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My Ankle, in All Its Gory Glory

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The doctor’s appointment went well this morning . . . we didn’t have to wait long, everyone was very friendly, and, best of all, they took off the cast/splint after taking a couple of X-rays to make sure nothing had shifted or displaced since they set it at the ER.

I knew my leg was swelling and bruising around the splint, but I had no idea how much.

Warning—these photos are not for the faint of heart!

You can see in this first picture exactly where the pieces of the cast/splint was pressing against my skin. The bruise down around the ankle doesn’t look nearly as bad in the photos as it does in person. The doctor says it’s a fracture bruise, but the shape of it is defined by where the pieces of the splint were pressing against it. As soon as the nurse pulled the splint off, I took one look at it and say, “It’s no wonder the skin there has felt like it’s on fire!”


I did break both the tibia and the fibula. The little piece at the bottom of the tibia (the inside of the ankle) broke off, so that will have to be pinned/plated. The fibula (outside of the ankle) has an oblique fracture—it looks kind of like a checkmark and goes diagonally up through the bone just above the base. There’s also still a space between the tibia and the top of the foot (the talus), which they also need to correct in surgery.

He was concerned about the amount of swelling I still have, and won’t make a decision about when to do surgery until the swelling goes down—hopefully when I go back for my follow-up appointment on Monday. He wrapped it up with an ACE bandage and probably would have sent me home with just that, but we’d taken my mom’s “boot” that she wore post-surgery five years ago, which is soft inside, with an air bladder that can be pumped up for compression/stability, and a hard brace/foot for protection, which he put on and pumped up properly for us. He sent us to get compression socks—but we had a hard time finding what we need without first measuring my leg—and we still need to get the handicap tag for the car.

Looking at it, he said he’d really hoped to be able to do surgery tomorrow. So no such luck on getting out of surgery. 😦 But the good news is NO MORE CAST! And right now, every small victory counts.

And, just in case you aren’t grossed out enough already:

35 Comments
  1. Thursday, November 11, 2010 2:24 pm

    Oh yikes! That looks so painful!!!! Bummed that you are going to have to have surgery, but glad the appt went well. Sounds like you’ve got a good doctor!

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    • Friday, November 12, 2010 10:21 am

      Well, from everything I’ve heard, I’ll actually be up on my feet sooner with surgery than if I just had to wait for the bones to heal on their own (if they’d been clean fractures). All I keep telling myself is that when they take me in for surgery, I’ll go to sleep and then when I wake up (all nauseated from the anesthesia), it’ll be over.

      This doctor is fantastic. We’re pretty sure he’s the senior partner of this practice. My mom made an appointment to see him some time in December to have her five-year-old plate/screws checked out, because it’s been bothering her. So, if nothing else, I helped mom find a great orthopedist for her needs.

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  2. Thursday, November 11, 2010 2:26 pm

    I’m so sorry, Kaye. It LOOKS painful. But no cast! That’s a blessing, for sure. And I wasn’t even grossed-out. 🙂 Keep us posted!

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    • Friday, November 12, 2010 10:23 am

      It’s amazing how, now that I know exactly how/where I’m injured, those areas suddenly seemed to hurt more. But I’ve found a comfortable position in a recliner with my foot propped up on a stiff, thick foam pillow and it’s feeling okay. We’ll go in a little while to get the handicap tag for the car since we couldn’t get it yesterday, with its being Veterans Day and all.

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  3. Thursday, November 11, 2010 2:48 pm

    I thought it’d be worse than that, to be honest. But Papa’s a doctor and I worked in his office for several years so it takes a lot to gross me out!

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    • Friday, November 12, 2010 10:25 am

      When we took the brace and the ACE bandage off last night to put on the compression sock, it looked both better and worse—the contours around where the splint had been had smoothed out (making that bruise up near the top of the calf look even stranger, but the bruising around the ankle seemed to have spread out a little bit, too. Getting that compression sock on was no picnic, but between my mom and my aunt, they managed to do it with very little discomfort to me.

