It’s Time to Get Those Feet on the Sand

Yesterday I talked to my so-called boyfriend and revealed to him my emotional state. He told me that I would feel much better if my leg completely healed and I completely recovered. I cannot complain on his answers or what was lacking in the way he said it. But he is telling the truth because I am slowly getting out of the rut every time I notice something different, focusing on the positive.

He didn’t reveal anything similar happening to him when he had his ankle accident. He very much knew my physical condition; he also had ankle injury when he was serving in the Turkish military back in the days. But I guess that’s where the similarity of our condition ends. His accident happened when he was very young, and from what he told me when he got better he continues to be sporty and changed careers. He used to be a boxing champion for his weight division until ten years ago, and he kept his form up to this day while honing his creative genius in fashion design.

Similar advise given to me by my sister. She also broke her ankle bone (medial malleolus), and a wire was also used to fix it.  It was from climbing Mt. Banahaw* with her students. I was out of the country when it happened so I didn’t know what happened during her recovery. It took her three months to 6 months to fully recover.

She told me she was using the wheelchair all the time and wheeled herself to her classroom. She didn’t use a walker, crutches, and cane nor wore plaster or used a boot to keep the ankle stable – she didn’t get out of her chair unless she needed to, like showering and going to bed. But I guess she was occupied, busy and had a purpose – which was teaching that there was no space to be emotional. I am also sure; she offered her pain and any problem she had with God and continued to be her good natured self.

But my disability journey was different.

When I thought I was recovering faster than usual, I was pulled back by pain in my foot, and my emotion went down with it (My Road to Recovery Is Bumpy, Now that I Am Thinking of It). Hearing what Hajj has to say about it made me realized that there is truth to what he told me. And since I am not my sister, my take on my emotion is very different but knowing she’s there ready to catch me gave me assurance enough to stop whining and complaining.

**

Right now I busy myself with writing and catching up on some online courses that I can use when I am ready to find work again.

I am reaching out to more friends whom I haven’t heard for years. I am sorting my photos and trying to see which ones good to showcase here and which ones worth keeping. With all the travels I’ve made and all the parties I attended imagine how much digital photos I had accumulated in my hard disk and sorting them out requires full attention.

Looking at my photos made me laugh out loud, made me remember people and places and good old times. Of course the array of food photos dictates that I entered a new decade, it means the millennials had all grown up and dictated a new trend that I was happily subscribing to.

**

I guess there’s no more room for drama in my life now. I am almost ready to go back out there. Find new adventures with my new scars.

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It’s time to get up now and see the bigger picture (I am with my friend in the balloon overlooking Goreme Valley at sunrise in Cappadocia, Turkey/2017)

I am not wearing a boot around the house and not anymore using any of the assistive devices I accumulated over the 3-months and if you didn’t know you will not anymore notice the swelling that accumulates in my foot when I sit here too long.

I’ve repeated this track of post for a while now, and I think its time to let go and see what this month would bring me … a looser ankle, a sexier ankle, a better gait or all of the above.

The First Temple I Visited When I Was In Nepal

Who would have thought that when I accepted the job in Nepal to support my organization respond the destructions brought by the earthquake in 2015 it would also pave the way for me to visit holy site after holy site … I started a pilgrim without me knowing.

I was happy to meet Nepalese returning from their work abroad, like our driver and many new physical therapists to help in rebuilding Nepal. They are willing to leave their high paying job because they know that their family and country needs them. It is good for us as outsiders to work with them knowing that their intentions are the same as us … to help and support the nation building.

The Monkey Temple

Found the middle of the busy streets of Kathmandu, the Monkey Temple was named because of the abundance of monkey around the hills that joins the pilgrims as they climbed the stairs to venerate their gods.

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Buddha welcomes you to the temple … start your ascent!

In Hindi, it is the Swayambhunath Stupa and temple complex. It is on a hill that can be seen from far if you know where to look. Hindu worship animals and as you already know the “cow” is a “holy cow” to them.

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The view from the top of the hill … overlooking one part of the densely populated city of Kathmandu in the late afternoon as the smog rises up covering the sky

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When you see them in the middle of the streets, you drive around it, or you completely stall the traffic until it moves out of the way, you cannot shoo them away, or you will have the evil eye upon you!

