Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: Don't Let the Door Hit Ya Where the Good Lord Split Ya

Well, 2011 has been quite a year for me, to put it mildly. If I look at it from one perspective, it's been one of the worst years of my life.

This injury and all the twists and turns of diagnosing it and fixing it has been frustrating and humbling.  I've never been one to ask for help, and not being able to do ANYTHING has killed me on a lot of levels.  When your sister is in the shower washing your legs and your baby goddaughter is dressing you, your pride takes a hit.

Every task takes ten times as long as it did before.  Yesterday, for example, I dropped a knitting needle off my bed.  Since I can't bend at all, I went to reach for the grabber thing I bought from

Problem: It had fallen against the wall out of my grasp.  I picked up a pillow and began hitting it against the grabber until finally it fell within my reach.  Then, I used my Skill Crane talents to fish around for the knitting needle.  After five minutes, I finally got it back up on the bed.  Repeat things like this forty times a day and it gets a lot frustrating.

I miss so much about my life before 2011.  I lived by myself and my time was mine to do with as I wished.  Even the annoying little necessities of life like grocery shopping, walking the dog, cleaning the bathroom, doing laundry... all of those are off the table for me now.  After eight years on my own, I live under my parents' roof.  All of my stuff is piled in their living room, making it look like a furniture and box emporium.  I've lost friends.  I feel like I have completely taken over the focus of my mom's life, and that's been a killer too.

Before this year, I'd watch football and see an injury and hear about someone being out for a couple of months and it'd seem like no big deal.  I had no idea what rehab entails.  It's painful.  It's frustrating to feel like your body has failed you.  There are days when I just don't want to do it, but that's not an option unless I want to be in a wheelchair at forty years old.  It's incredibly slow to see progress.  Oh, and it's expensive.  Coming back from a really serious injury is no walk in the park.

BUT.... 2011 has taught me a heck of a lot about myself.

I know that I can maintain a positive attitude and smile and laugh and genuinely be happy even when things have collapsed and burned around me.

Entertaining myself has become a piece of cake.  I learned to knit from YouTube, have read over a hundred books, watched more TV than ever before in my life and, of course, have painted many incredible masterpieces using the hallowed Paint by Number technique.  Believe it or not, after a year of basically laying around, I can say I spent very little time bored.  That's an accomplishment in itself.

When you're stuck forty minutes outside of the city and unable to do much for a year, you discover quickly who your friends are.  I am so lucky to have some incredible people in my life who have checked on me, cheered me up, made me laugh and in general just remembered I'm alive.  You have no idea how much that's meant to me.  From now on, if I have a friend who's out of commission for a long period of time, I know how to make it better for them.  So many of the people I've met through my blog are on this list too.  I appreciate you guys so much.

Then there's my family.  My mom has done a ridiculous amount of things for me.  My dad has entertained me on a daily basis and has basically adopted my doggy pooh.  Annie and Kerry have been there helping me along the way.  Beautiful Goddaughter Jamie and Aunt Jen both stepped up to keep me laughing, and my cousin Missy sends me texts asking if I've bought a hover-round chair yet.  I'm so lucky to have so many aunts, uncles and cousins who have shown me so much love and support through this year.  Seriously, it blows me away how lucky I am.

I'm grateful for having a job that lets me work from home and I've learned to appreciate the value of health insurance.

My friend Dani (go read her blog, she's a huge success story!) wrote that in 2011 she learned to never take moving and exercising for granted.  I'm right there with her on this one.  It's going to take a while, but I am bound and determined to take control of my body again and work my way back into shape.  I learned this year that being unable to do boring things like walking the dog, walking around a store, riding a bike etc makes you miss them like you wouldn't believe.  2011 is going to be my LAST immobile year.  At least until my 90's.  :)

So adios, 2011.  You've been a hard year but you've taught me a lot.  My life will never be the same because of this year, and that's a good thing.