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  4. Thursday, November 11, 2010 2:55 pm

    That makes my ankle hurt just looking at it. No wonder your leg was hurting so badly! You are bound to feel some better with that splint off. Praying for you!

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    • Friday, November 12, 2010 10:27 am

      The “boot” splint is heavier, but feels so much better around my leg, without any hard, rough pressure points.

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  5. Thursday, November 11, 2010 3:00 pm

    How awful! Kaye, I feel so bad for you. I know you’ll pull through. I was thinking today that it was a good thing you didn’t break both of your wrists/arms. So often people do that when they brace their fall. It’s also a good thing that you didn’t get nerve damage, even from the cast pressing on your leg. I had knee surgery when I was 18 and the cast compressed a deep nerve and I ended up with a paralyzed leg for a year (I still have issues with it). A few things to be thankful for. You are in my prayers for a good and speedy recovery.

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  6. Thursday, November 11, 2010 3:21 pm

    Wow girl! Yikes! I am a wimp so this did make me cringe a bit but more out of sympathy for what you are going through. Keep us posted. I am praying for you.
    Love and prayers-
    Aj

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    • Friday, November 12, 2010 10:29 am

      Thanks, AJ! I miss being in Nashville, but am so thankful to be in a house that’s more accessible for the wheelchair and where I’m not having to do everything for myself.

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  7. Lizard permalink
    Thursday, November 11, 2010 3:25 pm

    Poor Kaye, I broke my ankle a few years ago during my last semester at college. Thankfully I was living at home so Mom and Dad were great, but I spent half the semester in a wheel chair. I was happy to only have a cane by graduation. Have you thouht about using a walker at all – I am not very graceful (hence breaking the ankle) so they have me a walker instead of cruches and it worked out great.

    I must have been luckly because I broke it around 10am and was in surgery by 5pm. I was still in shock and not really taking the fact of surgery in until after it happened. I have a plate and screws in the ankle still – I can even feel one of the screw heads when the ankle isn’t swolen. You will make it through this – life is much easier 5 years after it happens. Good Luck!

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    • Friday, November 12, 2010 10:31 am

      Well, had I stayed in Nashville, I probably would have been in the orthopedist’s office as soon as Monday, and perhaps in surgery by Tuesday or Wednesday. But I know that God’s timing is perfect and there’s a reason why surgery has been delayed.

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  8. Patty permalink
    Thursday, November 11, 2010 3:33 pm

    Man, that’s one nasty break! Praying for a surgical date that’s sooner rather than later, and that you will get relief from the pain.

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    • Friday, November 12, 2010 10:32 am

      The amazing thing is that, with the exception of the pain from the cast/splint, I haven’t had an extraordinary amount of pain. Nothing more than just over-the-counter ibuprofen has been able to handle. And for that, I’m extremely grateful!

      Like

  9. Thursday, November 11, 2010 3:39 pm

    Kaye, Eyes at half-mast looking at those photos! My heart goes out to you. Praying your spirits are up and all else. You’re so good about posting despite everything!

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    • Friday, November 12, 2010 10:34 am

      Well, as I told someone on an earlier post, if I’d had my phone with me last week when this happened, I would have been snapping pictures of the original injury to post. I’ve been bemoaning about how I never have much going on to post about on the blog so it’s hard to come up with topics, so now that I do have something going on, all I can think about it sharing it with everyone!

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  10. Thursday, November 11, 2010 3:40 pm

    Honestly, I’ve seen worse. My first thought when seeing the pictures is that it could have looked much, much worse. Although that’s more of your leg than I ever thought I would see. 🙂

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    • Friday, November 12, 2010 10:36 am

      Yeah, I have a tendency not to wear things that show much of my legs—I’m not much of a shorts-wearer, and my skirts are pretty long. And usually, I wouldn’t show any of my leg without shaving them first. But, you know, with a cast on, that’s kind of hard to do! 😉

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  11. Thursday, November 11, 2010 6:42 pm

    Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. I am soooo sorry you are having to go through this! But hopefully the surgery will get you back on your feet in no time. 😉

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    • Friday, November 12, 2010 10:38 am

      As I sat in the car while my mom ran into Walgreens to get the compression socks last night, all I could think of as I watched people bustling in and out of the store was how much I miss being able to just jump up on both feet and do what I need to do. I know God is trying to make me slow down to consider some things for next year—and to teach me not to be so independent and to rely on others more. But it’s hard not to become frustrated with the constraints right now.

