Link to the First Page that details the first six (6) months
Link to the Third Page that details months 13 through 17
Link to the Fourth Page detailing the fourth (almost) six (17 - ?) months
Tuesday - Seven Month Anniversary
I'm a little behind the power curve here if I'm going to get this all wrapped up in 2009. Guess I'd better pick up the pace.
Picking up the pace definitely isn't working here. No word from the office so I called them. My girl isn't in so no one knows anything to the point that they can't even find me in the computer.
I can't get an appointment tomorrow because the invisible man has canceled all of his appointments for surgery. Do you suppose he's practicing putting the new, high tech plate that I'm (maybe) going to get? Yea, that's probably it. They can fit me in on September first. Okay, that's three weeks away and not going to work. How about an appointment with the MFW? No can do. So I appealed my case and I got a 3:15pm appointment on Tuesday the 18th. I'll take it. Think I should cruise by the office tomorrow to see if anybody is around?
No phone call from anyone this week. No, I didn't think for a second that I would get a call but you can never tell. I had forgotten that the New Doc had a family member undergoing a non-orthopedic surgery when he and I spoke last week and I'm thinking that surgery took place yesterday causing the day long canceling of scheduled appointments. Don't you feel bad now?
Week Thirty Two - Sunday, August 16
Not much going on and certainly nothing new. It looks like I need to schedule the surgery around a Cordell trip so that Ken is in town while I'm out cold so the 24th through the 27th is off limits. What that really means is nothing before the 28th.
The lower leg and the foot are pretty swollen these days. I've been babying the ankle but can you blame me? I'm continuing to move the ankle and my toes but I'm not stretching the limits much.
Doctor's Appointment @ 3:15pm
Now we're getting somewhere! You'll recall that this appointment was to get on the scheduler's schedule or more to the point, to get the paperwork off of the Doc's desk and into the workflow. Well, it worked. The Doc put all of the pieces together: three urgent phone messages, two week old blood test results, partially filled out paperwork on his desk, & an appointment with no problem listed.
It's official, there was no indication of infection in any of the blood work. Just the same, it sounds like he's going to prescribe a course of antibiotics prior to the surgery just to be sure.
We're looking at the first week of September for surgery but we're not quite there yet. The Doc has moved the paperwork off of his desk and on to the scheduler's desk but the scheduler is, that's right, on vacation. When she comes back on Monday she will have a week and a half to make this thing happen and since we're all rooting for her, we think that she can do it. Don't forget that the Doc is the Chief of Staff over there and he's on call that weekend in the ER so he's on board. Being the Chief of Staff I'm hoping he can make some calls to assist scheduling and insure that we don't need to wait any more weeks to get this show on the road.
Here's a Typical surgical plate
I broke down and applied for a temporary handicap parking placard. Let's see how strong my constitution is when it comes time to use it.
Did I mention that time management is not this Doc's strong suit? I walked out of my appointment at 6:15pm :-).
No bone grafting in my future but there is a different procedure called Demineralized bone matrix that I will be party to. It is apparently pretty viscous and can be injected so it is used to fill the voids up to and including the plates and provides the basic nutrients for bone growth. Don't forget that this is not a refereed paper - it's just a blog and much of this is my interpretation of doctorspeak.
Week Thirty Three - Sunday, August 23
This is the week of the Scheduler. Swelling is the same, color is the same, pain is the same, and probably, the break is the same. And that's just for the Scheduler :-). Seriously, my leg is just like it was last week as near as I can tell.
For those of you that have seen Inglourious Basterds, we're going to do a pain reference here. The scene where Aldo gets von Hammersmark's attention made me cringe and as of recent, I'm no stranger to violence. After seeing that movie, my leg felt just fine.
Remember the phone message disaster? You know, the one where the Doc and the Office were trying to get a hold of me so they left multiple messages on my home phone? Well, needless to say, the next time that I was in the office I straightened them out on the proper number to call. Tricked you! That was in the MFW's chart not the new Doc's chart. So, when I got home tonight I had a message from ... drum roll please .... the Scheduler! "Pete, I have the Auth for your surgery so call me to schedule."
We're booked! Friday, September 4th at 12:30pm.
It's Tuesday afternoon and guess where the message from the hospital is? How did you know? If you already knew that then why can't I figure that out? Easy there, big fella. I had my Personal Affairs Manager check while they were at home and that was about 14:10. Naturally, the message got left at 14:38, I checked again and retrieved the message at 16:08 and the Pre-Admitting Office closed an hour earlier at 15:00.
I now have a hospital pre-operative appointment on Thursday, September 3 at 10:00. I think that they need to draw blood, poke, prod, administer an EKG, take a chest x-ray, and my co-pay, all in an attempt to insure that I survive.
Nicely done, Jer!
Week Thirty Four - Sunday, August 30
You can see that the swelling is down in general and I'm sure that is due to the fact that I'm not walking on it. I haven't cheated even a little. I do stand on it but that is more along the lines of 10% weight placement and it's only to steady myself.
What's up with that?! The hospital called to tell me that my healthcare benefit was in place and in force and that my co-pay would be 40% of what I thought it should be and was expecting. You don't suppose that I'm getting a good-guy-do-over discount, do you? Maybe its a good thing that I got out of the medical billing business :-).
This is Pre Op Day. We started off with a bang when the Reason for Visit stated "Fractured Left Tibia" in Registration. I knew that things could only get better so we called the Doc's Office and tried to confirm which leg we were going to work on. That didn't work all that well so we settled on the description of the original injury and made the changes based on that.
I got a chest x-ray or two, lost some blood to four different tests, and got an EKG. That and a co-pay and I was out in two hours ready for lunch.
So the plan is this: Scheduled as an outpatient operation I have 23 hours (11:30am Saturday) to get all better and off of morphine. There will be no antibiotics administered prior to surgery and I need to get there two hours before surgery. The plan WAS to spend two days in the hospital with a 48 hour antibiotic drip, a surgical prophylaxis antibiotic to be started before the surgery, and plenty of morphine. Remember, we need to 1) remove the large screw, 2) remove and possibly replace the plate on the fibula, and 3) install a new plate on the tibia where there was no previous plate. That seems like a lot of work to me, how about you? We're going to need more morphine.....
I was a little skeptical (to say the least) so I swung by the Doc's office mid afternoon. It's like walking into your regular watering hole where everyone knows your name. You don't suppose that they're still mad about me bleeding all over their carpet do you? Anyway, as I'm speaking to all the girls and everyone is giggling, carrying on, and generally getting no work done, guess who walks out? That's right, the Doc with no nickname. He obviously doesn't want to be left out of the festivities and he's apparently recognized my voice so he steps into the front office and weighs in to the conversation. Now I know that while he might not remember whether it's the right or the left leg, he will remember what the scar looks like and start with that. Besides, this gave me the opportunity to remind him that I'm looking to collect the old hardware. He was quick to point out that if we need to stay an extra day then it's as easy as a stroke of the pen. More morphine? No problem. More antibiotics? No problem. More co-pay? That might be a problem.
Friday - Surgery Day
Today is Surgery day! Let's hope that we got all of the gremlins out of the process yesterday and that everybody's got their game face on today.
I open up at work like most days and I'm waiting for Ken to get in so we can make sure that each other is on the same page. He's been out for a couple of weeks, first to Hawaii (that's two trips that I've now missed) and then to Chicago, so it's been a while since we've sync'd up on Customers. Ken gets in at 9 so we've got a half hour to catch up. He can follow me through the lab and put sticky-notes on everything that needs work. Don't worry, I didn't leave much.
At 9:38 I run home to get Jer and get started and by 10:28 I'm standing on the Fourth Floor in front of the Nurse's Station at Foothill Presbyterian. For a little added fun I added a Twitter account "kellycommapete" for some of minute-by-minute updates. I may have that all out of my system by now but we'll see. Ten minutes later I'm stylin' in my gown, resting on the bed in my new home, room 422. As a concession to the fact that this surgery might flirt with the guidelines of outpatient procedures my room has two beds. Not two beds for two patients but two types of beds, one regulation hospital bed and one slightly downsized and not electrically tiltable outpatient bed. I'm in the outpatient bed.
The plan is at 12:00 the Transporter will arrive and transport me off to the first floor where I get handed off to the Surgical Staff. Then surgery at 12:30 lasting approximately one hour (this _is_ outpatient land), to recovery for an hour and then back to room 422.
So at 12:45 when the Transporter hasn't shown up I suddenly come to the realization that the Doc with no nickname has now completely earned his new nickname "The Doc with No Watch" The Transporter arrives just before 13:00 and off we go like a parade: My Mom, my Wife, the Transporter, and yours truly. In Pre Op everyone sits together - me and my fellow bedridden pre-op candidates on one side and all of our Family seated in chairs on the other. It was at this point that I heard them actually page The Doc with No Watch so they just moved me down here as a preemptive strike, not because he was here and ready.
By 13:30 my Surgical Nurse has verified that I am who I say I am and the procedure that we're going to perform and that we're just "waitin' on the Man." A delightful fellow with a great sense of humor wanders over and introduces himself as the Anesthesiologist and we chat and I introduce my family and then he wanders off. Hopefully he'll be friendlier than the other guy.
At just before 14:00 my Nurse comes over to fetch me, we all hug and kiss (not the Nurse) and off I go. He's from Missouri and was looking for a little more action than St Louis could offer. Imagine that. We wander into Operating Room #2 which is half again as big as San Dimas and it is all decked out, ready for me. The hardware section looks kind of like Ace where you can choose different sizes but with fewer greasy smudges and less hardware in the wrong bin. One entire end of the room is loaded with portable equipment like an xray and some other stuff that I couldn't readily identify upside down. Remember? I'm laying on my back. These guys have a better budget that San Dimas because the light assembly mounted to the ceiling must have cost some serious money and it's twice the size as the last one. We move me over to the table from the bed and I discover that it's heated! My Nurse has preheated my operating table! There's no cup holder so don't try that angle. There are going to be six in the room during the surgery and the three that you haven't met yet are a second Surgical Nurse: the Quartermaster who had laid out the hardware, an xray Technician, and TDWNW's Assistant.
