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Backsliding in recovery - Page 2

post #31 of 1017
The incisions aren't on the back of my leg. They're on the inside side (known as medial in medical terminology). They just can't really be seen in that picture.

On the scarring suff I ran a quick Google seach and came up with some informative sites:

The only reason I've been using Mederma is because my wife keeps it around - so I figured why not, can't hurt. She has also used some specialty bandages that promise to reduce scarring. I think they may have been from Neosporin (not sure though).
post #32 of 1017
Thread Starter 
I think I'll wear the scars with pride. I'm sure I'll have a lot more to add to the pile as I age (rapidly).

Doing better every day. Still trying to fix my sleep schedule. I could sleep all day! I'm just done in. Last night I couldn't sleep till 2, then woke up today at 7 am, rolled over and got comfy and slept till 11!!

What a slug!
post #33 of 1017
sleep is your friend!
get well fast
post #34 of 1017
Originally Posted by ant View Post
The night after I ripped my left achilles, the pain was indescribable. I've never felt anything like it, it was insane.

Ah, that's nothing. BTDT. Wait till you have a kidney stone. That's so much pain your body makes you puke.
post #35 of 1017
This is totally gruesome!:

Noodler, when you go on that next cruise ship...don't enter the legs contest! You got the shaving right, but man, those staples are just gnarly!

And Bonni, what can I say. Next time someone tells you to sack up, just show them this and see if they hold their lunch. Dropping!

(got an update for the sadistic?)

post #36 of 1017
har. My shin scars still beat yours! Make sure you wear your tubigrip though, the swelling can hang around for.... decades.
post #37 of 1017
Hey Bonnie!

Sorry to hear about your bad break! Maderma works pretty well, but years ago, I was in a pretty bad auto accident. I flew out the windshield (seatbelt broke). I needed some 300 stiches in my forehead, and the doc recommended that I apply vitamin E to the area and keep out of the sun. It worked wonders, and I have very minimal scarring there now. You just buy the capsules at any grocery or drug store, and pierce a tiny hole in the top to get the ointment out. Vitamin E is also way cheaper than Maderma, and by the looks of your medical bills so far, it looks like any little saving would help at the moment!

Good luck with your recovery. Sleep works wonders!

post #38 of 1017
Is that your son's leg, Cirq?
post #39 of 1017
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post
Is that your son's leg, Cirq?
No Kneale, Thats Bonni's leg---CR hosted some pictures for us whilst she was in the hospital I was killing time---that may be one of those and I know Bonni posted it later on when we got back home.
post #40 of 1017
Thread Starter 
It looks a lot better today. And I feel better.

Vail SnoPro sent me an x-ray of his leg, boasting about it. Pshaw! Mine looks identical. We could be twins, only I have only one fib break to his two.

I wish I could post an x-ray.

I don't have the sack, sorry, Cirque. I yelled like a banshee for a long time, before they finally gave me some painkillers.....what......over an hour after the accident?

Still, I thought I would puke, but didn't.
post #41 of 1017
It's dreadful how the patrollers here can't give morphine. back home, at a resort I was at in a nameless year, they'd raffle off Green Whistles late at night! Amazing little things.
post #42 of 1017
new zealand, ant?

the morphine on the hill got my shoulder back in and avoided what would have been a 3 or 4 hour trip to the hospital while risking nerve damage the whole way.

Hang in there, bonni. the pain is the healing...
post #43 of 1017
Thread Starter 
Update: saw the doc today: 5 weeks post accident.

My range of motion is above normal (due to my exercising it faithfully), however, the bones have not started to mend yet. X-rays still show spaces between both fib and tib. He said he would be surprised if they had showed signs of mending.

I'm allowed to put 50-60 lbs of pressure on the leg, but only if it feels good. If it hurts, stop. Well, it still hurts all the time, so I guess that's out.

I'm taking Tramadol now. I still can't handle the pain. It's like I have a deep muscle cramp (charlie horse) and someone hits it with a rubber mallet....every 30 seconds or so. This is where the broken fib is. The front of my shin where the bone went through hurts constantly, as does my ankle, and I'm sure it's mostly all muscle related.

My MS is raging, but if I take the IV steroids to calm that it could retard healing. I'm going to deal with the MS because I feel healing is way more important.

On the other leg, where I had the meniscus tear surgery in September and the Morton's neuroma foot surgery in October, is in no better shape. Since walking involves that leg, the neuroma is back, and I'm walking on the marble again. I can feel the lump, and it looks swollen, so I'm walking with a walker on the outside of that foot.

I tell ya, if one more body part fails me.......
post #44 of 1017
Bonni - see you broke the wrong leg - you were supposed to break the one that already had the pre-existing problems. That's what I did (I figured if I had to break a leg it might as well be on the side with the neuroma ).

I'm not sure how far apart in age we are, but I did have significant bone regrowth at the 6 week mark (not trying to make you feel bad - you've got a great attitude about the whole thing). In fact the bone growth made my second surgery more difficult since they had to re-break everything to rotate my leg. Now I'm worried about a non-union since they said that a re-break greatly increases the chance of that happening. I won't get to see new x-rays for another 2.5 weeks .

