Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Saga of the Broken Toe

Have you ever broken a toe? Have you currently broken your toe? Are you wondering how long it'll take before the extreme pain is over? Well, here's how it worked with me.
First off, a helpful site: WikiHow to heal a broken toe
**DISCLAIMER** If you crush your toe, rather than snap it, go to the doctor! If your toe looks weird (like it's flopping about or bent to the side), go to the doctor! If you think something could be off or you just want an x-ray, go to the doctor! **End disclaimer**
Saturday #0: I was taking a walk in the park, saw a beautiful long-haired dachshund gliding along, and ran my right foot's pinkie toe into my husband's heel. He was wearing sneakers while I was wearing sandals. My toe bent possibly 90 degrees to the right and my ankle and knee tried to compensate but failed. This hurt a lot. I yelled out in pain. I hope I didn't scare the dachshund. I told myself it was just a bruise or a sprain or a pulled muscle and I forced myself to complete the lap, probably less than a mile. I hobbled along in pain. Every time I put my foot down, I realized something was wrong. My knee and ankle walked off the pain, so that's good, but my toe was not giving in so easily. We ran some errands, and finally I got home. My toe did not bruise or swell, and it looked totally fine. However, I sat on my bed and pushed myself back using my feet and cried with pain. I then taped my pinkie toe to my fourth toe and called it good. When I laid down for the night, my toe felt like it was on fire (normal for a bone break). I took two ibuprofen and called it good.
Note - how I taped: I used medical tape (from a First Aid kit we keep in the car) and wrapped all the way around the damaged toe once, then around both toes twice.
Sunday: I hobbled to church for Sunday School and morning worship, but my toe was not happy. Thankfully my church building is not too big, so I didn't need to walk too much. But sadly there are stairs and that was not the best. I wore Aerosole sandals which are very comfy and slightly dressy so I can wear them for everything until Friday. After church I put my foot up and chilled on the couch for basically the rest of the day.
Monday: I went to work. This was not the best idea. I was able to very slowly hobble in, took the elevator because I was not going to deal with stairs, and got to my desk without too much pain provided I walked very slowly. Everyone noticed and told me I should go to the doctor. At the end of the day, even though I had flipped over a little desk trash can to elevate my foot, my toe was really not happy. I was in moderate to extreme pain as I hobbled to my car. I had a coworker offer to bring my car up for me, but I said no worries because my car was only a few yards away. It was a very painful few yards. I decided not to run errands and just go home. I put my foot up, and that decreased the swelling. I also put ice on it. That's a good thing to do. I changed my tape and took two ibuprofen when I laid down for the night, and I put a throw pillow under my foot to elevate it.
Tuesday: I rode in the car as my husband drove from MD to SC for my cousin's wedding! This was quite good because I was able to stay completely seated (i.e. off my foot) and easily put my foot on the dash every once in a while to elevate it which really seemed to help. Eight hours later, we arrived at the wedding, where I sat in a chair for most of the time, but at the end of the night (since I'm on the bride's side) I did help clean up and I was totally fine! Resting and elevating for eight hours really seemed to help.
Wednesday: Now for the ride home - another eight hours in the car for elevation and rest. We did stop in VA for a visit but I tried to stay seated when possible and put my foot up. My toe felt fine as long as I didn't put weight on it (basically walked on the inside of my foot).
Thursday: I went to work, but conscientiously tried to stay off my foot (i.e. stayed in my chair and had coworkers come to me rather than hobble over to them). My toe felt fine provided I walked rather slowly. It still hurt if I walked more than a few feet. But, it didn't feel bruised anymore. I changed my tape in the evening.
And now we take an intermission: picture time!
Can you tell which toe is broken? It's the unpainted one.
There is a little bruising, but not much.
All taped up!

