Monday, May 31, 2010

Snowboard Crash Compilation

Don't worry, Mom and Dad, I usually land most of my jumps.

Memorial Day Parade on Constitution

After sitting on a couch for months wasting away, I have a better appreciation for the outdoors. Every day is an opportunity to get on my feet and get some mileage on my reconstructed ankle. I set a goal for myself to walk at least a mile a day.

Brooke and I wanted to go all the way to the Tidal Basin, which would have been over a three mile round trip. We were stopped by the Memorial Day Parade on Constitution. My ankle also started bothering me around the half mile mark, so our trip was cut short.

At first I was depressed about not going further than a mile. But that didn't last long. I used to get depressed about not walking at all.

The dog was pumped about our walk. Not many people know this, but dog's love how their noses taste. It isn't because they're stupid.

There was a gigantic American Flag hanging from two fire truck ladders over Constitution. I have an 8-feet tall American Flag hanging behind me at work. I'm jealous.

There were a billion tourists watching the show. We didn't get a chance to hang out and watch the show because the hot cement was bothering Spunky's paws. So we moved to the comfort of the shade.

Spunky loves the shade on hot days like this. As always, she was entertaining us the whole walk.

It's going to be a while before my ankle can keep up with me. I thought for sure I could go three miles today. That's frustrating, but it beats not walking at all.

Tiny Leg

It's like walking with a pencil for a leg.

Brooke was put on call, so we're going to go for a two mile walk today without lame crutches.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Our Future Daughter

Brooke and I will have a daughter. She will be a snowboarder by age one. Just like this awesome girl.

88 and Sunny

It's memorial day weekend and Brooke has to work every bit of it. That leaves me and Spunky to hang out. The weather here is awesome -- 88 and bright. So I decided to see what kind of mileage I could put on my ankle without any crutches.

I would have taken the mutt along for the ride, but I need to run an errand at CVS. Sorry, Spunk.

There was a dude walking in front of me with a cane. I thought about getting one at CVS, but I'm afraid it would slow down my recovery. You have to walk with the pain! Not sure why I took this picture. There are always a million people out in Chinatown.

The Navy Memorial is only half a mile from the apartment. With it being Memorial Day Weekend, I thought I'd drop by to pay my respects. That's the National Archives -- home of our Constitution -- in the background.

The sun is definitely out.

Lots of flowers and wreaths at the statue of the Navy dude. Spunky freaked out the first time she saw this guy.

I used to figure out how far I walked. It was just under a mile -- 0.90 miles to be exact. Not too bad. I was definitely feeling it towards the end, but I don't think I need a cane.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Top Three Grossest Leg Pictures

I had a chance last night to peruse my photos over the course of my injury. Like any true snowboarder would, I was wondering which one was the most disgusting photo.

I found three candidates.

This is a simple picture of a hole going down into my ankle, revealing a tendon. When I saw this for the first time, I thought it was one of the coolest things I'd ever seen. Maybe that doesn't make this a gross photo, but I had to include it in the top three.

I'll be honest. This is my top candidate. It even grossed out the nurses removing the bandages. One of them even said, "I've never seen this color of fluid leak out of a wound before."

This was one of the first photographs taken of my injury. It's what started the blog. At the time, I was extremely drugged up, so having this equipment drilled into my skeleton didn't bother me. Now that I can take a sober look at it, it bothers me.

In fact, four things bother me about this picture.

The first thing is the gigantic blood blister. Little did we know that later on it would cost our insurance company $300 to drain him.

The second disturbing feature is the external fixator screwed through my heel and into my shin below the knee. That's what preserved the length of my leg while the swelling came down.

The third feature that grosses me out is the lumps around my still broken tibia.

And the fourth problem is a subtle one -- there's an "X" marking the spot where an extremely faint pulse could be felt on the top of my foot. Of the several people that tried to locate my pulse, only one physician was able to locate it. This mark shows how close I came to losing this awesome, kickball-dominating foot.

Friday, May 28, 2010

New Snowboard 2 (Matt Britton's Idea)

Matt Britton suggested I redesign the board with my x-rays on top. He had a good idea.