Everyone has been wandering in and out this entire time killing time and fussing with stuff that has already been fussed with but when I say everyone what I really mean is the two Surgical Nurses. That's when the room suddenly filled to four. TDWNW is here and scrubbing in and the Anesthesiologist is hovering over my left shoulder moving IVs and lines and other important stuff. This time I get to count backwards! We start at twenty, he's doing the counting, and I can feel the coolness in my arm. I join him at 18, at sixteen the room adjusts and I count "fuzzy", I forget what number I'm on, I count fourteen and I'm out.
Two hours later they wake me (no recollection) and the Doc tells me that he has successfully removed both of my testicles - he maintains that I laughed.
I don't even remember Recovery. The Nurses there maintained that I wouldn't stop about making sure that I got all of the recovered hardware. Whatever :-).
The first thing that I remember is rolling out of the elevator back on the fourth floor, picking my head up to say hi and thinking "whoa, you're stoned" so I waved and went back nite-nite. It was probably 17:30. I remember not being able to keep my eyes open. Our friendly Anesthesiologist apparently has some heavier duty stuff than his compatriots at San Dimas and he isn't afraid to use them. I woke up a couple of times during the late afternoon and early evening and remember seeing my Floor Nurse sitting at the foot of my bed.
I started with some pain at about 19:00 and the Nurse and I tried to tough it out (not necessarily my idea.) We managed to get past that so I got two Vicodin at 20:00 and when I really tired of trying to tough it out, I finally got a morphine shot at about 20:45. Obviously, I got along a lot better with my night Floor Nurse than I did my day Floor Nurse. Maybe she was trying to get me to go home.
The night LVN was a dream - friendly, attentive, maybe even a little concerned - and she took great care of me. She offered me juice, brought me water, and emptied my urinal, all with a smile. Later in the evening she brought me Saltines. What she didn't know is that I wasn't queasy, I was down-right stoned. Have I mentioned that the Anesthesiologist seriously kicked my butt?
While I never got a clear vision of the standards to be met before I can go home, they appear to be a cross between "The Doc says it's okay", "your 23 hours are up", and "you appear to be healed." There is a surgery scheduled for this morning at 10 with TDWNW so he's going to come by in the morning. The Day shift started with my Floor Nurse wondering why I didn't have any breakfast. I assured her that I could think of no good reason so she ordered it up and I set off to eat the Saltines.
Jer rolled in at about 8 with a Coffee Klatch special with Pete's name on it along with the breakfast from downstairs. I ate everything on the tray including some cereal nonsense that they pawned off on me and it still tasted great. Alright, maybe it didn't taste at all.
The Doc came in about 10:45 and essentially released me for full duty with the not so obvious stipulation of no weight. We're looking at eight weeks of immobilization and then, quite possibly, some assisted walking.
Now is probably a good time to mention that I'm in a splint not a cast, that is wrapped to my calf and foot sort of like a sprain. There are plates on both bones so maybe there's less chance for dislodging the breaks and no need for a cast.
Let's chat about the fibula first. It's broken right about at the end of the plate. The plate is not bent and is still in place primarily because taking it out would likely damage some of the healing that has started since I got off of the ankle five weeks ago. So, instead of the plate bending when the tibia shifted the fibula cracked under the pressure. Can't really blame it - that's a lot of Pete for such a small, badly damaged bone. The break should continue to heal on it's own as it is.
The tibia is in better shape. The Doc pre-loaded the plate by bending (no, there was no vise in the OR) it and was able to leave it intact and jostle the break into place and then placed five of the largest (50mm long) 3mm screws in the distal end of the tibia and six much shorter screws up the tibia. That and gobs of the Demineralized Bone Matrix injected and spread everywhere. The heavy field of screws in the distal tibia is the primary reason that we needed to take the big screw that is already in there out - to make room for the new screws. All of the fractures (three I believe) in the distal have healed so there should be no problem with the five screws.
Straight to the couch at home. I'm out flat with my head up so I can point my eyes at the tv and the leg is up so we can see how it's going to behave. I get a pretty nasty fever about 15:00 so we call the Doc to see how we should play this. We had chatted about fever before we left the Hospital - there will be some so expect it. The Doc liked 101 as a good turning point so when I got to 104 we decided that that was worthy of a call - remember he's on call this weekend. He wants to try 600Mg of Motrin and see what that does. There is no bad news and the good news is that the fever broke. Last time both Jer and I were paranoid about infection. I was on antibiotics for 72 hours from a drip and a week of horse pills after I went home but the fever never got over 102 or so. This time there is way less chance of infection and as a result, we're not worried about it and dealing with it with Motrin without concern. The fever came back close to Midnight but Motrin dealt with it just fine.
Week Thirty Five - Sunday, September 6
I'm glad to be home but I don't have a lot of energy. To be honest, I think that I'm still reeling from the Anesthesiologist's heavy hand. I essentially layed on the couch with a small fever starting and breaking several times all the day. I took Motrin to kill the fever and it worked every time. I felt fine just no get-up-and-go. Because I'm prone there is no additional swelling and there is no pain that the Motrin can't deal with. The fever picks up again around Midnight but it's only around 101 and gets Motrinized in a hurry.
I'm trying out the kitchen sponge bath schedule today. Good news, I've still got it. Time will tell if the neighborhood is still okay with it. Out to lunch at Pickup Stix with Jer and the Kelly's from Upland brought dinner over. It's a good day. I had a small fever this evening but some Motrin dealt that death. And I think that I've worked all those nasty chemicals out the other end.
I'm having a pretty good day and getting around pretty well. Out for Coffee, over to the Doc's office to schedule my appointment next Monday at 10, back home, out to lunch with The Fingers of Death, back home, and down to the Pomona Court to take care of my looming ticket before returning home for the day by 16:30.
It appears that the vehicle code that I was cited with has some sort of administrative clause that makes the recipient not eligible for Traffic School. Wow, don't say that I didn't try to take the good guy way out. I am the proud owner of a Court Date - October 15 at 13:30. We already know how my luck is going this year; now we can check my karma :-).
I've got the leg elevated and iced at home in the red chair. The swelling is pretty good tonight By pretty good I mean significant. It's in a splint wrapped with an ace bandage so it can swell unrestrained with no real pain and then get shrunk back to normal while updating the blog. According to my very scientific test data the swelling will continue until the bone grows and the screws get the healing going. I've got plenty of ice.
Not much going on except a little cleanup before going back to work. Down to My Mom's place to get her a Doctor's appointment for her loose cough. She doesn't want to go so I need to make the call myself. I've got us an appointment for tomorrow afternoon.
Then down to Kelly & Thome for a liverwurst special over at Tony's on 2nd St. with Warren. Remember, Warren had to go fishing without me and I think he may still be recovering :-). Back to the red chair when we're done with lunch because I'm still stinging from yesterday afternoon. I'm sorry. Did I say the red chair? Maybe I meant to say the couch.
First day back to work today. I'm adopting my working schedule from January and going back for some half days while I get my feet back under me. A couple of calls, a conference call, and a couple of old e-mails and it's time for lunch. Wow, I'll never get caught up at this rate. They drop me off at home an the way back from lunch and I can sneak in a power nap before my Mom comes over to go to her appointment. Short story on her cough is that <unverified> she is fine and her Doc has recommended some cough syrup. </unverified> At least she went so I'm happy.
Franky comes over with a couple of coffees from Starbucks and we catch up on the weeks' events. He brings them over rather us going out because I'm starting to sag a little in the middle and keeping the leg elevated is what I really want to do. A little icing later in the evening and I'm almost back to where I started before Jer and I walked from the public parking on Sixth Street to the Traffic Court and back on Tuesday afternoon. Man, am I outta' shape.
Friday - Eight Month Anniversary
Another day of little progress in the larger effort to get caught up. I spent more time telling Customers that we'll work on their stuff the first part of next week than I did working on their stuff. As my Office Mate would say, "baby steps." <Cough> Cop out <Cough>.
Jer whips out another custom pasta dish and a diet Coke for a true Friday Night celebration. I spent the entire afternoon in the chair so no icing is required and we're good to go for another few months. I don't really have much to show for eight month's worth of healing. Let's just hope that it doesn't take another eight months to get out of this ladder-free environment that I'm in.
We go to breakfast at Roberta's and then the local rounds. I see that we're down to just two helicopters over at Brackett for fire fighting. That's down from eight just earlier this week. My experience is that they are likely to leave one over there even after they're done with the Station Fire just for fire season safety's sake. The Sikorsky / Erickson S-64 Sky Crane is a cockpit and an engine masquerading as a helicopter with the minimum chassis to maintain some separation between the two.
We mix in a trip to the market for a little light exercise and an agility workout. Or it could have been that I went so Jer could use my handicapped parking permit. One or the other. We barbecued some pretty awesome custom Food-Channel-inspired burgers this evening. Glad I was invited.
A full ice-down follows and the leg is back to where it started.
Week Thirty Six - Sunday, September 13
The leg is healing nicely with no real pain or swelling. It'll swell if I leave it down for a while more so when I stand. My motion is still impaired with the splint being too long and I'm hoping to get that remedied tomorrow at the Doc's.
No Drags this weekend, the Nascar race was last night, and it's pretty early in the Football season so I'm able to get Jer up and out and over to the Coffee Klatch for a Petey Special and a little light socialization with the locals. We wind up at the Village Eatery for some oat bran pancakes and then back to the red chair for the bulk of the afternoon.
Visit the The Doc with No Watch today. I'm wise to their tricks with a couple of visits under my belt already however. Remember the two to three hour wait times? Well, last time that I was in I noticed (cover your HIPAA eyes) that the dude in front of me was in fact behind me with the glaring exception that he checked in before me. I've got a 3:15 appointment and I checked in at about 3:10. He's got a 4:00 appointment, he checked in at 3:00, and he got called and seen first. So I show up first today with the 2nd appointment and that's right, I get called and seen first. This didn't happen with out some planning. I had to tag-team my rides with Jordy dropping me off and Jer picking me up. It seems that while I can take the entire morning for a Doctor's visit, there are others that can't. Whatever :-).
The Tech calls me in and shows me my room and after I unload my pillow and backpack (I came prepared for a three hour wait :-)) we move off to my favorite room in the office, the xray room. We snap a couple of xrays and I'm back to waiting and contacting the extraction team.