Friday: I wore sneakers for the first time since breaking my toe! Still tried to stay off my foot as much as possible, but I was able to walk at a very slow pace rather than a snail's pace. Walking is getting to be ok, which is fantastic, but I am still clearly limping.
Saturday #1: I walked at a slightly slow pace rather than a very slow pace! Also, I prefer not walking but that gets boring quickly. I had my husband do the errand running while I tried to limit my movement. I reached up to get something which made me go on my toes and that hurt. Sneakers still work but I prefer bare feet at home so my bandage isn't all stuffed up. But walking in shoes is more comfortable than walking barefoot because you walk differently - your foot moves more when barefoot whereas the shoe keeps you stationary (unless your foot slides forward in the shoe and that really hurts and your shoe is the wrong size apparently).
Sunday: Stairs are still difficult and I can't pivot on my right foot, but slow walking is ok.
Monday: I was doing fine, but I helped in a friend's VBS in the evening and we had a runner in the youngest class. I was closest to the door so I took a few quick steps to stop him, and that was a bad plan. My toe hurt, and I went and sat down. Thankfully it was the end of the night, so I went home and iced my toe and took some ibuprofen.
Tuesday: I wore sandals today because my toe felt slightly swollen from my dash last night. Changed into sneakers in the evening for VBS, and stayed in a chair most of the night - it worked out great. I'm able to almost walk at a normal pace with a limp, but it's more comfortable to walk slowly with a limp. Also, I changed my bandage tonight and I was able to move my toe slightly and without pain! That's an improvement.
Wednesday: The work day was fine and I'm getting better at walking at a normal pace! Did not do VBS because I have Bible Study and that was fine.
Thursday: Workday was fine - I'm still taking the elevator to my office and I don't go for midday strolls but I can walk at a normal pace! Did VBS but did not work in the little kid class - was able to just do paperwork and that worked out great.
Friday: Workday was fine and we did something crazy - we drove to Virginia Beach for a beach weekend! Made it to the hotel and turned in for the night - the car ride was very relaxing for my foot.
Saturday #2: Beach day! So I have walked the bare minimum for the last two weeks so this is the first real strolling I've done since the break. It was fine! We did not walk the boardwalk and we stayed pretty close to where we parked. I did end up rubbing a spot raw on the inside of my foot due to walking there to take the weight off the healing toe. I put some tape over it and it was fine! I also did not go in the water because I did not want to deal with water and wet sand getting into the bandage. Changed the bandage after showering since it was slightly sandy.
Sunday: Beach day #2! We still did the minimum walking, but strolling at a normal pace from the car to a spot on the beach and strolling for food and restrooms was fine. I do start limping after a block or two of walking, and I cannot go at a fast pace, but regular strolling seems to be fine! I think I can finally get back to doing stuff, but I don't want to push myself too far. I still cannot stand up/push up on tip-toes and pivoting tends to hurt, but stairs are fine! Also, changed my bandage after I got home since it was full of sand. I decided to be dangerous and I took all the tape off, showered, then re-taped it. Not sure if that was the smartest thing, but it was so dirty from beach walking.
Monday: Normal workday - walking is fine but I still take the elevator because I don't want to injure myself and also I'm a little lazy. I probably could get back to taking the stairs because it's not far. Also I still prop up my foot while I'm at my desk - I have flipped my garbage bin upside down and I just rest my foot on it.
Tuesday: Normal workday and then I went to the food bank afterwards to pack up boxes! It was a lot of standing on my feet, but I did fine. So actually at work I was feeling fine and then I pushed my chair back to go talk to a coworker and that hurt - I can't do that apparently (falls in the same category as tip-toes since it's weight on the front of my foot).
Wednesday: Normal day, can't pivot on my right foot mainly because I'm worried I'll hurt it.
Thursday: Changed my tape. OH yeah so we went out for dinner and then strolled around a neighborhood afterwards and as we're walking back to our car I notice this little songbird flying low... right about head-level... right at us. I though it was going to swoop into a tree but no it kept coming at us. So I said "bird. Bird. BIRD!!!!" to my husband then we ducked and it screeched as it flew right by my ear and I ran for a few feet cause I was freaked out. Not sure what that was about but hey, I ran for a few feet! And I wasn't hurting afterwards, so that's good.
Friday: Nothing special, still not walking fast.
Saturday #3: I was cleaning the floor and I used my bad foot to move the towel around and that was a bad plan. Needed to stand on my bad foot and use my good foot to swoosh the towel around. Also crouched down to get something and that hurt, but I'm usually fine crouching down - I think my foot was to the side a little and that was the problem (if I keep my feet under me, it's all good).
Sunday: Went to church, walked around the mall, it was all fine.
Monday: Normal day. Went for a stroll with a friend but only did one lap around the building (we usually do three but it was really hot and I didn't want to push it) and felt fine. Also took the stairs to go on said walk and realized I really should go back to the stairs instead of the elevator. Did a short stroll around the neighborhood after dinner and all was fine.
Tuesday: Took the stairs at work today! No more elevator for me.
Wednesday: Work was fine. Still propping my foot up during the day when I think of it. Went for a stroll around the neighborhood and all was fine. Untaped my toe before showering and was fine - not sure how much I need the tape currently but I think I'll stay taped up til the weekend to make it a full four weeks, just to be safe.
Thursday: Normal day, taped-up toe, went to work and out to dinner with a stroll afterwards.
Friday: Normal day, went out with a friend after work. I'm walking completely normally and I only notice pain when I go up on my toes and then pivot sometimes.
Saturday #4: Went out and about most of the day, and after showering at night I UNTAPED MY TOE and left it untaped! Slept the night fine, which was expected.
Sunday: After four weeks of tape, I went out and about without tape! And I am fine! This is great! I think I'm pretty completely healed! I will update if I'm not, but I think I'm good! I still feel some stiffness but not pain and I think that's due to not moving for so long. Woohoo!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Dehydration Fix

