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heal from my injuries


 

Recent activity

Carm 2 years ago


CarmDone

I had two injuries from my big fall in 2012. A painful broken upper arm, and a lisfranc fracture and dislocation of my right foot. The arm is quite healed and I’m able to do almost everything with it that I used to.

The foot was a much more complicated injury, and healing took a long time. My surgeon told me it might be one to two years before the foot was healed as far as it would heal. At two years I figured the healing was done and I would be stuck with continuing pain in the foot whenever I walked. It was tolerable, but things like going down stairs were very difficult. A few months later I notice the doctor was wrong. The healing is ongoing!

Now when he first told me it could be a couple of years I know he was trying to set my expectations so I wouldn’t be as impatient for healing, and he knew my foot will never be quite the same. But now I am thrilled to realize the healing continues beyond two years. Every day walking is usually pain free now with just occasional aches and pains, no worse than the other foot which has some arthritis. I can walk down stairs now without holding onto the rail as though my life depended on it. And each month it seems there is still some slight improvement. I’m very, very happy.

I wasn’t great at keeping up my entries on this goal, so there are a lot of stories missing that I may have to write elsewhere. But I’m so glad I started the goal and recorded some of the journey here. It has been therapeutic and has made me so grateful for what I have to read the old entries.

Thank you, 43Things. 4 months ago


CarmIt helps to reread my past entries...

on this goal to appreciate how far I’ve come. It’s a long journey, but I’m getting there.

I’ve been back to work since July 9th, and wheelchair bound for a couple months now. I move about in the wheelchair quite easily now. At my last appointment the doctor gave me permission to use crutches and said I could weight bear up to 40 lbs on the right foot. I’m afraid that hasn’t worked out so well.

My arms just are not strong enough to carry the majority of my weight on crutches. So if I try to go a couple steps I either end up putting too much weight on the right foot or “hopping” to get the weight off my arms quickly, and that makes my left foot hurt with arthritis.

I am working on strengthening my arms but remain for the most part in a wheelchair.

Yesterday I was disappointed to get a phone call that my next appointment will be delayed by a week. It has been hard to get the appointments I want. The doctor said come back in 3 weeks, and now it will be 5 weeks. I wouldn’t care so much, but this is the appointment where I will get permission to full weight bear, and start to work on walking.

I’m trying to be patient. 2 years ago


CarmI'm free!!!

That was the first thought that came to mind today when I received my approval for the Access bus (paratransit van). My second thought was “Oh wait, that means free to go back to work!”

Well as they say, with freedom comes responsibility, right? I have been working at home full time this week and it looks like Monday I will be heading back to the office. I’d better get some practice in wheeling myself.

I tried to convince my hubby to cometo work with me to take me to the bathroom, hold doors and bring me lunch, but he prefers to stay at home and catch up on all the sleep he has been missing as a caregiver. Oh well! 2 years ago


CarmWheelchairs

Since my foot surgery I have been in a transport chair. The wheels are smaller than a traditional wheelchair so it fits through the doorways in my apartment. I had to get a regular wheelchair recently because I will be heading back to the office soon. It arrived a few days ago.

I am concerned that I won’t be strong enough to push myself very far in the new wheelchair, so today we had our first practice. My right arm still has quite a ways to go in healing. My right foot is in the cast, and my left foot suffers arthritis since my accident. That leaves my left arm as the strongest limb for pushing. But I can use my right arm some too until it gets tired and my left foot a little bit.

Today I got in the new wheelchair for the first time and we went out of the apartment, down the hall, and outside in the front yard area of our apartment complex. There is a bench out there and hubby and I enjoyed sitting in the fresh air for a bit.

Then we went back into the apartment building and I rolled myself down the hall a ways to see how fast or far I could go. The answer was neither very fast nor very far. But I could get around. And that’s a good thing.

I also found it to be the first mild aerobic exercise I’ve had since my accident. It was a lot of work compared to just sitting in my chair all day! For that I’m glad, because I’ve been concerned about my declining fitness levels during my recovery.