Here's the new top. If you can't read the text, the word on the left is, ironically, "expertsnowboarder." On the right, it says, "tree: 1 snowboarder: 0."

Here's the new patriotic base.

Thank You, Unknown Baby

Since I've returned from Colorado, we've averaged one visit a week to The Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Center in Arlington, VA. Everyone in the office is great. They've become friends over the last three months.

Dr. Borden today said she could tell what exam room we were in because of all of the laughing. We've always had a good time there, even with the complications and pain.

Onto my new foreskin. The transplant looked -- and smelled -- great. Dr. Borden couldn't stop cheering when she saw the progress. She said it was the fastest healing time she's ever seen. But to be fair, most of her patients are old, diabetic, and old.

It's difficult to tell I had a skin transplant. You can still see the wound underneath the new skin.

It's still covered by a layer of fiberglass-like material to protect it. That's why you see an odd imprint.

The fracture blister is still healing. Once this thing is healed, I'm going to have some amazing scars.

We go back in 12 days for another follow-up. At that time they'll tell me when I can start physical therapy.

So thanks, unknown baby, for fixing my wound. I sincerely appreciate your help.

Remember how gross this thing used to look?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Snowboard

I found a cool website,, that lets you design your own snowboard. I haven't seen my snowboard personally since the accident. It's still in Tulsa. Our awesome friends took a lot of our stuff home from the trip so we wouldn't have to worry about it.

But I get the feeling that it's not safe to ride anymore after a 220 lb. body has a 25 mph. impact with a tree. So it's time for a new board.

Here's the base. I put a link to my blog on the bottom. The only time you'll see this is when you are 1) underneath my massive jumps, or 2) snow. Maybe I should redesign it with the link on the top.

Note that the base resembles tree bark.

Here's the top. It's a tree. You see the theme now.

How Much Does New Skin Cost?

Just saw this insurance claim filed by my doctor's office:


I don't really understand any of that, but my skin transplant comes to just under $4,000. I go into the doctor's office tomorrow to get a status update. Has my body rejected it? Is it integrating with my skin? Does it smell bad? These are all questions we hope to get answered tomorrow.

Hopefully it's worth it. Here's a graph comparing Apligraf transplants to a "control." Your guess is as good as mine as to what, exactly, they use as a control.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sir Dippy Bird is Real?

A website named has linked by blog. According to their website, their mission is "Raising awareness through intelligent information on Food Additives." Glad my ankle could help raise that awareness. Not sure how intelligent my information is.

Another site in the UK linked to my blog. Is Sir Dippy Bird real? He shows up in the UK's people search website.

I found these links to my blog using Google's Webmaster Tools. Another interesting thing I discovered are the top search queries for my website.

Glad to see "foreskin blogspot," made the list.

enterobacter cloacae1610
tibial plafond1010
iodosorb ointment1010
tony award trophy1010
stupid eyes1010
mandy marshall1010
bracket trees1010
foreskin blogspot1010

Apligraf Video

I found a video on YouTube describing the Apligraf product I received last week. Note that the spot fails to mention any foul odors.

Still no foul odor has been emitted from my transplant.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Adsense Nonsense

When I first put this blog together, I decided I'd try to see how much money I could make by displaying Google Ads.

It wasn't much. The gross pictures of my accident only earned a few cents a day. To date, I've made $17.34.

Barring any unforeseen surgeries or accidents, I only have a few more months to go with my recovery. So imagine my surprise when I read Google's fine print, "There are several earnings thresholds that impact whether you're eligible to be paid for your AdSense earnings."

The threshold is $100 before I'll ever get paid. Unless I make a habit of breaking my ankle every four months, there's no way I'm achieving that goal.

But maybe I can reach that goal without more bodily injury. Google sent me a $100 gift certificate for purchasing text ads. I'm just not sure what the text ad would say.
You searched for ski resorts. Idiot snowboards into tree. Breaks ankle. Click here to read boring blog.
So I submitted a link to this post to If anyone can show Google what's up, it's people that read

Monday, May 24, 2010

Does It Smell Yet?

