Thursday, October 25, 2007

Definitely on the mend

Postop day 3 and I'm feeling pretty good. I am able to walk in the boot relatively comfortably. It's clunky, but much less painful than 2 days ago. I'm having less aching at rest as well. I woke up this morning feeling really encouraged. I even went out to the kitchen and made myself a latte. Being upright for 15 minutes did bring on some throbbing, but it subsided once I put my foot back up. Definite improvement!

I took a bath last night too - which was a little slice of heaven. I put a crutch across the top of the tub and rested my bum leg on that. Getting in and out of the tub was a challenge, but it was definitely worth the effort. It was so rejuvenating.

Yesterday the hardware arrived in the mail. Someone in the surgical center was kind enough to sterilize it and seal it in an envelope for me. It's amazing to see it - it looks much smaller than what I imagined! I thought the metal plate was at least 8 to 10 inches long, but it's actually only 4 or 5 inches in length. Here's a picture!

I haven't had any Percocet since yesterday. I am pretty sure I'm done with that. I was hoping to make it through the day today without needing a nap, but I am starting to doubt it. I'm not going to push it - I want to heal properly and improve my chances of having a great recovery.

So far, so good.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Round Two: Exactly 17 months later

Today marks exactly 17 months since the surgery for my trimalleolar fracture of the right ankle. And today I again went "under the knife" to have the hardware removed from my ankle. I woke up with my typical stiffness and was anxious to have the procedure done. I believe it all went well - I was sedated through the surgery itself. I had a hard time waking up from anesthesia, and for some reason I struggled with a bad cough and low oxygen saturation rates for the first hour or two postop. They ended up putting me back on O2 by nasal cannula while I was in the recovery ward.

The surprising part for me was the pain. I didn't expect to be completely pain-free immediately after surgery, but I think I was surprised at just how much pain I did have. Dr. Chi told me he was going to give me an "ankle block" and that it probably wouldn't completely cover the pain - but I rated it as 7 out of 10 - with spikes into the 8 or 9 range. Two Percocets and a Vistaril helped take the edge off, but the pain has yet to completely subside. I have been taking 2 Percocets every 3 to 4 hours all day. I tried to take only 1 this last time around, and it's really as if I didn't take any at all. Lots of dull aching just lying still - with stabs of pain if I move it. And it's even worse if I have to get up and use the bathroom. Just the few minutes of being up sends the blood throbbing down into it. Ouchers.

I also haven't been able to fully feel my toes since coming out of anesthesia. I loosened the boot some to see if that would help. At least the numbness isn't moving like it did with my original surgery. I had lost feeling all the way up to my knee cap that time.

Bless my wonderful neighbor for fixing dinner for my family and me. That was very much appreciated. I believe hubby is staying home with me tomorrow, just to make sure I'm on the mend. I intend to spend the entire week in bed with my foot elevated - and work from my laptop. Though today I can't really focus much. The 2 Percocets at the same time leave me nodding in and out of sleep.

I'm really hoping tomorrow is a better day!! If there are a lot of typos in this entry - blame it on the medications.

Sweet dreams ~

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Relief in Sight?

After months of aching and stiffness in my right ankle, I finally went back to my orthopedic surgeon. He did followup x-rays and said I had good alignment and nothing obviously troublesome showing up. We discussed the pros and cons of taking the hardware out from my trimalleolar fracture of 17 months ago. He told me there was no guarantee that removing the metal would improve my situation and that it could put me at risk for a future break. But he also admitted that he is a spine specialist. :) He referred me to an ankle specialist for a second opinion.

I saw Dr. Chi this past Monday. He said at least three times during the review of my x-rays, "That's a bad break!" Tell me about it.

Dr. Chi has recommended that I proceed with hardware removal, arthroscopic debridement, and posteromedial capsulotomy, and I'm scheduled for outpatient surgery on October 22nd. He told me that the likelihood of breaking it again is small - and that he feels the odds are in my favor for improvement with this procedure. He did caution me that I could have long-term arthritis issues, which is in line with what Dr. Price has previously said.

This morning I happened to read an article about arthritis and the effects on working ( Since I work at home, I don't foresee a problem with arthritis impacting my ability to earn a living. I do, however, already struggle with driving, exercising, and just getting around. Some days, the stiffness is so bad that I have to go down the stairs sideways. Sometimes the swelling is so severe that I can't wear certain shoes. Driving long distances in my stick-shift car can aggravate my ankle too. More often than not, I wake up stiff and hobble around for the first 30 minutes or so of the morning. An ongoing issue is the lack of strength and stability I feel in the ankle, particularly when walking on uneven surfaces. And I still have flashbacks when I walk down a sloped surface - almost like post-traumatic stress disorder.

So I look forward to the procedure on the 22nd. Dr. Chi told me to expect heavy bleeding for the first several days. I will be on bed rest with my foot elevated during that phase - and then will be in a walking boot for 2 to 6 weeks. Unlike the original injury, I will be able to walk on it immediately. No crutches!! That's good news. Though I'm not sure I will be able to drive the stick-shift car with the boot on. :(

Nonetheless, it's a temporary set back that I hope will result in a better situation in the long run.