I have a pair of tin snips and a burr knife in my backpack in case I need to assist with the splint modifications. The Doc comes in and we exchange pleasantries and it's probably just 10:30. I'm seated in a chair so the Doc rolls over, rests my leg in in his lap, whips out his industrial grade scissors, and starts snipping. I'm still talking about modifying the splint when he stop his snipping and points out that if I don't move my hand he's going to have to remove some fingers to get the splint off. I kind of thought that we'd reuse the splint after we redressed the wounds but I'm not on the same page here. He snips the entire splint off and disposes with it in it's entirety. Gone. Maybe I can still get out of the office without anyone seeing my tin snips.
The Doc grabs the ankle and shakes and twists and pulls to test his handiwork. Apparently the ankle and break are sound, just not ready for much weight but the ankle is apparently ready for all of the motion that I can throw at it.
I'm now in a boot that flies on and off with velcro complete with tread for walking. I'm to wear the boot for protection for now and I'll be able to walk in it when the time comes. I can take the boot off at night for icing and sleeping and I'm to start stretching the calf tonight. Sounds like there might be some serious rehab in my future this time around. I guess that means that I could get back in the pool and swim some laps if I were so inclined (hangs his head in shame.)
The Doc is completely pleased with the progress to date and I'm headed back here in three weeks for my next follow-up. There _could_ be some partial weight on this baby based on the results of that visit. I'm out of the office by 11:00. That's an hour and a half for all of you naysayers.
I added some pictures today to earlier dates in September.
The swelling remains minimal and the incision is healing nicely. Having the boot is a real improvement for general daily activities. It's soft so that I'm not scratching the furniture and it's light so it's not a burden. It is requiring a second thought during the day to remember that I'm not supposed to stand or walk on it. As far as standing on it to steady myself, which is allowed, the boot makes that much more comfortable by making the two legs the same length.
Many thanks to Tom for reviewing a past entry for correctness and pointing out my error. It would seem that I need to pay more attention :-).
Good day today. The leg has gotten much better about throbbing when down and I can spend extended periods of time with the leg down without problems. It looks forward to returning to the elevated position of the recliner at work or the red chair at home but I can last all day at work these days.
There is still some swelling in the area of the incision, the foot and the toes but is down so that it doesn't really have an affect on any of the joint motions. The calf is very tight and pulling the toes toward my knee is definitely going to be the challenge during recovery. The Doc didn't have any trouble pushing the toes toward the knee and if I didn't know better, I'd think he was enjoying himself while demonstrating what I needed to do.
Back in the shower again! The Doc said two days before I could submerse the incision so I gave it two days for the shower. My shower doesn't back up but I thought that I might be better off waiting if was going to give it a real scrub knocking off some or all of the scabbing.
Every time we make a new incision around the ankle I loose more feeling at the skin. With this new eight inch cut on the inside of the leg I can hardly feel the ice in the evening. I did bang the toes this morning getting out of the shower and I can feel them just fine :-). I don't have much feeling on top of the big toe but I can't really figure where or when that's going to present as a problem.
The plate is of this ilk and is stainless steel. Both plates will stay for the life of the leg and when the swelling goes down a little more we may be able to make out the outline of the plate on the tibia toward the top.
I'm wearing the ski boot and making it look good. There's not really any hard, flat surfaces to add stickers or paint to so I think that I'm stuck with basic black for the time being. Trey gave me some stickers when he came to visit me in the hospital but I can't find much in the way of surface area to apply them to.
Icing in the evening doesn't have much effect on the swelling so it's difficult to see any change from early in the day to late in the day. The areas where the hardware is are raised and hard to the touch. I think that it's a little early to be able to tell if we can feel the plate or if it's just scar tissue around it.
Today is the first day since the surgery pain subsided that I've felt the break. It's the fibula that I can feel and it's after resting the leg on the outside edge of my foot. I struggled for a few minutes to find a comfortable position and I eventually got one but it's interesting that two weeks later it would finally twinge. Later in the day the pain is gone so I'm not really sure what that was about.
Week Thirty Seven - Sunday, September 21
It's been just over two weeks since we installed the plate on the tibia and I can get most of the swelling out of the leg by elevating and icing. The ankle is still a little misshapen and the foot and the toes still have some swelling that doesn't go away. The ankle feels good when I move it in all directions and I can actually make the foot rotate which I couldn't do before. I kept talking myself into the fact that the big screw through the base of the tibia and the fibula was keeping me from being able to rotate the ankle and as such, I didn't try very hard. Now that I know that there is nothing keeping it from rotating I find that it rotates much better. The mind is a strange thing. Mind or no mind I'm continuing to work on getting more motion out of the ankle before it's time to put some weight on it.
About that weight thing. Just because it feels good doesn't mean that I'm growing any more bone this time than I grew last time. Sure, I healed up the distal end of the tibia and the fibula just fine but I couldn't get past the gummy bear stage with the tibia. What's to make me think that all of that demineralized bone matrix in there is going to do the trick? I'm thinkin' that I'm going to push for a CT scan or some time with the bone growth stimulator before we test the break the hard way. I'm pretty tough here in the blog, aren't I?
As we're rolling out the door to the garage this morning Jer misjudged the step down and went all the way down to the floor. She wound up right about where I landed and judging by the noises she was making and the look on her face, something is not right. Both of her ankles are swelling and by the time we get to my shop she's rethinking her morning. I talk her into returning home for some ice (I wonder where I can find some of that?) while we formulate a plan.
I get her settled at home on the couch all the while concern is creeping in about driving, walking, carrying and other trivial tasks that the Kelly's are going to have trouble with. I go to work and at 9:02 I call my personal Orthopedic Surgeon for an appointment. My concern here is that Jer will say "I'm fine" and "This will be all better in a couple of days" or "Let me walk this off" and then two weeks from now, we'll find out that Jer has broken something. Obviously I don't want to find out that she's broken anything but I definitely don't want to learn that two weeks from now - it needs to be today.
There's a little confusion at the Doctor's Office while I'm trying to schedule the appointment but we manage to muddle thru that and we're on for 10:30 with the The Doc with No Watch. I stock up on reading material and at 9:30 I'm on my way home to pick up the injured party who's using all of my ice. We get to the office and a little more confusion ensues when they see me and we haggle through the arrangements on just who the appointment is for. After Jer completes all of the new patient forms and I carry them up to the window to get us slated in the lineup, the girl at the window (not the regular) overheard my across-the-office discussion with the The Man of Few Words and we need to go through the discussion about which Doctor we're going to see one more time. It's actually kind of amusing. It turns out that we can see The Man of Few Words instead of The Doc with No Watch and save a couple of hours. Done!
When the Doc comes in it takes a few minutes to catch up. He's seen my x-rays from my last visit and he likes what he saw. Finally Jer clears her throat and we all settle back in to present day and the present patient and get to diagnosing the second and third ankles in the Kelly family.
Jer uses my personal x-ray machine at my personal Orthopedic Surgeon's office and gets her own chart with her own x-rays. The Doc comes in, posts the new x-rays, and declares that this is what an ankle is supposed to look like - no breaks, pins, screws, plates, demineralized bone matrix, or gummy bears. I'm to study up and work on getting it right. She's got a couple of sprained ankles and she's going to be hurting for a couple of days.
I cooked dinner but she carries the food and drinks out so that we can eat tonight and not days from now as it would be if I we're to carry them out.
There's some thinking that we should just caution tape the garage off and stay as far as possible from there. We could seal off the access door from the house and rent it out but I'm concerned that I couldn't afford the insurance given the history :-). Maybe we should just demolish the garage and turn it in to a garden.
Jer finally figures out that she's better off continuing to use my ice and maintaining her position on the couch in order to get better fast. I can drive well enough to not get arrested so I can get to work and back (and the Doctor's office) driving with my left foot. No one will ride with me but I can live with that.
I rolled down to OCLUG today to see a demo on LinHES or Linux Home Entertainment System. Cecil has been doing this for just over six years and this was an update on the current state of affairs. About the only thing keeping me from running this at home is the problem of needing a pc in the entertainment center and until I can make that happen without a fan I guess I'm going to stick with Motorola's weak software attempt at a DVR.
Week Thirty Eight - Sunday, September 28
The ankle feels good. Most of the swelling is in the foot and toes but that goes down nicely over night. I've got a week before I go back to the Doc's to hear what he got to say so I'm working on my motion pretty regularly.
Jer is getting around pretty well but I'm going to drive tomorrow and we'll see if she doesn't want to go home at lunch time to grab some more of my ice.
With both of us limping around it is generally pretty quiet. No one seems to want to visit for fear of getting too close to the garage and I can't really blame them. Maybe we can meet you somewhere.
It looks like I'm grounded until further notice here at work. I normally travel to Anchorage AK. just before Halloween for a two day trade show and then to Billings MT. the first week of December for another two day, regional trade show. These and two other small shows comprise my traveling duties but it would appear that I'm off the traveling schedule for the foreseeable future with Bill and Trevor filling my shoes.
The thinking behind the trade show scheduling is that this late in the year the ground is frozen and too hard to dig in so outside infrastructure construction is done for the year and the Engineering Staff has some time to shop. I enjoy it because I get to go to cold, remote locations for limited periods of time and then come home and warm up. I always enjoy meeting and putting a face to the names of the people that I talk to every day and it serves as an exploit to my city boy persona for my country boy inklings to work on.
Jer has also decided that she's fit to drive again so I'm not only grounded at work but I'm just plain grounded.
The current plan is to lay low this week and weekend and then put Jer in my car on Monday morning. I'll drive her car and then we can both resume a more normal schedule, one where I get to work at 7:00am and where she can go exercise after work without worrying about getting me home. Keep your fingers crossed and out of the garage.
Jer's getting around a lot better. Not good enough to go dancing but hey, who would be her partner? Both ankles are still swollen and the purple color is settling to her heels as the swelling is settling into her feet. She's fully mobile, not as fast as I am, and she can't wear all of her shoes yet but she's fully functional.
My ankle seems to be getting better each day. I wear the boot when I'm not in my chair or in my recliner so I can move the joint. So far, the biggest improvement is in the toes: I can pull them toward me with causing undue pain. They don't bend like they used to (like yours do and mine are supposed to) but they bend both directions and are getting more bendier by the day.
You can look at my leg and recognize where the ankle goes, the start of the foot and the end of the leg. It's a little lumpy around the exit wound and other than the lumpiness it is starting to look like a leg again.
