Good crack

Yes, I’ve had some good cracks and yes, I’ve also had some bad ones. With the persistence of the pain last year, the deep continual ache within the innards of connection between my pelvis and spine, though often masked with other more tragic pains depending on the day in question, I’ve had a feeling I’ve had an issue with the position of my bones in relation to each other, less so the condition of the bones themselves.

We can say the initial impact was a back crack that knocked me out of whack. (Sorry, I will avoid trying to rhyme.) By time I came back to consciousness I was unable to move the left side of my body. I could feel it and could sense some input- barely. The signals were coming as if my left leg was on the moon. Signals were coming, yet so faint and hard to made out above the static.

The next surgery five days later improved this- after an initial good surgery, then a horrible bed roll experience, then a night of good, good after-surgery drugs. Oh, it was the first time I said upright in my bed (after a high dose drug nap for five or six hours back in my room, then another high dose of the good stuff when I woke up at 10 or 11 that night – ha, per my now recollection.) Half an hour letting it roll through me while I laid in my pillow palace.

Ha, the first five or six days in ICU weren’t too bad- other than the pain and circumstance. I was able to meet some really, really good people. Separating which people were in which roles in which conversations with me (aka, is that their opinion as doctor, nurse, rn, lpn, cma, ra, pa, or just what was on their homework last night.) Being in a teaching hospital almost every person had a shadow- sometimes the shadow person was the one I was interacting with (a doctor shadow or a pa shadow,) as the actual professional stood back and silently supervised.

In addition to whatever information was provided to me, there was also abundant conversation about me, near me. Sometimes within earshot, often just outside as I could see a circle of doctors discuss my case in the hall before they moved on to the next room on their rounds. Everyone insists I am to be my own patient advocate- yet being the patient also, I was excluded from most high level discussions of my case.

Of course, I wasn’t actually a very high level person at the time- or was I still? I certainly felt high-level inside- even if accommodating for how my mind felt was difficult, while separating the pain from the drugs- seeking the relief provided yet also fearful of addiction. Once refusing opioids, first needing to be told I was already on a drip. I tried that first bed-roll without any extra, then we added a “quarter mike” of fentanyl each time they needed to move me and clean my backside.

Which was bad, very bad. Yet, the drugs lasted longer than the bed-roll, and they would finish by rebuilding my pillow palace. I think I was at six or maybe eight pillows. Pillow under each hip, each side of my back, each leg (except when my left still had the large braces on it,) another two behind my head, and one for each arm. Topped off with some assistance for some fluids and a nice warm blanket.

I could close my eyes, just as I have now, and feel that neutral body position, perfectly erected so that each muscle could let go. As best I could I would dissociate my mind from my body; I needed so much time inside my mind. It was hard to take notes, yet I have some, mostly I had to try to remember the stories, the conversations, the sometimes kindergarten examples as some doctors would explain something in two minutes, not allowing my questions, then be out of the room so quick.  Later I would ask who that nurse was, and be told “oh, that was the doctor”.

It was an internal mental process that still debilitates me sometimes- stuck in thought about my own condition, as it is certainly still the most dominant past event that is controlling my current actions- my reactions. The actions of cleaning up the messes laid down in the past- trying to sweep up the scattered pieces of information- my notes here, some papers given there, CD’s with images I can view more than I can understand, pages of my own writings once I could type, endless pages of doctor notes on dozens of my chart appointments and follow ups.

What is my story? Repeat ad nauseam. Until I get it right? It’s a big story. I could write four, maybe five books and not get all the details down. Not purge all the garbage from the past system.

Summarize- like yesterday. The key, what part of my story does the person need to know- I’m getting better at figuring out who the people are, what roles they play, what position they are in, how much they know, how much they are trying to help me versus how much they are trying to clear the room.

That first surgery (first after I was conscious,) made my leg feel better. My external fixator had been moved inside of me- that alone made me feel better. Yet, my leg could “feel” better- often that meant I could better feel the pain signals my leg was sending. However, feeling better and more signals from my leg was good. From there, I spent weeks learning how to talk to my left big toe.

I learned how to make it move with my mind.

My left arm came back. They said I probably didn’t have a stroke (and forgot to mention in the record all the reasons they thought I’d had a stroke.) The State insurance wouldn’t pay for intensive rehab, I was stuck in step down hospital room for over a week as my new insurance plan kicked in, with a shared PT doctor for the entire floor. The new insurance paid a quarter million at the start of my care for the two week in-patient rehab program.

Met more people. Some are there to care for you. Others are there to get an hour of their workday done. There is a difference.

