ankle and heel is still very swollen, (and i dare say i may even have kankles!) but dr. cory assured me that is to be expected, it did go through some trauma after all, and he said that it will stay swollen most likely for a year. that blew me away, but it also made me feel better in that it's not 'behind schedule' by still being so beautifully yellow. ;)

dr. cory then added a few stretches to my PT routine; i'm now to start stretching my achilles by placing a towel around my foot and pulling the foot towards me, and because i can't actively point my foot down i will start to 'stretch' the upper tendons by just dangling my foot over the edge of a chair. slowly i will regain some muscle control in the upcoming weeks and the next step will be to work on being able to point my foot down and begin flexing it towards me without the towel. it was frustrating when i was staring at the limp foot and willing it to point and flex and the little bugger refused to move! but like i went through that same feeling with not being able to move my big toe much at all, and then progressing to moving it millimeter by millimeter the doc told me it will come in time...so of course it's back to being patient; not one of my strong points, but i'm getting better at it!

overall the visit went well, and i must say my doctors, and my main man ron (i asked him if he ever sewed anything other than skin and he told me he was rather good at fixing socks), are kick a** and i always feel uplifted after seeing them. oh, and now i am in a splint which feels like i've dropped about ten pounds of excess cast weight from my leg, and that's nice; at the same time i feel a bit nervous without the extra protection and feel like the whole area is so exposed. but, since i am now supposed to start airing it out and working on moving the foot, i've got to be able to unwrap those bandages...and so FRANKENLEG must see the light! alright, i'm wiped, so goodnight to all and i hope you all rest easy...do not worry, frankenleg will not haunt your dreams. ;)

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Missing Dad and comparing today to last week...
well, the visit with my dad, although the poor man was stuck cleaning like crazy and was acting as my glorified butler, was sooooooo great! it was wonderful to have him, and i would be lying if i said the little girl inside (and even the not so little!) wasn't a bit weepy and crying, "i miss my daddy!" But, all good things must come to an end, and at least the last night he wasn't stuck doing too many chores so we were able to enjoy some fine Chipolte (again, yes, when i find something i like i have it again, and again, and again, etc.) and watched the movie 'Yes Man.' i am so grateful that he was able to steal away from the dreaded post office for a few days and that he came all the way out here means so much.

i feel renewed, hopeful, and with a fresh positive outlook. we had some good talks and i'm so touched he came up. and not only because my apartment had the equivalent of a face lift, butt lift, lipo, lip injections, a la Heidi Montague...hehe. just kidding, but it looks amazing. i did a little filming today to save my fingers the job of writing, and i also found a few more videos i shot in the hospital. they were actually filmed exactly a week ago, and it was weird for me to watch them and then see where i am now. even though it was only a week ago it feels like so long ago; it is very odd to remember that then i was getting prepared to undergo another surgery and still sporting that hot hospital gown! anyways, i put two from last sunday up compared to the one i have from today and it was inspiring for me at least in that i've come quite a bit since then. my leg is much less swollen and i have much more movement; so it helps me to see that there is progress, even if it is not going as fast as i would of course like. just like a training log, when you are able to look at where you were and see where you are now, it helps to motivate you to take on the goals set for the future.

Last Sunday Morning

Hanging with Al Pre-Surgery

This Morning

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Dad's Coming to Town...
so i'm very excited today because as i speak my dad is most likely maneuvering the twists and turns of Nor Cal and just about to reach the Oregon border. i told him he was crazy for actually preferring to drive rather than fly, but regardless he is going to be here soon! it will be so nice to not only have round the clock company (outside of TBS of course!) but someone to be my personal butler....gosh i never thought i'd get full room service at home off of my meager wages! ;) Just kidding...i actually told him i don't want his whole visit here to be waiting on me hand and foot and such so he's bringing a TON of movies and tv shows, enough to keep me set for probably the next six month! which is much appreciated because i am pretty sure i would have to shoot myself if i ever became enraptured in the world of daytime soaps!

that being said, as for the leg the pain is way down and the swelling must be significantly better because i can feel a little extra space inside my cast. where as i used to feel it pressing up against the cast like a balloon about to burst, i can feel a little bit of air and i'm also getting more sensation back. it's kind of hard to describe, and i didn't even really notice NOT being able to feel before but now the area to the lower right of my calf tingles. that's where the bones broke through the skin (one of the places anyways!) and it tingles around where the stitches are. when there is pain that's where it's concentrated, and at the risk of making anyone queasy, when it does get a blood rush when i put it down it kind of feel like it will pop. but i'm also getting more range of motion; my knee, where they made the incision to put in the rods, can now bend about 20 degrees i'd say where at the hospital i was lucky if i could bend it one or two! i can also straighten the leg completely and my toes are getting more responsive. that blasted big toe is still the slacker of the bunch but he's getting stronger...go little piggie, go! i can also sort of move my ankle just a tad, and that's i think in part due to the reduced swelling too.

well, on tap for today dad rolls in around four in the afternoon and the par-tay shall begin! i think we'll start off with a little disco and break dancing, some aerobics to a Jane Fonda tape, and finish off with some sparring. i don't think i even have to put the obligatory jk, but i will...jk. i warned him this may not be an exciting visit, but i'm super excited to have him up! Until later, i hope everyone has a great Friday...and of course the weather outside here is all sunny and nice because i can't go out! ;)

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Awesome nurses and sore armpits...
so i've attached the last two videos i shot in the hospital and the first one features my favorite nurse, Craig, who really made the whole thing so much more bearable. he was hilarious and not only that but went above and beyond to help me in any way possible. i didn't know that with my kind of injury muscle spasms were common, and no one forewarned me, so when i woke up the second night in a row in anguish after my big toe all of a sudden seized up and wracked my whole leg with pain, it was Craig who said, "oh, don't worry that's normal...i'll get you what you need." true to his word, not ten minutes later he had gotten a hold of the doctors, had a prescription ordered, and then had it delivered to me with a cup of water...mind you it was probably two in the morning. the guy was amazing and we were constantly sparring.

anyways, today was nothing too crazy exciting, and as i write this i'm watching the movie 2012, and i'm liking it so far...i'm a big fan of John Cusack all way from back in the day of Say Anything...call me a sap if you like, but who couldn't help but fall in luv with the guy!

i'm really happy to announce that at least the pain factor is getting much better; i'm now only on Tylenol! :) i'm getting better at the crutches, not a master yet of course, but i do not like the sore armpits. although i do still get winded going the length of a hallway, and that gets frustrating. i lay here antsy and wishing i could do something, then stand up and crutch a few feet and my body says, "hmm, so you're really not gonna go very far, nope, don't think so." but i'm just being patient and taking each day as it comes.

okay, well, back to the movie! nite.