When you put the squeeze to my lower leg you can feel both plates. I can hardly wait to see what happens when I bang either side of my shin on something hard and the skin splits against the plate. Hopefully I won't bang it against a screwdriver :-).
Week Thirty Nine - Sunday, October 4
I'm pretty stoked about seeing the Doc tomorrow. We'll do the double-whamie again, where I putt over, sign in, and catch up on my magazines and then text Jer when I get called in so she can hobble over and make it before the Doc comes in. She's getting better while watching football from the couch so we're still on schedule to drive both cars tomorrow.
The ankle has decent motion so I'm not displeased at all with the progress. We'll see what he thinks.
I'm visiting the Doc today at 10:45. I plan to arrive and sign in at 9:45 so I can get in and out. Turns out that I did just that and I saw the Doc at 11:30 and walked out with another appointment scheduled at 12:00. Not bad, eh?
You can still see the staple (in both x-rays) so you don't need to worry about it just yet because we know exactly where it is. We're getting some bone growth in all of the right places - in the gap, around the fibula, and around the plate on the tibia. Remember that spare piece of bone that looked like it didn't really belong there in the fibula? Well, check it out now!
No weight yet but isometric exercises out the wazoo: inside ankle (pronate), outside ankle (supinate), ankle extensions, and the important one, where you pull your toes toward you. The Doc gave me some stretchy stuff (he didn't think much of me using a bicycle tube) to use in the exercises so I might turn out to be just like a dancer when we're done. I asked about how, if I can't stand on the leg, can I pull on the foot and not risk injuring the break? That force is transferred through the same leg with the same break, right? Since the pulling and stretching are controlled motions he says there is no danger in injuring his handiwork.
I'm not sure where I am with his explanation. If I can't walk on it then he's worried about it breaking. If it can be broken then I can (possibly) break it pulling or stretching the foot. In his defense we've changed from pulling on it using a towel to pulling on it with my stretchy stuff so that at least makes more sense. I'm not going to put more than 50 or 60 pounds of force on the stretchy band for fear of the band breaking. I don't need an eye patch too.
The Doc gave me some technical explanation back the first time that I saw him about how all of this is supposed to work. The injury irritates and annoys the surrounding tissue which stimulates blood flow which in turn stimulates the formation of scar tissue. The scar tissue forms cartilage and that in turn forms bone. All of this is in reaction to the irritation of the injury so, in order to grow more bone more quickly we need to exercise / irritate / annoy / agitate the injury site. What all this means is that I need to pull away, just like I was in rehab.
As we're wrapping up the Doc looks at me and says "it seems like it's been more than four weeks, doesn't it?" At which point we all started howling with laughter and he solemnly rephrased his question into the statement "I guess I'm preaching to the choir here."
I got a little twinge today while working my elastic stretchy stuff on the outside by the fibula. I shouldn't really be worried about _that_ bone but I can't help myself. It didn't swell so it must be okay, right?
More of the same as far as stretching. I cut the band in half so I have a piece at home and a piece at work. There is no excuse to not stretch so I might just as well do it.
I'm getting pretty good motion working the ankle in a circle, enough so that being able to bend the toes back (like one does when they walk) is about to be my next milestone. I don't have all of the motion back in the ankle but it is improving enough so the the toes are starting to fall behind.
The exercise that I'm doing with the stretchy stuff (I have the blue color) has actually reduced the swelling even further. In a sock you can hardly tell that I dang near broke it off. I don't have the "ankle bone" look that you might be familiar with but that could be from some combination of residual swelling and the additional thickness of the plates. Either way, you can still tell that it's an ankle because of its location :-). Don't get me wrong, the ankle is still larger than it was but I think that is mostly scar tissue and is likely to break down over time.
Week Forty - Sunday, October 11 - Nine Month Anniversary
I'm continuing the stretching and I've gotten so that I can find a couple of positions that are painful when I work on the outside of the ankle. When I back off on the pressure the pain subsides and I can continue the rotations. Everyone that sees the ankle out of the boot remarks on how good it looks. This is somewhat amusing because they are mostly the same people that were remarking on how swollen the leg was back before the second plate. Others, that hadn't seen the leg when we learned that it was still broken, will remark on how swollen the leg is now. I guess that it's all in the eye of the beholder.
This is a busy week for the Kelly's. Jer has an annual meeting for the homeowner association on Monday, we're going with Judy Kelly (Upland Kellys) to a book signing in Pasadena Tuesday night, Wednesday night is free, and Thursday is my court date at 13:30. I almost don't have time for rehab...
Jer got her annual home owner association meeting knocked out with hardly any blood shed at all.
I've been moping around all morning hesitant to work on my ankle motion because of of some nuisance pain. I've been reviewing all my data to try to determine what I might have done that could cause this and haven't gotten very far. Only just now did I put together the rainy weather and my metal work.
I've broken my share of bones through out my lifetime and none of the injuries has any pain or stiffness related to cold or rainy weather. I've always just sort of nodded along when others spoke of dreary weather having an effect on their old injuries like I was party to that group. Well, this one may be the exception. Let's check back on this on Friday.
Holy Toledo! I got so wrapped up in my own healing that I completely forgot about Jer's appointment with The Man of Few Words. Now that's going to be tough to explain. Bottom line (since I wasn't there this is all I got) is that she'll have swelling for another month and he'll see her then. Simple and elegant.
It's still rainy here in Southern California and my ankle is still a little cranky about it. It's stiff and resistant to bending but it will bend if I force it. I've become pretty good at ignoring the fact that the ankle even has a joint and can get around and do everything without causing any motion in it at all. Days like this bring out the best in skills like that. I guess that nine months is plenty of time to learn new habits.
Here's how it works in Pomona: The Judge calls roll for each Defendant and then for the Deputy who wrote the citation. The Defendant answers "here" and the Deputy responds with either "here and ready to proceed" or "here and no recollection". Three things can happen. No Deputy or a response of "here and no recollection" and you get your case dismissed. A response of "here and ready to proceed" and your case goes to trial. And the third is a traffic school offering that may or may not happen but we'll get to that in more detail a little later. The "no recollection" thing is pretty cool. I'm not sure why they have it but I'd like to think of it as a way for the Officer to change his mind after the fact and rescind a not-so-kosher ticket.
The Clerk of the Court explains courtroom protocols and makes sure that no one is chewing gum or has a powered-on cell phone when they bring the Deputies in. My Deputy is the first to enter so I'm glad that I'm prepared although I'm chomping at the bit to get a piece of that traffic school program. I mean that I'm feeling lucky but let's not look a gift horse in the mouth and roll the dice when we don't really need to. During roll call my Deputy reports that he's here and ready to proceed and if I didn't know better, I'd think that he did it with attitude. Part of that feeling is that because he happens to be here for two tickets and on the other ticket (a woman) he claims no recollection. Right.
The Judge turns to the Deputies, identifies the senior officer, and asks him which one of his Deputies would he like to see back on the street first. The senior Deputy states that he is only too happy to go first but the Judge clarifies the question but letting him know that it will not be him (the Captain goes down with the sinking ship is the quote that he used) and to try again. It appears that all of the Deputies know each other or at least have some knowledge of each other and they collectively point at my guy while the senior Deputy appears perplexed. He acknowledges the pointing and verifies for the Judge that my Deputy is in fact going first which, since I am his only victim left standing, means me.
The Judge calls my name and I gather my backpack and crutches and peg over to the door where the Bailiff meets me and opens the door for me. I set the backpack on the table, lean the crutches on the table, and start to pull out my visual aids. I glance over at my Deputy after I've pulled the three notebooks out of my backpack and notice that he's not quite as "ready to proceed" now. I'd classify us as "even" at this point :-).
Have I mentioned that I'm wearing a long sleeved shirt, long pants, a tie, and no roboboot? I pulled out all of the stops for this. The Bailiff has even offered me a chair that I have declined.
The Judge opens by asking the Deputy if he is familiar with my citation and if he has any issue with me going to traffic school. Actually, there is some confusion about the section of the Vehicle Code that I've been cited for and he asks the Deputy to clarify the scenario for the citation. More confusion ensues and the Judge asks me if I've been to traffic school in the last 18 months. I'm quick to point out that 1) no, I haven't and 2) I'd like nothing more that to go to traffic school. Further, the only reason that I'm here is the fact that traffic school wasn't an option for my citation. This seems to give everyone pause so I explain (you know me and a story) about my trip to the Clerk of the Court and her not being able to offer me traffic school because of some administrative clause preventing Section 2818 from being eligible. This causes a scurry of activity as both the Judge and the Clerk scramble to verify this claim. After a short period of time the Judge decides that we should start the trial and he can offer traffic school after the fact instead of wasting any more time.
So the Judge asks the Deputy what happened. In his defense I'd like to point out that the Deputy had an impressive recollection of the facts. I mean, he writes tickets for a living and it's been three months. When he finishes the Judge asks me if I'd like to question the Deputy. I reply in the negative but ask if I can clarify and add to events. He obliges and I drop the "he let the other guy though" bomb. The Judge asks if this is true and my guy opens the door all the way by adding that his Captain had come through and that there might have been another vehicle also. The "Captain" thing derails the entire line of questioning while the Judge and Deputy try to ascertain why the Captain was there and where he was headed. Just before I offered to clarify, the two of them come back to where we started with the realization that the Captain was supposed to be there and not trying to get home like the rest of us. I do clarify that I recall the Captain coming through but that was after I was being cited and I bring the focus back to the Lexus.
The Deputy (amazingly) recalls that the Lexus was traveling just to the first neighborhood and not trying to cross the train tracks like I was. So I pull out the broken leg trump card and clarify once again that I had asked to park and walk across the tracks because my leg was broken but not casted at that point. The Judge is holding his head in both hands at this point and in my estimation, really looking for a reason to award to the Plaintiff.
He's noticed my stack of binders that I have produced from my backpack and welcomes me to let the Court view them. The Bailiff has been rocking from foot to foot waiting for this and he rockets forward to fetch a copy. As he takes a copy to the Deputy I offer the Deputy his own copy and so the Bailiff heads straight for the Judge. I wait to see how this is going to play out and watch the two of them shuffle through the four pages aimlessly and realize that much like some College classes, I just needed the binders with something in them. This confusion that I've caused here by presenting a powerpoint-type presentation only goes to prove Edward Tufte's point that a powerpoint presentation can do more harm than good. My Deputy slides the notebook back to my side of the table and says "nice job" as he completes his survey.
