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The Down and Dirty of It

As mentioned in my previous post, I went to my first post-op appointment on Tuesday.

I’d been emailing a nurse earlier that day with various questions, and she moved my Thursday post-op appointment to Tuesday afternoon.  The Mr. got off of work quickly, and we drove the two hours to Bigger City, Florida, where we stopped at his parents’ house first and then went to my appointment.

The first order of business was removing the splint that I’d woken up from surgery with.

Oh, the feeling of relief when the nurse pulled that thing off of me.  It was like the loosening of a vice grip.  Things had to be tight to keep my recently pinned and plated bones in place.

Now, if you’re squeamish, I’ll go ahead and advise you to stop reading.  Some of the pictures are pretty ugly.

I had been curious what my leg would look like.  It’s a good thing I’d looked up this injury on Google, because I was a bit prepared.  Still though…

It looks a little like Frankenstein, eh?  Those are staples running down my incision, which the nurse was pleased to see.

Here’s a view of the other side of the ankle…

The next picture is a shot of the top of my foot.

See the red splotches?  I didn’t get those from the break.  I got those from the splint that my local emergency room put on after they fixed the dislocation in my ankle (the one thing they did right).  They put my splint on TOO TIGHT, which is why I was in so much pain the first night after I broke it.  Of course, I thought the pain was from the fracture, so I didn’t know better.  On our way to my surgeon’s office the next day, I cried nearly every mile, which made for a long hour and a half drive.  The pain was a real thing.  I kept telling the Mr. that it felt like someone was holding my foot in the sun.  When they took off the splint at the doctor, they discovered a severe burn from where it had rubbed my foot raw.

It was appalling.  And…the ER gave me a Tier 1 pain medication, which did nothing to dull the pain…another thing my surgeon immediately corrected.

So, the red splotches are a bit of tissue damage…not too deep but still there.

Sigh.

Before the nurse removed my staples, I had to get my ankle x-rayed.  I sat in a chair in the hall and snapped a couple more pictures.

Being able to wiggle my toes felt so good.  The x-ray technician likened it to allowing my foot to breathe.  Indeed!

Seeing that my leg was still there did much for my psyche.

I didn’t care about the bruising, and the yellow Betadine didn’t bother me either.  My leg was in one piece.  That’s all that mattered.

After my x-ray, my nurse escorted the Mr. and me to an examination room.  She began removing the staples.

It didn’t really hurt except for a few times, but even then, the pain was minor.  It was more like pulling hair out of a sensitive spot.  Besides that, I’d been through so much pain already, that this paled in comparison.

The incisions looked so much better without the extra hardware!

Then, my nurse began to gently clean my leg.

She used alcohol wipes which, at first, felt good because they were cool but then began stinging like fire as my skin soaked in the alcohol.

That discomfort quickly dissipated, though, and I was able to simply enjoy the tender care that she was giving me.

See how much better it looked after she finished?!

The PA came in to look at the x-ray and answer questions, which I had a lot of, much to the Mr.’s chagrin.

I learned that I’d be going into a cast, which I already knew and dreaded like the plague.  However, the PA gave me good news by telling me that I’d be in it for three weeks before going into a removable boot.

Y’all, I had already been emailing my nurse that morning, and she had told me I’d be in a cast for four weeks.  I’d already looked at my calendar and figured out exactly when I could go back in to get it off…the week after Christmas.

The PA explained that they counted the week after surgery, with me in a splint, as one of those four weeks.

Praise the Lord.

He knew I’d been struggling.  This was His answer to soothe my soul.

I’ll be wearing the boot for six weeks.

I will not be able to put weight on my foot while I wear the cast, which is fine with me.  I know that my body hasn’t healed enough yet.

While I wear the boot, I’ll be “progressively weight bearing,” which I think means that I’ll still be using crutches and a scooter until my ankle finishes healing and gradually adding some of my body weight as the weeks progress.

Physical therapy will begin at that point.  I don’t know how long I will be in physical therapy.

One step at a time, literally.

Another question I asked the PA involved my return to lifting weights.

Oh yes I did.

I really want to get back to upper body workouts, which I feel like I can do if someone helps me with the weights.  I don’t want to undo all of my hard work from the past year.