Reading up on Swayambhunat made me feel sad when I saw the destruction around the complex brought on by the devastating 7.2 and 6.8 earthquakes within one month apart in April and May 2015. Most of the buildings, statues, and murals that toppled to the grounds can be said to be over 100 years, and in that jolt, they fell like Lego bricks and nothing could have prevented it.

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Fallen bell
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One of the altar with the Buddha eye in the center
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Prayer bells … you can see the shine caused by the hands of those passing and pray

It is wonderful to see that the spirits of the people didn’t falter, they come in droves and continue life after the destructive earthquake. With the contributions from all over the world – the pilgrims and the devotees had made constructions and reinforcements of the structures possible. The community was able to start rebuilding early.

The photos are some of the devastations I saw when I visited the temple during one of our weekend breaks. There was less and less aftershock by that time, and there are more and more people allowed to visit and worship again in the temple.

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The peace it brings to the pilgrims amidst the rubbles
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More climbing required … the price is at the top of the stairs
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The stairs … along the way you will be welcomed by HIndu gods to guide your way, to the enlightenment
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Constructions commence. The community reinforced the structure to prevent further collapse
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One of the last standing column/stupa that’s reinforced for safety and reconstruction
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One of the stupa that didn’t make it … it was reduced to a stub
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The temple complex with the round bell for everyone to turn as they pass by praying
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One monkey contemplates the outcome of the destruction the earthquake brought to his temple
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Monkeys are part of the life in the temple
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Bells left hanging secured by those huge chains
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Rubbles blocking the way to the other side of the complex
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Cracks in the wall of an old building that houses monks looking after the temple complex
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It all comes down to this … more rubbles
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More structure damage … some of them are condemned to be demolished completely
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Debris everywhere … the red building is an old library and bookstore
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Houses of monks destroyed during the quake
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Piles of rubble from buildings that collapsed during the shake
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One of the stupas and housing complex for the monks

The Heat is On

Ah, the end of the month … it means that in two weeks it would be the fourth month since I broke my bones and third month since I started my physical rehabilitation treatments.

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My bones had set well and good. I was already given a full-weight bearing go signal by my doctor, and my therapist had been wearing me out trying to work more on my gait quality and endurance. Strength is not a problem for me, but I still have residual tightness and numbness which as I was told is usual with ankle injuries.

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Although, my therapists been telling me that I recover fast and is able to do active exercises faster than most patients they see in similar condition. And my doctor also said the same and mentioned that some patients love their injuries so much they don’t want to be moving on their own, I am the opposite.

I challenged the norm pushing myself hard before it’s time, and it fought back putting me in my place by letting me feel pain.

**

The weather in the Philippines been rising. I was still happy until the summer officially kicked in because the heat is also kicking us all indoors.

My doctor was right when he said “let’s not put you on full leg cast” when he saw me the first time in January. Instead, he prescribed for me to use an Air Cast, a type of boots that I put on myself with help at first, and adjust the pressure on both sides to control the movement of the ankle as I start putting weight on my foot while keeping the ankle secured and stable.

 

He said I will thank him come March knowing that the temperature will continue to rise, and I am thankful indeed. Since 4 weeks, after wearing the boots at least 12 hours per day, I am almost not wearing it at all. I walk around the compound in shorts, without an appendage and only has one when I go to the hospital or attend a meeting like I did last week.

Wearing the boots outdoors now is more a precaution and protection from bumps in high traffic area like hospitals and malls. Otherwise, I almost don’t need it anymore, soon it will have to be shelved until I need it when my wires are removed.

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In spite of the positive remarks from my treatment team, I still feel I am not doing enough, and I still feel sad and depressed sometimes with my condition. That was one of the reasons I had by set-back that I wrote all about here Happy Scar, trying hard to fast track my recovery that I almost re-injured myself, at least in my mind.
I am counting the days within the time frame I set for myself which is by mid-June to see if my physical and emotional self will be attuned. For the meantime, I am trying to fight off the heat playing in the garden with my niece and the garden hose.

