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On the Path to Whatever Passes for “Normal” Around Here

Jan Chait

January 18, 2011

Hey! How’s it goin’ with you all? I’m trying to get my life back in gear after nearly two years of surgeries and constant infections.

For one thing, I’ve neglected my teeth — that is, I’ve not been to the dentist for my regular checkups and cleanings. That’s not a good thing when you have diabetes, because it can lead to gum disease and you can lose your teeth and stuff like that.

Right now, I have a tooth that’s bothering me off and on, plus my ear on that side feels a bit uncomfortable. So tomorrow I go to the dentist. I know I should have gone before, but I didn’t feel well before the amputation, then I was fearful of trying to transfer from my scooter to the dentist’s chair. But I’m pretty much OK with that now.

Actually, it’ll be good to see him. He usually is up on what’s going on in town that doesn’t make the news.

Today, I go to see the prosthetist. If what’s left of my leg is in proper shape, he’ll take impressions for my temporary prosthesis, which I should get next Tuesday. I’m stoked! Now, I want inpatient rehab while I learn how to walk, just like I was 9 months old all over again.

After a week of inpatient rehab after the amputation, I switched to outpatient. Frankly, it wasn’t working out. I only had two half-hour sessions per week. It took me something like 45 minutes to get ready, get to the car, have somebody take the scooter apart, drive to the rehab place, put the scooter back together, etc. Reverse that after I did my exercises. Plus, my chauffeur (my husband) had to devote even more time, because he had to leave work and come home to pick me up, wait while I did rehab, take me back home, and then go back to work.

So I asked for a list of exercises to do at home. It also keeps me from sledding down the ramp in the ice and snow, yelling at whoever is ahead of me to ‘GET OUTTA THE WAY!’

The outpatient place does three 45-minute sessions a week of gait training after you get a temporary prosthesis. I can already tell you I don’t believe that’s enough. Plus, I really don’t have anybody at home who can ’spot’ me while I practice. I think I’d be better off at the inpatient place for a few days.

As an aside, I thought for the longest time the therapists were talking about ‘gate’ training and I couldn’t figure it out. And then there was the doc who kept mentioning ‘BK’ and I couldn’t figure out what Burger King had to do with an amputation. Turns out that ‘BK’ is medicalese for ‘below the knee.’

Another change I’ve made recently is that I finally got up the nerve to transfer to my kitchen stool. Therefore, I’m cooking more, much to my husband’s delight. Especially since I made him stuffed grapevine leaves for his birthday. I meant to make avgolemono soup, too, but didn’t get around to it. (I was tired from rolling the grape leaves, OK?) Maybe this evening. Kind of a stretched out Greek meal. Next week, pastitsio. Maybe.

If all goes as I’d like — leg next week, followed by at least one week of inpatient rehab — then I’d better get packing! That would take me into February and I’m off to spend some quality time with Mickey Mouse not too far into next month. I’ve been throwing things into a suitcase, but it may be time to get serious.

One thing I need to stock up on is fast-acting sugar. I’m still going low at least once a day. My endocrinologist got me to a good starting point when I saw him last month, but I’m still fine-tuning things. I just wish it would go faster.

Oh! This time next month, my vacation will be over, but I’ll have another one to look forward to: My traveling buddy Sandy and I booked a cruise through the Panama Canal for April… 2012. I can’t wait!



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