Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ask Jer: In Which You Never Eat Corn Flakes Again

Jeremy's post: Round 2.

"Have you played Valkyrie Profile yet? How is it?"

Sorry, I haven't played it yet. It is on my to-do list.

"Do you miss your old roomie Wilcox? Why did Stephen never date in college? Was he not good enough for the girls or the girls weren't good enough for him?"

Yes, although I don't think he and I were ever ol' ladies (roommates for non-Aggies).

I could be wrong, but I don't think Steven ever talked to girls at A&M, except for the girls in the band with us.

"for both of you where r the medical mondays?"

Loki ate them. Fear not, I plan to beat them out of him. (***It's me, Jess, interjecting, as this question is for both of us. Medical Mondays will resume as soon as I can reach my file cabinet with all my medical research in it again. Right now it is in the office, which is wall-to-wall boxes.***)

"Do you and Connor have races in your wheelchairs? I bet he kicks your a**."

Yes. On level, beveled, and uphill gradients Connor has a distinct advantage since he actually receives locomotion via mommy power. On a downhill I have recklessness on my side which allows me to achieve speeds at which mommy power cringes in horror and cars must swerve wildly to avoid me.

"If your remote control could be hooked up to only one thing in the whole world, what would you choose?"

Rowbert. If I could control Rowbert via remote I could use him in place of a large predatory animal and begin my crusade against stupid people. In his current form his attacks would be limited to things like, "Run Over", "Door Surprise Attack", or "Ankle Snapping Ramp Attack". With some Road Warriorish modifications (warriorish is now wordified) I'm sure Rowbert would be the bane of stupidites everywhere.

"What happened to your hedgehog?"

At first, I had no clue what you were talking about. Now I seem to remember having a stuffed hedgehog animal in college. I have no idea why I had such an animal or where it came from. I have absolutely no clue as to its current whereabouts. If it absorbed my passive aggressive violent side it is probably running amok.

"Was Afghanistan what you expected? If you were given the 'all clear' health wise, do you feel like you'd WANT to go back?

Given current circumstances, what are you hoping will be your next career steps?"

Yep. I expected a mountainous desert with landmines everywhere and a people whose culture is vastly different from ours and Afghanistan delivered. The Army is reasonably good at preparing units for the area they will deploy to. We received language and culture classes in preparation for our deployment.

If I were given the all clear health wise I would want to go back and I would be obligated to go back. My current unit is still there. However, the point is moot since I won't be given the all clear anytime soon.

Ideally, I will be able to remain in the Army. The military has started keeping more wounded Soldiers, including some amputees. I don't know a lot about options for continued service since this is my first time losing at minesweeper.

"What's your favorite way to spend time with Connor?"

Much of Connor's therapy could be considered play, since play is what children do. I enjoy trying to get Connor to explore new toys or play with his old toys in new ways. For instance, putting him into a sitting position and placing a toy just barely within his reach so he has to work to play with it.

"Will you be acquiring Diablo III, upon its release?"

Of course. Although I am more excited about Starcraft 2. Starcraft's plot was phenomenal in my opinion.

"....Ender's Game series by any chance?" (in reference to my answer in the last q&a I did about what books I read)

Yes. The sequels were decidedly not military sci-fi unfortunately. The parallel series about Bean was decent. At this point, however, they read like young adult novels to me. Jessie has just informed me that they are kinda sorta young adult novels.

"Do you have the Little Rabbit Foo Foo book (the one by Michael Rosen)?"

Nope. If I did I would definitely predatorize the heck out of it. Connor must understand that rabbits are an important food source for wolves, bears, and tyrannosaurus rex.

"Why not T Rex driving tanks?"

Unfortunately a T Rex is unusually large. We would have to design a really big tank for it to drive. We have plenty of people sized tanks that we could immediately man with velociraptors. It might be better to simply label a T Rex as a bipedal tank. Then we could call it TankRex.

"I usually read fantasy, but I'm discovering old Larry Niven and Heinlein and such. What are your favorite books?"

I definitely enjoyed Niven and Heinlein. A couple of books I have enjoyed are Armor by Steakly and The Mote in God's Eye by Niven and Pournelle. Pournelle supposedly has some good stuff. Let me get back to you later on this. I'm currently in a heavy sci-fi phase and am reading a lot of new material.

