CheekyEMT

Feeling down and wondering if I will ever get back on the truck

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Hi all,

I'm sure some of you have gone through life situations that take you off the truck for extended periods of time and maybe leave you wondering if you'll ever get back to work.

Unfortunately I am finding myself in one of those "life situations'' and feeling like its going to be forever, if at all that I get back to work. I am missing it terribly and finding this very difficult. After 13 yrs on the truck I'm wondering if my time is up because of my circumstances and if so thats a really hard pill to swallow...:-(

Little bit of my story.

June 17th I went in for surgery. So I'm 3 wks post op now. I had a total ankle reconstruction, gastroc recession and achilles lengthening. My surgeon has just let me come off a solid 3wks of bed rest and am allowed to be PWB with crutches. I went on Tues July 9 for my first post op appt and had my stitches taken out...all 50 of them and was put into a fiberglass cast for the next 4wks at which time he will re evaluate and either put me back in a cast or into a CAM walker. He has said that it will take me a good 6-12 months for a full recovery...:-(

The pain has been horrendous...the bed rest has been hell....the inability to do anything for myself and become the pt has certainly been a humbling experience. In the last 2 days I have finally started being able to move around a bit with crutches and only allowing my toes to touch the floor. I am very unsteady and certainly not very graceful on the crutches....it's almost as though I have forgotten how to walk and need to learn to do it all over again. Mind you having a few rolls of fiberglass on your leg doesnt help either.

I am not only struggling with my loss of independance and the mental/emotional challenges that have been thrown at me but I am feeling very discouraged and feeling like I am never going to be able to go back to work as a medica again. Even my surgeon said "maybe it's time to think about a career change".

I'm struggling with this...I really am....:-(

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Hey...welcome to the City!

That sucks, really, really bad...no question about that lady...but...it's doable.

For now I'm going to ask you to consider the depression as a symptom of the anatomical pathologies and try not to take it too seriously, yet. Do you know what I mean? This is a really bad time to consider life changes. Your perspective is just way too screwed up. Do you have a family that you have to care for also?

Sometimes we just have to wait...and yeah, I get that this isn't a medic's strong point. But it just is. Being a remote medic I find that sometimes the most horrible depression/loneliness hits me. When I was newer I dealt with it in destructive, irresponsible ways...but now I've come to consider it more like a virus, as if I got the flu or other such illness. I can't wish it away, think it away, medicate it away...but if I do what I can just to stay near the center of my lane, whatever it is that my brain needed to sort seems to get sorted and it goes away and I return to my normal dorky self. I think that it's just part of the mental process of being moved away from what we know of, or hope to be "normal"? I'm no shrink, but that's how it feels to me.

Get out of bed, even when it hurts and even if you feel like a newborn giraffe when you use your crutches...start a diary, call your friends, write a book, post more to the City...but try not to self medicate your mental pain...it sounds as if right now you don't know what the outcome will be with your leg, so stop trying to guess and instead, every day move yourself to a place where you'll be a better provider when you're healthy. And if not a provider, a better manager, supervisor, or teacher...but you don't have enough information to hate life. Unfortunately you have way more time than you need to examine reasons to hate life...

Does it suck now? Yeah...but injuries are supposed to suck...that's just their nature. Just try not to allow the suckiness to be the only thing in your day, ok?

I'm glad that you're here...I look forward to your thoughts...

Dwayne

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I can't be much help right now because of my own struggles, but I'm rooting for ya and hope all ends up well. Don't throw in the towel yet and heed Dwayne's advice...he's pretty smart sometimes.

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My daughter has been I'll, and will being laid up comes depression. What helps is getting out. I bought a zero gravity chair.

Try getting outside. Take a book and enjoy the air. Try not to think too far in advance and let the days come one day at a time.

Thinking of you!

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CheekyEMT, I hope you feel better and recover sooner instead of later. I'm medically retired from the Fire Department of New York (City) Emergency Medical Service Command for almost 3 years now, and continue missing seeing the world through the big picture window with the steering wheel in front of it.

Look at it this way: You're now in a Broadway show, or at least your leg is in a cast. (We know you're out there, we can hear ya breathing, LOL)

Please update me. What is/are "PWB" and a "CAM walker"?

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My daughter has been I'll, and will being laid up comes depression. What helps is getting out. I bought a zero gravity chair.

Try getting outside. Take a book and enjoy the air. Try not to think too far in advance and let the days come one day at a time.

Thinking of you!

I am sorry to hear about your daughter. Wishing you and your family all the best!

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I am sorry to hear about your daughter. Wishing you and your family all the best!

