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Broken Grandma – a journey on wheels and feet and back again PART 6

Apr 09 2015

It has now officially been a full three months since I fell and got broken. It’s hard not to look at it as 90 days I’ll never get back, but hey, every day I’m improving, right?

My initial intention was to keep this series going until the day I walked out of the house under my own power, and drove away in my car, myself. Thing is, all around me, life is happening, and I’m itching to get back into that. Meanwhile, I’m walking again! Yay!!! Monday (3/30)  I got the go ahead from my PA to graduate to an ankle brace from the boot, which had become a real liability, as it turns out the thing was too tall for me to function well, not to mention it was sooo hot and uncomfortable. Temperatures here were approaching 100 degrees, and even though we do have good air conditioning, you still don’t want to be wearing what amounts to a winter snow boot all the time.

It was hard to sleep, and the past couple of weeks I don’t think I averaged more than four or five hours a night. I can’t sleep when I’m hot, and under normal summer conditions I’m not sitting in the recliner much at night because it gets hot.

It was a big relief in any case to be released from both boot and scooter! I was so excited, I even rescued the Fitbit from where it had been languishing in the depths of my purse.

Backing up to the day I started PT: I liked it just as I’d expected. The exercises do feel good, though they’re always asking me if anything hurts or is too much. My response is always no and no. The ankle has hardly hurt at all, a little twinge now and again, but that’s all. The tailbone is another story. After my second week in PT, I was encouraged to walk a little with a cane, and so I came home and walked a lot the next day. Even stumbling around in the boot was better than maneuvering the scooter everywhere. That first day I really overdid it, to be sure. The tailbone and my knees were screaming at me. Day Three I had no choice but to stay put and try not to get frustrated.

You might remember I mentioned earlier about the movement closing the recliner to get up. One day in late February, I did that, mostly using the left leg to close the recliner and out of the blue, I felt like my knee was coming apart. I had to sit still for several minutes to even catch my breath. By then I’d entirely gotten over the chronic panic thing, and was comfortable reaching over – with my hand, sans cane – to grab the scooter and hop aboard. That moment, though, I was afraid to move. It was another of those omigodwhatishappeningtome moments. The pain went away fast, to my surprise, and once I’d gathered my courage and got on the scooter, it was all fine again. Took me a few tries to understand what was going on, but once I did, and learned to sit up using both legs, I was OK. No problem as long as I remembered the new procedure. Sometimes, even now I forget.

So once I started walking with a cane, with that too-tall boot, it still irritated the knee with the muscle strain, and it began hurting all the time. Now, I’ve had arthritis in both knees since I was 11. It must be mild, as it never hurts very much anymore, and not for long. By “anymore,” I mean since we moved here from Detroit. In 1986, which is long enough to almost forget there’s an issue, except on cold and rainy days, and there aren’t many of those here in the Sonoran Desert. Even then, it’s more like a few minutes of twinges now and again. Surprisingly enough, I found when the knees were hurting I could use some of the homeopathic gel I had from back when I was thrashing my wrist working at the computer, and it worked like a charm.

Another surprise was that sure, all this extra activity played hell with the coccyx, but only for a while. Otherwise, I could now sit in the doc’s office, the car, or my own office for approaching two hours and not even notice.  BTW, this tailbone thing is officially called coccygodynia – in case you’re wondering.

What is truly amazing is that I can really, honestly, see improvement every day. It’s not something I’m saying because it sounds good.

Another thing I did since the doctor visit, (which by the way, I was informed was my last unless I felt I needed to see them), was go back to my own side of the bed. It was like I’d finally come home. My husband is sleeping really well already, even though it’s only been two nights. I’m so glad to see that, as I’m pretty sure he wasn’t aware he was spending a good amount of his sleep time trying to get back to his own side, which I’m sure was less than restful. (I know this because the last few weeks I’ve been sleeping in fits and starts, and every little thing was waking me up anyway.) It’s not easy to overcome 40 years of habit, and in this case there wasn’t much about daily life at Casa de Schuett that was even close to normal. Once the novelty of getting around on my own, not having the feeling of wearing my shoes in bed and all that wears off, I’m sure I’ll be sleeping too.

