Monday, November 26, 2007

An (almost) clean bill of health...and shocking pictures of bare ankles!

Today brought a few pieces of good news on the health front. First, a visit to the lab at my doctor's office for a cholesterol test the day after Thanksgiving should have portended doom. However, I'm glad to say that after 14 months of Cheerios and oatmeal, my cholsterol dropped an astounding 40 points from 197 to 157. Boo-yah! However, my work is not done: my HDL (good cholsterol) was barely in the good range and my LDL (bad stuff) was a little high. So alas, Shorty has more work to do. It would help if I could cut out the Coffee-Mate flavored creamer every morning...but how I love it in my coffee....

In other news, this afternoon brought about trip #2 to the physical therapist, who continued to be mildly astounded at my progress. Today, I went through a round of balance exercises that involve strengthening my ankle without really moving it. The PT also said to keep going with the massage and icing of the ankle, so Guy is still not off the hook for rubbing my ankle.
In the meantime, I've had some requests for pictures of the Ankle In Question. Let's go to the film, shall we?

This is about one week after the spraining. Note the purple bruising below and above the anklebone. I chipped the end of my fibula off, behind that anklebone, and a chipped or broken bone often provides more bruising because there are indeed blood vessels to be disrupted. You also can tell how fluffy the ankle looks compared to the bonyness of the left ankle.

This is about two weeks after the spraining. There's still a lot of discoloration above and below the anklebone as well as a fair amount of bruising up the calf. I've had bruising spiraling here and there almost up to my knee for most of the past month. I'm sure the bruising the day or four after I did it was brutal, but it hurt so bad it couldn't be held or looked at--I was in a splint for four days before I even saw the ankle. Now, let's fast forward a bit.

You can see bruising still, five weeks later (the sprain happened on October 22). The bruising has become less speckled and intense, but now it's a little more faded mixed in with some yellow tint of old brusing. You can still see some swelling in the right ankle, but not near what you saw in Week 1 and Week 2. However, it's really really improved. I've been given the okay to get a lighter brace to wear both in the gym and at work, and I've been greenlighted to spend some time on a stationary bike and 5-10 minutes at a time on an elliptical. Just before I go back in two weeks, I'm supposed to try jogging on the treadmill a little bit (like 5mph for a couple of minutes, as opposed to the 40 mins of 6+ mph I used to do before the injury).

God, I'm looking forward to getting back into some cardio. I never realized how much I relied on aerobic exercise as a sleep aid, a mood stabilizer, and an antidepressant. I can't wait to get at least some of the old me back.

Friday, November 23, 2007

All quiet on the western front

We had a lovely Thanksgiving Day with my coworker and partner-in-crime Ethel and her family as well as our friends Jeff and Moira. Ethel's 10-year-old daughter, Twyla, rather attached herself to Guy, constantly threatening to tickle him when he would steal her ball of tin foil away. For some reason, the child made a ball of tin foil out of the foil that covered all the food in the oven, and it took on such a life of its own that Guy and I had to hug it goodbye at the end of the evening (which looked even funnier than it sounds). Guy (who's 6'-0" tal and 205 lbs) put on Twyla's little light blue jacket (she's 4'-8" and about 80 lbs) and started imitating her, at which point she grabbed a pillow, stuffed it under her sweatshirtlike she had a post-Thanksgiving tummy, and began imitating Guy. Holy crap, I wish I'd had a camcorder for that moment. Ethel and I nearly wet ourselves laughing.

They sent us home with leftovers, which we've safely stashed in the fridge, and now it's off to Estes Park for a few days. I hope everyone out there safely enjoys whatever time off you can get this weekend.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Frank Gehry, I must sue you for your disasterpiece.

This is a little bit old news, but MIT is suing architect Frank Gehry for continuing leaks and construction problems in their $300+ million Stata Center.

Now, I'm somewhat inclined to throw Mr. Gehry under the bus. His fanciful-schmanciful design aesthetic may look really cool, but those swooping curves and angles make it really hard to flash and seal things up the same way you do in a building made of lots of clean and/or simple angles or fewer curves. Hence, I'm not surprised at all that the building is having leakage and slab cracking problems. In the NY Times article, Gehry states that MIT is "after [his] insurance money." Okay, fine.  I've heard that very complicated buildings often take out insurance policies just to be safe. Having worked on much less complicated buildings than either the DAM addition or the Stata, I find the idea rather intelligent and as demonstrating foresight. Sounds like Mr. Gehry should have done the same, if he hadn't already. But let's step back to the design process itself: if Franky-baby is going to be willing to design such weirdness, he's going to have to doubly stand behind it and vouch for the quality of said design. By quality of design, I mean a wide range of things, including how well it satisfies the program, how physically comfortable the space is, how easy it is to heat/cool, and how well it keeps out the elements.


I have to go up to the board of MIT and the Stata Center, grasp them firmly by the shoulders, and then shake the living crap out of them. And as I shook them, I would ask in a loud voice, "Have you not seen the kind of Pink-Floyd-and-Demerol-nightmare shit that Gehry designs?!?!?!" Because, frankly, if Gehry didn't take leak/fuck-up insurance out, then MIT shoulda. I mean, did they seriously not know what they were getting? And frankly, if ANY of them have ever built a building, they would know that there are ALWAYS a few problems. Even know as I type this, there's a weird leak in a wall in Wheatlands. Our assumption is that part of the VE (value-engineering) process removed some insulation around some roof drain pipes. Now, condensation is forming on those pipes and seeping through the walls. Likewise, Gehry is asserting in his defense that the cracking and problems are the result of VE measures, which were supposed to save them money on the front end, but alas, as VE often does, it costs money in the long run.

