Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ice Zapping

It was a warmish day today, sunny, breezy, a day for open windows. It is that glorious time of spring when the world is greening up but the pollen hasn't yet descended like a noxious yellow cloud. (Springtime pollen allergies are a real curse; they turn something gorgeous into a kind of sickness. It just ain't right.)

As I type this, I'm on our sun porch, and it's dark, but there's still a little glow in the western sky: and here we've already cooked dinner, eaten, and done the dishes, but there's a bit of daylight yet. Things are looking up!

I'm sitting on the sofa, and I've been occasionally dunking my bum foot and ankle into a bucket of cold water. It's too cold, actually; I can't keep it in there very long. Just a few seconds, then--yikes! Pain, aching hard in my toes and all my veins. What's that about?

I mean, I know that most people can't handle putting their feet into frigid water, but usually I'm different. Usually, it's okay with me. I'll walk barefoot along a beach when no one else will touch the cold water. But now that I try pushing my foot into a bucket of water and some ice cubes, I can't sustain it for more than about three seconds.

You might ask why the heck I'm doing this, if it's so painful.

Well, it's my bum foot, like I said, and swelling is an issue still. I got my cast off last week (on Monday) and they told me the fracture wasn't quite healed yet. So I have to use a "cam walker" (a type of "moon boot") when I go out walking and doing stuff. But they told me that around home, and showering, and sleeping, I can go without the clunky thing. (Seriously--it's like having a brick strapped onto the bottom of my foot.)

Last night I hunted out some notes I made of my various physical therapy exercises from three years ago, when I was recovering from my broken foot. Don't worry; I'm not going to go nuts trying to exercise my ankle without a doctor's advice--but I am looking for mild exercises that might help restore circulation, range of motion, flexibility, dexterity. Yes, dexterity--with my toes and such.

I haven't yet been able to figure out if swelling and stiffness is all a result of the injury and the surgery, or if it is exacerbated, extended, by continued immobilization. (My calf looks like a stalk of asparagus. My ankle and foot are still somewhat swollen.)

Anyway, there are at least two exercises that I did back then that I'm confident I can do now: roll a tennis ball around on the floor, and roll a bottle around on the floor. (I'm not sure I'm ready for "gas pedal with a belt" yet, though I think that one will later prove quite useful for ankle strength.)

One other thing I recalled from "PT 2008" was this idea of putting my foot into ice water. Damn! I know I did it three years ago, but I certainly can't do it now. Maybe if I fish out some of the ice cubes . . .

. . . Nope.

I tried this last night, and the same thing. I had to remove the ice and add a little warm water, even. And that worked pretty well.

The deal is, the cold starts off feeling intensely bad--it burns--but if you can stick with it a little longer, it begins to feel pretty good. And the best part is that after some minutes of soaking, the foot and ankle will feel surprisingly good for the next few hours.

So I persevere. Maybe tomorrow I'll try it with fewer ice cubes . . .

1 comment:

whalechaser said...

Looks like we are both testing the limits as our bodies heal from trauma. I have good days and then some pretty awful ones. Yesterday was particularly bad and today it almost feels like...what accident? I hope it stays that way.
Wishing you less and less pain and more and more normal.