      Like

  12. Thursday, November 11, 2010 7:08 pm

    Kaye, I pray your swelling goes down this weekend. Yay for no cast! I hope you’re able to rest well.

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    • Friday, November 12, 2010 10:40 am

      I’m hoping that when I see him Monday (I’m scheduled to be his last appointment of the day), he’ll tell me not to eat anything that night and where to check in to the hospital the next morning. Though I loathe the idea of needing surgery, I’m ready to get it over with.

      Like

  13. Thursday, November 11, 2010 8:27 pm

    I’m just really sorry you’re going through all of this with the stress of not having insurance to boot (no pun intended). I hope you can find some comfort while you wait for the swelling to go down. Who knows, maybe you’ll sail through your book on pain meds! 🙂

    Like

    • Friday, November 12, 2010 10:40 am

      One thing’s for sure, under the watchful eye of my mom, I won’t be allowed to do much but write after the surgery!

      Like

  14. Thursday, November 11, 2010 9:54 pm

    Good grief Kaye! It looks terrible. You are one tough cookie!!! Praying that from this point on everything gets better.

    Teresa

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    • Friday, November 12, 2010 10:41 am

      Thanks, Tee! Again, I’m ready to go ahead and have the surgery so that I can go ahead and start healing and get this process over as soon as possible.

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  15. Friday, November 12, 2010 3:22 am

    ‘Small steps of victory”!
    In response to Lizard’s comment I think they probably would have done surgery right away if you’d been in your hometown. Sometimes they can beat the swelling.

    Thanks for the update. Really. And not very gory at all!
    I imagine you are plotting your own version of Rear Window now?

    I pray you feel less pain, more peace!

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    • Friday, November 12, 2010 10:43 am

      They probably could have done the surgery this past Monday or Tuesday in Nashville, but I remember only too well how sick/nauseated I was after my back surgery (due to the anesthesia and morphine they gave me in the hospital—even with an antinausea patch and drug added to my IV), so traveling before surgery was probably a much better idea than trying to do it right after surgery!

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  16. Friday, November 12, 2010 5:12 pm

    Yikes! That doesn’t look good. Hang in there! Praying for you. Have you been able to do any writing? Or are you in too much pain?

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  17. Friday, November 12, 2010 5:27 pm

    Man, I missed the original fall story. You poor thing. That really looks sore … actually it looks nasty. 😉

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  18. Esther permalink
    Friday, November 12, 2010 7:19 pm

    Kaye, my heart goes out to you in that I know this is not what you planned to be dealing with in these days, but I so very grateful that you have your mom (and dad) to see you through it. Whenever I became sick as an adult, even after being married, what I wanted most was my mommy (no, I never called her that). She’s been gone twenty years now, and of course I still miss her. That’s why I glad you’ve been able to get back to your parents for the ordeal of surgery and then recovery.

    Fred and I are at a stage with his recovery from bilateral knee replacements that we with we could fast forward through what’s happening now, and I’m sure you’ll experience some of those as well. But God has His reasons, and I hope we can all say with Job, “When he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”

    Tomorrow won’t be the same without you, but we’re glad you are where you are.

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  19. Friday, November 12, 2010 7:24 pm

    Praying for you!!! You seem to be handling well, which is GREAT! Praying that the surgery goes well and in the exact timing it needs to!!

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  20. Monday, November 15, 2010 3:29 pm

    Just stopping by to see if there were any updates about your appointment today! Miss ya!

    Like

  21. ~:..Brooklyn..:~ permalink
    Monday, November 22, 2010 12:43 pm

    How did this happen?
    Looks so painful! Stay strong girly!

    Like

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