I think if I can find time daily to go outside the apartment for a little while and practice rolling up and down the hallways and maybe going outside, I will get stronger so I will be able to self-propel better when I return to the office, and I will also get a tiny bit of exercise that is badly needed. It seems like a win-win. 2 years ago


CarmSaying Thank You

When you hurt yourself like this you quickly find out who are your really good friends and who will help you out in a pinch. I find myself really blessed with several good friends who have done so much for me since my accident.

I am glad that I have 3 or 4 friends to count on because all of the help they have provided would have been too much to ask of any one person. These friends have provided emotional support, held my hand in the hospital, brought my husband to see me after my surgery, taken me to appointments, done various errands and even drove me to Lacey to see my mom before my foot surgery. I’m just so grateful.

Here is what I need help with. How do I say thank you? If I were healthy and able to walk several blocks easily I would go to Pike Place Market where they have big beautiful flower bouquets for $10 or $15. But that’s inaccessible to me right now. I thought about ordering flowers online for delivery, but for 3 or 4 people that would be beyond my budget.

One thing I’m considering is getting some nice cards and writing the best thank you notes I can and inviting each of my friends on separate occasions out to dinner on us. That way we can spend time with them in a setting where they are not also doing us a favor. This would have to be a month or so down the line when I hopefully will be able to drive and walk on my own.

If you have other ideas, I would love to hear them. 2 years ago


CarmI have a pretty new red cast

on my right foot. On Wednesday I went to see my orthopedist surgeon. They x-rayed my arm and foot, removed the splint on the foot and my stitches and then put the new cast on.

Eddy the cast room guy did a great job with my new cast. It looks very nice. The only issue I have is that my toes are exposed. Yes, that’s a good thing because they have to keep an eye on the toes to make sure all is okay. But I seriously need a pedicure and I can’t reach my foot with my bum arm! I would spring for a professional pedi but I don’t have anyone to give me a ride. If I could reach the toes I would have painted them to coordinate with my lovely cast.

They also finally said I could remove the fracture brace from my arm, but I have to put it back on three times a day when I do my PT exercises. PT is working with me on range of motion exercises and a few small isometrics. The doctor doesn’t want me doing anything more strenuous with the arm for a while.

I go back to the doctor next on July 17 at which time they will remove the cast on my leg/foot. My doc said I will not be putting weight on the foot until 10 weeks after my surgery. The normal time frame is 6-10 weeks and I think he looked at my arm x-ray and made that 10-week determination based on how slowly I’ve been healing there. I’m a pretty patient person, and I really want these injuries to be healed completely and without causing related injuries (like the arthritis in my left foot).

After my cast comes off the doctor mentioned they would put me in some kind of a boot and I could get around a bit on crutches. But when he said that I think it’s possible he forgot about my arm for a moment. I don’t know if my arm will be strong enough in a month for me to weightbear on crutches, especially if his instruction for PT is “work on full range of motion first, 10 pound limit!” I emailed him to get some clarification. It could be I will be in a wheelchair a while longer.

In the meantime I’ve given up on the idea of a knee scooter as a transitional tool. Between the continuing weakness of my right arm and arthritis in my left foot, I decided I do not want to risk an accident like what happened to another patient of my doctor. She fell off the knee scooter and broke a hip! I think I have enough fractures to deal with without that.

Tomorrow I begin working halftime from home in earnest. In about 3 weeks I’m hoping to be back at the office. We’ll see how it all goes.

In the meantime, my mood goes up and down with the day. Some days are just harder than others. Some days I’m fine and on an even keel. Others I have little meltdowns when I realize “wow, in an instant look what my life has come to!”

I’m thankful that I get to go out to PT once a week. It’s nice to get out of the house. We are getting a little stir crazy in here. Much of the time I cannot see even what the weather is doing outside. If we open the drapes, the glare is too much in the computer room for my hubby to see his computer screen. So we leave the drapes closed. Sometimes when he is occupied in another room I ask him to open the drapes in the computer room so I can see the weather and have the light.

