Posted by: eczemancipated | February 13, 2014

“Lax” Ligaments

Having spent half of 2012 and 2013 in bed has created further complications in this “healing” process.  In the summer, while taking one of the multitudinous amount of Epsom salt baths we all have to take, I did something to my leg. Just thought it was a pulled muscle really. I figured if I walked enough it would mend itself. Between July and November the pain grew worse, effecting my entire leg and foot. I know you are all nodding your head in disappointment. “Heather 5 months you let this go! For shame, for shame…” But you see I had tried to ignore it as there are only so many Dr visits one can handle and the thought of something else going wrong while dealing with RSS was just too much to bear. However once my left foot starting turning in while I walked with a heavy limp, I was forced to put my tail between my legs and go to yet another doctor. (I don’t know what I was thinking either…)

Turns out after several visits and other issues surfacing, I had sprained my hip socket in July. (Who’d a thunk it?) Since I ignored it for so long and continued to jump on the rebounder and take long walks, it made all the muscles in my left legs start to fall and as a result the arch in my foot fell and led to the foot turning in.

Well the hip socket and fallen arches are all fixed now.

In an attempt to recuperate, while performing light stretches, I tore a ligament in my left leg and heel. (Granted my left leg had an 11-year-old ligament/tendon injury after slipping and falling in a public bathroom, at a rest area, on our way to snowboard while I was dating my husband. I am still made fun of to this day because I had to go to the ER and walk on crutches due to an injury that occurred on the way to snowboarding – not while  snowboarding. I sat in lodges all week guarding my friend’s and family’s stuff as I jealously watching out windows at those being carted up the lifts…)

The whole hullabaloo  seems to have culminated over the fact that I have “Lax Ligaments”, due to lack of muscle, as a result of being bed and house bound since April/May 2012. This means I am unable to perform stretching exercises without threat of tearing more ligaments. So I have been ordered to build muscle.

Here is where the challenge begins.

The best form of exercise for Lax Ligaments is swimming. Why? Well the body is weightless in water, so it creates the safest environment for you to build muscles without putting strain on the body.

Why is this a challenge?

I am recovering from Corticosteroid Addiction thus on 75% of my body I have Red Skin Syndrome.

Public pools are filled with Chlorine in some form, whether its liquids or crystals or salt that becomes electrically charged to form Chlorine. Chlorine is super bad for people whose skin is compromised. A person with normal, healthy skin could handle about 3-6 parts per million in Chlorine while swimming without irritation. I don’t think a person with RSS could handle 1p/m. And some public pools are negligent with overseeing the amount of Chlorine and the PH balance in the pool.

Therefore RSS sufferers and chlorinated public pools should not mix.

(I actually have a chlorine filter in my shower head which I use to fill my bathtub so as not to deal with any chlorine on my skin.)

On the off-chance that I was wrong and I could tolerate the chlorine, at the doctor’s direction I researched 5 different public pools in Santa Cruz County. I narrowed my search down to 2 locations and convinced the club with the indoor pool to allow me to stick my legs in their pool for half an hour to see what would happen to my skin. As My legs are about 95% healed I thought they would be a good test. If my legs had any reaction, for sure my upper body would react.

The next day I reluctantly went to “test the waters”. That rainy cold morning, I ignored the blank stares of little old ladies in swim caps and aqua booties performing water Pilates and the shifty smiles of mid-life crises men swimming laps around the pool. Awkwardly, I sat at the edge of the pool on my neatly folded turtle beach towel quietly reading a book.  I dangled my little legs – shins down –  in the heated chlorinated lap pool, baring my knees in rolled up stretch pants. Thirty minutes elapsed with only a slightly itchy tingle on my left ankle. I thought, “well pretty good”.

I returned home and thoroughly gave my legs a washing in the tub with the shower head nozzle so as not to sit down in the chlorine residue. Twenty-Four hours elapsed and I had no reaction, other than the annoyance of the faint chlorine smell still lingering on my lower legs. The afternoon following my water testing activity, I drew a bath at home as I usually do. My husband was in the living room working on some CAD drawings. After sitting in a full tub for about 5 minutes my back and the back of my arms started to burn. I called my husband in to examine the burning areas. He confirmed that I was severely red in patches all over my back and the back of my arms. We deduced that there must have been some chlorine residue in the tub even though I washed my legs off with soap and water. We concluded that there was NO WAY I was going to be swimming in a pool.

After sharing my experience with the doctor. We deliberated together and decided I may spend 20 minutes daily at the local Club One Fitness on the Elliptical Machine at a very low and slow setting. In the meantime, I will start physical therapy at an actual physical therapy office – which I will now have to wait for a referral for. Then as my muscles build, I will get a personal trainer at the Club who specializes in helping people recover from extreme illness resulting in deconditioning. I feel anciently old in this body and can not wait to recover.

In the midst of all the above, I had to have major dental work. Which hopefully will finally come to an end tomorrow when they put a bridge in my mouth. And I got the flu last Friday to boot – laryngitis and all – which is still lingering fiercely.

I am just the epitome of health these days!

I type to you now from a large Asus double processor laptop whilst sitting at a tiny yet stylish 1950s secretary desk that once belonged to my Father’s Father. He refurbished it in an odd 1970s green paint, antique wash style. It seems fitting that I type these posts here at this desk, as feel like I have so much in common with both objects. Here in my antiquated body sits this youthful brain just waiting to be accessed, blinking cursor on blank page.

I wonder if my Grandfather was overwhelmed when he took this desk to task and refurbished it to look more modern and appealing. I certainly didn’t know what I was getting myself into. It’s like the project that will never end. At least I can hope to have as much character when I’m refurbished…




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