The Judge finally settles on the diagram and asks for some clarification. He continues with his head in his hands and comes to the realization that he's going to need to find in my favor and mumbles something about finding reasonable doubt and finding in favor of the Defendant.
Do you think that city will notice the bronze plaque that I've erected at the intersection?
Week Forty One - Sunday, October 18
The scar looks pretty good in my book. You can see the discoloration from the original scar and that's probably not going to go away anytime soon but the surgical scar looks as though it will completely disappear in time.
I'm still not walking on this thing but we fully expect the rest of the swelling to work out when I do start walking on it.
I received a card from the Doctors' Office informing me that my appointment on 11/2 has been canceled. It looks like the Doc is going to be out of town.
Jer's ankles are doing well enough that she is back walking again. Last night she went three miles and came home hurtin' but a little ice and she's back ready to go tomorrow. I'm still gloating over the beat-down that I administered last week so that hardly anyone can stand to be around me.
I figure that the ankle is healing because I keep catching myself trying to stand on it. Now, I've been off of it for more than nine months so there should be no residual memory of standing or walking left. These days I stand on it or more correctly stated, I stand on my left with my right resting on the ground. So the fact that I keep catching myself trying to put weight on it means to me that it feels like it's ready for weight. Lucky I'm not a Doctor. eh?
Week Forty Two - Sunday, October 25
I've moved out of the recliner and back on to my rolling office chair. It can be challenging to get much done without moving. Other than changing channels :-). I'm also wearing the boot occasionally just in case anyone asks.
I have a couple of wooden blocks that I use for stretching and since I can't really use them whilst reclining, I've got to sit up. These are the same blocks that I was stretching with when I rebroke it last time. Maybe they'll behave better this time.
I got bit by a spider last night in my kitchen! What's even better is that he bit me on the outside of my broken ankle. I was standing on the rug at the sink and cleaning up the kitchen before going to bed when I jumped from a sharp pain. It was a sharp enough pain that I drew the leg up and swatted at the spot and then tried to figure out what had happened. As I was putting the pieces together I realized that what I had felt was not an ankle pain but a bit and I set out to ascertain the culprit. I found the spider on the floor not far away but and bagged him for identification when Jer takes me to the Emergency Room later.
I need to work on my spider ID skills because my first pass has him as a Theridion grallator which is only found in the Hawaiian Islands. Hmmmmm. It's been 22 hours and there is no swelling at the bite so I'm likely to live.
Alright, my superior spider identification skills have brought us here: A Steatoda grossa of the Araneae: Theridiidae, or as everyone else knows him.... the House Spider. I'm the first to admit that I'm a little jumpy when it comes to sudden sharp pains at my ankle but in my <weak> defense, I provide you with The Orkin Man's take on this little rascal and his cousin from the North West.
Yesterday was the second day that I've left the leg down all day and it's pretty swollen by the end of the day. First thing in the morning the swelling is down again so I'm not too worried. You'll recall that the swelling was indicative of a problem during the last go-around on this thing so I not all that pleased with my progress. There are three factors at play here: 1) spider bite, 2) down all day, & 3) using the blocks so we're going to eliminate two. The bite, while I don't believe is a factor, will be negligible by Monday. One way or another because I'll either be dead (wouldn't both Doc's be upset then?), the leg will have turned green, or I'll have stopped whining because I've forgotten about it. The other factor that we'll eliminate will be the blocks - I've already put them away. The real problem with my control scenario is that the leg tends to stay elevated on the weekends rather than down. Monday the swelling should be down and then we'll see how it is Tuesday with no blocks.
We're off to a Halloween party this evening at the Artura's. I'm going costume-free but I did toy with some ideas about a costume although all of my ideas related to no crutches rather than trying to incorporate the crutches into the costume. Maybe that's why I failed.
Week Forty Three - Sunday, November 1
We're off to dinner at the Kelly's of Upland tonight and lo and behold besides baking chocolate chip cookies, they gave me a present. It's the surgical screw that got removed to make room for the five screws that are holding the new plate in place. Did you notice the xray in the background? These guys are good! Nicely done guys!
The swelling is down after a couple of days of rest and relaxation. That means to me that the break is not healed. When the ankle is left down as in resting on the floor and it swells, then there is still healing going on or at least there is damage still present. It feels good in general but I get occasional twinges of pain related to the fibula so I'm a little worried about it. This last Friday was eight weeks since we added the second plate and as I recall a normal break heals in four to six weeks. At least in a teenager.
The swelling is very predictable these days: down in the morning, up in the evening (even by lunch), and then down in the morning again. I started using the block again today so let's see how it looks in the morning.
We've got a road trip scheduled this weekend to Las Vegas. Yord and Chris are getting married Friday evening so we are packing up my Mom and relocating to the Golden Nugget on Friday and coming home again Saturday. This will be my first foray into the wild this year and I'm more than a little excited.
Road trip! Leave at 1:12pm for Las Vegas and the wedding. Stopped traffic on the 15 up to Devore and then only one more close encounter not far from Mountain Pass before arriving at the Golden Nugget at 4:55pm. They put the three of us on the fourth (non smoking) floor in the South Tower at the far end. I'm pretty sure I've got a 1/4 mile walk from the lobby to room 1425. At least there are no stairs :-). The Bellman even suggests that we change rooms. It's way too far to go for that so I'm going to suck it up.
The Wedding was great at the Little White Wedding Chapel and dinner was fantastic at Chicago Joes on 4th afterwards.
I'm feeling pretty good but the girls have had enough so we're calling it at an evening at 11:30pm.
About halfway down the first hallway on the fourth floor I realize that I no longer feel all that well and that I'm either severely hung over or I'm suffering from some serious muscle soreness. Since I didn't add anything to my diet Coke to make me hung over I'm going with the six quarter mile pegs and my seriously under estimated work requirement. We meet the Poff Twins in the buffet and I'm really starting to sag in the middle.
There's lots of walking and standing between the buffet and the car so when we finally get on the road, I'm spent. I wanted to show the girls the Forum Shops but when we get close and get a sight on the valet line at Caesar's, the girls decide that since I'm already insufferable, there is NO way that they have ANY interest in doing anything but hitting the road and getting home. Okay by me. I'm already done and misbehaving so badly that I've apologized at least three times and couldn't agree more with their assessment.
I guess the moral of this story is that I'm not going anywhere until I'm off of crutches. Period.
Week Forty Four - Sunday, November 8
I need to eat my most recent statement about not going anywhere until I'm off of crutches since I'm scheduled to go to the drags next weekend. That didn't last long, now did it? Well, don't sweat it - I've got a plan. It involves a handicap placard and a pit parking pass and I think the only guy that will park closer than me is Rick Stewart, the NHRA Starter.
The day of rest helped a lot and it happened to include a hot bath. I'm a little sore still but getting around just fine.
The last set of xrays were not available to me at the office but I can tell you that I wasn't pleased at the growth when I looked at these xrays from today.
The Doc shook the break, rattled the plates, and declared the joint "healing" and ready for half weight. We both agreed that the Bone Growth Stimulator, if available from Battlestar Galactica, is the way to go so he's going to process the Auth request with a phone call to the Medical Director and he thinks that it's a shoe-in. If I recall correctly paperwork wasn't really his forte. Wait! He has yet to return a phone call so maybe the telephone is not on his desk either. He mentioned e-mail but that can't be correct so how about I call him in two weeks and we find out where everything is then.
You'll recall that the Doc thinks that bone growth is stimulated by irritating the fracture (we covered this during the Doctor visit on Monday, October 5th) so walking with half my weight on the right leg should do just that. I'm still on both crutches so it is controlled weight bearing albeit pretty arbitrary weight bearing. I'm pretty sure that I didn't re-break the leg last time until after going with full weight so I might still be okay here. I'll let you know.
Wednesday - Ten Month Anniversary
Jer got her official release from her Personal Orthopedic Surgeon today. She can't walk all that well just yet but her instructions are to walk on those babies and suck it up. Where have I heard that before? If she still has some swelling in another eight weeks then she can go back and see him but I'm thinkin' that he's washed his hands :-).
I, on the other hand, am supposed to be putting half weight on the leg these days. That's a little more difficult than it sounds because 1) I can only peg at half speed, 2) I have to pay attention and concentrate on how much weight I'm administering, and 3) I need to have 20 or more steps in a fairly straight line before it's worth the effort.
So I read my own dribble and realized just how ridiculous I sounded with that 20 step minimum thing. It wasn't 20 steps but it was more than five and I decided that that in itself was a problem. We're only talking about walking without the boot on here because with walking with half weight in the boot is well, worthless.
I've decided to remove my left (and only) shoe and that makes walking around much easier. It's not really conducive to the work environment but I think by this time they are probably accustomed to me not really doing much anyway :-). Without the shoe spreading the weight is simplified and bending the ankle in a walking motion is required. My socks are going to look like a teenager though. Maybe I'll bring a right shoe (I have a couple of spares) to work and I can put it on when I take the boot off.
Holy Toledo! We blew right by the Ten Month Anniversary on Wednesday and didn't even notice. We're off to the Drags this morning and because we're in row 30 I thought it a good idea to get an early start on it.
It turns out that row 30 is 60 steps up from row 1 which is 11 steps up from the pavement. I knew that it would be a long haul but I'm actually more worried about the peg in from the parking lot. Did I mention that _everyone_ has a handicap placard? And that most of them are at the Drags? The good news is that the Fair Grounds was ready for that and there were no fewer than three Cushmans ready to deliver me to the front gate. Hurdle #1 resolved.
Hurdle #2 is going to be "how many trips up and down is it going to take for the day?" We parked at about 9am and pegged out just after 7pm and suffice it to say that I can do it in three.
Week Forty Five - Sunday, November 15
This is my second day out at the Drags and I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I sat in the tub when I got home last night in an attempt to alleviate any muscle soreness and I feel pretty good today. The leg is staying in the boot all day both yesterday and today and it feels pretty good. It's not getting any motion or exercise over the weekend but I think that a couple of days without should be okay.
