Tuesday, March 4, 2008

2008: A Pain Odyssey

Contrary to how it may appear, Fritzburgh An’at has not been abandoned.

My Sitemeter tells me that this site has been firing blanks so far. I can (sort of) understand why, since all I’ve done is take shots at obvious targets like Fred Phelps, and make a Presidential endorsement that became the kiss of death. But I will soldier on, mainly because I hate abandoned blogs. Especially since I had to name this blog Fritzburgh An’at because both Fritzburgh and An’at, by themselves, were already taken by blogs that haven’t seen a post since there were actually good IT job opportunities. If you’re not going to blog, at least have the decency to take your page down.

I have an excellent reason why I have not posted to this blog in over a month.

On the night of Jan. 17, I received a phone call from my wife, who had been bowling in her regular Thursday night league. She had lost her balance while trying to pick up a spare, stepped into the lane, slipped, and heard “all sorts of popping noises.” She was lying on the lane as she spoke. I rushed to the bowling alley, where she was surrounded by an EMS crew and being placed on a stretcher. From there, it was off to one hospital, and then another.

The next day was full of waiting and conversations with doctors. A surgeon said that two large incisions would have to be made in Jamie’s leg in order to relieve compartment syndrome. There would be six operations over the next month. The first one was to make the incisions (a fasciotomy—note that there are some graphic photos at that link), and four were to clean and dress those wounds. The third operation in the series fixed the actual break, which turned out to be a fracture of the tibia plateau. A fixator was placed on the leg, which involved the insertion of two pins in the break and two more farther below in the shin. The fixator was removed after a month, then replaced by a brace and boot.

The prevailing feature of Jamie’s life this year has been constant pain. She has been on various pain medications, with a dose given every four hours. In addition to the physical pain, there’s the frustration at not being able to move freely or do more than the most minimal tasks by yourself. It is so hard to see someone you love in such pain and be helpless to do anything about it. It is easy to feel like a failure.

She is now in a rehab facility, where she will be for several more weeks. She does physical therapy daily, which involves exercises such as hopping across the floor while holding parallel bars, and gradually bending the knee farther. Bending the knee is especially painful, because she could not bend the knee for over a month.

I go to see her every night when possible. I have also been taking care of two dogs and three cats, and keeping our house in a semi-normal state. But it is hard for me to complain when I see Jamie spending minutes pivoting across the floor to go to the bathroom or put on a CD, or struggling to get in and out of bed, or trying in vain to find a comfortable position in bed.

Jamie is my hero.

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