Anyhow, keep your chin up. I was still in a lot of pain at the 5 week mark myself, but it was manageable. I'm just a few days away from the 12 week mark and it's a night-n-day difference at this point. You will get your life back - I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.

BTW - I was just thinking about my own recovery and realized that you're missing a major "advantage" that I had. I had a boot. A really good one the second time around after the second surgery. I can tell you without a doubt that walking (applying pressure) with the boot on is a whole different world than trying it barefoot (or without a shoe). I spent 2 weeks "walking" (with the assistance of crutches) with the boot first. Then I spent 2 weeks walking in a shoe with the crutches. It's only during this past week that I've started to be able to walk without a boot or a shoe (and now with only one crutch). The support you get from the boot or at least a shoe makes the task of applying some pressure easier to start with. Something you might want to chat with the doc about.
post #45 of 1017
Thread Starter 
Good point about the boot. I have a pair of Crocs that I can slip into, and that helps. They're supportive and easy to get on.

I did take a couple of steps yesterday without aid. I could tell right away that was not the thing to do!: Hey, you have to test the waters.

I'm 51...and you? I don't know how age factors into it, but I'm no Spring chicken.

Just taking it slow. What else can one do?
post #46 of 1017
Let me weigh in on the DR visit this morning. Bonnis assessment is not really accurate in one sense. Her Doc said he didn't expect to see much healing until the 4 week mark and she is about where he expects her to be healing wise.

The fact that he allowed "up to about 1/2 weight bearing" now is indicitive of an assessment that at least some healing has taken place.

The xrays are actually quite encouraging to me---but I am not the patient. In the frontal view the tibia break is damn hard to locate it is so well repaired. You can see the break line but it is less obvious now than 3 weeks ago. There is a fragment on the anterior side that is floating---and that fragment caused the Dr to say no weight bearing 3 weeks ago, that he is allowing up to 60 pounds is encouraging.

The fibula still shows rather substantial misalignment, although to my untrained eye, it did not look to be seperated as much as before---but we did not have the prior xrays to compare with either.

I asked why the fib doesn't warrant the same kind of surgical repair as the tib and the answer was that "perfect alignment" is not necessary as it is non weight bearing anyway and serves only as an attachment for ligaments and muscles.

The pain meds thang is very very frustrating---on the one hand the doc says she can have whatever she needs, and in the next breath says that "most of his patients" are not still taking serious pain meds at 4 weeks. The frustrating part is an apparent assumption of dependence after XX days of med!

The one thing I am NOT worried about is dependence---I do think she is entitled to be able to stay relatively pain free tho---whatever that takes, within reason. Tramadol is not likely to allow that level right now.

So. She wants to be all healed up---and I don't blame her, but she is doing really quite well all things considered!
post #47 of 1017
Thread Starter 
Honey, on that fib......did you see both pics? In one, it looks fine. In the other, it's not. Different angles.

However, you're right. My idea of a 'mended bone' is one where I can't see the cracks and separate bones, and I don't feel them grinding against each other when I move. I expect too much.
post #48 of 1017


Bonni, Glad to hear you're doing ok, Time and listen to your Doc.
post #49 of 1017
I had the same kind of reaction to my x-rays each time I saw them after the intial injury - they didn't look like there was any healing to my untrained eye, but then the doctor took time to show me what he's looking for so that I could understand where the healing was occurring.

Did you get a CD-ROM of your x-rays? If so, these are usually stored in a medical standard format called DICOM. You can download free DICOM viewers that let you do all kinds of cool things with the images. The most important is that the contrast can be adjusted so the the healing shows up really clearly.

For fun I like the "hot metal" setting (this is from the 2 week mark after my second surgery):
post #50 of 1017
Thread Starter 
Coooooool picture!!!!!!!

I didn't get the x-rays, but I can ask. I'd like to have them. We can compare notes, although your break is much worse than mine. Your fibula looks 'together'.

What is that NAIL hanging down near your ankle!? That looks positively.....useless? The upper part looks really good. Can you feel your screws? I thought I could, but the doc said it was just scar tissue.

Touchy question, though: Is the blue line your skin? Did you lose lots of muscle or is it just an angle thing?
post #51 of 1017
The blue line is the outline of my skin/muscle - so YES I lost a ton of muscle. However, if you look at the normal picture of my legs in my other thread you'll notice that the calf muscle looks more normal. That's the difference between 8 weeks with no pressure on the leg (after the initial accident) and almost 6 weeks after the second surgery (which includes almost 4 weeks of pseudo-walking and real walking). Although the "width" of the calf muscle is coming back, there is absolutely no definition to it when viewed from the rear. Come to think of it, that's another good pic I should take to monitor my progress - I'll take a shot from behind while on my toes with my calves flexed.