Today we arrived at about 9:30am and left just after 6pm and I did just one lap of the steps. You can't drink much to be able to do that but it wasn't very hot so everything worked out just fine. We watched some guy take a nap in is Wife's lap yesterday so I'm thinkin' that he wasn't following the same guidelines. Both of them were back today and for the life of me I can't figure out why she didn't just leave him there resting comfortably. Maybe she's the fan.
I'm having no residual problems from this weekend at least nothing that a hot bath can't cure. The Las Vegas fiasco turned into enough of an embarrassment that we don't need to let that happen again. I've drug my right shoe to work so that I can stand and walk evenly while there and since that is where I spend most of my time, this is almost as good as the gym.
Jer's back walking again. She's taking it easy while she regains her footing and the Doc & I have limited her to just two miles at a time and those need to be at a normal pace. She's chomping at the bit but because she's pretty serious about getting better I think that she'll pay attention and toe the line.
Mine feels good when I stand with my weight evenly distributed but I think that it felt good last time. The healing is tough to judge but we can compare the April 8 xrays (13 weeks post break) with my last xrays which were at 9 weeks to see the bone growth and I think that we're doing okay. What we didn't see last time in either the 13 week or the 21 week views was bone growth on the outside surface of the break. That sort of growth is prevalent in both the four week and the nine week views this time. Granted, we have a much larger bone gap in which to see bone growth this time but you can judge the growth in the original break from the other, smaller fractures like the ankle and the fibula.
The more that I compare the better I like my status.
This wiki-that-looks-like-a-blog thing is getting old with all of these full sized pictures and the time that it takes to load. That's coming from the editor so I can only imagine what you readers are going through. So, in an effort to make this somewhat more readable I am building a real blog  with better chapters and thumbnails. I'll keep you apprised of my status.
I didn't want to wait the entire month for the Doc to put in the authorization request for the Bone Growth Stimulator so I called the office today just to make sure that it gets done before the end of the month. Well, there is no record of the request and since he's not in today or tomorrow, we're going to need to wait for next week to check with him. The Girls are going to leave him a message but I'll call back anyway. Why am I not surprised?
In a rare move I took today off for no reason other than to stay home with Jer and run errands. It took all day but it was a very nice change of venue.
Week Forty Six - Sunday, November 22
I'm wearing the boot when I drive and when I'm not at work or home. I've taken to wearing both shoes at work (normal sneakers) so that I can concentrate on good walking style even though it's at half weight. The swelling is not going down any further but the mobility and range of motion is increasing.
I'm calling to check on that request for auth at the doctor office today and guess what I find? There is still no record of the request and better yet, the Doc isn't coming in this week. When that guy outmaneuvers me he does it both with style and conviction.
I don't think that I've mentioned this yet but my employer changed insurance coverage effective next Tuesday. This probably isn't worth mentioning except that it would seem that I mention everything so I'm mentioning it. We have taken some cost saving measures and the HMO coverage is the primary benefactor of those measures. My Wife and I are in disagreement over this but I believe that the office will still see me under the new coverage but even I'm not so convinced that the Bone Growth Stimulator is going to make the transition. That's why I was interested in getting the Auth going before December and it is now clear that there will be no Auth in November.
Thursday - Thanksgiving
I can still be a big helper-guy if I need to. Jer cooked the dinner for 14 and it was flawless. I even scrubbed the kitchen floor for the occasion. It was a pretty motley crew that included crutches, a cane, and a wheelchair. And yes, there were people present that don't have their own handicap placard.
Week Forty Seven - Sunday, November 29
Not much change from last week to report. The ankle no longer twinges at the fibula when I rotate it to the limits so I consider that a sign of healing. I do have some concerns about the first two toes on my right foot and their range of motion. The big toe still doesn't bend toward the knee well and the second toe has a strange resting position. At rest the toe is curled down and none of the others are that way plus I believe that this is new behavior at least since the break. It wiggles okay but I'm a little worried about its behavior.
I'm working on my plumbing prowess today. I came down the stairs to the sound of water falling emanating from the downstairs bathroom. Since the shower is upstairs this is indicative of a problem. We did some work in here during our first year in the condo that included removing a sink vanity and installing a pedestal sink which involved moving a newly exposed drain pipe. The wall where the work was done is an internal wall and includes the drain and the vent for the master bath sink and shower. We modified the vent to be "wet" to get a better angle for the new, exposed drain pipe and the pedestal sink but I've worried about it ever since. It's not kludged but I know what's in there (mainly because I put it there) and I worry about it. Well, imagine my surprise when I pegged over, opened the door and learned that the wall was not leaking. Only after I turned on the light to verify that the wall wasn't leaking did I realize that I was standing in water. There's the problem! It's the toilet and it's overflowing.
We have an engineered hardwood floor so the panic is rising as I crank through my options. I quickly surmise that pegging upstairs to shut the shower off is the last possibility on the short list - shutting the water off at the street will probably be quicker than that :-). The solution that I settle on is popping the cleanout plug from the garage floor and draining the house there. It takes me two shots at the tool box to find something that will back the plastic plug out all the while swearing like a drunken sailor but I get it and stand quietly while the garage floor and the driveway gets covered with sewage.
When Jer finishes her shower and comes downstairs she finds me tossing towels into the pool that used to be my living room. She aptly suggests the wet/dry vacuum that we have in the garage, something that had not even occurred to me, and pushes past me to fetch it. We get it cranked up and in ten minutes we have the floor back to a just damp state. At this point I suggest that she call out new son-in-law and have him bring a couple of strong bodies from work to move the carpet outside. We have it pulled back but it's not going to dry until the pad is removed.
When the water rescue team arrives they come in force. There's three of them and they have an industrial-sized wet/dry vac, a mop bucket, and a couple of mops. They get the carpet out back and the pad out front spread out in an empty driveway. I grabbed a big fan from Cordell and we're ready to get ready for the day. Just as the water rescue team is leaving the plumber is arriving so they set out to rinse the garage floor so they can snake. Just as they get started with the rinse the video snake plumber arrives.
Jer stays to oversee the operation and they find three blockages from roots and a broken pipe. Don't worry, the first plumber is really a general contractor and he has the jack hammer with him.
Jack hammer the driveway day. When I come home at lunch there is a 9' x 20' section of driveway in pieces and two plumbers waist deep in a (dry) trench eyeing a cleanout. This cleanout, as opposed to the real cleanout in the garage floor, is 1) just short of the street, four feet deep, not finished, that is it doesn't come out of the ground, and still has the temp plug installed. This cleanout probably wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the temp plug and how thin they are. I'm saying this because sticking out of the temp plug is a 2" diameter root. Problem identified. They are removing the cleanout and installing an elbow in its place and then going to re-scope the drain.
The hole is partially backfilled and the missing driveway has four sawhorse barricades with blinking yellow lights in it when I got home last night. Maybe I should have had a couple of those in the garage in January. The plumber is coming back this morning to scope the line and give us a clean bill of health. Mud on Friday.
The Upland Kellys come by to update us on their recent trip and Jer makes one of my favorites, chili. We're still working through some leftover appetizer cracker spreads from Thanksgiving.
Week Forty Eight - Sunday, December 6
Jer can't take it anymore so she has taken matters into her own hands. We start out the day at on our way to Waldo's personal Vet where he scores some controlled substance that gets dispensed with it's own clipboard, sign-out sheet, and container. Then we get down to what she really has in mind, putting up the Christmas Lights. Isn't how this whole thing started? I actually stood on the first rung while we worked out some interconnect logistics.
Doctor's visit today! The Doc is pleased with the growth and that appears to be why he didn't order the Bone Growth Stimulator. At least that's the story that we're going with. Let's look at some pictures.
The Doc tells me that bone growth happens when there is irritation or movement at a fracture line. The body tries to grow bone at the fracture to remedy the movement so as long as the movement isn't too great the break will heal. Once the movement ceases the body determines that we no longer need to rapidly grow bone and it drops into restructuring mode where it puts the bone back into the size and shape that it started out in and this process is much slower. My problem is that with the place keeping all of the pieces pointed in the right direction and together, there is little or no motion so my leg is not in rapid bone growth mode but rather is in restructuring mode where we're getting growth but slowly. In response to that we're going to start putting full weight on the leg in limited and controlled situations like in the office, lab, or living room. With the boot on he thinks that I can walk across the parking lot at lunch as well. He actually wants the boot on most of the time that I'm walking but at least at half-weight, it is easier in shoes to regulate the weight, so I'll have to get back to you about how it is at full weight.
Remember that piece of bone that looked like it didn't belong to the fibula? Here's the new-and-improved fibula 40 weeks later:
Insurance outcome: old Pacificare is still in effect and new Healthnet system doesn't show me as enrolled. I think the girls went to the Doc for guidance and he told them to score it as "post-op" which gets classified as already paid for and doesn't even require a co-pay (whew).
For the first time since the second surgery I fell today at lunch. It was raining and I had just moved in out of the rain where the concrete had a broom finish to under a large overhead and the concrete had a mirror finish. I combined a wet crutch, a glass finish, and too big a step (too large of an attack angle) and out went the crutch and down went Pete. I had been pegging with the broken leg up and in the boot so when I crashed nothing happened to the Doc's handiwork. I'm not clear on the implied warranty but he did mention that he was on call this weekend so to go ahead and and call if I have trouble.
The first fall this period (that's hockey speak) was while we were making the bed and Jer got to watch. I was bounding back and forth along my side of the bed and started to fall on to the right leg. Instead of catching the fall with the broken leg, I rotated, looked for a place to crash and waited. I probably could have jumped to a new position on my good leg but that is a better plan for a younger man. I was crutch-free so I just rolled out while the Wife and dog watched.
I'm comparing mental notes on putting full weight on the leg for the first time and I've decided that 1) the first time around everything hurt, 2) this time the break doesn't hurt and 3) last time I was back on crutches in the mornings & evenings. When I walk I can feel the weight in the foot but the sensation is just one of heaviness rather than pain. There is some pain but it is not associated with applying more pressure or weight but just that of a joint that hasn't had much use. None of the discomfort makes me want to find an alternate mode of transportation like I did the first time.
I made it all day yesterday including up the stairs and getting out of bed without crutches or crawling. I don't spring out of bed and sprint across the floor but I don't stand up and ease the weight onto it either. It's more of a stand up, share the weight, and assess. Each time that I assess I come to the same conclusion: hey! this feels okay. This is a pretty big improvement over last time. I say "pretty big" but what I mean is "huge". Other terms could include "night and day" and broken and not broken." It feels better when I walk in shoes so that's where I'm spending most of my time when I'm on my feet.
