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Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Tale of the Injured Travel Traveler Continues

Fifth metatarsal (Jones) fracture.  Not my foot, but you get the idea.  Picture source: eOrif.com
Back in In June, I reported on my blog that I injured myself while in Toronto and was less than happy about my current situation, boot and all, but that I should only have to wear my boot for a month.  My official diagnosis was a fracture of the fifth metatarsal (Jones fracture), tendonitis, tenosynovitis, and plantar fasciitis.   It's now August 1st and what have I been doing?

Well, quite a lot has occurred since my injury on May 29.  My Canadian VacoCast has become a permanent part of my life.  It's more of a love/hate kind of relationship as I know I need it, but I really can't stand wearing it. This summer has been extraordinarily hot in Boston and with weather over 100 degrees, wearing the VacoCast is like have a mini-sauna on my leg.  Every time I say that, I think of the  Progressive commercial.  The line is at 0:21 if you're looking for a quick laugh or a frame of reference -- "It's like a sauna in here."



All joking aside, I'm seriously hot in this thing, but I figure that soon my misery will be over.  After all, I was set to see the orthopedic surgeon on July 3rd and then life would be back to normal, right?  My flip flops in hand as I left for the doctor's office, I had visions of skipping (ok, maybe not skipping, but walking unencumbered) out of his office.  First stop was the required x-ray with long wait times and then his waiting room (more waiting), and then finally the exam room.  A quick look at the x-ray, then my foot, then a few questions, and then the decision.  Four more weeks in the boot!  Seriously?  Yes, seriously -- four more weeks. There was now a gap in the fracture that he had concerns about.  It could mean that the bones were now displaced or (and this is what I was hoping it was), it could be the bone filling in and causing it to look like a gap.  Either way, he not only wanted me in the boot, but on crutches so I wouldn't put any weight on my foot.

After getting over the shock of four more weeks in the boot, I shoved my sandal in my bag and decided I would be an incredibly compliant patient.  I had learned that the pump that wasn't shipped with my boot was, in fact, quite important as it makes it stiffer and more form fitting.  Turns out the company, OPED USA, is located in the Boston area in Waltham.  I contacted them immediately, but because of the holiday, they wouldn't be back in their offices until July 8th.  However, the one salesman, Ken Dupuis, definitely went out of his way to accommodate me and offered to meet up with me before then if I needed it.  The boot worked ok without it, so I opted to wait until the 8th and drove over to their offices to get it.  Getting crutches was less fun as I had a prescription for crutches if I went to a DME supplier, but I can't seem to find one anywhere. I stopped at Walgreen's instead and bought a pair there.  Probably not the best idea.

The dreaded boot AND crutches
I hobbled around in the heat with my sauna boot and crutches, dripping in sweat and cursing my flat feet. When we went to the movies, I used my crutches.  When I needed to pick a few things up at Sephora, I maneuvered every so slowly around customers and through their tiny aisles on crutches.  What I discovered is that people think that if you are on crutches, you can't hear them.  On more than one occasion, people said things about me, while looking right at me, but not to me.  For example, entering the restroom at the movie theatre, one woman looked at another and said, "I don't know how she can do that."  For the record, my foot is injured and I'm in a boot and on crutches, but I'm not deaf.  Let me correct that, I do have an issue with my hearing, but this injury is with my foot and I can still hear you.  Ok, never mind...

My affiliation with the church of crutches continued for about two weeks.  Then I lost all faith in their efficacy and we parted ways.  I get why I needed them, but now my foot no longer hurt, it was no longer swollen, and it seemed like those pesky crutches weren't worth the extra effort at all.  Let's just say that someone needs to come up with a crutch workout because I was huffing and puffing every time I used them.

Ta-da!  Left foot magic.  Ok, clearly no time for a pedicure.  Don't judge me!
The test I was using to see if my foot was healing was a simple three prong test.  Did I have any pain in my foot?  No.  Did it hurt to step on my foot?  No.  Could I cross my pinky toe?  No.  What's that you ask?  I can cross my pinky toe?  Yes, I can.  May not seem like a big deal to you and no, I don't break out this trick in front of complete strangers for any reason, but being "double jointed" and having always had great flexibility and now not being able to cross that little toe like I had in the past, well -- it was kind upsetting.  This was a far cry from when I first injured my foot because I couldn't even move my last three toes at all.  I was going to push through and get to my next appointment because the boot was definitely going to come off on July 31st.