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Surprise visits and some hospital video entertainment
so today was actually probably the best yet since the accident. woke up after perhaps the most restful night of sleep; i had been having trouble getting down more than five or six hours, seven at the most; which i know many people would consider a lot of sleep, but i'm a complete sleep maven and before all of this considered it one of the best past times...hehe. in fact it was not unusual to be able to rake in around 10 hours; okay, yes i am VERY lucky in that i was able to dictate my own schedule since i was just doing writing and such, so i took full advantage of that. but since i was running and such i was usually pretty tired; but i do have some funky sleep problems in that i wake up virtually every hour and a half and then have to drift back. so even though i was in bed a long time i was still pretty tired when i got up. but anyways, sorry for the random digression there but back to present. i woke up feeling good and my little PT routine is feeling a little bit better. i was feeling pathetic with how weak i was after all of this, and i still am, but i'm seeing very small amounts of progress which feels better.

so then i was just going about my usual thing and such when all of a sudden i get a knock at the door. well, i had planned on visiting with one of my old Nike buds, Ken, but not until later so i was kind of worried it was my landlord needing to fix some pipes or something, so i get my lazy bum up and crutch to the door and low and behold it was AL!!! i had missed our nightly visits at the hospital, and he's always kept super busy with work, so i know he had to shift stuff around and go out of his way to stop by so i was so excited and touched. we had a good visit before he had to get back to the grind, then i was hanging with Ken when the door knocked again, and who was it? my pal Julius and his wife Grace; it was like a little party. all of the visits uplifted my spirits, even though i had been telling people to hold off on visits because i was so embarrassed how messy my apartment was and they should come only after my dad could help me make it look somewhat presentable. but i was ambushed, and i'm happy i was mess and all, because i really needed the pick me up. so THANK YOU to my visitors today and you really made my day!

A bit late, yes, but i FINALLY got the stupid YouTube videos to work that i shot in the hospital. so, they will pretty much be repeats of what i wrote, but one in particular i think is pretty funny with me and my favorite nurse, Craig. These two are just kind of intro's and i'll post the other two tomorrow. So feel free to watch, and i hope you enjoy me being a dork! That's all for now...nite nite!

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Meeting with the Doc and keeping things in perspective
so the big thing on tap for today was my first follow up appointment with my awesome surgeon Dr. Corey. i was a bit nervous to see the Frankenleg unwrapped, and i actually wanted to bring my camera but on the way out i totally forgot about it and being that i still can't hold anything with both my hands stuck maneuvering the crutches i usually tend to forget stuff when i go around...so sorry u don't get to bear witness to the beautiful leg just yet. it feels really weird when the good doc unwrapped it; i don't want to gross anyone out but it's hypersensitive but also getting kind of itchy under that blasted splint and wrapping. so it kinda feels nice to let the sucker breathe but it really makes me scared because any touch a bit too strong hurts! but Dr. Corey was really pleased to see how it was healing up as of yet; one of his biggest concerns was infection just because soooo much was open and exposed on the road...i guess that's why i burned through what seemed like dozens of antibiotic drip bags through my IV, but thankfully they worked!

The other big risk was that some of the skin would die and i'd need a skin graft but...drum roll please it was a small miracle that the skin is alive and healing well so i at least dodged one bullet there! :) today's visit was pretty short just a peek to see the healing, and then next week is going to be a bit more intense, at least from my perspective. ALL THE STITCHES ARE COMING OUT!! when he said that my stomach turned and i flashed back to the other doctor ripping off the blood vacuum. he said it won't hurt and they just pull them out; but i've never had stitches before and i've got this mental image of a seam ripper going to town on my skin! but they will also then do some xrays, then take another set of xrays the following week and from there decide how well the bone is healing up. i lost a big chunk out of my tibia so the odds are that i will need a bone graft; and i will hear the final word in two weeks and then most likely will need to go back for that graft in a little over five weeks from today. he said they would probably take the bone from my hip or femur...i'm just trying not to dwell on that, and who knows maybe, just maybe i might luck out and be blessed with another miracle and wiggle my way out of this graft too. ;)

it was actually really eye opening for me to just go to the office; i was feeling all bad about my own injury but then i saw this man with his leg amputated below the knee and in a wheelchair. it made me really thankful that i at least have two legs and am able to walk on the crutches. it's not like i thought i had the worst injury ever before i saw the man, but it just hit it home a little more, and truth be told HE doesn't even have the worst injury. i just got more perspective, it was staring me right in the face, and i'm lucky i didn't lose a limb, i'm lucky i didn't get knocked into a coma or have brain damage, and i'm lucky i'm even alive...so i left feeling more optimistic and ready to tackle this baby!

the rest of the day was pretty much the same as usual, i did a little writing on a new novel idea and then just wasted a lot of time on Facebook and online...i think that thing is like a little time vortex that sucks you in and then you look at the clock and are like, "where did the hours go?!?!" but in my case i welcome that feeling as the hours passing quickly are helpful. and one more thing i'm happy about is i was able to get down to a less 'hard core' pain killer and that was something i had asked him about so i can sort of ween myself off of those. my leg hardly ever bugs me when it's elevated, but just when i get up and use the crutches that is when sometimes it hurts like a son of a gun! but here's to hoping it gets better. :) well, this tired girl is off to bed, night to all and have a great tomorrow.

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Staying positive thanks to an amazing amount of support
Today was kind of tough today; not really for any particular reason but i was just a bit down. Every day it kind of hits home more just how much my world has changed in such a short period of time. When i was back in the hospital on Thursday i was sitting there watching tv and i saw it was about 12:15 in the afternoon and i thought to myself, "wow, just a week ago about this time you were just heading out the door for a run with no clue what awaited you." and i was getting so frustrated because i had been a weenie lately and doing runs on the treadmill, and i was THIS close to just going downstairs to the gym in my apartment complex, but decided it was just too nice outside to pass up even if there was a good show on tv. and then i thought it was so weird that i was even on walker road because when i run from my house i ALWAYS go down park ave. but i had decided to 'mix it up.' i just kept thinking how everything seemed to be fluke decisions that were outside of my normal routine, and on any other given day at that time i wouldn't ever have been there.