I have a friend who has been taking me to my PT appointments. On Friday after she brought me home she sat out front with me on a bench so I could sit next to her and she could show me pictures and video on her iPad from her recent trip to England. It was so nice to sit outside for a few minutes and feel somewhat “normal.”

The doctor has me weaning off the major pain meds I was taking. I really want to be off those meds so I’m living with a bit more achiness than before. I am totally off the oxycontin now and only once in the last couple of days have I resorted to taking a percocet. Sometimes it’s the foot that bugs me, sometimes the other foot and its arthritis, sometimes the arm which is not accustomed to being without its brace, sometimes muscles in my side/abdomen from too much sitting, and sometimes arthritis in my fingers. In other words, it just feels like I’m getting old in the way that my mother always had pain from her arthritis and said she was “getting old.”

Overall I’m doing okay. Today was better than yesterday. 2 years ago


CarmMy foot surgery...

went well on the 29th. The doctor said he found nothing unexpected and he is expecting a good result.

I’ve been on heavy duty painkillers since the surgery. I’m needing less of the ones for breakthrough pain now but still requiring the twice daily long-acting ones. I will be glad when I am off pain pills but I recall it tookabout a month with my arm.

I wish someone had told me before my surgery date that I should expect to be in bed (toes above the nose) for one to two weeks after the surgery. I haven’t managed that full time, but I do head to bed from time when pain levels are higher and when I am exhausted. It helps keep the need for pain meds down.

I am concerned that lots of the time my left (non-surgery foot) hurts more than my right. I’m having noticeable issues with arthritis in it.

I’m very tired of sitting all the time. My seat gets pretty sore and my hips and lower body need stretching.

Up until today I have done a great job of staying off my right foot except for a light touch for balance which I am allowed. But this evening I had a small accident falling off the raised toilet seat and both my right foot and right broken arm (used for balance with a crutch) took some weight as I caught myself. Dang! I felt pain in my shoulder for a few minutesand I definitely felt the pressure in the right foot.

I was due for my pain pill so I went ahead and took that. Thankfully there was no sharp or difficult pain in my foot as a result of my slip. On Wednesday morning I will have my first post-surgery appointment with my surgeon. They will take x-rays and hopefully they will show that no damage was done in my little accident.

It’s bad enough that when people ask me how I hurt myself I have to say “I tripped on a sidewalk curb” instead of something more glamorous like “I was skiing in Vale!” But really, now I have to go tell my doctor that I fell off a toilet seat? I can hardly wait. Sigh… 2 years ago


CarmA Little Overwhelming

Oh my. I wrote a long entry and in the flick of a keystroke it was gone. So I will try to redo this quickly with bullet points.

  • My HMO keeps changing the date of my foot surgery. I found out Friday it will be tomorrow. I go in at 6am.
  • I’m scrambling to get things done that need to be done before I am off. At work I had one day to complete what I planned to do in 3 days.
  • At home I had to move a lot of things to make room for the wheelchair path. It got done, but we were up until 2:30 this morning getting it finished, which meant about 3 hours of sleep for both of us.
  • I had a meeting with HR and was told my office will be cleaned out during my absence. No choice. I won’t be able to find anything when I return. I had to drop everything and spend most of Saturday going through my office pulling out valuable personal items I don’t want to lose and organizing things I want to store off site until they are done “cleaning.”
  • My employer disagrees with the amount of time my doctor recommends I take off and work from home. They are urging me to shorten up those times as much as possible.

On the plus side, all of this has kept me from thinking much about my actual surgery. So I’m not overanxious about that, at least.

Hopefully my surgery will go well and it will be all uphill from there. 2 years ago


CarmThe Angels of March 23

When I think back to the day of my accident (March 23) I remember a lot of pain but I also remember being extremely grateful for the kindnesses of the many angels in human form who surrounded me that day. As my memory of these events grows dim I don’t want to forget these angels of mercy. Their compassion shon brightly against the backdrop of those painful events.

