Tag Archives: Misery

Broken Ankle Update & So Many Cancellations

I'm Breakable Kimmy Schmidt. :(

I’m Breakable Kimmy Schmidt. ūüôĀ

Since my last ankle hell update¬†wherein I learned from my MRI that I’ve had a broken fibula for the past 6 months, I spoke with my new orthopedic doctor and visited a¬†new¬†physical therapist at Columbia. ¬†I’m not 100% thrilled with the advice of either one and I have more questions that I’ll try to get answered next week. ¬†In a nutshell, I’m broken and not healing and life sucks.

 

The doctor said I didn’t have to wear a boot or use crutches, despite my leg still being broken after 6 months. ¬†She said I only had to wear that little Darco shoe that didn’t protect my ankle at all. ¬†That seemed wrong to me, and since I continued to have pain, I put myself back in the boot and on crutches to take the weight off and give the bone time to heal. ¬†Going back on crutches has been maddening, yes, but honestly the last 6 months have been such a nightmare, what’s another 6 weeks of hell? ¬†She did prescribe physical therapy that included ultrasound stimulation, and said I could bear weight as tolerated.

 

I got a second opinion from my new physical therapist and he agreed with me that I should stay in the boot and on crutches for now. ¬†He said this weekend I could¬†start using a single crutch to give the bone a little bit of weight to promote bone formation, as it’ll have been 2 weeks since I took the weight off by putting myself on my¬†boot/crutch regimen. ¬†He also pointed out my fracture on my X-rays – YES, that’s right, the doctor (from the Hospital of Special Surgery, no less!) should have known immediately from the X-rays that my ankle was broken. ¬†It’s truly astonishing the incompetency I’ve encountered in this debacle.

 

However, he disagreed with the ultrasound stimulation prescription, claiming it’s contra-indicated for fractures. ¬†This led me down¬†a google-hole of research on ultrasound & electrical stimulation for nonunion or delayed union fractures (aka any fracture that hasn’t healed in over 6 months, like mine). ¬†It appears that contrary to being a contra-indication, ultrasound stimulation (or, even more so,¬†electrical stimulation) is a well-established therapy for nonunion fractures. ¬†Unfortunately it’s not a magic cure-all, and it seems like many nonunion fractures do end up needing surgery. ¬†However, since surgery comes with all sorts of other risks and pain, I’m planning on trying every possible non-surgical therapy I can and using surgery¬†only as a last resort. ¬†Also, since¬†the prospect of ankle surgery truly freaks me out (and not in a fun Halloween way), I’m trying not to dwell on it as much as possible. ¬†Surgery!

 

Overall, I’m still totally dissatisfied by the incompetent medical care I’ve been receiving, from the initial orthopedist to the doctors at Hospital for Special Surgery to my various physical therapists. ¬†No one has caught on to anything, and it’s forcing me to be my own doctor, which is outrageous and frustrating and ridiculous and maddening. ¬†Sadly, I am learning an important lesson – don’t trust doctors with your well-being, let alone your life. ¬†I dread the day when I’m sick and even more mentally incapacitated than I am now, because I won’t be able to spend hours on google reading articles and trying to diagnose and fix myself, and my illness will probably be more severe, and I will be royally screwed. ¬†Ah, what fun things to look forward¬†to in the future!

 

In other running news, I won’t be doing the Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff tomorrow, of course. ¬†But I picked up the shirt anyway, with faraway dreams of wearing it with an unbroken leg in the future. ¬†I’m also not going to be able to do the NYRR Dash to the Finish, which makes 5¬†NYRR races and 5 marathons I will have missed due to this injury. ¬†Oh, and for anyone keeping track, that means I’ll be 2 races short of qualifying for the NYC Marathon in 2017. ¬†¬Į\_(„ÉĄ)_/¬Į ¬†Again, I’m less upset about that than the waste of time and money, and the fear/constant dread¬†that I’ll never run again.

Front and back of the Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff shirt - it's a 50/50 cotton poly short sleeve unisex cut. Meh.

Front and back of the Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff shirt – it’s a 50/50 cotton poly short-sleeve unisex cut. Meh.

I also cancelled my NYC Marathon volunteer shift¬†because even if I worked comms/dispatch instead of in the ambulance, I’d still have to be in a tent in Central Park, which would be a challenge to get to. ¬†Plus I’d still be in the boot, so I’d be a minor liability during a mass casualty event – not a good thing. ¬†I’m really disappointed about the marathon volunteering, because last year was truly such a high point for me (before I mistrusted¬†everyone with a medical degree, sigh…), and it’ll be another full year before I’ll have that kind of opportunity again — an opportunity¬†of which there are¬†only a handful more of in my future.

 

I’ve also officially cancelled my backpacking trip to Patagonia this December. ¬†It was a tough (and expensive) decision but ultimately it’s a huge relief. ¬†Even if my bone was¬†completely healed by then (which is actually unlikely), it still would have been too much for my atrophied legs to hike up to 8 hours¬†every day with a fully loaded pack. ¬†I’ve lost a literal inch of muscle from my calf compared to my normal leg – a full inch! ¬†ūüôĀ ¬†I can only imagine how many years of my life I’m losing by being so sedentary. ¬†That plus the incompetency of the medical profession and it’s a wonder I’m still alive.