But i had to stop doing that because you can't play the 'what if' game. yea, i could drive myself crazy with 'what if i had just run on treadmill...would i blissfully be going about business as usual today?' or 'what if i had just left five minutes earlie or later...would i have missed the car?' but the reality is i didn't do any of those things and thinking about other possible outcomes is only going to make me stew. so i did my best to pull myself out of the funk and just keep occupied with something else. i really do kind of just battle the clock; think about the next hour or tell myself i'm going to write or work on such and such for at least X amount of time and then the day passes. i am lucky to have so many people that give me a pick me up, be it an email, Facebook message, text, or phone call that come often enough that it interrupts any ruminating negative thoughts...and for that i thank you all.

i think i tend to be a pretty positive person, but when i feel that waning i have people i can vent to and just get it out of my system and that's usually enough to get me over the 'hump' and get back into the right frame of mind. and another thing that really helps is just making plans for days in the future that i can look forward to. just setting up little dinner nights out make me feel like a little excited kid...yea, that sounds pretty dorky but it's true. breaking up the monotony of vegging on the couch makes a big difference, but just seeing my friends or talking to them on the phone takes my mind off of all the other stuff and i end up feeling better. so i did that today; i set up meetings for the week, talked and did some venting. yea, the situation sucks, but the positives i can take away is that i feel like there are people who really do care a lot about me and they come from sometimes surprising places. i thank you all for keeping my spirits up and i'm looking forward to catching up with you soon because it really does keep me going. :)

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A bit too much free time on my hands...

haha...so i hope you can see i had a little fun with the camera today. :) i had to find something to pass all those long hours, and actually today went a lot better than i thought it would. i was able to make myself food for breakfast and lunch, admittedly i'm sure i looked like a monkey the way i was hoisting myself up on the counter and stuff, but i got it done without killing myself. of course everything takes ffooooorrrevvver and then multiple trips to put one thing by the couch, get the next thing, etc. i was having a really tough time trying to move things since i have no free hands on the crutches, and when i had to refill my water bottles i had to put them in this stupid plastic bag and sling it around my arm. so when my bro stopped by tonite i asked him to pick me up an apron with front pockets. so he shows up with this patterned one and then on the top it reads 'Queen of Everything.' so that merited him an eye roll for which he had a good laugh. i told him tomorrow he has to take a pic with me in it so i can put it up. needless to say, i guess he had a bit of fun taking advantage of the fact i can do nothing about it and have to use the apron whether i like it or not...hehe.

so after my supplies were dropped of, he was kind enough to let me rest and heated up my micro dinner...but i know i COULD have done it if i had too. still it was much sweet just being a bum, telling him what i want, and then being served. :P my pain is doing better, which really was a worry for me. it kind of ebbs and during the night it usually flares up so when i have to get up to go to the bathroom i have to take some deep breaths and prepare myself for a little 'hello' from my lower leg. but it was okay and during the day it was better than it had been in the hospital. and i'm trying to slowly push back one of my pain meds; i can take it once every 12 hours but i've been able to go a tad longer and i don't want to have to be on the hard stuff for too long. but then i don't really feel like a throbbing leg so i'm only moving it back a little bit at a time...yea, i know all of this is so exciting to read!

the only thing i'm kinda worried about is that the left leg that also got hit by the car bumper was left pretty swollen and my ankle is still pretty sore. but it's the only one i can stand on, and with the more i did today it's gotten a bit more sore. i just want at least one good leg for crying out loud, so i'm hoping it will sort of calm down soon.

well, to keep myself busy i did lots of email, caught up on some stuff i missed replying to when i was gone and then i'm kind of starting a new book idea i've had for awhile but wasn't sure of the full direction it would go and if i was really in love with the idea. but i thought that i might as well at least start while i have some time and see where that goes. then finally i did do some drawing for two projects i've got and been meaning to get to; monica i sketched out an idea for ur Pink Hair campaign and Ali i finished an idea for ur cartoon, but my bro wasn't able to scan them for me tonite and promised to do it tomorrow, so i hope to get those out to u ASAP and no hard feelings if it isn't ur style or u want something tweaked. then i started doing some thank u cards for all the great people that helped me in the hospital. all the while i believe i caught up on more repeat movies than i could almost stand! :P

well, i hope u all are doing well and are having a great weekend...nite nite!

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Made it home in one piece...that surprises even me!
Drum roll please...i have OFFICIALLY made it home! haha. i was pretty scared packing up my stuff at the hospital and getting all the meds and stuff covered; but once i got settled in and right now i'm feeling a lot better. i need to just fight the nerves and take the next step forward, and that will be on ongoing process. it's so stupid the little things i didn't even think about that i've had to come up with ways to manage at home. like, i'm in actual clothes now (it was nice to kiss those hospital gowns that leave u flapping in the wind behind!) but that means it's a little harder getting around the bathroom, sorry if that's borderline TMI, but that towel rack is actually placed in quite a nice spot! haha. and then i can't sleep on my bed because it doesn't really make it easy to elevate my leg at the best angle, so i'm on the couch which is super low. i can't get enough momentum to rise from that low onto the crutches, so first i got a wheelie chair, then i was like, "duh, cait, just sit on the arm of the sofa and then get to the crutches...so it's a learning process. even for making some breakfast tomorrow i had bren push a wheelie chair in there so i can just roll around instead of having to stand the whole time i make stuff.

newayz, the bottom line is i'm not scared anymore and happy to be out of the hospital...except my apartment is a mess (i guess of all my little OCD habits keeping 'order' is not one of them...hehe) and so now that i can't clean up and people want to come over i'm like...uuhhhhh....plus my cat Baily has made the place even messier. he pulled stuff off tables, of course his litter box is anything but daisy fresh, but bren can help with that stuff. and i'm SUPER happy my dad is gonna come visit me next weekend and stay over; he's already said he can help with lots of stuff like that that would be kinda weird to make other people do. i don't exactly want to ask my friends to wash my underwear, no matter how awesome they are! heck, i barely even want to ask my dad to do that, but it's the lesser evil...hehe. but i'm more just excited to see him.