I get migraines. One of my triggers is dehydration. The issue is, I dehydrate very easily. I don't know why, but it's like my body doesn't retain water. This is a big problem when I want to do things like see the monuments or visit historic sites and museums and other places that involve a lot of walking. I mentioned this to a friend, and she gave me these:

Hydralyte Effervescent Electrolyte Tablets. You take two tablets, mix them in water, and enjoy. It tastes kind of like Gatorade. I went for a walk around a nearby lake (about 2.5 miles) and felt great! Usually I feel off, even when chugging water, after being in the sun for any length of time. I highly recommend these!
On a related note, while walking around the lake, I saw many dogs. I like dogs. I got distracted by one and my littlest toe ran into my husband's shoe, causing great pain. I think I broke my toe, and might have injured my ankle and knee in the process. But I was able to finish the lap around the lake, albeit with some limping at the end. It was a long-haired dachshund that caused this accident. He had very nice fur and was just gliding along gracefully.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Pain and Prayer

I get chronic migraines. I have many triggers, but I'm learning them so I can better avoid them. However, some things (like the weather or time of month) cannot be avoided. Others (like stress or not getting enough sleep) are hard to avoid. The real issue is when several of these triggers all line up, and it's kind of worse when I can see them lining up and it feels like there's nothing I can do about it - I just know that it's going to be a migraine day.
Several of my triggers lined up last week. It was going to be a Migraine Thursday. However, I have Bible study on Wednesday night. I asked for my buddies to pray for me to not get a migraine. And when I woke up Thursday, NO MIGRAINE! It was great. I went through my workday fine.
However, I went to babysit at a friend's house that night, and I felt a migraine coming on. It's not a good feeling. It's really not a good feeling when you don't have any meds on hand, which was the situation I was in. So I prayed - it was literally the only thing I could do short of calling someone and asking them to get my meds and stop by, which would probably wake the kids and it wouldn't end well. So I prayed, and the pain WENT AWAY! It was awesome.
At the end of the night, I went back to my house and went to bed (that's a good normal thing to do). However, as I laid down, I felt the migraine come back. It was bad. I then debated - do I take my meds or do I just keep praying? I talked this over with my husband and he made a good point - God gave us the medical advances we have and we should use them. So I took some meds, kept praying, and went to sleep (thankfully it was weak enough to let me sleep). I woke up Friday morning - NO MIGRAINE! It was great.

The moral I get from this account: God can choose to heal miraculously. But He also can have us use the medical advances we have been given. Don't turn away 'normal' cures (meds) while waiting for a miracle.

Biblical account tie-in: Naaman.
Secular story tie-in: the guy on the roof praying for God to rescue him from a flood, who turns away two boats and a helicopter while waiting for God to miraculously rescue him.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Chronic Pain and Holidays

Chronic pain and holidays

It sucks.
Many people suffer from chronic pain. You learn to live with it mainly because you have no other choice; you learn your triggers and try to avoid them, but some triggers (like weather or calendar events) cannot be avoided. And sometimes your pain decides to flare up on a holiday. 
I get migraines. I got one on Christmas; it was really rough. My amazing husband helped me through it, and I have some medicine that allowed me to be mostly functional, but it was still a hard day. You are supposed to be happy on Christmas, and everyone else was happy, and I had every reason to be happy, but I was not; I was in pain. I am grateful that I was functional enough to get out of bed and try to enjoy the day - going to the in-laws' house, seeing family, opening presents - but I was not all the way present. I had to excuse myself a few times to go to a quiet part of the house and turn off some lights and try to unwind, hoping that would make the headache release but it did not. Thankfully the migraine went away the following day so I was able to engage with family for the rest of the weekend. 
If you suffer from chronic pain, know that you're not alone. Some can hide it better than others, but many are fighting that battle. Speaking about it can help; also reaching out to someone close to you can be beneficial. Remember to take care of yourself.