So I Broke My Ankle

So it's been a while, a really long while. Things have been on the very low end of the 'not so great' side of life's scale for me the last month or so.

Louisiana State Police, Northeast Louisiana Ambulance and Louisiana Wildlife Management
As I've mentioned before we had gotten a couple of 4-wheelers for family outings and for hunting season. We were loving them. Then on September 28 the literal worst day of my life happened. It's taken over a month for me to be able to talk about it without having a panic attack. Which of course is why my blog has been dead. I just couldn't bring myself to write it all out.

Mike, Hayley and I were out riding on a local WMA trail. Things were going great. We were having such a great time and then I ...

Truthfully I'm still not sure how it all went wrong. I remember going up the small hill into the clearing and being way ahead of Mike and Hayley on the trail. I turned the bike to point back. I turned it to sharp and it all just went so wrong. I can remember thinking to myself that the turn was to sharp for the speed I was going (wasn't going that fast but in relation to the turn yeah) and then the bike lurched and next thing I knew I was flying through the air. It all happened so fast. There was no time to think, no time to scream, no life flashing before my eyes.

I can remember the exact second my ankle broke, the sound it made, the pain... I can remember hitting the ground and screaming. Y'all I put horror movie actresses and their screams to shame. I don't know how long I laid there, screaming, crying, and finally calming down while waiting on Mike and Hayley to catch up. It couldn't have been more than five minutes. I honestly don't remember time passing at all, it was all very stand-still-ish. I knew my leg or ankle was broke and I knew I couldn't move because of the 4-wheeler being on top of me.

When they did crest the hill Mike turned and saw and I can remember him screaming for Hayley to stop (she was driving his) and him bailing off of it. I can remember her sitting there (a good 10 yards away) and seeing how terrified she was, I remember the fear in his voice as he called for me. I can remember being actually rather calm during it all. My biggest concern at the time was not scaring Hayley anymore than she already was. I didn't want her to see me hurt, I didn't want her to hear me scream in pain.

Mike managed to get the 4-wheeler off of me, then he used an extra t-shirt she had with her and secured my ankle with it. At this point, I hadn't looked at the damage. I refused to, any form of calm and bravery I had would have immediately disappeared. Once I was table Mike called 911, told them where we were and what had happened. The realization then hit us that we had to get me out of the woods. We had one option only, I had to drive myself out while Mike drove Hayley out. (She was too scared to drive herself). I still don't know how we got me onto the back of the 4-wheeler but we did.

I drove myself out for over a mile with one leg hanging over the side of the 4-wheeler, ankle just dangling there. Every tiny bump was sheer torture.  Again time stood still, I don't know how long it took to go that first mile or so easing along stifling screams with every bump. Eventually, a Wildlife Management agent found us. He wanted to look at the damage to my leg (remember at this point only Mike has seen it). I knew how bad it was going to hurt and I begged Mike to get Hayley out of there. There was still a mile left of the trail before we could reach the ambulance waiting for me and all I could think was Hayley needed to be far far away when the agent cut the t-shirt of my leg and pulled my pants leg up. 

Y'all that first slight glimpse at my leg nearly made me pass out. There was so much blood and I could just see the bone. I still get queasy thinking about it. My ankle was just dangling there hanging on by some skin and muscle. The agent put a tourniquet on my knee and we waited just a moment more for my husband and an EMT to get back to us. From there, things are a bit of a blur. I remember the EMT driving me out, me hanging onto the back of the 4-wheeler praying I didn't pass out and fall off. I then remember being lifted off of the 4-wheeler and put on a gurney which hurt like hell, then put into the back of the ambulance, which also hurt like hell. I remember begging, literally in tears trying not to hyperventilate as I begged over and over for them to make the pain stop. I didn't care how I just needed it to stop.