Ha, where am I going with this? My left leg never got better after that. Over the summer I developed a bursa on my left elbow from using it to hold my ass up from the seat on my power chair. In November, I had the first and second good cracks. That first one was real good- painful, yet life was so much better with my femur in socket – a “non-union” one person said. The second “good” crack hurt like hell- breaking my tib/fib with a Maisonneuve fracture- yet beginning the process of allowing my foot to move up and to the outside.

The internal fixator removed after almost 11 months, then a lot of walking. Oh, walking though pain, until it was numb and then walking more. Miles would heal me I said. Maybe they did.

Walking never got easy, and I remember the day I broke down in New Mexico- my whole day’s worth of energy expended, and the reserves, just to walk to the bathroom to shower. In what my hindsight could describe as a nightmare hike up, down, and around the mountains (hills,) inside the park- marching along the endless black asphalt one step after another as the pain erupted across my abs and up to the opposite armpit each time my numb left foot would thud itself down while my ankle prepared to endure the weight of my body rotating over its limit joint.

In the roughly five months that I’ve been home, I’ve actually walked less. I’ve moderated my ADL’s as much as possible to avoid pain and find a routine in which I can live. Survive. A student mentioned the word “thrive” in class the other day- a word I now consider might apply to my life. No matter my age, a full time college student, no matter my means of financing the endeavor, most certainly this is to thrive within my enviroment.

Once I was home, the first few weeks were filled with good cracks- mostly while hanging from my pull-up bar. It feels as if my body was compacted in my first bad crack and deep inside it’s still trying move itself back into the right positions. As my spinal and pelvis and femurs have realigned themselves, the aches and pains seem to change daily- as much as my tasks have, so it’s hard to say which are causes or effects- most accurately although I can speak to correlation in my present mind, I’ll have to look back and read my books to see which over-exertion or period of lack of movement resulting in which changes, when. Mostly, I seem to think all the pains are there all the time, yet my brain has just been so overloaded for so long it’s hard to recognize.

Sometimes, when I do recognize it- it may feel like a new worse pain, when really (whether it’s been my ankle, hip, back, etc,) it’s that the body part has gone from being numb with overloaded pain to then being able to recognize the now lower level of maximum pain.  Sometimes, I’ve had to respond to a new pain with “oh, at least I can feel that again” as, the pain and the strength of the pain signals is good- my nerves are “feeling” better.

One type of muscular pain in my leg has gone, a different much worse pain has replaced it- the dead pork chop feeling in my left buttocks and the searing pain anytime I rise to an upright position. My hip pain- far from the opioid-requiring pain I experienced daily until November of last year had actually far improved over this year- near instantly from the time I awoke from my third surgery (once I came back to consciousness,) yet now has been replaced in my mind over the last month or two as the deep ache in my sacrum has come front and center.

Yesterday, home from the drive I tried to curl up in my chair and find a comfortable position. Pulling the ottoman near, I put my feet up. I turned to lay on my left side (sometimes the pressure seems to help,) then turned to my right side. Then on the same side, yet with only my left foot on the ottoman and my right foot dangling to the floor. I had smoked a bowl and just wanted to lay down and close my eyes – and disassociate the pain.

Twisting and turning I found the worse point of pain and leaned into to, resting my head on the arm of the chair. Alternating between relaxing my body and feeling the tension at the base of my spine, then tightening my body and stretching to rotate my left arm over then around my head as I turned my shoulders and opposed the movement with my hips, I rocked and pulsed my body, a slow gyration in the chair as I mutually tried to feel the pain and not be affected by it.


Loud. Low. Dull. Deep. Thick. Mucusy, gooey sounding. It was a good crack.

My foot felt tingly most the rest of the night. Walking feels better today (maybe, that is just because I in general feel good today…) Am I healed? Oh, I am so sick of shouting out my progress at each milestone as if it will be the last. I’ll go for a mile walk today, I need a timed mile for my fitness report anyway and we’ll let the stopwatch decide how good of crack that was.

It’s early, only ten fifty-six am. In bed by eleven thirty and slept well all night. Woke up to use the bathroom at seven, then back to bed until the ocean turned off. The first stand felt, well maybe slightly better. The stretching in bed felt really nice. Hm.. then took my pills and headed downstairs.

Made tea, sat in my chair, yet my feet were cold. So, much as I used to a very long time ago, I stood up and and curled my left leg into the chair and sat down as I brought my other leg up into the chair as well. Felt awkward, yet this is a position that has not been comfortable at all since my incident.

Shortly afterward, I thought hey, I should have mentioned that crack in my post yesterday.

I didn’t, so here we are. A boring day yesterday that only got just barely 1000 words out of me… then today, I write over twenty-one hundred words about a crack.

Time to keep going.




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