Monday, March 31, 2014

It's been awhile... Broken Leg Diaries at 11 weeks

I bet y'all thought my leg succumbed to gangrene, fell off and I died, right?

Nope... I'm actually healed fairly well from the Great Fall of 2014... I've been out of a cast for five weeks now and in physio and while I'm not back to "normal", I'll be good to go (as long as I wear a compression sock to keep down the swelling that they say will last a year!) to Iceland in two weeks. 

Two weeks! Iceland!

Here are a few pics from when the cast came off, and a current picture so you can see how well it's healing...
A picture of my X-ray
Right after the cast was taken off
Um yeah... I had a bit of dry skin
Just a little muscle atrophy in my calf and a cankle - a perfect combination
11 weeks post surgery
I have to get a screw removed on Monday (the long one in the X-ray picture), but apparently the recovery time is about as long as it takes for the freezing to wear off. I also have to get this knob-thing looked at (I call it a nubbin, the physiotherapist called is a nodule) - hopefully it's just some scar tissue, and not a horn growing from my leg. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Broken Leg Diaries... Day 32

The other day (somewhere around day 28) I got mad at my cast. 

Like really angry. Not a pity me angry, but a "fuck you and the horse you rode in on" angry.

I was done with it. And at best I had another two weeks to go. 

I've gotten over the anger. I'm embracing my knee scooter. I tell my story over and over. 

I'm hopeful that in 12 more sleeps, I'll be rid of this cast forever. 

Side story...

Every once in awhile I suffer from a case of restless leg syndrome. While trying to fall asleep, my legs just don't want to stop moving. 

Try having that when your leg is in a cast, your foot is at a forced 90 degree angle and you can get your leg and foot to stop twitching. 

Fun times. 

12 more sleeps. Then I'm hoping for a walking boot and physio. 

And no more legs that seem to have a mind of their own as I try and sleep. 

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Broken Leg Diaries... Day 24

So, I finally used a calendar to figure out what day of my broken leg I was really on, and if you count the fateful day, today is day 24.

I've been spending most of my days lately reading blogs, forums and message boards on broken bones to try and Dr. Google myself into a) a diagnosis and b) the maximum recovery time.

I leave for Iceland in 69 days.  I need to be walking by then.  I don't care if I'm not walking properly for my trip to Vancouver in 43 days... but I need to be mobile for Iceland.

It would help if I really did know what I did to my leg... I could sure be a better "doctor" if I really knew what was wrong!

For those that stumble upon this blog to follow the story of a dislocated ankle and broken tibula, here are a few sites that I've enjoyed (well, as much as one can enjoy reading about medical procedures and broken bones) reading (from a patient perspective that is):

MyBrokenLeg.com
- Forum for broken lower leg bones with fixation Part 1 and Part 2

I'll say now that my story seems to be a bit of an anomaly in the fact that I a) got surgery within hours of my fall (and didn't have to pay a cent thanks to my free Canadian healthcare!) and b) have had absolutely no pain (discomfort at times, yes... but absolutely no pain).  But reading other people's stories can give you and idea of what to expect (I'm looking ahead to the physical therapy stage already, which I've decided will happen as soon as this cast is off in 20 days) when you become PWB (partially weight bearing) and FWB (full weight bearing).

Things I have found out in the last few weeks...
- if you're a smoker, it can take your bones upwards of twice as long to heal as a non-smoker
- ibuprofen is actually not good... while it can help with the swelling, something in ibuprofen blocks something in the bone from healing (I'm not good with science... just trust me on this one)
- the mental game is often tougher to deal with than the physical... in the stories I've read online, learning to trust your body again takes a lot of work!

Sending all healing thoughts to my ankle area right now...

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Broken Leg Dairies... Day 21

Or is it Day 20?  All I know is that I'm almost exactly three weeks to the minute of getting out of surgery.

The weird part is... I still don't actually know what happened. Well, I know what happened, but I don't know the technical terms. Which makes things hard to Google. 

Last week when I was getting ready for my follow-up appointment (and hoping I was the world's best healer and would be sent home without a cast), I jokingly put up a picture on Facebook of a knee scooter... with a basket. 
I mean... I'd gotten around my condo fine with my crutches and rolling desk chair, but to get around work?

Then a week of crutches... being stuck in my office without being able to even get to the main lunch room... every time I went somewhere I needed to crutch (I don't think Health and Safety would've appreciated me flying up and down the halls in my desk chair). The worst was going to get a massage to work out the links in my shoulders, and realizing that, although we have massage therapists at work, that they are at best a 1.5 km round trip from my office. By the time I got back to my office the benefits of my massage were long gone. 

