Archive for the ‘Surgery and Hospital Stay’ Category

It’s the 14th of December and I have been completely mobile for almost a year following 14 months of no weight bearing on my right ankle.  If you’ve read this saga, you know that I had three ankle fusions and ended up with a cadaver hip bone and a lot of hardware – it’s all available for you to see if you scroll through this blog.

Yesterday it was 70 degrees – yes, I’m below the blizzard belt – but today it is raining.  Sometimes, when it rains and is chilly, I pop a Tylenol but, generally, I just about forget about my ankle.  I don’t glide smoothly and I will never ice skate again – or, according to my docs wear heels again :(, but I’m doing very, very well.  I’ve been back to work for months, traveled a lot for work, both by car and plane.  I did have a few problems in Baltimore, dragging a computer, work notebooks and wearing girl shoes, and walking from the parking garages to buildings far and wide.  The uneven sidewalks annoyed my ankle as did the constant shuffling for position in the stream of people walking.  BUT. In my normal day, I don’t even think about it anymore.  The whole thing was a pain in the #@! but it’s done now.

Years ago when I was waiting to meet some friends coming in from somewhere, I spent a few days alone in Bangkok.  I spent an afternoon with a fortune teller who looked at my hand and said that I would have a long period of my life when I would have to suffer with some medical issue.  I’m hoping that this was it and that “medical issue” is over!

I will continue to post from time to time and enjoy hearing from readers.  I can’t believe that this simple little story of my ankle has been read over 10,000 people – all over the world.  It’s amazing how many people have things in common that we search out in the dark of night when we have unanswered questions.

Happy holidays, whatever you celebrate.

I stopped posting because I didn’t want to discourage anyone going into an ankle fusion.  Well, here I am, 10 months, 15 days and three surgeries later, still on one foot on my trusty knee walker and doing my best to be cheerful and optimistic.

The second surgery in April resulted in yet another non-union.  Nobody’s fault – my talus bone just wouldn’t hold it all together.  Dr. D referred me to an ankle specialist whom I refer to as “The Wizard” who looked at my CT scans for some time and looked up and said, “I can fix this!” Woo hoo!  Those were the words I wanted to hear.  As he specializes in non-union ankle fusions and basic ankle trauma, I was confident that the eight-hour drive (each way) was worth it.  I had surgery five weeks ago and have seen him one time, two weeks after the surgery.  My next appointment is the 11th of  September.  When I saw him last, he casually mentioned that I would be approximately four weeks in a cast, followed by six weeks in a boot, and then, six more weight bearing weeks in a boot and then, “You will be healed.”  “What?” I said, “Healed?” See why I call him the wizard?

The pictures below show the removal of my talus bone, the precision insertion of a cadaver bone (thank you, whoever you were) a new, solid IM rod held by a set screw half way up my calf, some screws to hold it together and, finally, a plate to stabilize it all.

Now that I’ve taken the step and begun to post again, I’ll keep it up.  Thanks to all of the well-wishers from whom I’ve had messages.  I’ll be back on after the 11th.

 

Week 19 and finally, I am back to Dr. D.  I was worried that there would be no progress as I just can’t tell.  Somedays, my ankle feels stronger, but I just don’t know….

The x-rays were a great surprise.  The gaps that were evident last month are gone and the entire joint area is full yet translucent – bone growing!  I am still using my scooter (knee walker) and wearing my boot 24/7 but the magic tool is the Orthofix Bone Growth Stimulator.

 The information with the product and the rep who delivered it stated that the norm was a 3-hour session daily.  Well, after some research, I’ve found that that is the minimum.  Now, I have it on 9-12 hours a day, over my boot.  Dr. D suggested that I use a towel to take up the gap and use it directly on my leg for a few hours each day.  I usually do this reading on my deck or on my sofa.  It’s hard to get the BGS small enough without falling off – thus, the towel that I use on the bottom of my ankle.  I feel nothing.

The most fun is that mine is solid black which looks like a parolee’s tracking bracelet.  The only time I’ve worn it in public was to the orthopedic clinic where I assumed most knew what it was.

This time, I get to go back in two weeks, rather than waiting a month.  I think that it was a direct response to my whining – it’s been a very, very long time since I’ve had a life.

March 8 will give me some more news.  Stay tuned!

 

Well, here I am at week 18.  I am wearing an air boot and using my Orthofix Bone Growth Stimulator regularly.  I don’t have an appointment with Dr. D for another week so I just plod along on my knee walker.  This started in the fall and I have just about used up my Florida winter and we are moving into spring.  I need to fertilize my lemon tree, plant my line tree and trim everything.  I look at it all from my deck and know that it will just have to wait on my ankle.

I’ve stopped trying to be upbeat about this and just go on, one day at a time, to see what happens.  When asked how it feels, I just don’t know how to answer.  It feels fine, it feels “twingey,” it feels achey……I just don’t know how it feels compared to normal any more.

I’m so happy that I can get out onto my deck and into my 7′ porch swing to read and listen to the surf.  Even on cold days, the sun shines and keeps me from going nutso.

February 21 is my next appointment – I’ll bring you up to date then.

Note:  Click on the red title of each post to see all that is there…..

Today was the day.  I’m not a big fan of anesthesia and I had taken a Xanax on the way to the hospital and was felling a little mellow when I arrived – that was my goal.  I had barely set down when I was called.  “Undress, put on the gown backwards and lie down.”  The next thing I remember was waking up with my foot elevated, bandaged, and iced.  Someone put something in my hand and told me that whenever my ankle hurt that I should push it.  I knew that I didn’t want to wait for it to hurt so spent the first night pushing that little thing.  I remember an alarm going off every time I emptied what I now know was morphine.  Boy, did I sleep.