Many of the Angels I will not see again and won’t get to thank properly. So I throw my gratitude out here on 43T and share it with all of you who care about people and have assisted others in similar ways.

Thank you to all of these angels and the others from that day whom I might have forgotten or did not know about:

  • Two female passersby on the street, one of whom was named Christine. Thank you for stopping when I fell and checking to see if I was all right. And thank you for staying with me when it was clear I was not all right. Thank you for removing your jacket and using to cover my legs. And thank you for telling me it was okay and for chatting with me to distract me when I was scared and in pain.
  • The city employee stationed at that corner for checking on me and calling 911.
  • The policeman who stopped to see if I needed anything else before the aid car arrived.
  • My friend and former co-worker who happened to be driving by. She spotted me on the sidewalk and stopped.
  • My coworker who was riding in that car for jumping out and checking on me. And for calling someone at the office right away.
  • The person from the office who took that call and walked the 6 blocks to my location with my purse so fast she got there before the aid car. Thanks for accompanying me to the hospital ER, and for staying with me for a couple hours while they did tests. And for telling me funny stories to distract me from the pain. And for calling my hubby to give him updates.
  • The wonderful paramedics who were so professional. They kept the tone light while miraculously finding a way to scoop me up off the sidewalk and transport me without increasing my pain.
  • The medical assistant in the ER for being so attentive and ready to do anything to make me more comfortable.
  • The nurse who was super nice and frequently asked about my pain levels. He gave me several doses of morphine in an attempt to bring the pain levels down.
  • The doctor who quickly gave the orders for the tests I needed and who consulted with the orthopedist on my condition.
  • The x-ray technicians who were super gentle and creative in finding ways to position me for the x-rays without worsening my pain. They even looked at the x-ray and upon viewing the obvious cause of my pain they called the doctor and convinced him that no elbow x-ray would be needed. They could see that one would have been too painful for me to do with a broken humerus.
  • The guy who got me into proper position and wrapped my splint. Wow, I was skeptical that he could do it, but he did. He was so gentle and creative. And he constantly monitored my pain levels (which were high) as he worked.
  • My good friend and coworker who came to pick me up at the hospital with her sister. They got me in the car and whisked me home to my husband.
  • And of course my husband who took such good care of me when I got home. He was not at all accustomed to the caregiver role but he did a great job

I know there are more angels I am forgetting. But thesewere the most memorable. I was truly blessed that day. 2 years ago


CarmSurgery on June 1

For a couple of days it looked like my surgery might be this Friday, May 18. But it will atually be June 1. For a bit there I was getting panicked because there is still so much left to do before the surgery. It’s hard to find time to handle these things when I’m working full-time. And there is little spare time because little things like washing up take waaay longer than they used to.

On the one hand I am grateful for the extra time to get ready. I especially wanted to go see my mom one more time before the surgery because I know I will not be mobile enough to get to Olympia afterward. I haven’t told her yet that I need this surgery. She has been waiting for me to come back to driving to Olympia every week and seeing her and taking care of everything while I am there in Olympia. She really misses me. She really thinks I should be at the tail end of my recovery and any day I will be back to my old routine.

Because of Mom’s extreme hearing loss it is too hard to communicate over the phone any complex concepts like a surgery needed. She won’t be able to hear/understand what I am saying and there is no way I am screaming that into the phone at my office, even from behind a closed door. So when I go to see her before the surgery I will bring a letter for her explaining the whole situation. I am afraid of how disappointed she might be. I don’t want her to get too discouraged and have her health start to go downhill because I can’t be there to help take care of her in person right now.

While I like that I have more time to get ready before the surgery, my body will be glad when it is over with. I’ve been walking around with a crutch and a boot and the broken foot is feeling the strain a bit. But even more so, the left side of my body (where the foot and arm are not broken) is taking all the burden. My left hip joint is now bugging me from time to time, but worse my left foot is really feeling the arthritis in the same joint as the other foot. It’s not used to carrying the majority of my weight on its own.

