By now I’ve had the stitches out, but there is still a lot of swelling, tenderness and bruising. I have been opening up and airing out my AirCast as often as possible. I’m also doing my exercises which is really just trying to point my toes up to my knees. If it hurts, I back off. I do both feet at the same time to trick my injured leg into working harder.
Epsom Salt soaks - I have not tried it myself, despite doctor’s orders (to be honest I just forgot). If you do soak, moisturize well afterwards. Ice is what works best for me. Ice is soooooo goooood.
The pain is lessening, and I’m back to work on my knee scooter. My DH and I work at the same place so we are very lucky to be able to carpool. We are also very lucky to have a car that the scooter fits easily in to. I am off the narcotics completely and taking only the doses of Advil as per my doctor’s orders. I am also very lucky in that my wardrobe is mainly of the J. Jill Wearever line, which is very easy to take on/off, and of stretchy material that pulls easily over the AirCast.
At work there were a steady stream of inquiries into how I was doing, if I was in pain, but mostly about the knee scooter. Not many people had ever seen one before, and everyone wanted to hack it. I had crocheted a basket liner with some pockets for my badge and phone, since I had no pockets on my work clothes, and everyone thought that was just the greatest thing. “It even has a cup holder!” You’ll hear all about needing a bell, or a backup beeper, or tassels for the handlebars, racing stripes or a motor - the best thing I know to do is to laugh, engage, stop, chat and answer any questions. People ask about you and your assistive devices because they are worried if they can ask about your leg. This is the way people show they care. I try to be gracious and humorous from the outset, because I know that everyone will be accommodating and help me as the weeks wear on.
My company is small and I have a close working relationship with our facilities manager. Before I came back I asked for a chair that had no wheels for my desk. I had a little stool already, but I would have asked for something under my desk that I could use to prop up my leg while working. Elevating your leg as much as possible is key to keep swelling down. I also suggested hard floor sliders for my normal chair (we have Aeron chairs) which would prevent the chair from sliding over the office carpet. It seems counterintuitive, but it works.
I have my backpack and brought a thermos/travel mug to leave at work. It’s much easier to get coffee back to your desk on a knee scooter if you can put it in the cup holder.
You will be the center of attention for a while - enjoy it. When someone asks you if they can get you anything, let them! If someone jumps up to open the door for you, thank them graciously and really mean it. If someone asks you how you feel, tell them “Much better than last week - thank you so much for asking!” It’s not just polite, your positive attitude gives people permission to act positively around you. This, in turn, manifests into helpfulness towards you. For example, you’ll enter a room a few minutes late to the meeting, because it will take you 10 times as long to get there than it used to. Someone will get up and offer your their seat, and probably hold the chair so it doesn’t roll back as you hop on one foot to sit down. Let them help, and genuinely thank them with a big smile. They will feel wonderful and you will feel wonderful too.
Not every day at work is going to be great. By the end of the week you’re going to be tired. Really tired. If you find yourself having “close calls” with your balance, dropping things, or feeling muddle-headed despite coffee, then stay home and rest. The hardest thing I am learning is not to push myself as hard as I used to. Healing time is a selfish time, so if you need to rest, rest! If you need to sleep, sleep! Rest is key to healing well. Most workplaces have a “wellness room” or “nursing mother’s room”. I sometimes retire to that room around 3-3:30pm for a half hour to just close my eyes and put my leg up. Sometimes I find a quiet back corridor in the building and lay on the floor and put my leg up on my scooter. Whatever works.
I worked from home this Friday because of a freak snowstorm. I was grateful to stay home and sleep. Everyone understands, it’s okay.