There was one moment after they finally gave me some meds that I can remember looking down at my foot. It was so surreal, my leg was straight and my foot was literally on the side of my leg. Like if you had two blocks end to end and you pushed the last one over to the right so just 1/4 of it was touching the first one. It was the weirdest and oddly coolest looking thing I'd ever seen. I remember asking about Hayley and Mike and being so concerned with how she was. Through it, all the most pressing thing, even more so than making the pain stop, was to make sure she was okay.  She's so easily traumatized and I was so worried. One of the EMT's was wonderful in reassuring me she was okay, that Hayley was worried but calm.

Taken an hour or two after surgery
Flash forward to the ER.  By the time they got me into the back the pain meds had started wearing off and every time they touched me was torture. Again I remember begging for pain meds, cussing as they moved me around to get the pants off and such, and one old bitty of a nurse being a twat because I was so vocal. They quickly removed her... my anger is quite palpable when in pain and this was severe pain. I was having none of the 'you need to be quieter' attitude, especially seeing how I was trying to be quiet.

From there, things progressed quickly. I was put to sleep while they set my ankle the first time and then brought back too while I waited for the actual surgery. In surgery, I received a total of eight screws, a plate, and a rod. Again no idea how long any of this took. I woke up or came too as the doctor was telling me he would tell me more in-depth about what he did but for now Mike knew.

My left leg a few days after surgery and before the bruising started turning deep black. I also had a huge
scrape on top of my knee and my left ankle was lightly bruised. 
For those who are squeamish you may want to stop reading here.  Below I'm going to go into the details of exactly what damage I did and include the post-op two weeks check up pictures.  It's bad, really really bad. Suffice it to say I'm very lucky to have my foot at all.


So damage done...

When the 4-wheeler flipped my right ankle caught on the foot pedal, as it did it cut me from the very back of my ankle all the way along the inside of the ankle to near the middle of the front of it and it also dislocated the tibia from the ankle joint.  This is why my foot looked like it was hanging on the side of my leg because literally was.  I shattered my outer ankle completely and tore every tendon and ligament on the inner ankle.

When I say it is a miracle I kept my foot I'm not exaggerating.

This is the outer side of my ankle two weeks after surgery. I had a total of 14 stitches. This is where they went in to help place the rod near the tibia to help secure the ankle in place. From what I can understand even after they placed all 8 screws and the plate in my ankle was still flopping to the side because there was nothing left on the inner ankle to help support it. So now I have a rod literally running from the bottom of my inner heel/arch area up to my ankle into the leg to hold everything in place. The weirdest part, the rod is sticking out the bottom of my foot and will remain that way until I see a second surgeon sometime in January.

This is the least gnarly looking of the injuries. And it looks so much better now.
And this is my inner ankle, where most of the damage was done. Y'all I'll be totally honest, I knew it was bad but I never fully understood how bad bad truly was until the two weeks check-up. I never looked at the injury fully before surgery. I was too scared too.  When I saw this I had a full-blown anxiety attack and came near to passing out again. At this point, the pain had started to abate and just sitting there while waiting on the nurse to remove the stitches didn't hurt.  But mentally I was freaking out. 



There were a total of 12 stitches on the inner ankle and despite the damage done to it I never lost movement in my toes or any feeling. There's amazingly no major nerve damage. The hope is the scar tissue grows back enough to support the ankle so the rod can fully come out. I won't know for sure until my next appointment but for now, the consensus is I will need one more major surgery, another 3 months in a cast/splint and then I can finally start rehab to learn to walk on it again.

This post is quite long enough and honestly, I'm mentally drained from rehashing this all. I think I wrote it all out more as therapy than anything. I've had a hard time facing the fear it caused but more on that later. I'm going to try to get back to posting semi-regularly but there won't be many homemaking type posts for a while yet. Seeing as I am pretty much immobile for the next four to five months.

