Tuesday, February 24, 2015

All American Surgery Update - Physical Therapy & Returning to Work

What I Would Have Done Differently - Managed Timeline Expectations
When I first went in for the surgery, they gave me the return to work timeline of six weeks to three months. I am in my late twenties, relatively healthy except this whole stupid foot, and I absolutely though I would be gone for six weeks, eight max. Instead, I was out of work for two and a half months, and still have pretty heavy restrictions on what I am able to do. But, the exciting news is that I am finally back, and it only took me four days to go through all of my emails!

What is Frustrating - The Hobble
I am back to being super slow again, which is frustrating but understandable. My ankle just really doesn't want to bend the same way it did before. The worst is going down stairs. Up, it is actually pretty easy, but down, it is hard getting my ankle to cooperate. I know it will loosen up eventually, but right now, I feel like I'm losing a race to a tortise and a snail.

What I'm Looking Forward To - Physical Therapy
If you've done physical therapy for anything before, you may think I'm an idiot for this one, but I am genuinely excited to finally be in PT. I had my first session on Monday, and we spent the first few minutes measuring how everything moved. My strength up and down was actually very good, and movement in both is coming along. It is the side to sides that are tricky. I can turn inwards about a quarter of the way compared to my good foot, but at the beginning of the session I could barely push my foot outwards. Even with only two days under my belt that has already improved some, and I'll keep doing my exercises and keep improving it. Right now, it mostly consists of gentle theraband stretches, drawing the alphabet with my foot, and scrunching a towel, but we will get there!

What is Working - Sitting at Work
I work at a small historic site, and am very, very lucky that I have a wonderful coworker and a number of volunteers who were able to cover for me in my absence. In addition, the timing of all of this worked out relatively well from a work perspective. We are a largely outdoor site, so winter is our slowest season and the one they could spare me for. That said, coming back, I've got a huge backlog of things, and a lot of to-dos on my list that'd be easier to get done if I'd had the extra two and a half months.

Luckily, right now a lot of that backlog is on my computer. Add to that the fact that most people don't want a guided tour of an outdoor site when they have to wade through almost four feet of snow on the ground (although some do, believe me) and I'm able to stay mostly at my desk. I rearranged my work space a little so I can keep my foot elevated as needed, and have a little stool under my desk so I can prop my foot up. I'm very lucky that my work is so understanding, and I'm actually getting yelled at by my volunteers any time I so much as get up to fill my water bottle!

What I've Accomplished - SHOES!
I cannot tell you how ridiculously exciting it is to put a shoe on your foot for the first time in 10 weeks. I am in a nice and big brace for the next two weeks, and I've only got so many shoes that fits into. I'm mostly sticking with my tennis shoes, but if the snow gets super deep, I can fit it into my rain boots. My regular snow boots, which zip up the side, are a no go. I am going to check with the PA regarding insoles. Before we decided on the surgery, we did try a variety or orthotic inserts in my shoes, and I'm not sure now if I should be wearing those or just regular insoles. I'll get in touch with them and report back!

This Week's Goal - Survive my first two rounds of PT
I've been doing my exercises every day, and go back again on Friday! Monday wasn't too bad because my work schedule is Tuesday-Saturday, so this coming Friday when I go straight from PT to work might be a little tough. I've already given my coworker a heads up that I might be a little groggy!

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