I had to reduce the size of the pic above a lot to be able to include it in this thread. That resulted in a huge loss of clarity (I'll e-mail you a real version so you can really see the breaks). The break in the fibula is still clearly visible, but the alignment on that is fairly good. The bad part is the large chunk of bone from my tibia that "broke out" and isn't attached to any part of the original tibia. That's the one the doctors can't give me any definitive reassurance on. They said it's very possible it won't reattach and it will also not "dissolve" - so I'm like "what then?"

The screw you're seeing that looks "useless" is what held my medial ankle fracture together. It looks really odd when viewed from the front. A side shot makes more sense. This shot actually shows the new position for it after my second surgery. They removed the original one (which was pretty much hanging out of my leg and causing bleeding all the time) since it was so much trouble and repositioned it. It's still not great though. I can feel it through my skin very easily and it's right on top of my ankle bone so that it rubs badly in all of my footwear. It's the primary reason I'm going back under the knife ASAP to get all the screws removed.

Can I feel the screws in the tibia? Yes, but not in the way you think. From the picture you'd be worried that those pointy ends would be problematic, but that's not what I feel. When I first started walking on my leg the healing after the surgery was only at the 2 week mark (so not much healing). When I started adding pressure to my leg I felt what I thought was a great deal of knee pain that first week. What I came to realize though is that the pain wasn't directly in my knee, but a bit lower - right where the top screws were. My theory is that since the titanium rod is taking almost all of the pressure of my weight (since the bone isn't really healed yet) there's a great deal of stress right where the screws are in the rod. I could actually feel my leg bones move around a bit early on, but less so at this point. To this day though, when I try to dorsiflex my foot I still feel that large "island" piece of my tibia move.

We're having lots of fun, right?
post #52 of 1017
Thread Starter 
WHEE!! At least we each know what the other is feeling. I'm sure VailSnoPro can jump in with the same stuff.

About that 'island of bone'. Why wouldn't they just remove it? It seems sort of nuts to just let it float around in there, especially since it's unknown if it will become part of the tib again. I'm sure they have their reasons, but it seems odd, doesn't it?

That has to be one wierd feeling when you feel it move. Argh! I'll ask you the same question: How can ya handle that!?:

I also have to thank you for being extremely verbose and detailed. Because I am behind you in healing, I get a timeline, advice, and a list of expectations from reading about your progress. If not for you, I would not have asked about removing the screws after this healed.

You da man.

I'll try to get x-rays and post them.
post #53 of 1017
Bonni, My husband's fib looked better from one angle than the other as you described.
Here is the worst angle after the surgery.
post #54 of 1017
Thread Starter 
Cool. We could be twins except for the fib.

How do you guys get these?

I'm told I can't have them......only a copy of the big floppy ones that are 2x2.

I had, in my hand carried reports from Idaho, a cd with the pictures on it. However, I couldn't run it on my computer without a special program.
post #55 of 1017
The only set of x-rays I don't have are from the original break - the ones taken at the mountain. They're traditional x-ray film and they're at the hospital where my first operation was done.

The second set were done 2 weeks later and they offered the CD of the images to me. They don't even work from traditional x-rays at my doctor's office. They do everything on computer screens where they can adjust the contrast to show different aspects of the healing process. So the images aren't even developed to film. My cat scan and third set of x-rays were the same way. I guess it just depends on your doctor.

BTW - Bonni, if you ever do get your hands on your CD then I can help you get a viewer so that you can use the image files.
post #56 of 1017
Thread Starter 
I'm going to ask again, but the secretary I have to deal with isn't helpful at all.
post #57 of 1017
The doc didn't want to give up a copy of xrays so I asked him to put them up on the light board and took digital photos of them with my little camera

My friend requested a set on disc from radiology and got it.

What really amazed us is that they charged 1,400.00 for the drill bit used during surgery on his femur. My husband was outraged and demanded that "If I bought that drill bit, then I want a drill bit!"
Of course they didn't have it available for him, so when he broke his tib/fib he made it clear that the drill bit was going home with him if he was paying for it.
There were 2 bits and then the extra bolts they didn't use. One of the bits is missing, I presume because my husband has taken it out to show a friend.:

post #58 of 1017
Thread Starter 
Now I'm sick! Eww!

I asked the doc how they got the rod in my bone. He said they drill a hole up by the knee joint and pound it in. I asked where the marrow goes. He said it just squishes out (I assume out the break).

Ugh. You couldn't pay me to be a surgeon.
post #59 of 1017
I've been wondering about that myself - how does the bone survive if the rod is where the marrow normally should be? I haven't researched this or asked the doctor about it yet.

After some discussions with VSP I think I'm going to have ALL of the hardware removed as soon as they'll let me. I hate to open my knee up again, but the alternatives (as VSP has said) aren't real attractive. I'm hoping for a May operation (I'll chat with the doc in a week or so).
post #60 of 1017
Thread Starter 
I asked my doc that question: doesn't the bone need marrow to 'stay alive'? He said no. Your body has enough marrow to make red blood cells without this one bone, and it's kind of like a root canal. That's what the rod is for.

So when you say you're having the hardware removed, does that include the rod? What alternatives did VSP talk about? (I must have missed something).
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