4/7/2015

Yesterday I went to the Western Arizona portion of the White House Conference on Aging Forum. This was an offshoot of the regional one held in Phoenix in April. This was my first meeting out & about, and I’m still tired! That’s OK, though, it was nice to see a few folks I haven’t seen in a while, not to mention try out my new ambulatory status. This was in the Yuma Main Library, a place I know well, so it was a good place to start. The meeting lasted about 3 ½ hours, and though I almost fell asleep in my dinner, I was remarkably without pain anywhere. This is a good thing!

So barring any unforeseen weirdness, I’m this close )( to a solid recovery.  Next week I go to PHX for an Arizona Humanities meeting, which ought to be interesting.

 

MISCELLANY

On our last visit to the doc’s, I saw a familiar, but nonetheless sad scenario play out. Another couple about our age was also there to see the doc, but somehow they didn’t have any insurance. They insisted they did. They were sure they did, and I know why. This is one of those things I picked up while working at the insurance company. What happens is that sometimes people who are unfamiliar with the way a website works will go through what they think is the procedure for signing up for Medicare Advantage insurance, when in fact they’ve only done some of the preliminary stuff. In other words, they’ve shopped, but haven’t purchased. What tipped me off is the fact they said they’re waiting for the bill to come. Well, it doesn’t work that way. You have to pay with your credit card online, right at the time. So unless you’ve entered your credit card information, got some sort of a confirmation number or member ID number and the date the coverage starts, you won’t be covered. They don’t send you a bill, not that first time. Even though you may have spent an hour or more, entering prescriptions, comparing plans, etc., you’re still “just looking” until that credit card is entered.

I used to see that happen on average, once a week. I was only one of hundreds of people signing up people for insurance, and dealing with customer service issues, so one can only imagine how often this happens. My advice is this: if you don’t use the internet often and don’t typically buy things online, then avail yourself of the phone number every insurance company has and sign up that way. Alternatively, you can locate your Area Agency on Aging and they can direct you to a SHIP (State Health Insurance Program) counselor who will guide you through the process. If you have any level of confusion about Medicare, the SHIP counselor is the best way to go. They can even come to your house if you have problems getting out.

 

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Broken Grandma – a journey on wheels and feet and back again Part 1

Broken Grandma – a journey on wheels and feet and back again Part 2

Broken Grandma – a journey on wheels and feet and back again Part 3

Broken Grandma – a journey on wheels and feet and back again Part 4

Broken Grandma – a journey on wheels and feet and back again Part 5

Now reading Part 6

 

Total: 2 Comment(s)
Doreen Schuett
  Trudy, I finally managed to read this and It was an amazing tale of the journey you've been on since New Years Eve. I'm sorry it happened to you but I know that the real Trooper in you came out and you managed to find other ways to get through the ordeal ie: cookbook. Can't wait to see you walking on your own very soon. Your Daughter in Law.
· reply · 1 0 0
Trudy W. Schuett
Trudy W. Schuett  THX "Mom"! ;>)
· reply · 0 0 0

Meet Trudy

Trudy W. Schuett chairs the Regional Council on Aging for Arizona's Region IV, which includes Yuma, La Paz, and Mohave counties. She is also a member of the Governor's Advisory Council on Aging, and sits on the Board of Directors of Arizona Humanities. She lives in Yuma, but this year spent the summer in Glendale helping out with the grandkids. Carley and Tori are now in third and fourth grade.

Meanwhile back in Yuma, her husband Paul is watching the calendar. In November 2015 he retires from Marine Corps Community Services, where he's been teaching Marines how to fix their cars since 2000.

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