so now i'm camped out on the couch, pointed at the tv, cellphone right at hand, and since the couch is low i made a desk out of a chair, it's the perfect height. making it into the place was comical if one were to watch. the pavement outside my complex is all cracked and uneven, a curb, and then steps just to get in. i did good there, then it was the flights of stairs to get to my third story home. i made it up all the way until maybe six stairs to go without only one stumble, my bro caught me, but then stumbled again and decided to butt crawl up the rest of the way. still, it was a personal best number of stairs i've done up until this point, over a dozen in a row. but now i'm here and don't have to worry about those stupid things until my Monday doctor appointment. i was more worried i'd be so winded to even make it all the way up those stairs, but i did it; still panting at the end but i was home.

i'm so blessed with so many people ready to help, wanting to bring me food, and only a phone call away and my bro will be at my beck and call in the nights should i need him, but i'm all drugged up and off to bed soon so i think i'm solid. glad the transition is over, and it is nice to be off the trauma ward! the last little surprise of the nite was when my bro surprised me with the exact food i was craving; i told him to just heat me up some stuff in the micro but he comes over and is holding stuff, and i'm like, "what is that?" he brought me some KFC (anyone who knows me is probably checking their eyesight now, but yes it is KFC ur reading), of course of the grilled variety, but i've been craving those buttermilk biscuits and mashed potatoes and gravy for days...and he caught me totally off guard. it was so sweet, and i was touched; it's the little things i guess. it's so weird the stuff i've been craving, because i don't even remember the last time i wanted mashed taters and biscuits...haha.

well, i'm going to be going to bed soon, and hopefully get some solid hours. my bud Tracey brought me these audio relaxation cd's and they have been helping a lot; it is actually kind of weird in that the first night i used them it was the first time i didn't need sleeping pills and also the first time i slept more than just five hours. so i'm sticking to them even if people think they are a 'heady' stuff! well, until later, hope all is well with you guys and i'm sure everyone's Friday nite is more exciting than this chick's; i feel like a geriatric tucked in and ready to sleep before even 11pm! hehe :)

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A day full of drama comes to a close...until tomorrow that is!
well today was a bit of a roller coaster ride! as of last nite they said i had a surgery in the morning, but it turns out they don't put you under to take out the superficial blood vacuums, no they just pull that sucker leeching off on top of the stitches like one horrendous band aide! i am a baby when it comes to that kind of pain, and when she tells me what's about to go on, my blood pressure went through the roof. so i actually saw the leg today; it looked like this gross distended Frankenstein thing with the stitches all over. i expected that but it still wasn't a pretty sight; at least when it's covered up i don't have a mental image of all the nasty tendons moving under the stitches and all the swelling tissue.

i'm also pretty disheartened at how fast my muscles have atrophied, the right quad. is already noticeably smaller and more veiney, or i guess the correct term is vascular. and my cardio is kaput...i guess a week flat on your back almost 24 hours a day will do that, who knew! so today on the crushes i was soooo winded. i practiced going up and down just three single steps and had to take a rest; yes runner friends insert laughs here! then once around the ward ended with me telling the PT trainer i couldn't talk to her, breathe, and walk all at the same time, so she could keep up the conversation but i'm sorry i'm going to have to be mute as i pant like an old dog. i got back and flopped on the bed to recover; seriously, 18 milers have been easier. but they say it's normal and especially since coordinating the crutches is using different muscles and so new that it adds even more of a hurdle. getting the technique down will help and even though i will tire out faster than walking/running it shouldn't be as severe over time; so i have my challenge and i want to build my strength each day. i don't know if anyone saw the girl on the Today show this morning (yea, i pretty much see everything these day!) but she was paralyzed after a soccer accident and just started walking. she was like thirteen or something and was so positive, it gave me motivation. she was told she'd never even walk again, so it hit close to home and as sappy as it sounds you know how a little voice in the back of your head is like, "this story was meant for you to see!" i actually heard that girlie little voice, and even if it does sound stupid i'm going to, well, run with it and take the message that was coming thru, even if it was some fluff news bit aimed to tug at the heart strings of stay at home mothers.

then out of left field they told me i could go home today; i was so stressed because i hadn't expected that and thus not planned on that so soon. so i start this wave of phone calls to get stuff settled, freaking out. i'm excited but really scared to be at home by myself. my bro said he'd move in there, but he has stuff of his own to do and can't be around 24/7 like the hospital staff. i mean, i will mostly be just vegging, and i can at least make it to the bathroom and such, but i don't know if i can even stand long enough to make myself food. and then i need a constant taxi service to and from all the doctor and PT appointments that are coming up, and i feel so reliant on everyone else. i have people willing to help, but i don't like putting people out; but like they say they do want to help and i have to speak up. i am literally incapable of taking care of myself right now so i HAVE to ask for help; but still it's not something i'm used to or accustomed to doing. thankfully i do have people in my life who are willing to literally bend over backwards and go way out of their way for me. i've seen that this week and it has made me feel uplifted and far less lonely than i used to sometimes feel. i feel very loved and lucky to have people tell me they WANT me to ask the world of them. u kno who you are and i can't express my gratitude enough.

well, then the doctors, finally after hours of coordination and such, tell me oh, wait, no, we need to do one more thing, so you can't leave until tomorrow. this is after everyone already moves all of their things around and an insane amount of stress; so then we are left going thru it all again but for the next day...UGH! i was so mad, but also a bit embarrassed being that i caused so much drama only to be like, "psych! just kidding, i'm not leaving til tomorrow, so can u drop everything again for me?" but thankfully it's all working out and i am glad to get home and further on the road to recovery but also scared. but i'll be in constant contact with all the dr.'s and PT guys; my first dr. appt. is on Monday with the bone surgeons and then from there will be going probably three days a week, and then up to every day to meet with the PT specialists. In six weeks i will have to come back to the hospital for a bone graft, which is not something i'm over the moon about; but it's necessary for the healing and i'm only looking to tomorrow. actually more like i'm just looking to the next hour, or the next thing i have to do. the future spans out like a vast chasm if i look too far ahead, so better to just watch the Today show until 11am and then flip to the next stupid midday program and then make my way until Nick at Nite...do what i have to do then go to bed. wake up and repeat. goodnight friends!

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If I have to be a gimp I'm glad I can be a gremlin!