My flip flops were packed and I made my way back over to the doctor's office.  Every time I drive, I have to take the outer part of the boot off and then strap it back on before I exit the car.  Let's just say that I do this several times a day.  Inside the office, there was more waiting in x-ray, then the waiting room, and finally I was able to sit in the exam room.  I was extremely confident because I wasn't having any pain, my foot wasn't swollen or strange looking.  I planned on walking out of there with my cute pink flip flops and heading to Marathon Sports afterwards to get fitted for the most perfect pair of running shoes so I wouldn't ever have to go through this again.  Well, hold on one second there.  The doctor had a different opinion on this matter. Yes, there was bone growth, but he wasn't confident enough in me being out of the boot yet.  Now this is where extreme patience is needed.  Four more weeks in the boot was prescribed.  He also wanted to know where my crutches were and I told him, "...in the car?"  So back on crutches, still in the boot, and absolutely no weight on my foot.

Could I be upset about this?  Absolutely!  But I'm not going to let this get me down.  If I try to get back to normal too quickly, I could injure it or worse, break it again.  The fifth metatarsal bone is notoriously slow to heal and all I can do is be patient and wait.  Or can I?  For the record, I love Freecycle and my area Freecyclers and I was able to pick up a pair of crutches from someone so yes, I do have crutches now.

I decided to research what I could to help my bone heal faster.  I was already doing some things right like not smoking, I'm already taking my fair share of supplements (multi-vitamin, calcium, Vitamin D, etc.), exercise (don't tell my doctor), and it looks like my high-protein diet was going to benefit me and bone healing.  What I didn't know was that you're not supposed to take aspirin or ibuprofen, but you could take acetaminophen.  I also read about MK-7 and MK-4, both of which I liked because those are my initials after all.  What is it? Vitamin K₂ is thought to help with bone growth and is supposed to help prevent fractures.  Guess I should have read about that way earlier than July 31, 2013.  Probably the biggest thing I learned was that some people may be out of the boot in four weeks, but some stay in it 12 weeks or longer.  On top of that, it can be six months or more before they are back to anything that resembles "normal" foot use.

Although limited in getting around these days, it's not going to prevent me from planning trips, thinking about the future, getting caught up on posts that I had meant to get up previously, and most importantly, working on updating this blog and moving it as I had promised to do.   It just means I need to exercise patience with everything.  Maybe this was all intended to teach me a valuable lesson.  We shall soon see if it did.

Marian Krueger
Email: mkrueger@travelshopgirl.com

7 comments:

  1. You poor thing!!! I'm so sorry to hear this. Please try some acupuncture!

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  2. Thanks Andi! You know, I was thinking about that and didn't know if it would help or not. I don't have pain, but anything to help speed the process along would be great.

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  3. Sorry to hear about the leg, hope you will be back soon and hopping across the globe, so enjoy your posts.

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  4. I broke my foot 2 weeks after you. 10days before my trip to Ireland and one month into my retirement. Limped around Ireland in the boot and crutches for 3 weeks. End of Sept. The break is worse so surgery and the boot. And now a wheelchair! It's my right foot so I can't drive. Haven't been out of the house except for Dr. Appts since Sept. Thanksgiving next week and I will not be able to cook this year. No significant pain at the fracture site but the ball of my foot burns like hell by 6 pm. I have had co-workers return to work 2 weeks after total hip replacements! Who would have thought a little bone by your little toe could cause so much physical and emotional pain. Anyway...thanks for letting me vent and I had a great time in Ireland!

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    1. Irene I am so sorry about your fracture. What a horrible thing to happen at that time. I ended up wearing out the bottom of my boot while we traveled. :) Just went to the orthopedic surgeon yesterday for my final appointment and my foot is now completely healed. Took long enough and I'm glad that it is although I still have pain in my foot and about 5 more weeks of physical therapy.

      I feel bad you haven't left the house either. Sounds like you'll need to start planning a trip for the Spring to keep your spirits up. Keep me updated on your progress.

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  5. I'm so sorry to hear about your leg. And I understand how frustrating it might be for you knowing how it doesn't really hurt anymore. But you have to keep wearing them for faster recovery. As they say, it's better to be safe than sorry. It's good that you're following your doctor's advice. Get well soon!

    Clyde Kurt

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  6. Aww, tough luck there, Marian. It really is annoying to have another four weeks on the crutches and on that Vacocast. I guess it’s frustrating, especially that you seem to be the type who’s out a lot and likes getting to places. Yet we do need to follow the doctor’s orders to make sure those bones heal properly. Anyway, almost six months have passed now, how’s your foot?

    Natalia Campos @ Primary Care

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