Ramblings on healthcare, medical education, and life with a spinal cord injury
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Maybe it’s *not* HO after all.. And back to popping wheelies

So after all my concerns about the swelling in my leg being due to HO (Heterotopic Ossification), it turns out it might not have been after all.  But we’re still not 100% sure yet.  I was sent for a CT scan last week after the swelling hadn’t changed at all over the weekend, and the results were surprising – my leg is filled with blood.

That may seem  to be troubling, but it’s not as bad as it sounds.  Dr. Stein believes it was caused by either over-stretching or a particular exercise I may have been doing on the mat.  This makes sense, as after the initial swelling occurred I felt that the stretching I was doing may have impacted the subsequent overnight increased swelling.  The bleeding was compounded by my being on Coumadin as a preventative measure for DVT.  Essentially, a small tear in the area of the quadriceps resulted in a lot of blood slowly leaking into my leg.  This was supported by a concomitant decrease in hemoglobin and hematocrit levels.  Basically, blood tests confirmed that there had been some leakage of blood internally.

Since then, I’ve been taking it easy in therapy and with the stretching.  I was taken off  Coumadin temporarily while we waited to be sure the blood had clotted successfully – it has.  My leg is still quite swollen, however it has started to become less firm (for lack of a better way to describe it).  Hopefully as it has gotten softer and feels more like a normal leg, it will start to shrink as well.  Not too much as of yet, but my body should slowly reabsorb the blood over the next couple weeks.

In other news, I finally got the good TiLite wheelchair back last Wednesday night.  The manufacturer had managed to finally repair/replace the footplate that I managed to break two weeks prior.  They said they’d never seen that type of damage before and were almost in awe.  Hey, I always have to do something nobody’s done before, right?

And of course, what’s the first thing I did after getting back into a good chair but start popping wheelies again.  I haven’t missed a beat, and my wheelies are even more stable now than they used to be.  I can turn in a wheelie much easier than before, and I’m now working on consistently going off curbs in a wheelie.  It sounds risky, but it’s actually safer than the alternatives.  Learning how to control a wheelie and use it to your advantage is one of the best things that can be done for overall safety.  But it does have to be done in a controlled environment, because it’s still something that takes care and caution to learn.  And I’m still a complete and utter beginner who realizes how careful they need to be.  But damn, they’re fun.

It’s amazing how much being in a better chair impacts one’s sense of independence.  The chair is so much more comfortable.  And more importantly, it’s much easier to propel myself around and to navigate obstacles.  I feel more up to going out and about, and to challenging myself.  This alone makes me more apt to socially integrating myself outside the hospital setting.

On Friday night, I went out to dinner with my girlfriend at Hanratty’s, a nearby restaurant that we tend to frequent a lot.  It’s close, the food is quite good, and they’re very friendly to wheelchair patrons.  They even have a little ramp they bring out in order to make it easy to get past the curb they have at their door.   The entire trip out was without incident, and it felt really good to be outside of the hospital in a normal setting again.

There are still a few issues to resolve before I’ll be ready to be discharged, but the date is approaching.  My tentative release is re-evaluated every week, and the next evaluation will be tomorrow.  So tomorrow I should have a better idea of when I might be out of here.  Granted, based on history, it could be “a week or two” and then again get moved back.  Which would be good, because I’m not quite ready to leave yet.  But I’m getting closer and closer to being ready every day.

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