2012, I'm going to knock your socks off.  I'm 2/3 of the way done with bed rest, two weeks to go.  Can't wait to throw away these crutches and kick some butt in a new year.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Wrap Up

Yes I certainly did get ruby slippers for Christmas, and yes they do make them in a size 10.  My five year old cousin was extremely jealous, and all I wanted for Christmas was the jealousy of children, so I win again.

We had a great holiday, filled with holly jollyness and joy.  My family moved a twin bed into the middle of the festivities at two locations so I could attend the parties, prompting my cousin to ask if everyone had a Taryn Bed at their house.  I am hoping Santa gave him nothing but coal this year.

I am over halfway done with bed rest, yeeee hawwwww.  January 11th can't come soon enough.

Cooper has been completely ignoring me since I came home from the hospital on December 1st.  He's refused to jump up on my bed and I have to bribe him to even come to the side of it for me to pet him.  My sweet cousin Jenny thought it was because he's afraid he will injure me more, but the truth is Cooper is just a jerk. No doubt it my mind.

Last night, he gave me his Christmas present by jumping up here without being asked.

Maybe he's not the worst dog in the world.  I personally think his cousin Charlie is much cuter in his holiday getup.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Santa Maybe

Cameron my dear neighbor came over two days ago and he was facing an existential crisis.  His mom had told him that there was no Santa Claus, and Cameron was very very confused.

"I think she's just playing a joke on me or not wanting me to tell the real Santa I want a drum set for Christmas," he surmised.  "Huh," I said.  It was one of those awkward times when the limitations of having an eight year old friend really became apparent.

"My mom also said there's no Easter Bunny.  And I sat on that rabbits lap!  I didn't want to, but I did it."  Being eight is not always an easy thing.

Seeing Cameron struggle with this reminded me of one of my favorite Christmas memories.  I was in eighth grade and Kerry was in first and she began having doubts that Santa was real.  The rest of us were devastated.  Christmas is a lot more fun when there's a child in the house that believes that something magical is afoot.

We came up with a plan to buy us at least another year of Santa in our house.  On Christmas Eve, we went to midnight mass, and while we were gone, my friends Annie and Amy came over and put all of the presents under the tree.  They filled the stockings, put candy canes on the tree, the whole shebang.  When our family came in, Kerry's face registered total shock that Santa had actually come while we were out.  How could my parents be Santa Claus if she had been sitting at church with them when the presents were delivered?

It was glorious.  She believed with all her heart, but it didn't last.  (Thankfully, because how sad would it be if my 26 year old sister believed in Santa Claus?)

Hope everyone has a magical Christmas or Hanukkah or December 25th or whatever you celebrate!

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Christmas (Party) Story

Guess who fell on her ass at her family Christmas party this weekend?  That's right, yours truly.

It shouldn't even surprise any of us anymore, honestly.

The original plan was for me to go to the party and just stand up with my crutches, make the rounds and leave after ten or fifteen minutes.  Then we got to thinkin' (which is dangerous when the Harper Hive Mind starts making plans) and figured if we could pile cushions on a chair, I'd be able to stay at the right angle and thus would get to stay longer.  Trial and error and drop offs from my Uncle Joe ensued and we finally came up with the perfect set up.

We set it up in the restaurant and it worked great.  Sure, it looked weird to come into the place and immediately see semi-reclining me before you even got to see the tree, but what can you do.  It was great to see everyone and kiss some babies and get gently teased by my cousins for making an appearance like the Queen Mum.

Then, I stood up to have someone adjust the pillows underneath me.  When I sat down, the chair slid out from under me and BOOM, right on my butt.

What followed was a mob scene of people trying to help me while I yelled at them to leave me alone while I figured out what to do.  (Sorry, fam).  I realized pretty quickly I wasn't hurt from the fall (thank you, well padded derriere) so the problem was how to stand up without putting weight on my bad leg.  I am sure there is some way to do this, but I couldn't figure it out and I ended up standing up on my gimpy right leg.  I felt pain right away.

