Sunday, July 14, 2019

One Crutch!

Big break through today. I am now able to walk with only ONE crutch. This is huge, because it means I can now carry things, like a cup a coffee.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Six Weeks Later

Tomorrow is a big day for me.

It is the six-week follow-up for my broken leg. The doctors originally said that I’d probably be weight-bearing around the six-week mark. I might be able to lose the crutches, and walk again on my own. That will be huge when it happens. It could mean resuming regular work hours, starting PT, carrying coffee on own, and hopefully beginning some light dry-land hockey practice. I will not be skateboarding for quite some time (or be back on the ice for real hockey).

Of course, there is also the chance that I may not be ready for any of this yet, and will still be confined to the crutches for some time. My ankle area is feeling stronger, but there still some serious stiffness, feeling is not totally back yet, leg muscles are atrophied, and my foot is still swollen (bruising is almost 100% gone, however)…so there, is still quite a ways to go before I am back to normal. I don’t know if it’s better to hope for the best, or expect the worst for tomorrow.

Monday, July 1, 2019

The Existential Vacuum

Life as I know it is “on hold” right now. I am literally just sitting around and waiting for things to “start” again. It’s beginning to weigh on me. Skateboarding, hockey, bicycling, urban/woodland exploration, and my job. These are all things I can’t do right now. They are the things that give my life real passion, meaning, and purpose. For now, they are all gone. For better or worse, they are what constitutes my “life,” and they are all on hold.

While I have a follow-up visit in two weeks, and they might clear me to be (partially) weight-bearing, it’s still going to be awhile before I can get back to those activities  (and that’s even assuming I fully heal-up). An existential vacuum opens when the things you care about suddenly collapse, and vanish.

Life is very different right now, and will be for quite awhile. I am a firm believer that life is more about how you respond to what happens to you, than what actually happens to you. That said, I haven’t quite figured out how to respond to this situation yet. I’m bored as fuck. I can’t be “active.” I can’t even walk without crutches right now. I need to find something meaningful to occupy my time and life with until I can return to the world I once knew.

It’s time to adapt.   

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Four Weeks Later

I broke my leg four weeks ago yesterday. Absent major developments, I’m going to aim for blog updates every two weeks to track recovery.

Leg & Foot Condition: It’s still swollen and bruised, but not as much as it was two weeks ago. Feeling is still blunted in my foot…but maybe not as much as it was? It’s hard to tell with gradual changes. I can move my toes and ankle a bit more, but it’s still really limited. Ankle area (ligaments??) feel really stiff, and sore. Toes feel kind of stiff, too. I am more concerned about pain in ankle area now than I am about hurting the break. My calf and foot are no longer really sore when I go from laying down (or keeping foot up) to standing up-right. Hands, wrist, elbows, and shoulders get a little sore from the crutches, too. My leg must be getting really weak from non-use. PT should be interesting.

Housing: I am still at my parents’ place, and will be here at least until I am weight bearing. Maybe longer. TBA. Taking a shower is a pain in the ass. Life is definitely easier here than it would be at my apartment in the city.

Mental State: I’m bored as hell. I was bouncing around with Joe during the day when he was here, but he left the area last week. Now I’m on my own.  I need to find things to occupy myself with. At night I can go some pretty dark places when in bed/can’t sleep. The future can be a scary place. I need to stay in the moment as much as I can.

Skateboarding: This is a long way off. I’ll certainly be doing dry-land hockey stuff long before I am skateboarding again.

Hockey: I got a really nice stick (for ice). I’ll be able to use it for stick handling / shooting once I am weight-bearing. I also want to get a new pair of gloves, and a shooting pad/board for once I get cleared for all that. It’s something short-terms (before full recovery) to look forward to. 

: I am worried I’m going to get fat while being totally inactive. I need to watch what I am eating.

Next Visit: They claim I could be weight-bearing (50%?? 100%??) at six-weeks. My exact six-week date falls on the week of July 4th. I couldn’t get an appointment until July 11th, so technically that will be a SEVEN week follow-up. I am kind of bummed about having to wait an additional week for that visit, but it is what it is. Right now I am a bit skeptical that there will be much of change in my foot in the next three weeks. I’ll just have to wait, see, and hope. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

So, I Broke My Leg...

On Tuesday, May 21, 2019 I broke my fibula and fucked-up the ankle ligaments in the process. I had surgery two days later. Today I had my two-week follow-up. Stitches removed. I found out that during surgery they put in a plate, five bolts, and one big-ass screw. I’m still non-weight bearing (e.g. on crutches) for at least another 4 weeks. Down to a removable air cast which is great.

My lower leg, ankle, and foot are still really swollen. Feeling in my foot is blunted. I can barley bend my ankle. They say with time, and PT, all that will go away. All I can do is wait, and hope.

I was skating a 6' high mini ramp when it happened. It was my first time on that ramp. The previous day I stated that the ramp was "cursed." Now I know that it is. I later found out that the ramp/park is KNOWN for broken bones and other serious injuries. The place even has a nickname, "The Bone Shaker." Indian burial ground or some shit.

