Monthly Archives: April 2012

Fine Tuning My Pimp Walk

Four days after surgery I was ready to put weight on my left leg and begin with physical therapy. My stitches were removed and now I have a few tiny “x” shaped scabs. After only a week I began walking home from physical therapy, though it took me about five minutes each block. What is difficult in the long 10 block trek from therapy to the apartment are the cracks in the sidewalk , the tree roots causing breaks in the sidewalk, cars who just wont slow down to let me cross, and the lack of ramps for folks on wheelchairs and hop-a-longs like myself. The ones that do exist are steep or slippery. This makes me yearn for the days when I didn’t have to negotiate with the sidewalk. Sometimes Hernan carries me when crossing streets with heavy traffic, because the folks of Cordoba don’t stop for anything, especially in the mornings. The Cordobeses tend to have a more slow and relaxed way of going about their daily lives compared to the Porteños, but maybe if they put down their mate once in a while they wouldn’t have to be in a rush to drive to work on time. I get a lot of stares from adults who will hold up traffic staring at my swollen knee, trying to figure out what happened while the light is green and other cars are honking at them to drive, yet couldn’t be bothered to hold a door open for me.  Last week while trying to open the door to enter the supermarket, a lady came and just waited impatiently right next to me as I struggled with the heavy glass and my crutches at the same time. This couldn’t be bad karma, since I have a history with crutches and always try to be courteous and hold doors open for folks when I am able-bodied. I take this as incentive to get better quickly, because crutches are annoying, and anyway I need to be completely off them by my next appointment. I remember thinking while on a high school trip to Spain, how impossible it would be to be on crutches walking old world streets with cracks and rocks in them, and now I’m doing it.

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Adventures in Knee Problems in Foreign Lands

I always read about folks who travel to Colombia and Argentina to have work done, never in my life did I expect to be one of those people. No, I didn’t get a Nicki Minaj style butt lift or breast implants, I had surgery to fix a torn meniscus, ligament, and correct the root of my problems with my left knee. Back in February I was seen a traumatologist who said my torn ligament had magically reconnected, so there was no need for surgery. I asked if this new piece of information would show up in an MRI, and he told me I should just trust what he was telling me, and even pulled out the ignorant yankee card by saying “I’m not sure if you understand” a few times. I had been dealing with this dude ever since my shower accident in October, so disappointed doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt knowing that he didn’t want to help me. As soon as I got home I made an appointment with another traumatologist recommended to me by a doctor at a different hospital. After reviewing the images from my MRI not only did he see a torn ligament and meniscus,he also saw a deformity I was born with: there was no room for my kneecap to sit thus making it want to roll off to the side. I was glad that at this hospital the doctors took the time to answer my questions and the staff seemed patient and polite.

The doctor’s illustration of my left knee. The circle in the middle is the kneecap and to your left you will see a black blob which represents where my ligament was torn. All the other black blobs represent where my knee has taken a few hits.

Now, here I am sitting in my living room icing my knee, avoiding contact with the outside world for a few days. The whole day I was  nervous. I originally scheduled surgery for April 4, but had to change because my surgeon was invited to a conference in another country. I was told to arrive at 8 in the morning, but ended up waiting until 3 pm when a room was finally ready. The room wasn’t anything special, just a simple bed with a bathroom, television, and button to call the nurse. A nurse took all my vitals and hooked me up to an ivy, which I spent all of yesterday peeing out. Two of the doctors who would be assisting with the surgery came in and asked me questions about how often and when I experience pain, if I can walk upstairs, and had me sign a form  in case I croaked on the operating table. An hour later a man with a gurney rolled me out to the operating room. Hernan and our friend Yusuf followed us. We said goodbye as I passed through two wide double doors leading down an empty hallway and into a room where there were a few white curtains separating me from two other patients. A heavy set and made up nurse with a big smile in purple scrubs came in and told me not to worry  as she put a surgical cap on my head. Another nurse put some relaxing drugs and antibiotics into my ivy, and later a man came in and injected a local anesthetic into my back that numbed me from the waste down.  Finally, I was rolled onto an operating table, my arms spread out and strapped onto a black bed. My legs were lifeless and looked like limp spaghetti as I switched beds. I started feeling drowsy and I looked above to see the big bright lights the doctors use to see. I saw someone cover my leg in dark brown liquid, I felt the bed was being wheeled in every direction as everyone was talking. A blue curtain was placed across my neck so I couldn’t see the rest of my body. I woke up and was wheeled out of the operating room and feeling itchy. The doctor who rolled me out said I was singing Colgando en tus manos and  then started talking to them until they told me to go to sleep. I spent the night at the hospital with my leg elevated the whole time, the next morning I was given my prescription for antibiotics and pain meds and finally went home.

Now Hernan helps me get out of bed and go to the bathroom, since I can’t put weight on my left leg yet. I also can’t wet my bandages so no showers for now. Hope all goes well Monday when I see the doctor, and I hope this marks the end of my knee drama.

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Graffiti Around Cordoba The Sequel

These were taken in Barrio Güemes, the artsy fartsy hood. I’m glad I took advantage this summer to explore before I had my surgery.

 

Some more smiley bears

At Paseo de los artes, which hosts a crafts market every weekend.

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