Jer is concerned that I'm going to overdo it. She recalls the crutches at both ends of the day and thinks that I'm going to suck up that pain and push thru without the crutches. She's so cute.
About all that I'm worried about is crushing, shaking, or knocking something loose. There's a plate with locking hardware holding the break in alignment and as long as I don't damage that alignment I figure I'm in good shape. There's enough pain associated with walking that I'm thinking that we're getting plenty of irritation and movement to cause some serious bone growth. Now we're cooking with gas.
The joint feels fine but its peripherals are a little worse for wear. The toes are sore from bending and the heel feels like it's bruised. It's not like the toes bend much when I walk but they apparently don't care about the degree of motion at all. It's pretty easy to limp and not bend the toes much when walking but I can't manage to take the shoe off without bending the piggly-wigglies. I suppose that I could try cutting the laces off like the emergency room did but that might get expensive. The heel bruise is being chalked up (by me) to not being walked on for so long and therefore not a problem. Walking in the boot is something else completely. Everything hurts when I walk in the boot. What's with that? The dang boot is supposed to protect the leg and all it does is aggravate it. So much so that I walked to dinner last night in shoes without the boot. I'm secretly thinking that the Man of Few Words would be slowly shaking his head at the entire concept of the boot. I think that the word that today's youth would use is "whatever."
I _may_ have gotten a little ahead of myself here. In horse parlance, I came up lame. The foot really got sore yesterday, didn't get better in the evening and after icing the ankle and having it up, or at least level all night, it is still somewhat swollen and sore this morning. So, I'm back on crutches for the day and we'll test it tomorrow. It feels fine at rest and is a little stiff to bend but bends to full motion without pain.
I went all day yesterday without crutches and thought that I was doing pretty good. It got sore to walk on late in the afternoon but since it was the bottom of the foot kind of sore I tried to stay off of it as much as possible but continued walking on it. After icing it and it still being sore I decided to see what effect night's rest would have. And after a night's rest had little effect I got worried and opted for crutches.
Friday - 11 month Anniversary
I used crutches all day yesterday and only put partial weight on it a couple of times. It doesn't feel great but it feels good and the "not great" part could just be me over-thinking it.
With no weight on it all day, icing last night, and elevated overnight the swelling is down. Maybe not like it was Monday morning but definitely down from Thursday morning. There _might_ be a couple of lumps around the break area that weren't there before but it's tough to tell without an xray so here's the plan. No weight until Sunday or so. Then on Monday I'll determine if I need to go get an xray or if I'm just being a scaredy cat.
Since it's raining and I dumped it Monday in the rain I'm replacing the tips on the crutches today. This is set number three.
Down to the Brea Mall for a little Birthday shopping with Brianna and her crew concluding with dinner at the Cheesecake factory. Stay tuned for a picture or two.
As we're wrapping up for the evening and saying goodbye at the cars, Trey announces that there is something in his car that he needs to show me. We peg over and he whips out two containers of Holiday Slime. They are the size of a pack of gum and each appears to be a different flavor, judged by yours truly by their color. He pops open the first package and allows me to poke the slime contained within. I poke around and give him the prerequisite "eww" so he opens the second. This one he pulls out of the package and waves. Since it is not contained in either wax or glass I figure "how bad can this stuff be?" and I make a move to eat it. Even I'm not crazy enough to actually eat it but I look like I'm going to, so he yanks it out of the air, back into the safety of his possession and announces while pointing to the package "this is to be used with adult supervision" and gives me a look. Guess we better find an adult, eh?
Swelling is down this morning and there is no pain. I'm still not putting any weight on it and since it's raining I'm wearing the boot most places. We tried to determine if the shape and texture of the break area is unchanged and as near as we can determine, it is, so we're holding high hopes of a nice recovery here.
It's raining today so I've decided that I'm not going to drive back down to Cal State Fullerton for our monthly OCLUG meeting. Kevin is giving a presentation on openfiler and while I'd love to see it I just can't get excited about pegging across the campus in the rain.
Week Forty Nine - Sunday, December 13
I stepped on it twice today, once with a bad outcome and once with a good outcome so I'm going to take the coward's way out and go see the Doc. I've kept weight off of it consistently since Thursday morning and I will continue to do the same until I see some new xrays. What I should have said there was "until I get the Doc's approval but I'm figuring that he'll need xrays in order to give me the nod so I just took the leap. My real concern is for the alignment of the tibia and to my untrained eye it looks okay. Since that alignment is what determines the alignment of the ankle and whether I will be able to walk normally when it heals you can understand my concern.
The swelling is down to where is was just before I started walking on it and I'm taking that as a good sign. The one thing that I can count on through all of this is that the leg knows when it's broken even if I don't and since I figured that out we have a better understanding between us. The leg is still a little lumpy but I can't tell if it's different or not and there's nothing sticking out so how bad can it be?
I'm going to call the Doc's office today. And now I have an 11:15 am appointment.
I got spoiled last appointment with an out-of-work time of 90 minutes total. This time we're back to our normal wait times with a three hour out-of-work time. But it was worth every second for the clean bill of health that I got. We took xrays and chatted but the bottom line is there doesn't appear to anything wrong with the leg and I should resume activities that the leg and I can bear.
All this time I thought that with the addition of a 316 stainless plate that the leg was good for the duration. Not so. The Orthopede's joke goes something like adding a plate starts a race - a race to see if the bone heals before the plate breaks because the plate _will_ break. "Ha ha" is, I think, the appropriate response here. Either that or "oh oh."
Since I'm in a story telling mood, I have two. The first takes place in the lobby while I'm waiting to be called in for my visit. I had an 11:15 appointment so I arrived at 10:40 to queue up. The office itself has no waiting room other than the center space for the medical building which is set up as a large common waiting area with chairs and a vending machine. The office windows open directly to the common area so I guess as long as none of the other offices complain (they all dedicate some space within their offices for waiting) about my Docs' using all of the area, then we must be okay. I've already said that my entire visit took three hours so when it comes time for the girls in the office to go to lunch, they announce that we are wait where we are until we're called, that the Doctor is continuing to work, and that we will get called so don't be alarmed by the fact that they are closing the windows and blinds.
There are probably three patients seated inside waiting to be seen, there's one more ahead of me out here and there's one more behind me out here. The Technician / Bouncer is familiar with me (he has after all been taking my xrays for 11 months) and after he has seated, or "roomed" in the parlance, all of the others wanders back out to the common area to reassure me that 1) he has saved me a room in the proper order, 2) that I can wait here for my Wife who can't afford to take three hours out of her day once a month, and 3) that when she gets here he will seat us both inside. How many of you get that kind of service from your Medical Professionals?
The second story is not so much touching as it is amusing and it takes place in the room with the Doc. The Doc enters and under his arm is my xray. He pops that bad actor onto the light table bolted to the wall (What? That's not what it's called?) and leans back and strokes his chin. My Wife who happens to be spatially challenged, gasps and spurts out "oh no!" The Doc rocks back on his stool with a very surprised look on his face and stares directly into the xray to see what he's missed. I, who happen to be familiar with my Wife's xray reading prowess, is even taken aback and think "what am I missing." Only when she points to her concern do we both laugh and I proclaim "whew, she scared the sh1t out of me" and the Doc laughs "me too!" She's so cute. The placement of the foot has everything to do with how the xray looks when the shot is taken. In this latest round my toes are lower causing the leg to rotate further and expose both plates in the medial view. This shot normally tends to hide the fibula plate or at least make the two of them look like they are connected and this is what threw her.
Jer's home sick but I managed to get the trash cans out - what a big helper-guy I am. The leg is still pretty sore so I'm still staying off of it with only brief transgressions so that I'm not a complete lightweight.
It's late afternoon and I've put full weight on it a couple of times today but it's still pretty sore. And it's nice and swollen :-).
I've decided that not walking on the leg is okay and I'm basing that decision on the number of days since surgery. The first time around I went three months in the cast, one month with no cast and no weight, and one month with no cast and half weight for a total of five months before full weight. This time we went 10 days in a splint, two months with a removable boot and no weight, and one month with a removable boot and half weight for a total of three months before full weight.
I'm getting better about putting full weight on the leg but I am still not really walking on it. For instance, I step in and out of the shower just fine without the crutches but when I walked 20 feet into the lab and back I went straight for the crutches.
I plan to walk short distances a couple of times each day and determine if it's breaking or healing.
I'm continuing to walk a few steps several times a day to make sure that the leg is really annoyed and that I'm not just making the pain up.
There's enough swelling each day that it takes a full day of not having the leg down and not walking on it for the swelling to come down. I tend to favor the leg on the weekends more that I do during the week so I'm more likely to find the leg elevated and less likely to stand on it on Saturday and Sunday. During the normal week day the leg is down all day, kind of like yours, and it gets stood on a fair amount.
I tend not to worry too much about the swelling because by the end of the weekend the leg is back to it's normal size and ready for another week of swelling. And as long as it is still swelling I figure that it's not healed.
So much for taking it easy and sitting in the recliner all weekend. The leg feels better when I do stand on it although it tends to get sore pretty quickly so I'm trying a little moderation today. Maybe you've noticed that moderation isn't one of my strong suits but I can give it whirl. I'm walking with just one crutch on the opposite side so that the weight distribution isn't 100% on the broken leg but it tends to be more than 50%. The leg seems to like that a lot better and as a result, so do I. This makes it pretty easy to move from one crutch to no crutches as the leg gets sore and then feels better.
Week Fifty - Sunday, December 20
The ankle was pretty sore last night but after getting out of bed and pegging around a little it has loosened up and feels pretty good. The swelling was about normal for these days with the foot being slightly swollen and the leg not. We're traveling with one crutch where possible and moving around the kitchen and other confined spaces with no crutches with pretty good results. Remember last time I walked for two days with no crutches and spent a week and a half recovering so it may still be a little early to count our chickens just yet.
We had a pretty good day today. Two crutches first thing in the morning and on the stairs. No crutches in the bathroom and kitchen, Two crutches to my desk, and one crutch around the building. Late in the morning I'm on no crutches, one crutch to lunch and a mixture of no crutches and one crutch all afternoon but no unassisted walking of more than 75 feet or so. The ankle feels pretty good and is a little swollen but the foot is down right pudgy and just barely fits in the shoe. Lucky that I'm not trying to tie that shoe.
