Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sunday Stroke Survival: Killer Inactivity

For someone like me, inactivity is almost a fate worse than death.  It has never been my style. Just after my first stroke in the acute wing of the hospital, I was going nuts and that was only four days!

Now, a couple of weeks has gone by since I broke my foot. I'm definitely going insane. The pain in my foot has not abated. It isn't any better. Even the new x-rays show no healing. Absolutely none. So my forced inactivity continues and I'm bored. There's only so much Netflix, computer time, spinning, and knitting I can do. Coupled by a spell of warmer weather (60s), I wanted to be out in the outside and doing.

Do I sound whinny? I know I am. I should be grateful that more bones didn't and haven't broken. I am but not really. I'm yearning for my old life where I could escape for hours or days writing. That's how I survived the months after I broke my toes last time. I find myself complaining a lot, and that's not me either. But, I'm having a hard time stopping myself from voicing my frustration.

I may not be a diabetic anymore, but the diabetic neuropathy in my legs, and slow healing associated with diabetes continue on as if I was. So does the poor circulation to my lower extremities. It's maddening! You do everything right and it still kicks you in the hinny. It ranks right up there with post stroke spasticity.

Speaking of spasticity, I'm still in a holding pattern with Emory neurosurgery. The first appointment available is not until May! I know you were wondering.

I'm in another Catch-22 with my foot healing. The build up on the heel of my AFO causes more pressure on my lower foot. Thus it causes stress fractures from just walking with it. But I need the build up because of the Achilles tendon contracture. I can't even get therapy or do exercises to stretch my Achilles tendon, like I was doing, because of the fractures. I do alright, most days, with wearing my AFO only inside the house. But Lord help me when I have to wear a shoe. The pressure of the shoe sends me back to the initial pain. Pain levels to 9 or 10 out of 10.

Rethinking the Iwalk crutch. Ease of use with the Iwalk crutch is dependent on a normal gait and balance. It isn't recommended for anyone who has balance issues. Living post stroke, like I am, I do not have a normal gait or balance. I'm constantly stumbling on invisible lint on the floor. The terrain, where I live, is not level so I'm constantly stepping up and down on angles. Considering all that, my balance, though better than it was, is still not great and I'm still prone to fall.

That brings me to another point against the Iwalk crutch. To sit or drive, you have to take it off. That means undoing the three straps to take it off and redoing them and tightening them up again every time I got up. With two working hands and good balance, it might not be so hard, but for impaired me? Can you see me going to the store?  I'll get to my car, sit catty corner on the edge front seat (remember when you sit the crutch part is sticking straight out so the car door is a factor), drive to the store and do the same thing in reverse before even entering the store. I might mention here that on the plus side of this equation, all the buckles and adjustment straps are on the inside the thigh and calf (easier to access). You would repeat the whole process to go home. Even for someone without chronic fatigue this would be taxing. The only good thing is that I wouldn't need a motorized cart to shop with.

So basically, I sit at home. When I do go anywhere, like to therapy or the drug store, I'll painfully put on my shoes. The shoe adds to the pressure on the fractured bones. In the house, I'll just don my AFO only. (I know, I know. You're not supposed to)  I take my rollator to the car. But first I have to manhandle the rollator down three steps. Painful process. I manhandle the rollator into the back seat, pivot with my back to the van into the front seat of my van, and repeat the process when I get to therapy. I'd have to do the same with a knee scooter.Then again, it supposedly takes two hands to operate just like my rollator. But I manage okay so long as there are no drastic inclines or declines.

So that leads me back to killer inactivity. Mel is having to do everything and I feel about useless. I will occasionally cook.I can periodically put my weight on the AFO build up in the heel, but the spasticity on my foot causes my toes to curl under and my big toe to arch up. If I stand for too long the spasticity combined with muscle spasms which twists my foot and  put pressure on the fractures too. The strap on my AFO that prevents this cuts right across the fractures causing pain. I can stand bearing most of my weight on my functioning leg or sitting on the rollator's seat. Keep in mind that none of our cabinets or appliances are the right height. Being short, I'm about nose level to whatever I'm doing in the kitchen. Not exactly safe but it gives Mel a break. It also breaks up my boring day to day existence.

I do try to keep my brain active. I play games like Tripeaks and Scrabble on the computer, but after an hour of playing these, I  quickly get bored with these. I'll watch YouTube, but then I'll be chomping at the bit to do or try something only to be stopped by my foot.

Another three weeks til the next set of x-rays. But, I'm using pain as an indicator for amount of healing taking place. Mel keeps telling me that pain is associated with the bones knitting back together. I hope she's right. But having broken more bones than her, I fear she isn't. Meanwhile, I'm crossing my fingers. I'd cross my toes too if it didn't hurts so much.

Nothing is impossible.


  1. Sorry it's not healing. Too bad there isn't a contraption that will work for you. With all your free time, maybe you should design one.

  2. Sorry to hear you have to deal with so many problems at once. Thinking of you.


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