So i hope that u all get one heck of a chuckle out of this picture and if u DON'T kno it is in fact a gremlin i am sending u a cyber scowl! this awesome design is by Ben Schwartz who i gave a shout out to a few days ago, and he's going to be designing comics for Marvel very soon, but until then u have to see the crazy cool stuff going down on his blog. we are both admitted 80's/90's movies and cartoon dorks and so in talking about the various movie staples of our youth of course Gremlins came up, and then anyone who is anyone will then state The Goonies, there is also one of my personal blood sucking favs The Little Shop of Horrors...who didn't go beg their parents for a Venus Fly Trap after that?! okay, so i'm a bit off topic, but the cartoon cheered me up so i thought it would put a smile on ur guys' faces too...what u don't know is that at the end of the movie one said gremlin cuts off that leg's bandage and chases down a shady looking car and shows them a thing or two! ;)

okay, well onto the days' events, it was actually another full day after a bit of a rough nite. two times there were people who needed defibrillators done to and there is still this woman missing, i don't know if she keeps leaving each night or is just not back and her family keeps complaining? it's just noisy out there, but at least on my end nothing too crazy. pain was better controlled with different meds, and i'm still forced to take the ones that make me nauseous and headachey, but it's better than feeling like my leg is burning off.

did a TON of physical therapy today and i was wiped...it's actually a bit embarrassing huffing and puffing back to my bed after one loop around the ward. it was my first time ever on crutches, and anyone who knows me also knows of my lack of coordination...i was just waiting to make a face plant and then scream out in pain as my leg gets all broken again! but i somehow stayed vertical and did a second loop in the afternoon with al toting my disgusting blood sucking machine. it's crazy to think that last week on this very day i ran over 12 miles, did some strength exercises and was still nowhere near as tired as after PT. we then did some muscle building moves with what kind of equipment we have around; we did modified tricep dips, bicep curls and upper back/shoulder pull ups with this trapeze device hanging over my bed, and then a few others. did a series of leg lifts and movements to keep building up strength there, and also used one of those resistance bands for some chest and shoulder moves. it was nice to almost break a sweat, even if a week ago i would have laughed at how wimpy i looked, but it really did get me working. and most of all it made me feel at least i'm using my body and moving in the right direction. i'm NOT going to be a couch potato forever, and sometimes in the darkest moments when i hurt bad your mind jumps to the worst case scenario.

tomorrow i go into hopefully one last exploratory surgery; they will just take out what bren, al, and i have become to call my blood sucker friend, and see if the wound is still healing as it should and staying clean. cross your fingers, if all looks good then that will be it, and i'll be FREE! well, of the sucker anyway, and then done for surgeries for now. they will give me a definite answer as to the skin grafts and bone graft also. i'm REALLY hoping i can dodge those...they are pretty painful i have heard, and the doctors agreed. if all does look like it's going well, they will then start talking discharge, and that will depend on how well PT is going. they are surprised how self sufficient i am already, i no longer have to call anyone for the basic stuff like going to the bathroom or little tasks; i know it's a little thing but i'm proud to be one of the more 'mobile' or independent gimps on the ward! so i hope everything looks good tomorrow, if not they will just do what they need to then and the surgery will be a whole cleansing thing and they will just plug back in my little 'buddy.'

well, i'm off for now, hope everyone out in the 'real world' is doing well. oh, and a quick shout out to the star visitors that have now become staples in the hospital...hehe! i luv ya bren, talia, al, and tracey...u guys are the best, even if i obviously BORE you to tears al...sheesh. make me feel like lame company! ;)

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Very late update on Tuesday...tough day
hey there! sorry to send the update so late today, actually i guess it is officially wednesday, but i still feel like the horrendousness of tuesday is still carrying over until i fall back to sleep. i want to apologize to anyone who didn't hear back from me today, either by online or phone message. i really do appreciate ALL the support and well wishes but sometimes it is very hard, or at least tiring to some degree, to write, text, and talk for long. i try really hard to reserve time each day to do as much as i can, but i usually get really wiped every couple of hours; after each med round, after each meal, after physical therapy, after doc visits, etc., so keeping up is tough, and i feel really horrible that people may think i'm blowing them off. i got really overwhelmed today buy bren and al pointed out that people will understand. i NEVER thought i'd ever be in the position of ever saying i feel like i have too many friends or supporters, and i still don't think that's the case as it is heart warming to hear from so many, but i feel there are not enough hours to give everyone the timely response to their support and inspirational words. i get nervous people will think that i'm 'blowing them off' or not grateful and i do not want anyone to feel like that at all.

i know what it feels like to never get a reply, or to have someone constantly tell you 'oh call me so we can get together, i really want to see/talk to you' but then days, weeks, months, of unreturned responses go by and you think to yourself, "ooookay, i think i get the hint!" haha...i just don't want anyone to feel that way on my account as i know it hurts. it's just hard to gather the mind clarity, and actually strength, to even finish these updates here. mostly because of the meds, but sometimes it is emotional.

today was especially tough, coming off of the upbeat day and night i had prior, today was a low. since i hadn't talked to the doctors since my surgery they hadn't been able to tell me that the tourniquet they had put on my leg during surgery would leave the lower leg nerves numb....until 12am. not knowing that, because i had felt so good i had cut way back on the pain pills that had given me nausea, really bad headaches, made me more loopy, and itchy. well, when the pain bomb of 12am dropped i was unprepared mentally but physically too. i had to take the meds, but because so much time had passed getting them back into my system took hours and those were, for lack of a better term excruciating. i don't need to delve into that, but i felt like the car had hit me again, and waiting that time out was tough.

that sort of set me up for a tough day, being that those hours tick by so darn slow between the pitch black of morning to the first hazy grays of the morning where then it feels like there are others even alive and awake out there. outside of that the trauma unit was busy, some lady kept yelling, i think someone tried to run away, the cops were tracking someone down, and the lady next door literally was opening and closing a snap binder each second the whole night. not that it kept me from sleep, the pain did that, but think about the snap, slam, snap, slam of that stupid binder each second, hours on end...i thought i would go mad!!

okay, so this account is moving too slowly, i saw my doctor's head nurse today; she said all the bones have been screwed in and aligned, the hole is in essence closed but fit with the most superficial wound vacuum to suck out blood and other debris inside the wound. to take it out i won't have to be completely under but it give me the willies to think i have to sit there when they jiggle this leechlike thing out; she said it was somewhere worked in between the stitches, and the nausea sort of kicked in and i said that was enough detail, i didn't really want to have a visual of them taking it out! they cleaned out the wound after aligning the bones and such and the rest of the wound looked good then, but they are going to 'peek in' probably thursday to see if it is still clean and everything looks to be healing. if so, then they won't go in again, but if not then i'll have another surgery. they will then assess the bone and skin graft possibilities then too.