 

Happy Halloween!

 

How many races have you missed in your running career?  How much do you distrust doctors?  What are you going as for Halloween?  Share in the comments!

Where to Run in Westchester? Try Ward Pound Ridge Reservation!

Rocks galore at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.  Mosquitos and biting flies not pictured.

Rocks galore at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. Mosquitos and biting flies not pictured.

I was exceedingly anxious about my LSR today in Westchester as I was heading into the unknown and running the trails at the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. ¬†I shouldn’t have been so nervous, because the thing that ultimately ended my run prematurely (only managed 6.5 miles instead of 15) was not the lack of facilities or even the incredibly rocky path but rather the mosquitos and biting flies.

 

The run started on a sour note because I had forgotten my Camelbak at home, so I had to carry a water bottle by hand.  I hate hand-carrying water, but I barely noticed the bottle during the run because there were about 5,000 other more annoying things occupying my attention.  The first, most obvious difference on this run compared to my cradle that is Central Park were the rocky trails.  They were rockier than I expected and I was unprepared both physically (as a road runner) and equipment-wise (my soft road shoes were equally not up for the challenge).  The rocks varied from large, softball sized rocks to smaller slippery, shale pebbles to giant, half-submerged boulders.  Oftentimes the trail was partially washed away, creating gullies and exposing yet more rocks.  Rocks are not kind on the knees.  Neither is having to dodge them and change direction, making sure not to roll an ankle or trip and fall.  After about 2 miles, I thought about turning around and calling it a day, but I pushed down my discomfort because today was my LSR, danggit, and I wanted to cover at least one 5.7 mile red-blazed loop.  When the bugs started fiercely attacking at mile 3, I realized I had made a huge mistake.

 

Typical scenery at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.

Typical scenery at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.

My knee started complaining more¬†vociferously¬†after mile 3 but every time I stopped to take a walk break the bugs would be whining right by my ears, sometimes actually landing inside my ears, and I’d flap my arms and swat at my head like a crazy person. ¬†The rocks were relentless, the bugs equally so, and I still had 3 more miles (at about an 18:00 min/mile pace at this point) to go. ¬†I tried to tell myself the experience would make me a better runner, but really it just made me re-think my romantic plans to hike the Appalachian Trail or even attempt any sort of trail race anytime soon.

 

The “Pound” in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is derived from the animal pounds the Indians kept in the area – keeping deer “on the hoof” until they needed them for food. ¬†I felt like a trapped deer myself, swatting at the¬†ceaseless¬†onslaught of insects. ¬†The bug spray I applied before the run did nothing to keep them away, although it might have helped against the highly probable ticks in the area.

 

Here is the most scenic spot along the red loop in WPRR.  Enjoy it.

Here is the most scenic spot along the red loop in WPRR. The irony that it is a giant pile of rocks is not lost on me.

I stopped to take a few photos here and there, so you could see all the rocks and the non-beauty that I enjoyed.  There was one semi-scenic area along the red trail loop, and I made sure to get a photo of it to save you the bother of ever trying to see it yourself.  At some point the red/green trail I started on turned into red/yellow, and eventually I came upon a major fork in the road that clearly indicated red was to the left.  I double-checked the map I was carrying and headed to the left, thinking I was less than half a mile from the parking lot.

 

More rocks on the red and yellow trail at WPRR.

More rocks on the red and yellow trail at WPRR.

After heading along the yellow trail for a while I came across a group of hikers and asked them if the parking lot was just ahead. ¬†The leader in the group told me that the parking lot was in the opposite direction! ¬†He showed me where I was on my map, and the group agreed the navigation in the park “wasn’t intuitive.” ¬†I thanked him and told him my run had been pretty miserable because of all of the biting flies. ¬†He said, “Yeah, that’s funny because they all died off a couple of weeks ago, but they’re back now.” ¬†I wanted to say, “you knew about the biting flies and yet you hike here anyway?!” but since he had just saved me from another fruitless three mile loop in the wrong direction, I just thanked him and trotted off.

Which direction is the red trail?  Yeah, actually opposite of that.

Which direction is the red trail? Yeah, actually opposite of that.

When I reached the signpost again I took a picture to document the red-trail left turn it indicated, then went the opposite direction and found the parking lot not more than 50 yards down the path.  I had never been so happy to hit a parking lot and felt like I had just survived a Bear Grylls challenge.

 

There’s no simple “equivalence” formula of a mile on a trail to a mile on the road, but it definitely felt like more than 6.5 miles on my legs. ¬†I’m still disappointed I didn’t get in a solid 15 today, but at least this LSR wasn’t critical to my marathon training (versus, say, my 18-miler would be), so I’m trying not to sweat it. ¬†Needless to say, I would not recommend WPRR as a running destination, although I did encounter about 5 other runners during my almost 2 hour slog through the woods, and none of them seemed as miserable as I was. ¬†It was “interesting” to try the WPRR trails for the first time, but I’m going to give an extra big kiss and hug to Central Park when I return.

 

Do you run on trails?  Do you have problems with bugs?  Share in the comments!