Well, that was my cue to hit the road.  We went home, medicated me and started icing the leg.  The good news is that my hip feels great and I definitely didn't undo what the surgery accomplished, phew.  The not so good is that I have some pain and weakness in my IT band and quad muscle.  I'm still waiting to hear back from the surgeon, but my good friend from childhood who's a doctor (how's that for making a valuable connection early in life) thinks it's just from not using the leg for so long and then standing on it.  I'm really hopeful that he is right.

We have so many cute babies in our family that it's getting harder and harder for me to be the center of attention.  Now I had to actually have surgery and then wipe out at the Christmas party just to be the topic of conversation.  Oh well, us attention junkies will do what we have to do to stay relevant.

My cousins are also much nicer than me.  I got emails and messages full of concern and very little teasing.  If one of them fell and I knew they were okay, I would have made some comments about the grace and beauty of their butt hitting the floor at the very least.

Seriously, many thanks to my family for being wonderful and for loving me even in my elderly addled state.  I'm bummed to miss the party, always my favorite day of the year, but next year when I'm mobile again we'll have a few laughs reenacting the Big Fall of 2011.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Happy Birthday to the Middle Child

Last night, I took a trip down memory lane and watched the cartoon version of "Little Women" that Annie, Kerry and I loved when we were kids.  I had no idea that it was an anime version of the classic Louisa May Alcott book, although the characters looking like this should have provided me a clue.

We marveled at well-written lines like when Laurie first meets Jo and says, "Does it bother you that I am so much richer than you?" and excellent translation mistakes like the sign proclaiming "On Reading!  Keep Out!" on Jo's bedroom door.  Truly a family classic (although the escaped slave who looked like a chocolate chip with gigantic fake lips did make us all a little uncomfortable).

I remembered how shocked Annie and I were when we finally read "Little Women" and discovered that Beth died at the end.  In the anime version, the doctor comes out of her sick room and announces that the fever had broken.  They all lived happily ever after.  Apparently those little Japanese kids couldn't hack the true horrors of the real world.

Anyway, watching this I was reminded how many times my sister Annie endured my favorite movies when we were little kids.  I insisted on watching "Wizard of Oz" at least twice a week.  "The Sound of Music" was on regular repeat along with "Annie" and "Pollyanna."  You can bet "Mary Poppins" made appearance after appearance as well.  Annie suffered through all of this, even though she *gasp* isn't a fan of musicals.  That's the joy of being the middle child stuck between two very demanding sisters... you learn to go with the flow.

Today my baby sister is 31 years old.  She still puts up with my taste in entertainment.  She means the world to me and I'm so grateful my parents decided not to put her up for adoption after all.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

One Week Down, Five to Go

Hello Internet People!

I am writing you from my bed, being very careful to not flex my hip more than 30 degrees.  Sitting upright is 90 degrees, if that helps you picture it.  This marks the first time in my life that I have EVER used what I learned in high school geometry.

Yesterday my stitches were removed, and everything is looking good.  Want to see some pictures from my surgery?  They are pretty neat and not bloody or graphic.

Torn muscle...

Fixed muscle!  I would share some pictures of my ass and hip, but I discovered that they are not very photogenic.  Who knew?  (You're welcome, Mom.)

PT is going great, although right now it is mostly to ward off blood clots.  The therapist does most of the work, moving my right leg for me.  After six weeks of healing, we start building up that leg again and gaining function in it.  I'm excited for that to happen.  Right now, I have an exercise routine I do in bed three times a day.  It involves a foam roller and an elastic band and I am not sweaty afterwards.  Baby steps, baby steps.

Here's a picture from my exercise program.  Doesn't it look kind of, um, questionable?  If I didn't know my physical therapist pretty well, I'd worry he was advocating a little back door action.  (Sorry, Mom.)