did more PT and it was hard to see how long this road stretches ahead. rebuilding muscle strength and control is one part, but i was cardiovascularly, usually my biggest strength, and also muscularly exhausted after one and 1/5 loops around the hall...a distance that was only a wee bit the longest outing yet. she told me i could do 1/4 loops in the afternoon, as well as the other sets of the exercises, and by the time i was nearing the end i felt like i was talking myself up like at the end of a race. it was harder in the walker later on only because i had to go alone and that meant carrying the extra weight of the blood vacuum on the front of my geriatric walker. being that tired felt good in that i know it's progress and i do crave testing my limits, but seeing how severely restrained my current limits are it made me sad. it was only last tuesday and wednesday i was able to easily run 9-12 miles, do some core work, maybe add some weights, and still not be this tired! but one day at a time.

then i had to get the whole lawyer thing started, thankfully i owe so much to Julius for setting me up with the one he had to use in his auto on auto accident and Al did much of the researching and talked me through it. so one more thing crossed off and i don't have to worry about; i was called earlier being told that the guy, Chris that's all i guess i should say, wouldn't continue to be detained unless i was at the court on friday at 10:10am. knowing my situation, nearly all the stars would have to align if i could get out of the hospital by then let alone be out at the court! the lawyer told me to just relax and she will take care of it. that helped, and Al helped by telling me to stop stressing about all the hospital bills; even though the guy has no insurance, there is some program for uninsured motorists that will cover my costs and i won't be responsible for paying upfront...which i was really nervous about.

gosh, so much today, then ongoing nausea and migraine before lunch, and it just seemed like one thing after the other. but by the end, after an embarrassingly girly breakdown which Al, and then Bren, were champs about, i felt at least resolved to turning off those swirling thoughts and just not worry about it. ended the night the best way, chatting it up with al, after bren came by and we watched a movie, and i actually slept for a tad before waking up now. i had to take my pain pills and sleeping pills at the start of this email, so i hope to get at least 5 hours of snooze off of that. so after all this rambling, it feels better to just vent out the frustrations and start off tomorrow fresh...even if in truth it is already wednesday, i hope when i wake up after some real shut eye i will actually greet the day. again, thanks all for your support, and i hope to get back to everyone in time, but it will take that and please don't feel like you don't matter if it takes a bit longer...i'm doing as much as i can~! sleep well. :)

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Second surgery done and busy day

okay folks...i am sorry to not have been able to get back to calls emails and such as I would have liked too...it was a bit busy/hectic today. and now when i have time i'm about to hit the sack and take those sleeping pills. for whatever reason, despite the fact that I'm indeed extremely tired i end up not being able to actually get fully out...no amount of Bo Peep's sheep are doing the trick. which makes not taking the pills even worse for the next day tiredness, they at least are only able to knock me out for 5hrs then I sort of veg, but at least for the middle of the day later i'm able to be more aware and hang with the awesome visitors. Al, always the entertainer that anyone who knows him can attest is never one to issue a sarcastic remark and is like a rainbow for this ward...haha....needless to say he keeps me in stitches. but he really DOES get me and knows what to say should those more 'serious' things come up. I got my shot of Al Kup after my surgery, will get back to that later, and we enjoyed breaking some bread so to speak, hence the glamor shot...gosh i look a beast! Then the lovely Tracey was soooo amazingly sweet and uplifting, she visited and brought me what is in fact much more healing than anything a doc could serve up, a copious amount of celeb trash i have yet to catch up on! SCORE...hehe. Again, she is a tried and true bud that has always been there and a pillar of support and her presence has meant so very much to me, again not only in drastic circumstances either. I finished by roll call with the Bren man, my bro, and we took the longest walk around the ward to date; it had to be total of 200m I'd say, so i've done the race distance for all u eager participants and now it will come down to getting that speed. ;)

On the medical side, surgery went actually really well; from what i've been able to gather. since i'm in the trauma ward my docs were kept slammed in surgery all day and i couldn't have them come to my room to debrief or whatever yet. but in terms of how i feel, its a marked difference from the first. A large part of that is in fact thanks to the fact I had a different anesthesiologist who i talked to before at length about how bad i felt after the first time. nausea, headache, itchiness, and i told him i expected the same, it's not his fault but just the reaction to the meds and then having to have morphine right away. BUTTTT, he told me that in fact is not what we HAD to do, it's his job to make it the easiest on me...geez i wish i had met this guy sooner, so he said he'd tinker the meds, i don't have to go back to morphine, and he'd frontload the dosages. this time when i woke up it was a WORLD of difference, i was not nauseous or with a killer migraine, nor itchy at all. of course the fog of waking up was present but super short and i just took a little time to close my eyes and veg until Al came. Last time after surgery my bro and girlfriend could barely get a full sentence out of me two afters after coming to, and then I felt horrible for the next 12 to 14 hours and could only stomach even the thought of food by about 16 hours later. But as you can see i enjoyed my eggs and choc chip waffles with Al not soon after getting up this time. So I'm tracking down a place to commend this Dr. Soloman and also to the head of the hospital, the nurses say the only time anyone ever hears something back is to complain so I think he deserves his props. Oh, and he wasn't too bad to look at either. :)

I also went back down to the xray lab and got those done, so i think they must have added another screw and some hardware to fix the tibia bone. The only reason I'm certain I'll have one more surgery is because the hole in my leg attached to the blood sucking vacuum is still there but the wound is smaller; so it was still too swelled up to close completely. I will most likely then see my surgeon tomorrow to find out the status of the skin/muscle/tissue grafts and tendon damage. On the rehab side I've progressed in the range of movement I have around the injury, my toes wiggle more freely, and even the big toe, and I can now fully straighten the knee for the first time. All of this and my pain is much better controlled.

This leaves me much more optimistic, and of course the visitors have kept that momentum going insurmountably, but I am still honest and in touch with the reality of all that has been doled out to my body and that it is traumatic. I don't want to dwell on that so I don't like to think, or write much about it, but I think to totally ignore that is not being in touch with reality, and I think a degree of that needs to remain intact. I have had to be extremely careful that the foot and leg are not bumped, moved too fast, or EVER have any weight put on them. The screaming pain reminds me of that, I know I can't sit up without the leg elevated above my heart for too long or it will protest and the pain meds won't be able to dull it for hours, and even though my back and neck beg to be erect I just can't do it. If I want the leg to heal the fastest I've got to be precautions and that includes the pain pills. A part of me used to feel weak or guilty about having to ask for something to dull the pain or to take what was served, but from the few times I tried to be 'strong' I learned I was only being stupid and not putting the recovery first. When the pills leave my system it is excruciating, there is a hole in the leg still after all, cait!, and then the swelling starts up. Then even if I do take a pill then, it's already occurred and it will not kick in and start to dull the pain immediately so I'll have to sit with that hurt. It's better to acknowledge I have to stay on the schedule for now and listen to the docs that know best.