She told me that they preferred that I refrain from working out until towards the end of my boot time because they want my body to use all of its energy to heal my broken bones.

I know that working out involves the tearing down and rebuilding of muscle, so that made sense to me.

But y’all…I cannot even do ab workouts.

Sigh.

At least balancing on one leg on my crutches is its own core workout program.

Wonder if I could market that.

Ha!

I inquired about a smaller cast because of some of my anxiety.  She agreed that I could get one in which my toes were left more open, but how far up it would go would be standard.

Sigh.

She did at first mention possibly putting me in a boot straight off, but it would be a good option.  I told her not to worry about it…I’d be fine with God’s help.

She was super sweet.  She was the second PA I’d seen…my surgeon has two.  She did not make me feel rushed, and she even went back with me to the cast room, my next stop.

The cast room was one big room…very spacious…with lots and lots of patient tables.

This practice is huge and very popular in this town.  Its doctors are excellent; many are specialists for certain parts of the body.  It’s definitely the place to go, even if you’re from out of town.

I just did not want the cast.

Sigh.

At least I got an assortment of cast colors to choose from…

I had planned on letting my students help me decide what to get, but since I had not returned to work yet, I had to decide on my own.

I thought about my dress for Rooster’s wedding and what would go with it, even though it’s floor length.

I wound up going with pink for the bottom…

The way it works is that you get a sock like thing first.  I guess it’s to protect the skin and the incisions.

Then, the technician who puts on the cast wraps the leg with protective gauze and padding.  He put extra on top of my foot where I’d acquired the tissue damage from the ER splint.  He also added extra around my ankle bones and heel…the areas I had broken.

Next came the top layer, which was, essentially some sort of wrap that he wet and that hardened after it was applied.

I went with blue to contrast with the pink.

The cast was much slimmer than the splint I’d had from my surgery.

I will tell you a quick story about what they had to do before they finished, though.

A mild form of torture.

The technician had to get my foot as close to a 90-degree angle as possible to help prevent problems with my Achilles tendon after I get the cast removed.

Y’all, my foot would not go down.  The tendon was very tight.  No matter how much I tried, I could not make it go down.

So the technician called in for reinforcements.  They had me lay on my belly on the table.

Y’all, I almost started crying as I begged them not to hurt me any more.  It was horrible.  I was so scared.

I had to hold my right leg up with my foot in the air while one guy pushed down on the bottom of my foot to get it to that angle.

It was mostly a lot of pressure and didn’t hurt until one time when it felt like they twisted my ankle a tad.  I hollered out at that.  Before I knew it, they were done.

Thankfully.

Meanwhile, a teenager and her mom had come into the room.  The girl, I learned, was a cheerleader (a flyer) who’d broken her ankle, but not bad enough for surgery.

She wasn’t an overachiever like I was.  She also probably didn’t have brittle bones.

Oh to be young again.

Anyhoo, I told her that it hadn’t hurt.  Her mom told me that I’d looked scared.

Um, you think?

So, hat’s the down and dirty of it.  I’m less than 21 days away from Cast Removal Day, which also happens to be the last day of school before Christmas vacation.  I’ve already arranged for a sub and requested another day of sick leave.

Please continue praying for the healing of my bones.  How I wish I could thank you all personally for the prayers you’ve already offered on my behalf.

I still have a long way to go, but I am on my way and am better than I was even just a few days ago.  #findingjoyinthejourney is still my hashtag, because that’s what it’s all about.

Love to all of you!

 

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2 Responses

  1. I’ve watched too many medical programmes to be squeamish about a few staples except that was a LOT of staples. It sounds like you are getting really good care though and hopefully you will be surprised at how those scars will heal and fade eventually. How well the ankle stands up will depend on how patient you are, listening to the advice of the therapists and putting in the work. You are clearly motivated and determined. A few prayers might be needed on the patience front lol
    I had to give up my dream of being a ballerina. (Not really) my toe joints wouldn’t have coped with pointe work but I was back dancing including tapping before too long. I love that your toes are manicured and at least it seems fairly warm where you are. Here it’s been below freezing at night so not flip flop and shorts weather!

  2. OH MY GOSH… All those staples. I’m a little dizzy!!!!

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