Until next time... be careful, hug your loved ones and take a walk around the yard for me.
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Peanut Butter Bombs: A Keto Friendly Dessert

Mike and I have a love-hate relationship with the keto-diet. We were on it once for a couple of months, we lost a good bit of weight but in the end, we decided that the diet was too rigid for us.  We have however kept a few of the recipes from that period of time in our repertoire. Things like the cabbage spaghetti we have at least once a month and my new found love for oven-baked chicken wings. Mikes favorite recipe though is one that can be used as a snack or dessert and is what they call a fat bomb. Basically, it's a small bite of healthy fats that help curb your sweet tooth and cut that snacky feeling. Most use things like coconut oil, avocado, cream cheese or other healthy fat. 

Mike's favorite version is a peanut butter fat bomb. He says one or two of these will help satisfy his snacky moods and his need for something sweet and I make sure to keep some in the freezer at all times. They are super easy to make, take very little time and last for ages once made if you keep them frozen.


Crunchy Peanut Butter Fat Bombs


Ingredients:

1/2 cup of coconut oil, melted
1 cup crunchy peanut butter (can use smooth if you like)
1-2tsp of  Stevia or similar sugar substitute

also needed:

ice cube tray
dishcloth to use as a drop cloth




Directions:

Melt the coconut oil in a microwave-safe dish (takes about 30 seconds tops) and stir in the peanut butter till well combined.  Then add in the sweetener and stir well. 



Once well-stirred pour into your ice cube tray. I always place my tray on top of a dishcloth to make clean up easy in case there are drips.  This recipe makes just enough to fill one tray but can easily be doubled or tripled. You can also add in mini chocolate chips or even coat the bottom of the tray cubes with melted chocolate to give it a peanut butter cup fill. 


Place in the freezer until frozen solid, pop out and store in a freezer bag. Keeps well for at least six months, though they never last that long in our household.

Because of the coconut oil even when frozen they aren't rock hard and quickly thaw when at room temperature.
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The Roller Coaster ride of August: From Oh crap to Hell Yeah to My Heart Breaking

It's been a couple of weeks since I've sat down to write and have actually been able to make the words come. I've tried a few times to write a post but never got past the blinking cursor. It wasn't so much a writer's block as it was me still emotionally processing all that's gone on.

Let me start at the beginning with the Oh Crap... 



Kyla started her junior year of high school on August 14 by the next day she was having severe anxiety attacks. They were bad enough I got two different calls from the school.  At first, we hoped it was a side effect of the Accutane medication she was on but after having her stop it and giving it time to leave her system she was still having issues. During this process, she started talking about wanting to move back in with Jim and Julie (her bio-dad and step-mom). We discussed things, the pros and cons, what all it would entail, and so on. After a few days of discussing she decided she'd wait till next year to move.

With that hurdle passed I started focusing on ways to help her deal with the anxiety attacks she was having. We took her to the doctor, got her started on some medication to help control it, and I taught her some ways to help calm herself during these attacks. We decided, after many talks, that a lot of the issue was the sheer size of the student body. There are over 3,000 students in the high school alone, the campus looks like a small community college and it's crazy going from class to class.

Now let's move to the Hell Yeah...

So there we were, two and half weeks into school finally coming out the other side of the emotional rollercoaster ride that had us all on edge and we received some amazing news.


A little background first...

Mike works for Walmart ISD, he's a software developer. A few years ago the company was gracious enough to allow Mike to work remotely so we could move from Bentonville, AR back to Northeast Louisiana to be near Kyla and the rest of our family. This was done knowing it would severely impact his career as there was a cap on how far he could be promoted. 

Flash forward 6 1/2 years...

After years of giving a 110 %, many great evaluations, and sheer luck that the company has changed its policies regarding remote worker positions Mike was promoted to a manager position. This is something he always wanted but we honestly never thought would happen unless we moved back to Bentonville.

I am so very proud of my husband. He gave up a lot for me to move us back closer to my daughter for those pivotal years of her life and he did it with very little grumping.

Things were going so great then My Heart Broke...