Both crutches last night and this morning. I'm using one crutch around the lab because it seems like the right thing to do but the leg feels fine in spite of that. This is a one crutch lunch as well. Most of the afternoon and evening is mixed one crutch with no crutch.
I used the crutches this morning just because I thought that I should but they didn't get any further than the car. I've been on the leg a lot today standing and walking in the lab and the warehouse. This is our last official work day of the year so we're shipping everything that isn't breathing so there is a fair amount of motion around here. The leg feels good so far (mid afternoon) and the motion in it is still good which is a little unusual considering the amount of swelling present. The toes are still sore and are not about to bend so it is much more comfortable to walk in a shoe than to walk barefoot.
The evening is crutch free all the way to bedtime.
Thursday - Christmas Eve
I am using both crutches in the middle of the night if I need to get out of bed and I used them this morning to get to the shower but that was it - crutch free down the stairs, thru Coffee Klatch with my new gift card thanks to Ken, and off to work where they stay in the car.
Everyone is coming over to our condo tonight so the leg is scheduled for an easy evening. This is the first year that we haven't gone to my Mom's house but we made the calls to let both the Wold family and the Bentley family that they would need to travel to San Dimas instead of Pomona for the evening's festivities.
For the time being my plan is to continue (not like last night but previously) to use one crutch up the stairs in the evening so that I have it available for use bedside in the middle of the night and first thing in the morning. The leg definitely likes the partial weight while it warms up first thing out of bed and since it doesn't take very long to warm up, this is an easy effort with good results.
Friday - Christmas Day
Jordy & Chris (the Vegas Newlyweds) are coming over for breakfast and some gift opening at 8:30. We're cooking the bacon outside on the barbecue and it is a spectacular shirtsleeve morning.
I pickup my Mom and bring her over where we watch her Christmas gift, Julie & Julia before traveling to my Cousin Sharon's home for Christmas Dinner where I sharpen her knives and carve the prime rib for dinner. I have to be honest, I like having prime rib on the menu although I was responsible for overcooking it somewhat. We cooked it with a digital thermometer in place and pulled it out at 137 degrees but ultimately wound up with a little medium rare and no rare beef. Definitely overcooked for the Kellys.
Lot's of down time today so little swelling or stiffness. All in all, a good day.
I pulled out my bike today for a short spin around the neighborhood today. No standing on the pedals or putting the foot down to stop but some pedaling and a little wind in my face feels good.
Not much else going on today with a trip to the airport for breakfast and then a trip to the AMC Glendora for the 2:15 showing of Avatar in 3D. I'm not much a movie critic or to put it another way, I like pretty much every thing that I see, but in Avatar, Cameron evidently went over budget so he ripped the Marine Corps aircraft out of Aliens and the attack sequence out of Star Wars to keep the cost overruns down. The oversized smurfs are very cool but my favorite is the heads-up displays that they use.
Today was pretty low key with both outings being crutch free, no crashes on the bike and as a result we kept the swelling to a minimum with lots of down time. We reheated leftovers for dinner and watched some recorded tv before one-crutching it up to bed.
Week Fifty One - Sunday, December 27
I'm using one crutch for my first trip down the stairs in the morning and that's about it for crutches. I'm being quite a bit more cautious this time around maybe because I think two times around is plenty. The break feels good but the toes are still reluctant to bend.
We're snacking on leftovers and judging by the look on Jer's face I'd say that she's not moving until she's got her fill of football.
I took another short spin on my bike around my end of the neighborhood today. There's no pain associated with riding the bike but I am a little worried about the after effects, like swelling, stiffness, aches, etc. tomorrow or the next day.
I'm working a skeleton shift over the Christmas break that includes last Thursday (Christmas Eve), today, tomorrow, and Wednesday mornings until 11:00, essentially a collection of half days. This is getting me up and out of bed and ready for my day off.
I have a stool in the shower that allows me to wash the bottom of my good foot without requiring me to stand and balance on my broken leg first thing in the morning. While seated in the shower I can inspect the leg for lumps, bruising, tenderness, soreness and this morning I'm noticing a little soreness at the top (top as in furthest up the leg) of the new plate. This is new but not significant, at least not yet. I'm thinking that the leg got a little beat up in the close confines of opening presents and that maybe it's just a bruise.
The bruised / tender area is still present on the leg but I think that it's getting better (less sore). The swelling is significantly less these days but that is most likely due to the fact that I'm not working all day or walking much. With the walking that I am doing I am getting a chance to work on my form - bending the ankle and rotating off of the toes. It's not very pretty and it hurts somewhat but it should start getting better here pretty quick.
Jer and I took the afternoon and spent it running errands in Orange County which included lunch at Q-Tortas in Placentia with Tom, a visit to one of my favorite stores, Orvac Electronics on Orangethorpe, and culminating in a trip to the Brea Mall where I opted for a one-crutch approach for the walk. By the end of the evening I was very glad that I had not opted for two-legged walk at the mall and the ankle loosened up pretty quickly once I got off of it at home.
The swelling is down this morning so there was no harm done yesterday. The bruise is still present but I do believe that it is getting better. Ronnie, a local buddy from the Coffee Klatch visits for dinner where Jer makes a pizza in the oven using Claro's pizza dough. There's a store in Upland and another one in Arcadia and their dough is top notch. Trader Joe's dough is fine in a pinch and definitely easier to get, especially on short notice, but for an extra edge, Claro's is the key. When we take Ronnie home I need to park in the guest parking area so there is a little walking to be done. When I do get home the ankle has had enough weight bearing for the day so I head to bed early. I use a crutch to head up the stairs because the ankle is a little stiff.
Thursday - New Year's Eve
Off to K & T for some computer and network maintenance and then a refill of my liverwurst level from Tony's in Pomona. Warren has followed my tutelage and uses Dell hardware for all of his computer needs. The mail server for OCLUG is even Dell and resides at K & T where Warren provides us with a static IP address, DSL bandwidth, power and cooling for "Penguin."
I'm not using either crutch this evening and the leg feels pretty good.
Friday - New Years' Day
Didn't move out of the red chair all day but I must note that I'm pretty much caught up on "Criminal Minds." I had seen a couple of them previously but didn't have any idea how they had removed Giddeon following his failed contract negotiations.
No Crutches all day today for the first time in a couple of weeks. The leg just feels good so it seemed like the right thing to do. Let's see if this behavior continues.
Over to the Coffee Klatch in the morning for a little socialization with the locals and then a little bike ride around the neighborhood. I'm keeping these rides pretty short, maybe 10 minutes in length. In the afternoon we are off to the movies to see "Up in the Air" and dinner at "La Parolaccia with the Kelly's from Upland. I'm going to get a belt for Jer like the one that Alex was wearing :-).
No Crutches at all today and the big toe is still not bending well. The leg feels good all day long and doesn't seem to mind continued weight bearing throughout the day although the ankle needs a little warm up when I first stand up before bending like it's supposed to.
Sunday - Week Fifty Two, January 3
I'm crutch free so far today. The swelling is down but the area around the tibia plate is still sore to pressure but not really sore to the touch. There is no discoloration so I don't think that I banged it on anything but maybe just a little tender associated with some growth around the plate. The last couple of days my leg has had an area located at the top of the plate that was not swollen. The strange thing was that the areas of the leg immediately above and below were swollen giving my calf the visual impression of having a waist. The waist effect is missing this morning so I'm waiting to see if it comes back this evening.
We're making waffles for breakfast in our new All-Clad Waffle Maker that we got from my Aunt for Christmas - . My laptop here at home is a little low tech when it comes to reading external media sources like my camera or even some file types on CDs so I do all of my picture storage and editing on an HP desktop running XP at work.
I go see the Doc in a week on the one year anniversary and I think that I'm ready. The leg feels good so I think the bone healing is coming along as expected. I'm expecting good results and fully expect to be ready for some serious rehabilitation. My walking is already improving but I may need some professional expertise getting the toe to bend.
I took a nice long bike ride this afternoon and the ankle feels good - warmed up and ready for motion.
No crutches last night or this morning - very cool! The leg is less sore and there the swelling is down (back to normal.) On my way in to work this morning I stopped in the park to take these pictures. Nice way to start one's day.
The leg is feeling good enough these days so that unless I damage it in some way I think that I'm through with the crutches. I still carry one in the car so they are not too far away should I need them. My walking is such that I have a two step minimum before anyone around me can comment on my hobbling - after two steps I'm fine and the weight gets evenly distributed for a normal walk with a limp.
We needed to take Waldo out to his personal Vet in Loma Linda because his tummy is still bothering him and among his many diagnosis was the need to walk more. Get out and walk more in an effort to calm his nerves. So this is the perfect time for me to start walking around the neighborhood in the evenings. No, not tonight silly, but soon :-).
I spent a lot of time on the leg today and by the end of the evening I can tell. It's swollen and refuses to get comfortable in any position. I spent a lot of time in the lab today and that consists of standing on a tiled concrete floor. After work I traveled to the market with Jer for some light shopping for dinner. The good news is that she was able to keep up with my rapid mobility :-). On a side note, the boys at work have been pretty much taking care of me at lunch. They carry my drink and fetch the fare when it's ready and I have been waiting for the day that I can repay the favor. Well, yesterday at the Habit I offered to refresh everyone's drink and I could only get one taker. Something about getting their drink back before the ice melted.
Anyway, I don't move very fast so when I travel with others they pretty much have to stop and wait while I catch up.
The ankle has it's muffin-top waist this morning and it's a little persnickety early on. I actually had the thought that if I told Jer about it she might insist that I grab the crutches but when I mentioned it she was concerned but let me use my judgment.
After an hour or so it seems a little stiff but the break feels fine.
I rode my bike today all over the general area and later I've still got time for a walk part way around the complex. The leg feels good and maybe even ready for a little more. So then, with still more time on my hands and room for a little more, I'm off to see the movie "It's Complicated". If you haven't seen it I have three comments: 1) Her bakery is very cool, 2) The party scene is pretty funny seeing how I'm the same age and can relate, & 3) John Krasinski deserves the Best Supporting Actor award. Jer still likes "Up in the Air" better.