Thank you. She has good and bad times.

But getting air helps. Having a get together with close friends, movies, popcorn, heck we are both girls. Even as adults we know what pizza and a best friend can do.. falling asleep giggling.

I hope things get better. Let's focus on your recovery first. Ems later.

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Thank you for the replies.

Dwayne,

Are you sure you're not a shrink/???...lol

I do have a family. Youngest is 18 months, a 3yr old and a 5yr old....biggest kid of all would be my hubby. He is a homicide detective with the city police.

We were very fortunate that he was able to take a full 3wks off work to stay home and look after everyone and play nurse maid to me. He stepped up to the plate and has been amazing through this process. He just returned to work this week so we've had to make some changes and everyone has had some adjusting to do. We're adjusting though and it's been a relatively smooth transition.

I wouldn't say I'm depressed......I have had my moments. I've had days where all I wanna do is lay in bed and cry, days where I'm nothing but a crabby B**** and some days have been really good. As I mentioned in my orginal post....this has been a very humbling experience. It's been difficult losing my mobility and with that my independance. I have thought back to the day of surgery (3wks ago) and how much pain I was in then, that I wasn't able to even lift my leg myself or get up and go to bathroom myself or even get my own bottle of water. I had to rely on others for absolutely everything. Now , I am able to do alot of things myself, my pain has decreased so much that I've gone from taking 8 Dilaudid/day to 9 ibuprofin and 4 tramacet..so, that's a positive. In the last 4 days I have gone from being totally laid up in bed and my leg full of stitches to being able to get up and around and stitches out...another positive. So I do see progress and I do see positive things happening each day....I realize I have come a long way in just 3wks considering the extent of the surgery.

I am finding it very frustrating being allowed to start walking but not physically being able to yet. I'm sure I will master it in the coming weeks. I'm terrible on crutches and have managed to fall a few times in the last few days....I'm sure there will be a few more before I am walking on them with any sense co ordination. My leg has gone to jello...very little muscle at this point. I certainly won't be in any kind of shape to be lifting pt's any time in the 6 months :( and when I am able to get back to work I will have the fear of my ankle getting hurt or worse yet..it giving out on me and I drop a pt. Am I physically going to be able to build the muscle and strength back up that I need to do my job? I try not to think that far ahead and just take this one step at a time and one day at a time but easier said then done. Sometimes all I do is dwell on the things I can't do and may never be able to do again rather then look at the few things that I am able to do and what I can do now but couldn't 3wks ago. I have been forcing myself to hop out to the deck and sit outside for a little bit each day but rather then sit out there and enjoy soaking in the Vit D I sit there feeling sorry for myself because I can't join everyone else in the pool or play with the kids in the sandbox or push them on the swings or even take them for a simple walk. I know I really need to stop looking at all the negatives but that's very hard for me to do right now because everything about this damn situation seems to be one giant negative. I try to see the bright side, I really do but my mind is totally consumed with negative thoughts.

If I could get out and do things and fill my days with activities that keep me busy I'd be left with no time to have my pitty party...but my reality right now is loooong days spent doing absolutely nothing but laying around with my leg elevated, watching tv, browsing the net, chatting on my blackberry and popping pain pills......not the best way to occupy my time day after day and certainly doesn't help keep my mind from racing and thinking everything negative that I possibly can.

I would love to be able to just get out long enough to pop into work and remind myself that what I am right now is NOT me.

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Cheeky, Dwayne speeks truth. As he usually does but let me add a couple more things.

Follow your doctors regimen of PT and follow up care. They know best, but us being in EMS we usually think we know best.

I went through a shoulder injury a year or so ago and I didn't think that the PT was doing much so I sort of stopped it for a week and I found out that that was a very bad thing for me to do. I returned to the doctors office and he had a scathing rebuke of my stopping PT and I returned and my shoulder stopped hurting after a while.

The doctors really do know more than we paramedics do.

Give your leg time to heal. It will, if you don't rush it.

Your husband sounds like me, one to step up to the plate for the wife. Great guy, I'm sure I'd like him.

Why not reach out to friends and family for more help. I'm sure the grandparents would love to watch the grandkids more. I know my parents would give more time to my kids if they lived closer. you have friends and family for a reason and this is one of those reasons.

The City here is a great place to come and shoot the shit and vent, vedge and just talk about things that are bugging you and you will get some very good replies and advice but in the end, the advice that you get and take will be the advice that resonates with you.

You are not alone in your trials and tribulations. Many of us have had them. Keep reaching out.

Michael "Captaintohellwithitall"

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