Monday, February 22, 2010

Independent Research

Because Brooke is studying at George Washington University to become a nurse practitioner, she has access to hundreds of medical journals. Since my next appointment is tomorrow, and the majority of my time is spent ironically watching the Winter Olympics, I thought I'd do some research today and prepare for tomorrow's meeting with The Closer.

The first article I checked out was co-authored by my first surgeon. Entitled, "The Snowboarder's Foot and Ankle," I figured it would still contain some relevant information even though it was written 12 years ago.

As Figure 1 from his paper demonstrates, I am not the only idiot that's hit a tree. I've considered contacting the other 8% to form an exclusive club. We'd have monthly newsletters about how dumb we are.

I also read in another paper that high energy or crush injuries to the ankle and lower leg are at risk for tibial compartment syndrome. During my stay at the hospital, I was advised of this risk and informed I did not want to get it. When your surgeon tells you that no amount of morphine can alleviate the pain from this syndrome, it's surprising how quickly one can overcome any constipation issues.

Another paper from 1996, "The Spectrum of Injuries from Snowboarding," said that over 80% of injured snowboarders were male. Shocking.

I learned that my tibia break is called a comminuted tibial plafond fracture. When doctors hear this, they understand that the surface, or plafond, of my tibia is severely fractured into multiple fragments of various size, shape, and density. They can infer the amount of reconstruction and rehabilitation necessary to return the joint back to something resembling a working ankle.

When I first heard my doctor at the Breckenridge Clinic say, "comminuted tibial plafond fracture," I figured, hey, that sounds a bit more complicated than, "broken ankle," but no problem. Let's throw a cast on it and call it a day.

Of course, I'd have to bring in an independent consultant to verify the color of my cast. Since I'm color blind, Brooke would jump at the chance to get my foot wrapped up in pink fiberglass for four hilarious months. She's known for her antics. She sneaks Miralax into one of my drinks every day.

But to be serious for a moment, when the doctor told me those words, I didn't need to understand what they meant. The look on her face said it all.

After some more research and countless attempts to add up the number of fragments in my tibia (that's a fun challenge for those of you bored at work), we're starting to doubt I'll end up in a cast.

From one of the papers on my type of injury, I'm guessing this is what's in store for my ankle. This looks like something MacGyver would piece together in a tight situation using only a rubber band, someone's sock, and a nun-chuck. Yet another external fixator. I can't wait!

So we're armed with information for The Closer tomorrow. I'm hoping the whole ordeal goes well and we can get an official idea of things to come. If all else fails, MacGyver should be able to rig something up for me.

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