All of my meals are served to me in bed on a silver tray.  The fantasy of this turns out to be a lot more fun than reality.

Once again, my mom is just going above and beyond the call of duty to take care of me.  I really am so lucky for so many reasons and she's a big part of that.  Cameron my dear neighbor has come over and danced for my entertainment in the 6 x 6 area of my bedroom that doesn't have furniture in it.  All worked out fine until he tried to do the worm. You need some room to really work out the kinks with that one.  Live and learn.

The only bad part of being bed bound so far, aside from being a little bored, is being LITERALLY a captive audience for my dad to come in and tell stories about his many years with the Chicago police department.  SEND EARPLUGS, STAT!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

"IF I Did It" by Cooper the Dog

(Editor's Note:  My sister Kerry has become obsessed with the OJ Simpson murder case.  Last week, I was at the library and she asked me to check out the book that OJ wrote about the murder "If I Did It."  It was one of the most embarrassing things she has ever made me do, and that's saying a lot.

This morning, Kerry brought Cooper into my bedroom and announced he was writing a book about my accident. I think you'll all agree it'll be a best seller.)

IF I did it, and I'm not saying that I did it, she might have been taking me for a walk.  I may have seen another dog at the other end of the park.  If I did it, I might have pulled a little too hard on the leash, pulling her along behind me.  There may have been a pop from her hip area, and I may have been the only one to notice it.

It started with a little bit of pain and got worse from there.  Eventually the finger pointing got to me.  Everyone told her it had to have been me who had done it, but she'd look at my sweet little face and my adorable wagging tail and she'd blame it on everyone else but me.  Then she'd dress me up as a reindeer and I'd stop myself from ripping off her face with my teeth.

IF I did it, it was the only way to get out of the city and to live at my grandma's house.  If I did it, I had no other choice, and I have no regrets.

All residuals from Cooper's book will go to the Taryn Wright Movie Rental Foundation for Those With Hip Injuries.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Oh Hello, I'm Alive.

So, of course, all of the hip doctors, med students and anesthesiologists were handsome, funny and dashing as they introduced themselves to me before my surgery yesterday.  All I kept thinking was that I was about to be naked and in traction in front of all of them while my hip was repaired.  Something tells me that killed the potential for romance.  C'est la vie.

The good news is that the surgery was a complete success.  They ended up only having to repair one of my three muscle/tendon tears.  They anchored it to my hip bone and that restored the blood flow to the other two problem areas, so they should repair themselves.  About time those things started earning their keep.  

The BEST news is that the tear was in a great place to be anchored, so I will not have to wear a hip abduction brace for six weeks.  That's the thing I was most nervous about, as it really didn't look like a fun time.  In general, I try to avoid orthopedic devices that recommend cutting a slit in your pants for "toileting" and covering it with a sanitary pad.  The fact that I don't have to use this stupid brace makes me giddy with happiness.

I do have a pretty cool little device on that circulates ice water onto the surgical site.  I am hoping it helps with chilling my mother's wine too.  I know that would put her in a much better mood.

I woke up this morning with a gigantic puddle of blood underneath my hip.  We're waiting for a call from the surgeon but I think a couple of stitches got loose.  Hopefully no big deal.

Because I am a very special snowflake who is allergic to many many antibiotics, I also threw up a couple of times this morning, but that seems to have gone away.  I just enjoyed a lovely breakfast of mac and cheese and painkillers.  I feel connected to Hollywood celebrities everywhere.

Today, I have physical therapy at 11.  Can you even imagine?!?!?  Sure they want me to avoid getting blood clots but I was hoping I'd get 24 hours of milking this thing before getting back to work.  

Thank you so much for the support you guys have given me, particularly on Facebook.  It has really helped to know so many people are rooting for me.  I will challenge each and every one of you to a race when I get through this, and on the bright side, you will probably win!