Not to mention the crutches have given me a rash where they hit the underwire of my bra. I'm all sorts of sexy over here. 

So... this happened... Friday afternoon. And it's been my saviour. 
Now I just have to swallow my pride a bit while zooming around - being mobile is far without pain more important than vanity. 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Broken Leg Diaries... Day 18

I'm back at work.  And I've successfully showered before going to work two days in a row now.

I'd rather be on my couch.  For real.  Sitting in an office all day that you can't really leave because your body hurts so much from using crutches is kind of like being in jail. I think... I've never actually been incarcerated.

I've got some pretty gory pictures of my scar to show, so if you don't like incisions that look like Frankenstein, you'll probably want to look away.  Or stop reading.
This is right after they took the half-cast off... 17 staples holding me together.
A close-up of the incision right after they took the staples out.  That was a bit ouchy.
My new purple appendage.  I get to spend the next 24 days (I've already had it 4 days) with a Barney leg.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Broken Leg Diairies... Day 8

Well, I've made it through seven days of house arrest.

And I haven't gone (totally) crazy... yet.

I did lose it on Josh, the Shaw Cable employee who suggested that while I was waiting for a tech to come and fix my broken PVR (which is probably the worst thing to happen when you are stuck at home), that because I had another cable unit in another room that I may want to move that one to my bedroom. 

Yeah - I can't even bathe myself, and you want me moving cable boxes around my house because you have sub-par technology that breaks at least once per year?

Let's just say that I have a different company coming in to install cable and internet on Thursday. 

But really... I'm doing okay. 

My friend Sarah sprung me from my condo for a couple of hours on Sunday to do some grocery shopping and to eat some tasty Vietnamese food (and my arms are still hurting more than 24 hours later from crutching around - Safeway is HUGE!!)... I tell you, I've got some great friends. I mean I knew that before I broke my leg, but I really know it now. 

And the people from work sent me a fruit basket so I won't get the scurvy. Seriously though... I'm not really a flowers person, but I've been shoving fruit down my throat for a few days now and I can only imagine it's helping with the healing process. Fruit baskets are a win in my books!
Now... I only have seven more days until my follow-up appointment where I'm hoping the orthopedic surgeon tells me I have supernatural healing powers and I can move to a walking boot and start physiotherapy soon!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Broken Leg Diaries... Day 3

Things I learned today...

- showering is not worth the effort. I will be sponge bathing and washing my hair in the kitchen sink for the foreseeable future. 
- carrying around a small bag makes for less trips between rooms - cause you can't carry a can of soup while trying to use crutches. Trust me. 
- being tall is good... I can get around the kitchen on my wheeled desk chair, and I can reach all my dishes while still sitting.
- I'm glad I've never smoked... in my research today on how to heal bones quicker, I learned that smoker's bones heal twice as slow as non-smokers. I also learned sadly that mainlining milk won't help. 
- I didn't know what nose lube was until today (I had oxygen pumped in my nose for about 16 hours in the hospital... against my wishes... but "protocol" won out) and I was getting bleeding noses all day until my dear Sarah brought me nose lube. She's pretty much my hero...
- stubbing the toe of your good foot on your crutch and needing to brace yourself (although not fully) on the leg that just had surgery kinda really hurts... but I'm still pain med free.
- I used to have five pillows on my bed.  Now seven doesn't feel like enough.
- I could really use a left butt cheek massage. 
- I really wonder why they had to ask me about half a dozen times to confirm which leg they were operating on...

Monday, January 13, 2014

Score one for the icy front walk...

Warning! Graphic pictures ahead!

All I wanted was to go to Shoppers Drug Mart and buy some water. 

I ended up taking an ambulance ride and having surgery to repair a broken leg and dislocated ankle. Just so you know... my feet "should" be facing the same direction. 
A picture taken by my wonderful EMT...
Yeah... let's just say my front walk was a bit icy, and I have a titanium plate and eight screws in my leg to prove it. 

I'm home now. Off work for two weeks, then to the cast clinic to get my stitches/staples out and then four more weeks of either a hard cast or walking boot. 

Followed by six weeks of physio. 

My view for the next two weeks. 
I leave for Iceland in 90 days. Let's just hope I'm a quick healer. 

If anyone needs me I'll be mainlining milk and eating calcium pills by the vat. 

And resigning up for a Netflix account.