Tuesday, May 18, 2010

First Follow-up Visit

We'll tone down the gore factor just a notch today.  Monday I went to the Orthopedic Center of NH in Nashua for my first follow-up visit since titanium hardware was used to put the pieces of my ankle back together. My lower leg had been sealed up in a plaster splint for 8 days. I still had considerable swelling going on, and it felt like the splint just didn't allow enough expansion for it. I had fear of what might be learned upon the removal of the splint.

It took only a couple minutes to cut the splint open and remove it. The sensation was heavenly. Ever ski or play hockey for too long, until your feet just couldn't take one more second being in those boots? This was a hundred times better than taking those boots off. I was pleasantly surprised my ankle sort of looked like an ankle. Sure, it was swollen to nearly 2x its normal diameter and it was most colors of the rainbow, but it didn't look bad considering what it looked like the last time I put eyes on it.

Next up was removing the staples. I had 4 in one side, and Cathy counted 14 on the other side. These didn't hurt much at all coming out. I did take a percocet before going though, as I didn't know how much contorting on my angle was going to happen. Essentially, none of that unpleasant stuff I experienced in ER happened. I went over to get a couple x-rays, then waited to talk with the orthopedist while my leg got fresh air.

Inside of ankle where two threaded pins were used to
attached broken off piece of tibia.

Cathy counted 14 staples coming out, I can only see 12 here.
Outside of ankle where plate and six screws re-aligned broken
fibula. I was next to wall, so Cathy couldn't get a better shot.

Dr. Heaps was very helpful in answering all of my questions, and I wrote a good number down to not miss anything. The good news is I did not tear the critical joint lining. He didn't think I suffered any serious ligament damage either, at least not stuff needing surgical repair. Overall, the prognosis was quite good. He cautioned me that the recovery process would take about 3-4 months and to not push things. He said he has about one patient per year that does something stupid, where they have to go back to square one. I must remain completely weight free on my left foot for another five weeks, at which time I have my next follow-up visit. I will probably be in a cast for 10 weeks total. There will be zero riding or spinning for at least this long, unless I can suffer through some single-leg work on the spin bike.

I asked Dr Heaps about when I could start to bring some aerobic activity into the picture. He recommend not starting until next week. He said swelling and throbbing pain will be the issue, which will most likely limit what I can do anyway. I told him about the SkiErg I ordered, and he was interested in it enough to ask me to send him more info on it.

After Dr Heaps finished with me, I got fitted with an AirCast. This marvel has four air bladders in it to firmly hold your leg and foot in place without hot spots. You can adjust it as swelling levels change. And you can remove it periodically, which I've been asked to start stretching my achilles tendon. It is unbelievable how limited the range of movement of my achilles already is. Like less than 30% before this happened. I sure hope it all comes back, as I already had trouble with deep ankle bend skate skiing. I am not allowed to move my ankle in any other directions yet.

My SkiErg shipped today and should arrive at my house on Wednesday. Pretty psyched. There's no way I can do much with it yet. Last night was very rough. My new cast holds my ankle differently, and yesterday was too much activity for a first full day out of the house. Yeah, I went in to work after the doctor's appointment. I had a good deal of painful swelling last night. Today was better, working a full day, but rarely getting up from leg elevated on desk position. Far more productive than surfing the web all day at home though.


Dave said...

looking much better! any info on bone density?

Hill Junkie said...

Bone density was one of my questions, and from what the doctor could observe from working on me and the x-rays, I'm normal. But you need exam specifically for bone density to know if there is an issue or not, and this I must handle through my primary care physician at a later date. They check at pelvis or spine, and bone density might not be the same everywhere. Avid cyclists have probably read the reports of young, pro cyclists with bone densities of 70yr olds. Has to do with sweating out calcium and non-weight bearing exercise. I guess I'm ok, but worth following up. Once I'm well again, I have to rethink the bigger fitness picture. I've always had weak ankles.

Jonny Bold said...

I'd say thats all pretty good news Dougie. Although I don't know how "normal" you are......and thats a good thing.

Jacked Up Old Man said...

Thanks for your support
Be back in Sept hopefully be able to repeat the 5-Peat before the snow flies
they close the road again in the fall after leaf season
hopefully you can come assault the mtn with thenI will keep you posted

Jonny Bold said...

When you first get hurt theres a lot of sympathy from everyone, but then life gets in the way and we all do what we do.

Just wanted to drop you a line and say I wish this never happened to you. You're the last guy on earth that deserved this.

Hope the days are getting better Dougie. Don't try to do too much too soon and retard the healing process. Your mountains will be right there waiting for you when you're ready to go.....