This blog has been silent for what feels like almost forever! After an injury to my right ankle in 2014 that at first nagged and refused to get better and then resulted in two lots of major orthopedic surgery, finally leaving me with chronic regional pain syndrome and permanent disability, I have largely been unable to work.
For the first 18 months after November 2014, which is when I had the first surgery, I spent the lions’ share of the time confined to bed, 24/7. The at that point undiagnosed CRPS kept setting my progress back every time I tried to rehabilitate with physical therapy, so I kept getting ordered back to bed by my physicians. A DVT in my recovering leg further complicated matters and left me unable to sit upright at all due to the level of pain unless my foot was above my heart.
I’ve tried to explain this to a few people, but embroidery and textile work isn’t something you can do when flat on your back, especially when you are trying to minimise repetitive stress to your elbows. It isn’t even particularly easy to do without strain if one is sitting with both feet up when one is sitting upright.
An epidural nerve block procedure and a second orthopedic surgery in Jan and Feb respectively of 2016 meant that I could recover sufficiently to be able to walk short distances in my house and once again sit long enough to be able to attempt some work.
I started to work again in August 2016 though still at somewhere between 30 and 50% of my usual capacity due to the need to take breaks and put my feet up at regular intervals. I am however finally able to work a little bit, which feels lovely after so long a desert of creativity.
I am due to have another spinal nerve block in February and hopefully will be slightly closer to normal after that! The ultimate goal is for me to be able to attend craft shows and display/ vend my work in person, but I’m not quite there physically as of yet. There will also be the matter of how and if I am able to drive or whether I’ll be dependent on my husband for all chauffering, moving and lifting. It certainly seems that way at present as I’m still in need of a wheelchair for distances longer than about 40 feet or even less on a particularly bad day.
In the meantime, here are some pictures of work I’ve managed to complete since August – and yes, I am now flirting with wire weaving and jewelry making as well. You can also find me and photos of work in progress on Facebook here: Liz Heffner Artisan on Facebook.