"what is walking like for him? what hurts the most and what is the most difficult part about it? in the end, is he supposed to have pretty much all functionality back? i remember Jessie mentioning something about not being able to move the foot sideways... will that remain?"

Walking is a fairly painful process at this point. I am able to use it for short bursts with crutches and even shorter bursts completely unassisted. There is a bit of general pain in the heel area and some sharper pains in the mid foot. The heel pain is probably directly related to the trauma and degradation of the fat pad. The mid foot pain is probably occurring because many of the mid foot joints have extremely limited mobility at the moment.

The recovery process has introduced me to the most painful experiences of my life unfortunately.

Currently, breaking up scar tissue is the most significant pain. This involves a licensed medical massage therapist putting deep, manual, pressure on the left calf wound area and the trauma scars on the undersides of my feet. When we started this process it involved me screaming and cursing into a pillow while hitting things and trying to climb the futon to get away. The scars have softened up and I usually only growl a little now.

Prior to that, the removal of the pins in my feet was amazingly painful. Pins are small metal wires that are pushed through connective tissues like ligaments and then driven into the underlying bone. This makes sure that ligaments and tendons heal correctly to the bone. Sometimes they came out with minor pain. Other times they had to get a pair of medical pliers (look just like regular pliers) to get them out. If pliers were needed it meant screaming and a few tears.

Removal of the sutures and staples wasn't too bad. It took a while to get them all. My feet and legs were still very sensitive at that time and this probably amplified the pain a bit.

I remember very briefly waking up as I was put back into my bed post surgery. My heels hurt a lot but I was very drugged up. I remember screaming a bit and begging for more morphine. Considering that my heels had just been cut up, drilled into, and probably hammered on with medical tools I am extremely happy that I was still very drugged up from anesthesia.

If you like corn flakes you need to stop reading right now.

Amazingly, the actual trauma hurt very little. Mostly I just had a very odd sensation in my feet and a feeling of lethargy. Imagine a bowl just slightly larger in diameter than your fist. Fill the bowl with corn flakes. Do not add any milk. Make a fist and rest it on top of the corn flakes. Now, with a quick and firm movement, push your fist down into the corn flakes. You probably feel lots of cracking and individual pieces grating against other pieces. Maybe you feel a few sharp pieces cutting into the soft tissue on your fist. That's what my feet felt like to walk on. Surprisingly little pain was involved. Just lots of crunchy.

If you like corn flakes you can start reading again. If you no longer like corn flakes, sorry.

The history of recovery from this type of injury is varied. Due to the pain involved with rehabilitation, many people stop therapy early or don't try at all. I am willing to tolerate pretty substantial amounts of pain though so the outlook is good. I am walking early for wounds this severe. More importantly, none of the foot joints are slipping which is great. Instability from joints slipping would have meant more surgeries to include possible amputation. Overall I would say the prognosis is quite good.

The left foot cannot make a full recovery due to the fusion of the calcaneus (heel bone) and the talus (ankle bone). My physical therapists report that with this fusion I will lose the ability to move my heel left and right. I do have the ability to move my fore foot and mid foot. At this point I suspect that this will only impact my ability to make rapid direction changes and possibly my ability to run. I might have a little bit of difficulty balancing on a beveled surface as well.

That's all I'm tracking for questions, so unless you ask more questions I will never blog again.



A said...

Now that you have lived multiple levels of mobility from fully mobile to wheelchair to crutches (and hopefully fully mobile again soon)you have a unique perspective on the challenges most of us don't even realize exist during day to day living. What changes would you make to the world to make life easier for others who live with these challenges everyday. Stores? Restaurants? Airplanes? Schools? Homes?

Also: when you have mastered the remote control Rowbert stupidity elimination program can we send you GPS locations where Rowbert is needed?

Kristin said...

B.J. seems to remember a real, live hedgehog living with you in the dorm for an unspecified amount of time. This is the hedgehog I was referring to. Possibly the animal science department experimented with some massive genetic modifications and said hedgehog is now your velociraptor?

Mary said...

@Kristin - I think you're thinking of his tarantula. And on that note, what happened to your tarantula?

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