Okay, not I'm the equivalent of brain mush just yet but getting there, and I've still gotta at least edit this for a read over once, so that's all for tonite. Just a few notes I have to say to a few people, of course Al, Bren, and Talia I'd be lost without your daily, multiple mostly, visits and ongoing support; not only thru this of course and you know that. And Tracey the same goes for you, and I don't have to say that because I know you know. Cathie, when i hear your voice you make me laugh so hard it hurts, and Josh and Dan the Man you guys have been the best through the horrendous days of Fleet Feet and up to today...Josh, today got so freaking hectic i was in xray when u had ur break and got back way late and now I'm no use to talk to, but know I will catch u tomorrow, u always have the funniest way of calling at the perfect times that we JUST miss each other, but also this creepy like sense of knowing it's the best time to call...right when ur the most awesome person to talk to! AS, note not read as ass, u rock for stepping in as firewall, hehe, i don't even need to write any more, u got it...and the awesome pen pal artist Ben, i wanted to email u more but am zonked, ur latest pieces are freaking amazing....u rock and u will be a comic superstar in no time! Okay, so these meds are making me all mushy gushy now too, gross, so i'm wraping up. Can't begin to say how much i miss my other sibs, shay and wes, and of course the 'rents, popo, gungs, old fart (u kno who u are!), and all the rest who are just too kind to drop me a line! Hope u are all doing well and nite to all!

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Next surgery on tap for tomorrow and the plans for the 2011 gimp leg classic race
Thank you all for your well wishes and support! It is very much appreciated, and I'm sorry I have not been able to get back to each of you individually. I have been wiped, and still not quite 'all there' thanks to the array of 'fun' candies and meds currently being pumped into my system. I have continually tried to get the videos I've shot up, if I may say so myself the nurses and my bud Al and I have some fairly entertaining sketches...I think we would at least be more welcomed than Leno at the moment! haha....okay, but YouTube, Blogger, and this Flipshare Video thing is currently the other bane of my existence...and I just can't get it done. Whatever the case, sorry, but I do thank you for all of the warm wishes. Today was pretty crappy in that my head and nausea was the worse it's been since coming off the first round of anesthesia...while some of the nurses tell me, "I warned you not to eat the hospital food," I don't think that turkey sandwich could have been THAT rancid, so after talking around they are sort of mixing up my cocktail and hopefully tonight will be better.

Surgery set for 7am tomorrow, and then they'll have a more realistic idea of how many more, how long I get to be a potato on this bed for, and the running forecast. Whatever the case, I'm nervous but just want to get it over with! Not looking forward to post op. anesthesia/catheter/morphine/IVs getting tangled all over and such, but I'm hoping that it at least may be the last bout for a bit. Okay, I'm tired and time for more meds soon...hahaha...it's like a perverse Charley and the Chocolate Factory thing, except I definitely got gypped out of any golden ticket. Nite to all, thanks for the support and see you later! Oh, and forgot to say the latest update in regards to going mobile, they scored me one of those geriatric walkers (it's actually a souped up one with a max. capacity of 450lbs, I hope they aren't trying to send me any kind of message with that) and I took it with a 'walk' around the hallway with Al towing along my disgusting leg fluid sack sucker...but we made it an astounding 150m total probably...obviously no weight on the messed up leg but at least I was able to sort of move and see some 'scenery.' For all those interested me and Al are already training for the 200m gimp leg classic to be held for all those wishing to strut their skills with the geriatric walker down the ward...you'll see mine as by that time it will be the one with spinners...yea, I'm that cool. And I'm that foggy in the head, nite for real this time.

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An unexpected race with an uncertain fate
Staying active and more specifically running is one of the biggest things in my life; even though I am way slower than I used to be, and no matter how much I get slower as I get 'old' I have always known it would be a part of my life. Just the sheer joy it gives me, and the sense of accomplishment I feel afterward is unparalleled. Of course when I was competing and doing tons of track workouts I would get so nervous before, I always wanted to give my absolute best; to be completely spent at the end. Knowing that I left it all out on the track really is a feeling that I can't really compare to anything else to, a sort of high all its own, and I'm sure plenty of other athletes can relate. Yes, many long distance runners may dream of entering that zone for those 25 lap races and then still find some extra gear to tap into come the end where one can wind up surprising even themselves. While we may hope to only be so lucky as to be blessed with one of 'those days' where everything falls into place each time we toe the line and you just can't believe what you, your own body is doing, the fact is that this is in essence quite a rarity; however, all runners that do slip into such a trance can vividly recall their own special days. But even despite being both far a few between and at times seemingly completely unpredictable it is the nature of the beast and that in and of itself possesses a certain kind of lore that brings us coming back for more and trying again. Testing our own limits is the only way to achieve your goals but yes, there is still the risk of falling short; however that only means you must be all the more motivated next time and forge onward.

Still,this it's only true with runners alone, not at all, but that's where I have personal experience; and I can assume cyclists, swimmers, and other athletes will have their own sort of reminiscences after that big moment where everything feels surreal. So yes, even if I'm way slow, like I often say, I still run for not only the fun of it, but I swear it also keeps me sane! Oh, and being able to dig into those Ben & Jerry's pints sans guild is always a big plus.

I bring this up, in that running is part of my being, not all of it of course, but a large chunk. It is no longer my 'identity' or anything of that manner in that I'm not any runner of note, but it still holds a very dear place in my heart and life. I used to always joke that if something happened in that I lost my legs or couldn't run ever again, I'd rather just end it all. Yes, that is a bit extreme, and I don't REALLY mean that, but my life void of running is a darker one.

Today I am facing this very potential fate. I was out running on the road on Thursday and was struck by a car. I flew into the air, it was all going in that kind of slow motion reel you always see in movies or hear about in stories and I distinctly remember thinking, "Gee, my leg sure feels funny." But my sense of positioning and bearings was all turned around, I didn't know which way I was being thrown, and I figured, as my butt and thighs scarped the pavement that I would be no doubt hurting from all that road rash, but I'd be okay.