I know things will be okay in the end. But there are just so many details to making this happen. When I first started this goal I never thought it would turn into something so complex.

Oh, a couple of things I found out in the last couple of days. My surgery is not an arthroscopic surgery as a relative suggested it probably would be. It’s fairly complex surgery which will last approximately 2.5 hours. I get to spend the night in their extended recovery area. I think my doctor recommended that because he knows my husband is nervous about being a blind caregiver.

On Monday Walter and I went to a medical supply store and picked out a wheelchair and bath bench. I’m much more accustomed to doing these things for my mother. It seems very odd to have to do it for myself. 2 years ago


CarmSo much has changed...

since I wrote my first entry on this goal. Then I thought I had been through a lot but was a good way into my recovery. Then I thought my painful broken right humerus was my major injury.

A week ago I felt like my sprained right foot just wasn’t getting better. I was trying to be patient because I figured I just wasn’t staying off the foot enough. My husband said there must be something wrong for it to be taking so long to heal.

At the 1 month mark I made an appointment with my family doctor just to have her check it out. I did it pretty much to assuage my husband and figuring she would say “stay off it more, be patient, and go home.” Instead, she took another x-ray and they found a fracture. She gave me a walking boot which made walking more comfortable and emailed my orthopedist with the x-ray notes to see if anything else needed to be done.

The next business day I got a call that I needed to come in to see the orthopedist right away. They took even more x-rays then broke the news that I have a Lisfranc fracture. I ripped ligaments in my foot and the bones are all out of alignment. It will not heal without surgery. Although painful, the doc informed me that my right humerus fracture was not the big deal. It would heal fine. My foot on the other hand is a big deal.

I was told the surgery should be in 3-4 weeks (from the 24th). But the doc’s schedule is full and I don’t have a date yet. Hopefully soon. In the meantime I have a short window of time to get things in order before the surgery. Once I have the surgery there cannot be any weight bearing on the foot for 6-10 weeks. I will not be able to walk the 3 blocks to my bus stop for 4 months.

I won’t be able to use a knee walker for a few weeks after the surgery because my arm is still healing, so I will be in a chair. Transportation to appointments will be a challenge at first. I am applying for the Access bus (accessible door to door service) but it takes about a month to get that set up. I’m hoping one of my friends will be able to help me until then, but it’s a lot to ask of someone with their own full-time job.

It’s a bit overwhelming, the thought of such a long recovery still ahead and the continuation of pain I was hoping to be rid of soon. My visually impaired hubby is a bit freaked out about how he will care for me before I can walk and how all these medical bills will impact our financial situation.

There are many questions and issues to solve. I don’t have all the answers right now but am trying to get answers and solve problems one at a time.

On Tuesday morning I have my first physical therapy appointment for my arm. I hope the person I work with can give advice and help me practice how to do transfers (from chair to bed, for example). That’s just one of many things on my To Do list. 2 years ago


CarmMarch 23, 2012

is a date I will not soon forget. That’s the date I fell downtown while walking on my lunch hour. I first wrote about it here.

At the time of my fall I was transported to a hospital emergency room where they did various x-rays of my arm, leg and foot.

My most significant injury is a fracture of my right upper arm (humerus). The medical lingo on my x-ray report says “a comminuted fracture of the humeral diaphysis with approximately 3/4 diameter medial displacement of the distal fracture fragment.” It’s not what one would call a clean break. It was extremely painful.

My foot was very painful as well and I was surprised that they told me it was not broken. The x-ray showed no fracture though so they wrapped it in an ace bandage and gave me the diagnosis of sprain.

Of course this little tumble has significantly impacted my life and lifestyle. I am eager to heal and get this behind me, but I know I must have patience. I’m also learning so much through this experience. I don’t want those lessons to be lost when I am physically healed. So I am feeling the need to write about this event. I thought this goal might be a good way to do that and to work through the healing process. 2 years ago


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