The day after Mike's big promotion I was knocked over by more news. Up to this point, Kyla had been doing better, the medicine was making a noticeable difference and she seemed happy. Which is why it bowled me over when minutes from picking her up from school she told me she wanted to move in with her dad and swap schools now.



I really thought we'd made it past this hurdle and that I had a year to prep for my daughter leaving.

Y'all I'm not exaggerating when I say my heart broke. I knew there was no way I could stop her, she'll be 17 in just a few short days, which means she old enough to make this choice for herself. I might not agree with it but there was no logical reason for saying no. The school she wanted to swap too is a good one, her dad and step-mom are good people and while our parenting styles are different I have zero issues with her being there. But it was my baby, the little girl I'd left with her dad for the first eleven years of her life because it was the right thing to do, the big girl I moved my family for and welcomed with open arms and a weeping heart when she wanted to move in with us, the young lady I cried with as she struggled with being diagnosed with RP.

She told me this on a Friday by the next Wednesday she was gone. It moved so fast that I really didn't have time to process all of the emotions that came with it. It wasn't where or why she was moving but the fact that she was. I started this year thinking I had two years before my girl left the nest and within three weeks all that was changed. The next week was hard. I kept waiting to hear her moving around the house. Mike did the best he could to support me through it but he was facing his own issues as he transitioned into his new position and the loads of stress that added.

Things have finally started to slow down, I'm being able to breathe, my hearts mending and I'm learning to embrace having one less person in the house full time.

Now to just keep Hayley here until she's like 30...

That's reasonable right?

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Happy Homemaker Monday ~ Week of September 9

Wow...it's been a minute since I've posted. Things have really been chaotic here. Lots of staggering life changes, sickness, and just business. I'm gonna write up a post for tomorrow going into it, it's just too much to do here on a Happy Homemaker Monday post.

I spent most of last week sick with a head cold and managed to get over it just in time for Mike to leave for a week-long business trip yesterday. Which leaves just me and Hayley here for the next few days. Lots of girl time!

Now onto this week's Happy Homemaker post hosted by Sanda at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.



The Weather ~

Still hot. Like really hot. We've been reaching triple digits pretty consistently the last few weeks, though this week it looks like we will just be reaching upper 90s (before the heat index which will make it feel like 100+)


On My Reading List ~

I haven't gotten any reading done the last few weeks, need to fix that so I don't fall behind in my goal for the year. This month's books are:


On my TV ~

I've been rewatching a lot of older movies we have on our media server or that I'm finding via our cable providers On Demand service.  Things like the X-Men movies, the Resident Evil series and such.

Meal Ideas this Week ~

  • meatloaf, potatoes, veggies
  • shrimp alfredo
  • ham/cheese po-boys
  • bbq chicken drumsticks
To-Do This Week
  • bring more donations to Goodwill
  • bring stuff to the recycling center
  • 4-H meeting
  • Hayley's allergy shots
  • get back to schooling regularly 
What I'm Crocheting ~

I've been really busy in the crochet department in the last few weeks. I finished my penguin and a floppy cat. I've also picked up the Christmas ripple blanket again, I'm about 55 rows from being done. 




Outside of the blanket project, I'm also working a set of fruits and veggies for my little niece. I'll post pictures of those when they are all done. 

Looking Around the House ~

It's in need of a quick pick up. My crocheting stuff is all over the living room, my kitchen desk is a massive dumping spot, and the kitchen needs lunch put away and dishes done. 

From the Camera ~

Hayley took full advantage of being homeschooled last week and had her hair died a gorgeous magenta. I'm a touch jealous, to be honest. 


Hope you all have a wonderful Monday!
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Raising a Child With Retinitis Pigmentosa: Coming to Terms

*Over the next few weeks I'm going to tell our family's journey of raising a child who has a degenerative eye disease to raise awareness of RP and to let those who are going through their own trials and tribulations know they aren't alone. You can find part 1 here, The Diagnosis.*

Kyla was just a few months into her freshman year of high school when we started the process of confirming what we already knew, that she had retinitis pigmentosa (RP).