I did some trick on one wall, and didn't like my feet placement on the way out of it. Ok, I figured, do an easy set-up trick on the next wall, and just reset. On the next wall, I did a nollie to rock to fakie. A trick I’ve done a million times. When landed on the coping, my board slid ever so slightly. It was enough to make my foot placement even worse. I briefly considered just bailing at that point, and knee sliding out. But, I decided to hang-on. "I can ride this out, it will be sketchy, but I can ride it out." Bad decision. I should have listened to my first instinct.

By the time I got to the bottom of the transition, and just started to enter the flat, I knew I was going to go down. I tried to step off my board and just run out. I planted my foot, but my leg kept going. I fell onto my leg with foot bent to the side. I immediately knew something BAD happened. I don't really remember taking my pads off, or my shoe, or waking across the park, or up the hill to get to my friend's van, but apparently I did. Adrenaline is a hell of a drug.

I remember making a lot of noise in the ride to the hospital. Half of it was from pain, the other half was out of utter existential frustration--I knew I wasn't going to be skating for awhile. I knew I wasn't going to be playing ice hockey. I knew I would be missing work. I knew my summer was now shot. I knew bad shit was going to go down. I knew my world had just radically changed, and I was pissed, angry, frustrated, and sad that all of that was going to happen...all because I decided to roll the dice on a fucking trick I knew I should have bailed-out on when I had the chance.

I've broken plenty of bones before, and had metal put in my body (metal rod in arm from a motorcycle wreck), but never anything this incapacitating. This is a whole new experience for me.

I'm now two weeks in to what could be a "three to six month" recovery, and my perspective has changed a bit since that car ride. More on that in my next post, but some context is in order.

My dad contracted Polio when he was an infant. He is now confined to a wheelchair, but had previously walked on crutches his entire life. I will walk again. He never will. In just the last six years my mom has had a knee replacement, three spine fusions (the metal rods in her back broke), and recovered from a broken hip/femur. Both of my parents have ALWAYS been in good spirits during these situations. Real role models for how to deal with adversity. Against that backdrop, I don't have much to complain about.   

Monday, March 25, 2019

45 | 45 | 45 Challenge: UPDATE 2

Today is March 26th. I still have not been back to the ramp since the first session on March 3rd. There have been a few set-backs which have prevented me from getting over to the ramp.

First, was a major snow storm that took place on March 4th or 5th. Can’t remember the exact date. I shoveled the ramp out on March 6th.

But then then melt-off caused one corner of the flat bottom to flood-out pretty bad. It wasn’t skateable until ALL the snow and water was 100% gone. That took awhile.   

Second, my car died its final death. I am junking it next week. While I can still take public transportation over to the ramp, it just takes longer and requires more planning/time to make it happen.

Third was a this knee injury sustained on March 9th. That had me out for a week or so.

Fourth was this 9 alarm fire that took place on March 15th next to the subway station near the ramp. The station was closed down, and they were running shuttle buses for a few days, which would make the public transportation trip even more cumbersome. As of now, subway service has been restored, but it was out on a few days when I wanted to head over there (right after knee healed-up).  

Firth, and most recent is a fuckin’ kidney stone which hit on March 19th. I am getting it surgically removed on March 28th, but it’s had me out of commission for over a week now. I wouldn’t wish a kidney stone on my worst enemy.

All this said, I am still confident I can meet this challenge. Assuming no other catastrophe hits after the kidney stone comes out, I can hopefully get in a few sessions before my 45th birthday on April 17.  I did 35 trick on the first sessions, so I only need 10 more to make 45. I feel good about that. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A Few Simple Rules, Part II.

Well, I did it again. Every few months I break one my "rules." I did it again on Saturday, and I am now paying the price. My rules are not arbitrary. The originate from experiential, and practical reasons. Here was one other time I broke one of the rules, and what happened as a consequence.

One of my rules is The 4' Pad Rule: Always wear knee/elbow pads on ramps 4' high or taller.

On Saturday I went over to the 4' mini I skate all the time. I had my pads (and skate shoes) in my bag. However, when I got there, there were these two younger dudes skating the ramp I had never seen before. For some unknown reason my ego took over (which almost never happens), and I didn't want to immediately be "the old-guy-in-pads." So, I started warming-up on the ramp without my pads on, and without even putting my skate shoes on (my "regular" shoes are Vans, too, so it wasn't a major difference). I skated for about 30 min, and was skating pretty well...but I knew it was coming, and then it finally did.

I slipped out on some trick (think it was a b/s disaster to b/s revert) and went straight to my knee cap on the flat. I tried to shift to my side to avoid direct impact, but it was too late. I stopped skating for about 15 min because of the pain. I immediately put my pads on when I did start skating again. But the damage was already done. It hurt like hell, and was swelling up. Worse, it was damage that was 100% avoidable. Even worse, my The 4' Pad Rule is in place because I have, more or less, done this exact same thing before. Hopefully this time I learned. 

But wait, it gets worse! I started taking ice skating lessons a few weeks ago (I hope to someday start playing ice hockey). Ice is hard, and slippery. The following Tuesday, I was wearing some really thin volleyball-type knee pads under my pants during the lesson. During class I went down hard on my knees. Hard enough that the thin volleyball pads didn't do much good. A few days later, and my knee cap is getting better, but still a bit sore...sore enough where I am staying of the board (and ice) for a few days. So lame. So avoidable.

Moral of the story: Follow your own rules. There are real reasons they are in place.