So, I fall on both sides of this lawsuit. I think it should be resolved through a karaoke sing-off. Tiebreaker song: ABBA's "Dancing Queen."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

CrutchWatch '07: They tried to make me go to rehab but I said...okay.

Saturday was my first day without crutches, a relief indeed. The doc wanted me to start putting weight on my ankle, and he even gave me this gel brace thing, but all it did was irritate a nerve in my lower outside calf. So, Saturday was spent on my ankle wrapped tightly in an ace bandage, and it held up pretty well. I'm still taking elevators everywhere I go, and I'm still limping due to a loss of flexibility in the ankle, but it's all good, overall.

Yesterday I managed to get in to see a physical therapist in the rehab/PT department at my particular HMO. A nice enough fellow, he seemed rather impressed that I was "walking;" evidently, most people who do what I did are still on crutches three weeks later. He gave me some rubber bands to use to help strengthen my ankle and improve range of motion, then gave me the first of two wonderful pronouncements: "You've got fluid in your ankle still, and it needs to get out. Keep your ankle elevated anytime you can and as much as you can, and here are some massages that your husband needs to do to help get the fluid out."

Um, wait. Guy has to rub my foot once a day? To help me get better? Now this should be interesting.

And it was. I made the mistake of asking Guy to rub my foot while he was in the final rounds of an internet poker game and watching the Nuggets stomp the Cavaliers on ESPN. My at-home rehab went like this:

Guy: [pawing distractedly at my injured foot while clicking with the mouse] Okay, here you go.
Me: OUCH! Not so hard! It's an easy motion, like a squeegee from my toes down... [making hand motion]
Guy: Uh-huh. [watching Carmelo Anthony at the free throw line]
Me: You're not even looking. Look, it's like--
Guy: [clicking mouse, looking at computer screen] I'm doing it! Look, I'm rubbing your foot!
Me: No you're not! [throwing hands in air] This is hopeless! Maddy, come rub Mama's feetie!
Maddy: [in floor] Mrroow!

And so it went. Now Guy's out of town for his last trip on his present project, which means I'm having to self-squeegee my foot. Good thing I do yoga--I'm actually flexible enough to reach past my foot when sitting and leaning forward. However, Maddy still refuses to rub my foot. She just sort of bonks it with her head.

The other wonderful pronouncement from the physical therapist was that, in a couple of months with steady work, I will most likely run again. Were the ankle not injured this would make me leap with joy. I cannot adequately express how happy this makes me. Running, moving quickly under my own power, is an antidepressant and stimulant for me. It makes me feel strong, competent, powerful. Knowing that I will/can eventually return to my favorite activity, I can be patient through the winter.

Meanwhile, MHRC slogs on. I haven't felt like posting about it because it's so mundane, or at least it's mundane to me. The procedure suite is getting built, we should have a permit any day now for the radiology department, and multiple other little projects ebb and flow. I have some funny/interesting things to post this week, just need to get the energy. I never realize how tiring my days are, limping and hopping around, until I get home at 5:45 and nearly fall into a chair, just worn out.

Friday, November 9, 2007

...meanwhile, the Pixie limps on...

I've been remiss in posting lately, and for good reason. Several good reasons, in fact: namely, I've been exhausted and achy. I've been so tired I didn't even post a happy birthday to my sister Miss Kitty on Thursday. It's been a rattling week, what with some drama at MHRC and general ankle pain and stiffness. This ankle thing has slowed me down to what feels like a glacial speed. If I forget something in the office or house after I'm in my car, I can't just "run" back in and get it.

Today was my first day without crutches in almost three weeks. It's a double-edged sword, like most things. I'm a little slower without my crutches, but at least I can carry things as I perambulate. However, the gel brace my doctor gave me to wear hides under my pants, meaning that no one can overtly see why I'm limping. With crutches, I'm the injured girl you feel a little sorry for and sympathize with. You'll hold open doors for her, ask her how she did it, compliment her on how fast she's getting around with those crutches. Without the crutches, I'm the handicapped girl who's struggling along and kind of weird. You won't make eye contact with her, and that door you used to hold open falls shut because you don't want to catch whatever makes her a little slow, a little limpy. It's startling.

There's plenty going on in the architectural world for me to comment on; I'll blog later on them. I'm still pretty damn tired.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Wave your foot in the air and party lazy like you just don't care

The day was spent with foot on pillow, and a good time was had by most. I fell asleep while reading a book Dame Judith loaned me, only to have sleep snatched from me by the roving pack of yowling hunger-beasts known as Maddy and Hazel. Have they no shame? I mean, really. I'm all laid up here, and these two want crunchy treats. Fortunately, Papa Guy stepped up to the plate and chucked treats at said kittehs. Then he cooked dinner and even brought me my plate. Awwwwww.

Today will be more of the same--much laying around with foot in air on pillows, perhaps even some ice on the ankle. Guy and I noticed last night that my left leg is looking larger than my right. In two short weeks, that right leg is atrophied from not walking around and getting some activity. Weird. Two weeks is all it takes, it seems. At least it's not in a cast, so I can shave the leg and paint the toenails, rendering them unawful to look at. While Guy's out getting groceries, I suppose this is a good a time as any to lay down and do some more nothing. (Though doing nothing makes it hard to go back to work and do stuff, I find. Makes me forget what I was doing there in the first place.)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Worn slap out

Too tired to really say anything, y'all. Between limping and dragging myself around with crutches, I have less than zero energy. I'll post later this weekend when I've had some real rest. If anything, the past week and a half has revealed that, with an injury, I can't go at the same speed at which I go when both legs work.