That changed the second I looked down at the 'funny' feeling in my leg. I could see both the tibia and fibula sticking horrendously out of my skin, (the EMT later estimated it at about 8 inches) and from what I saw it appeared the only thing keeping my leg together as a single piece was a few inches of disturbingly twisted calf muscle. One look at my mangled leg was more than enough for me, and for some crazy reason that seems to defy all logic I had landed in a sitting position not splayed out on my back, so I turned my head around and looked back to the driver who had hit me. We locked eyes; I know I must have looked pathetic and pleading, but he then rather calmly steered around me like I was a piece of litter in the road and went on his way. I was then even more terrified as I felt alone and stuck, left to bleed to death on the ground.

I saw another car stop; I believe he thought I was most definitely dead, as he said so from the angle he watched me fly up and then down, and I think he was reaching for his phone to call the sheriff, but I screamed, "Help, help me!" Was that shrill voice mine? I know I have a high voice, but the tremble and edge was startling; it all felt so surreal. I literally had left my house about 7 minute ago, my watch was still running, how could I have ended up here?

The man, then realizing I needed support, not just physically, held me in his arms as more and more people rushed out of their cars to the scene. They weren't rubber neckers, however, they were there to help. The man still holding me, now fragile in body and mind, told me it would be okay; yet I knew he was still scared and his praying for God to take care of and protect me not only touched me but did take the seriousness of the whole ordeal to a new level.

I then started to feel the pain of my gaping wound; and it was not only my leg but I felt as if my heart had been fractured too. Without my running I knew I was still ME but not the ME that I had always known or one that I necessarily ever wanted to meet. I won't go into a pity party for myself; instead I just need to take it one day at a time. Yes, the leg is very bad, I had my first surgery and will require more; exactly how many more is still yet to be determined. But I do believe that if it is in any way possible to get back my running one day I will find a way.

I am determined, and while I won't even be able to put an ounce of weight on the leg right now, having had the first steel rod and screw inserted, and am awaiting more hardware to come later, I need to hold onto that hope. My tibia and fibula not only sliced through the skin, but a vital tendon used for flexion, and I am missing a sizable chunk of bone from my shin; I guess that can be a little memento left out on Walker Road. I did not intend for this blog to include something so personal as a hopeful recovery that may one day perhaps bring me back into the safety and joy I feel with running, at any pace for that matter, but I feel it may be healing for my own self to at least chronicle this road I am on. Just as one never knows upon the starting of a race how you will finish once the gun goes off, I must at least bravely show up to the line, give absolutely everything I have, and believe that I will at least finish without any regrets...give it my all.

I have trouble writing for extended periods of time due to the meds, i think I read and reread the same sentences multiple times before they stopped being blurry and just black pixels on the screen, so it's a wonder I've made it this far, so I think a little video updating will be best. I hope are all healthy and happy, and most importantly be grateful for even the little things...today I used the geriatric walker to shuffle down the hall and back about as slow as an old man but yesterday I could only slide sideways into a chair. As Bill Murray was famously instructed, "Baby steps, baby steps."

So my stupid flip movie thing is refusing to download my stuff, I will have to consult my techie bro to help me tomorrow...sorry, but i'm getting sleeeeeeeeeeeepy

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Dealing with the pain of racing
Racing hurts. No matter if you are an elite athlete with the perfect form, world records under your belt, and making it look like you're not even working. Anyone out there testing their limits will inevitably experience a certain degree of pain before you cross that finish line, it's just a part of racing. Athletes that take part in racing sports, be it running, speed skating, swimming or cycling, when they toe the line they know they are going to be demanding everything from their bodies and to do that will have to push past the pain barrier, testing their threshold.

The pain you feel when you are going at a hard effort is actually a safety mechanism put up by your brain; it senses that your muscles are tiring and will inform you that they are much closer to failing than they ever actually are.
You will think you can't possibly go one step further but physiologically you are not in danger the second that your brain starts yelling at you to stop, or even soon thereafter. Everyone has a different pain threshold and some athletes have become famous for their grit, determination, and seem to actually thrive on the pain. Athletes are continually working against that pain to outlast their competitors; the first one to break and give in is going to be finishing behind.

Pushing back your own pain barrier is possible and this will come with practice and also by shifting how you think and interpret those messages coming in from your brain. You don't actually have to like that pain to ignore it or at least be able to partially numb it; and most likely even people who say they like it don't really but have just changed how they think about it. They may not necessarily enjoy the burning in their legs but they tell themselves that the burning represents their ability to inflict the same kind of pain on their competitors and that they will be able to outlast them. They also recognize that by pushing onward when their brain begs them to ease back is going to allow them to achieve their goals. This post alone won't cover all of the tips and ways you can increase your pain threshold but it will be an ongoing topic, and here are a few ways you can start to embrace and push through that pain.

1) Practice. You simulate the pain you will feel on race day in your hard workouts. These are great ways to practice pushing through the uncomfort and still do your best to hit the times and intervals as you tire and your brain tells you to stop. As you continually do this you will get used to ignoring the messages and your tolerance for them will grow.
2) Take confidence from your workouts. As you continue to improve in your workouts and push past the pain cite those especially grueling workouts that you completed as a source of confidence. That way when you do get to the point in a race when you are temped to give up, you can think back to those times and workouts and tell yourself you've already been through this kind of pain before, were able to fight through it then, and you can do it again this time.
3) Think of your goals. Yes, your brain will tell you that it doesn't really matter if you slow down and just take it easy now, so what if you don't hit your intended time or placing, that's okay. But I'll assure you that if you do cave into that voice after the race you will be kicking yourself for doing that. A race is painful, yes, but it doesn't last forever; think of how proud you will be when you finish and know that you gave it your all. Envision that feeling and use it to combat that weak voice telling you to stop.
4) Chant your way to the end. Come up with a mantra that you can focus on when the going gets painful. It should be something rather short, simple, and can even be as corny as, "I think I can." When you block out all other thoughts with a repetitive line you will not only be encouraging yourself but giving that nagging voice tell you to stop less space in your thoughts.

These are just a few ways you can begin working on breaking your own pain barrier and there are many others unique to each individual. As you keep training you will come up with your own mental devices; test out various ones and you'll find which works best for you!

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