« Dreamy Shrooms | Main | The Sixth Sense »

Timeline of Recovery, Part I

Eight weeks and two days ago, paramedics carried me off home plate. I broke my ankle playing softball. A “comminuted” fibular fracture with assorted torn ankle ligaments was diagnosed. (A “comminuted fracture” is a bone broken in a number of pieces. In my case, five pieces. The bone in question is my fibula. The smaller bone of my lower leg. Behind the tibia.)

Dr. Kuhn in the emergency room advised to stay in the hospital overnight, I protested. He demured, put me in a cast, and sent home.

Eight weeks and one day ago, Dr. Joe Tauro opened my leg and used seven screws to secure a plate to my fibula. (The link is to his website.Go visit. You can see a photograph of the guy screwed around inside me. “Screwed around” … get it? Oh, nevermind. On with the story.)

This time I was given the option to stay overnight. If I wanted hospital-regulated pain control (mmmm … Demerol) I could stay. I didn’t. Late that evening, I went home.

Eight weeks ago, I started working. Initially, I worked from my bed. Notebook computer on my lap and telephone headset secured to my ear. I said some odd things to my employees while under the influence of narcotics (mmm … Oxycontin).

Seven weeks and four days ago, the Wife-Beast and I were waiting for Dr. Tauro in his casting room. He came in and said, “Okay, take your clothes off.” I didn’t, of course.

While Dr. Tauro was cutting off my post-op cast, the Wife-Beast noticed I was in pain and asked, “Do you want me to hold your hand?”

“Aww, isn’t that cute,” Dr. Tauro mocked.

“She was talking to you,” I replied.

“That’s alright, when I came in I was talking to her.”

Touche.

(For the record, Dr. Tauro and I go back a bit. He has rebuilt both of Unky Rich’s knees and has performed arthroscopic surgery to the Wife-Beast’s knees twice. He’s got a good sense of humor. And he gives as well as takes.)

Dr. Tauro removed the post-op cast, assessed my leg, and applied a new cast. I would stay in that one for the next four weeks. That month I walked with crutches and never put that foot on the ground. Navigating my home’s 14 stairs was harrowing; showering normally, impossible; peeing standing up, an adventure in balance.

Seven weeks and one day ago, I returned to my office. The Wife-Beast drove me to and picked me up from work everyday.

Things pretty much went that way for the next three weeks. You know, other than waking up in the middle of the night swearing that I heard people outside, going out in my underwear, and threatening the ether with a crutch. The Wife-Beast said I was “stoned on painkillers.” Maybe I was, who knows?

Four weeks and one day ago, Dr. Tauro cut off my black fiberglass cast. (They use a reciprocating saw, you know. It’ll cut the hard stuff of the cast but only tickle the soft-stuff of your flesh.) He x-rayed the leg, announced all was well, and gave me a prescription to get a walking cast. “Take this to an orthotist,” he said and left me and my right leg dangling there. Just dangling there.

I was ill. But I took it as a good sign - I had healed enough to make it, sans any protective devices, to the orthotist’s office across the street. The orthotist put me in a removable walking cast called an AirCast.

Dr. Tauro told me to start putting weight on my leg until it could tolerate my full weight. He said it would take one to two weeks for me to walk without crutches. “It’ll hurt, but there’s no rush. Take your time.”

Three weeks and five days ago, I put the crutches in the corner for good. Oh, my foot and ankle hurt like hell but, dammit, I was walking. Really walking.

Three weeks ago, in a frustrated frenzy, I sat in my truck, took off my walking cast, and drove to work. The Wife-Beast and others protested. I didn’t care.

I got to work with no problems and have been driving myself to work every day since.

Two weeks and two days ago I took a tentative shower, standing up.
Shortly thereafter, I began walking from the couch to the bathroom without my walking cast. (I’d been peeing standing up with great precision for the better part of a week.) I started making other short trips within the house without the cast too.

Four days ago, I stopped wearing my walking cast in the house altogether. Opting only to wear it to work and trips to stores and the like.

Two days ago, I drove to the liquor store and limped, sans cast, into said liquor store and bought a twelve-pack of Yeungling Black-and-Tan.

One day ago, I hung curtain rods in the living room. Without the cast.

Today, I saw Dr. Tauro again. Confessed my sins of reducing the walking cast’s wear-time. I expected the worst. I’d been the object of the wrath of an orthopedic surgeon 25 years ago when Dr. Seltzer discovered that I’d modified a splint on my right hand so that I could continue to play golf. “Do I have to put a cast on you again?! What the hell is wrong with you, son?!”

Oh. Boy.

Tauro simply smiled and said, “Excellent!”

He took another x-ray. Said it looked good. Told me to stop wearing the walking cast. Didn’t order any other ankle stablizing orthotics. And sent me on my way.

Tomorrow I start physical therapy.

Six weeks hence, I return to Dr. Tauro.

:::

By the way, Dr. Tauro said that a few at bats before the end of the softball season is NOT out of the question. Ha!

Comments

tangerine said:

Oxycontin:

Well actually if you listen LESS to the pronunciation it is

Oxycodone -- generic form of Percocet (?)

I know this because someone close to me has recently undergone a sentinal node biopsy later immigrated into an axillary lymph node dissection removing ALL from her right underarm... and prescribing the hard stuff.

She was given the Oxycodone that I admit to testing out [just a little] one time since Rush had this "thing with it" and I was curious.

Bottom line... I just don't get it. Makes you sleepy.

Posted on Aug 10, 2005 02:00 AM

Lisa said:

So glad you seem to be getting back to 100%! :)

Posted on Aug 10, 2005 11:13 AM

Jim said:

Tangerine,

For the record, Oxycontin is the sustained release version of oxycodone (and is the stuff that Rush Limbaugh is suspected of abusing). Percocet is oxycodone with acetaminophen (Tylenol).

My understanding is that if you're looking to get the same high that Rush did you need to take upwards of "30 pills per day" - I don't know how many milligrams each pill was.

Pills come between 20 mg - 160 mg doses. And, unlike Tylenol or aspirin, there is a piling on effect. Double the dose equals double the pain killing effect. This isn't the same with most other pain killers which seem to have a pain killing threshold.

Posted on Aug 10, 2005 12:40 PM

Ray said:

http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/main_hillbillyheroin.html

That shit is nasty stuff, if used the wrong way. My understanding is that you're not supposed to grind it up and shoot it, or suck it up your nose.

Posted on Aug 10, 2005 01:57 PM

Jim said:

ummm ... Ray, is there anything that you're supposed to grind up and shoot or suck into your nose?

Posted on Aug 10, 2005 02:04 PM

ntexas99 said:

good question, jim.

having recently undergone some surgery myself lately, I stand staunchly behind the mantra "use the painkillers while you need them" and "getting high and killing pain are not necessarily the same thing - in fact, sometimes they aren't even in the same hemisphere".

ahem.

Posted on Aug 12, 2005 12:56 AM

Add A Comment








 Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)

Preview Comment