Cooling Off
Cooling Off

Am I Lucky at 7?

I’m at my ortho doctor’s clinic waiting for him to arrive for my first appointment and maybe my last during this month – the fourth month since my accident.

I came home after I was released by my attending orthopaedic doctor from La Marsa private hospital. I stayed a week after my surgery. And anticipating my need for full time care my organisation, and I decided to evacuate me back here. One week after being hospitalised I was cleared to travel with so much precaution, and class except I cannot enjoy the perks of a business class traveller when you’re nursing a cast leg and in blood thinners especially if your airline has good wine selections 🍾🍷🍹

So arriving after travelling 10,000 kilometres for 24 hours the reality of being disabled was sinking in. The local representatives of my insurance were in my case and scheduled me at the end of the week for a consult. The paranoid in me felt that I need to see the doctor immediately. Complaining of pain and thinking that my toes were turning blue. So instead of Saturday, I went to the emergency room three days prior only to be told my blood circulation was healthy and my pain was nothing to be worried about. My doctor just looked at my leg inspected the sutures and gush at how meticulously it was done and prescribed iron supplement and removed the blood thinner drugs. Then I was sent home. Uneventful 😄.

From then to now I wonder what will be the news … I am feeling lucky at my 7th visit to my doctor … that is if he arrives.

I am patiently waiting ⏳

My Road to Recovery Is Bumpy, Now that I Am Thinking of It

“Walk on your own yellow brick road. If you can’t find one, spray paint your way into happiness. If that doesn’t work, buy yellow shoes.”
Sadiqua Hamdan, Happy Am I. Holy Am I. Healthy Am I.

Entering the fourth month of my recovery means that I am almost there. In fact, according to the textbook, I am past the 3-month bone healing process, I should be on my way to walking independently until fully recovered

My last radiographic imaging showed that my bones were healing well. They were aligned perfectly, and my doctor gave me very positive commendation on how much progress I am making. He might just see me once a month instead of two, and that is a good sign, right?

When I say fully recovered means, more flexibility in my left ankle and no more swelling. But I still have both and yesterday when I attended my therapy session it made me appreciate more the small changes I observed in me.

In the last months, I suffered what you will call “psychological breakdown”. Nothing serious where I need to seek professional help, I guess living with my family helps breaks my downward plunge but then if I am alone I am not able to do anything productive except maybe read a lot of books and start this blog.

It happened when I thought I made a mistake in my attempt to recover early. I told you I am my own worst patient and I didn’t follow my own prescription and pushed myself too much. When I was not entirely satisfied with my therapy sessions, not getting good results, I increased my home treatment.

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One day I started to feel pain when stepping on my left foot and attempted walking, I thought I was just tired and iced it. It didn’t improve with ice and rest, even when I put on my aircast, I still felt pain when I put my foot down. Got more worried when I was not able to do proper gait training during my therapy session because of pain. I reported to my doctor, anticipating I made my situation worst and all knowledge and reasons I know are thrown out of the window!

No, it was brought on by me still walking on partial weight bearing, and my forefoot and longitudinal arch are tight. All my doctor did was stretch it, it was painful but it helped as if I didn’t have pain after all.

With that painful episode, it became a trigger for me to be getting down and worried, thinking about how pathetic my life is and replaying how I came to be in this situation. I noticed a trigger … the thought of work, of some name or words related to my life before the accident triggered these melancholic episodes that made me dive in and swim in “self-pity”. I wrote about it in my other blog Bouts of frustrations, boredom and a little bit of self-pity

So what now?

I am trying to crawl back out. To get back into looking at what I needed to do and finish what needs to be done soon.

My spirit actually lifted because of 4 degrees increased in my dorsiflexion. It means that I have 6 more degrees to go to reach the full range of 20. That motivates me to be more positive and do more careful exercises at home not that I also decreased my therapy sessions. I am trying again to be the good patient as I could be.

Additionally, I decided its time to be functionally independent in self-care. It means I am doing it alone overcoming the fear of slipping again and planning on my new shower routine without breaking my bones. That’s for another blog.😉