I’ve been going through a bunch of physical and occupational therapy and watching a lot of NYPD Blue and have been remiss in updating the peeps about my status. That will change now. I am going to break it down into categories by body part:
Leg: My knee/leg/displaced kneecap therapy is going great. I have gotten rid of my crutches and brace and walk with a slight limp. My ability to bend my knee so my foot goes toward my butt is back to fully normal. My ability to straighten my leg is still slightly restricted (hence the limp), but has improved over the past 3 weeks, so I can now make a straight line out of my leg, but am unable to get my lower leg to go higher than my upper leg, which all of you can do. My quad is weak on one side (inboard), but mad strong on the other side (outboard) due to the leg presses I take part in during physical therapy. Now that I am off my crutches, that will improve dramatically. The only pain I experience is in my knee after some serious exercise, but that used to happen after football practice, so it is nothing to be concerned about. There are wee scars where they drilled the screws in, so nothing to brag on. Grade: A-
Hand: The specific injury that messed up my hand was a severing of the extensor communis digitorum (common extender of the fingers, for the UnLatinized), which was reconnected. Soon after the surgery, I had to start flexing my fingers once an hour while wearing the splint to help keep the tendon from shortening too much. I wasn’t able to move my wrist for over a month because it might rip ye olde tendon apart again. After a month, I was able to take the splint off once an hour and flex my wrist up and done once an hour for the same reason. Accordingly, my ability to make a fist (and pitch a knuckleball, as kinsean would put it) has returned to almost normal. My ability to move my wrist upward (extension, or making a stop signal) is almost back to normal. My ability to move my wrist downward (flexion, or making a gay gesture) is coming back more slowly. After 2 weeks of exercising my wrist, it was at negative 5 degrees, meaning I couldn’t even get it even with my forearm. 2 weeks later, following some excellent occupational therapy, it is at 20 degrees. 80 to 85 degrees is normal. With some heating and prior stretching, I can actually get it to 40 degrees. My goal for the next 1-2 months that was set in conjunction with the occupational therapist was for me to be able to golf again. That’s a pretty good sign of progress when the LTC in charge of a clinic sees it as realistic that I’ll be hitting the links during the summer. There’s no pain there and maybe some slight aching after the NCO who helps me with assisted bending and stretching uses her body weight to push my hand down over the edge of a table while we rap about the time she spent in Iraq. I lucked into a nice 6-inch scar along the back of my hand that I can use to scare my future daughters’ boyfriends, by serving as a catalyst for me to talk about my time in the Army and the combat I saw, preferably while cleaning a weapon and staring into his eyes. Grade: B
Head: Any brain whooping and skull fracturing I took seems hypothetical to me at this point. For the first few weeks after I got home, if I sneezed or something my head would hurt. Now, nothing. I get slightly dizzy sometimes when I’m laying down and look sharply left or up, but that is pretty normal for a little while after the sort of injuries I got. My neuropsychology results were all positive, and the slight deficiencies I had were in verbal memory and visual recognition, although they were still well within normal for someone of my intelligence. After talking to the doc, he told me that the fact I maxed out all the other tests (scoring above most people who didn’t whack their noggin on the pavement) and didn’t do as well on the last two tests I took probably had to do with the fact I took the tests so soon after the injury and was still drugged up, meaning I had a lowered attention span. I do remember being bored off my ass during the 3 hours of testing. I have slight scarring where hair is supposed to be which D-Nice’s wife Lady J said looked like the mange. I also have a pretty nice one going down the right side of my forehead and into my eyebrow (a la Spike from Buffy/Angel) which is disappointingly light in hue. Score: A.
Shoulder: The physical therapy for my shoulder has had amazing results. Two weeks after starting the exercises, I went from not being able to raise my arm above parallel to the ground to being 75% of normal. Courtney noted that I shouldn’t test my shoulder in public because while I can’t call a field goal good yet, I can sure seem like I’m heiling Hitler. I actually sleep on my left shoulder some nights and can lift heavy stuff with my left hand. As I move into weight training and such, the improvements should continue. Grade: A-.
Ribs: Broken ribs again seem hypothetical. I have some soreness getting up in the morning or getting out of the car, but it seems more like I just ran 2 miles than broken bones. I won’t be able to box or wrestle for a couple more months and I had to cancel my tryout with the Pats for their special teams, but that’s aight. Score: A.
Pelvis: I think they messed up the test on this one. For my first few weeks of physical therapy, I couldn’t lay on my stomach because it seemed like my hip was bothering me, but that went away quickly. Also, I heard from some soldiers that fractured pelvises can cause erectile dysfunction (thanks, Chief) and that has sure as hell not been an issue. Seriously, I don’t feel any effect from this one so it must have healed quickly. Grade: A.
So, the state of Da Kine is good. I have a positive attitude and have nothing but praise for the professionals at Tripler, who always have good advice and the ability to keep their patients(?) motivated. I’d like to give a tardy shout out to Chris and Emily at The Red Seat, who sent me two t-shirts celebrating our beloved Red Sox along with a nice note of good wishes. I’ve been meaning to write them an honest-to-shit thanks via snail mail for weeks but haven’t done it yet. If there was ever a chance of me getting bummed out from the accident (despite the presence of Courtney, Bones, and Sipowicz), the outpouring of support from people I know and don’t know would have nipped that in the arse. Here are two people who don’t know me from Adam but take the time to let me know there are people thinking about me. Besides that, their site is great and they sell some pissah gear!