We'd noticed a significant decrease in her night vision a few months prior to the first optometrist we saw (the one who started the ball on getting her diagnosed) but as much as I love my child (and I do dearly) she can be a bit of a drama queen. After all, this is the girl who told her third-grade teacher I was dead from a car crash just so she could get extra hugs every day (at that time she lived with her bio-dad and stepmom during the school year in Louisiana while Mike and I lived in Arkansas near his work). So needless to say with her rememberable past we were a little skeptical when she started increasing her claims to how much she couldn't see at night.

You can't imagine how crappy I feel for not believing my child when she told her this. Even though we had a legitimate reason for our beliefs and the knowledge that catching the RP any sooner wouldn't have changed the outcome of her disease it still stings that I didn't listen and believe her when she needed me to.  We've used this as a teachable moment, for not only us as parents but for the kids as well. It taught them that we as parents can really screw up without meaning to, that we aren't perfect but that we can learn from our mistakes.



By the time we realized what was going on, Kyla was months into being a Rebelette (our schools version of a pep squad) and trying to navigate her first year of freshman. Her teammates at first were very confused and that also thought she was exaggerating. But these young ladies soon realized how serious the condition was and y'all they amazed me. They banded around her, even the ones who weren't overly friendly with her were helping her find her place on the field, making sure she wasn't running into things and such.

Still, despite the new support from her friends, teammates, teachers, and family Kyla had a really difficult time accepting what was happening to her. Here she was in the prime of her young life, starting the growing process of who she will become as an adult and she's faced with a disease that will hang over her for the rest of her life. Can you imagine being 16, just starting to face what growing up means and getting excited about what it has to offer to be told you have a disease that won't kill you but that will affect your everyday life from now until the day you die?


She's had to learn how to date differently, she can't do things like going roller skating or dancing because the way the lights flash on and off causes her sight to go out and she's terrified of running over people. The biggest blow for her has been her ability to drive. For now, she still has enough of her peripheral vision that she is safe to drive, however, because of the swelling that doctors are unable to get completely down her center vision is so blurry she can't pass the DMV's eye test.
For her to be just on the cusp of being old enough to do it, to be excited over the fact that her birthday was just mere months away and then to have it yanked away from her was the cruelest thing. It broke my heart to see her dreams of teenage freedom being crushed.

It's taken time to come terms with what having RP will mean for her.  Even if she is able to get her license she will have driving restrictions, she won't be able to drive in low light conditions (storms, early mornings, evenings, and such) and she won't be able to drive at night. We tested her eyesight in the evenings a few months ago, I let her drive to a local grocery store just down the road.  Between the 5 minute drive there and the 5 minutes in the store, the light had decreased enough that she couldn't see well enough to drive. A fact made very clear by the near plowing into a parking lot lamp. It scared her more than me and devastated her all over again. At that moment she realized just how much RP was taking from her.



She has good days and bad days. Some days she barely acknowledges what her future will be like. Other days she's overwhelmed by the sadness that creeps up on her. She's watched Jim (her bio-dad) her whole life go through this. She's watched him lose more and more of his peripheral vision as time progresses. In some ways, he's the only one who truly understands what she is going through.  He's a bit lost when it comes to being so young with it, he didn't start losing his sight till he was in his early 20s. But watching him over the years has given her an idea of what to expect and helps calm her a little.

Still, it's taking time for her, for us, to wrap our heads around the fact that she will not have the typical growing up experience.  And it's taking time for us as her parents to come to terms with the fact that no matter what we can't fix this. There isn't enough money in the world to make this better for her, there is no amount of medicine that will heal her. That's hard for a parent to accept.

I'm not sure what the future holds but I do know that no matter what we will learn to accept it and to deal with it.


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