Much to Spunky's disappointment, the skin transplant has not started to stink.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Busy Weekend

Last night I decided to start using my season tickets to the Nationals. Like usual, I watched them lose a game. This one was to our neighbors to the north, the equally lousy Orioles.

Then today, I took a leisurely walk in Arlington National Cemetery to watch our wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We had setup this event for our alumni chapter here several months ago.

Tomorrow I'm going to Crystal's graduation party in Clarendon. She's a lawyer now, so if we don't go, she'll probably sue us or order an injunction. I don't even know what that means, but she'll do it.

As expected, walking on the ankle is painful. But it's worth it to be mobile and out with friends again.

Here's a picture of the glorious wreath Binoy and I picked out last weekend. The ribbon says, "The University of Tulsa." We asked for blue and gold flowers. We were told there was no such thing as a gold flower. So we went with yellow.

Our honored guest was former United States Congressman Brad Carson, a TU alum. To his right is Troy. Binoy and Laura are in the back.

They put the wreath at the end of the path where the guard walks.

Then they bring the wreath up the the tomb and finish up the ceremony.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Decided to go to the Nats v. Orioles game. It's like Yankees Redsox game, only awful.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Skin Transplant

Today was the day I received my new skin. I haven't written about it much because I wasn't sure if I'd end up getting the transplant.

There's one more reason I haven't written about it. But I'll get to that in a second.

The wound has healed extremely fast with the wound vacuum. I wore this cumbersome, awkward, annoying device for three short weeks. Good riddance.

My ankle is a bit misshapen due to some edema buildup from yesterday. I also have a small blister next to the wound.

Now onto my new skin.

This is it. That is my skin transplant. Before it was applied to my wound, it was stabbed multiple times with a scalpel. By injuring the skin, it triggers the cells to start healing by releasing proteins, like cytokine. That allows it to incorporate with my own skin much faster.

There's also less of a chance of my body rejecting the transplant since the new skin doesn't have any sweat glands or hair follicles.

The skin is held on with steristrips along the edges and covered with tons of bandages.

So. Where do they get this skin from?

Baby foreskin.

That is not a typo. I've known about this for the last three weeks. When we first heard where it came from, Brooke thought she heard, "it's for the skin."

Now, before you go crazy and start giggling like a school girl (like I have been since I found out), you need to understand a few things. This isn't a direct transplant of foreskin. There wasn't a new mom and dad in the other room waiting for me when I went into the doctor's office today.

The process is actually kind of interesting. They remove two cells from the foreskin after it is removed from a normal, healthy baby. One is from the outermost layer of the skin -- the epidermis. The second cell is harvested form the middle layer of skin -- the dermis. They grow this skin in a petri dish until it's about 5 cm in diameter.

The company, Apligraf, has been doing this for about eleven years and about 200,000 patients have received their product.

I've been warned that this thing will start to stink. At first we shrugged it off, but we were warned multiple times that my ankle will develop a funk that requires windows to be opened and rooms to be evacuated.

I can't wait!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dog Walker

Now that I can "walk," I'm taking full advantage. When I got home today, I decided it was time to walk the dog.

If you don't know Spunky, you'll get just about all you need to know from this picture. This is her pretending to be a turtle. You can see her tail barely sticking out from underneath her upside down bed.

She's a good dog, but she's a handful.

Like any reasonable person, I was concerned that she'd take off and pull a crutch out from underneath me. But it didn't happen. She behaved like a well trained animal.

I'm still walking with crutches. It's extremely painful. But it'll eventually subside.

So we both enjoyed our walk. Now she can go back to playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Walking After Three Months

Brooke and I went to the doctor's office today. The wound is shrinking every day. The picture above was taken Monday night. This afternoon, it was even smaller. This is my last week on the wound vacuum. I go back in next week to have a skin graft.

I asked The Closer what he thought about the fibula fracture gap that hasn't healed since the injury. He said it isn't time to worry yet. He expects it to heal, and if it doesn't, we'll have another operation to fill the gap with bone graft.

We received news today that I can now bear all of my weight on my ankle -- as pain tolerates. So as soon as we got home, I decided to start walking without crutches.

Three months almost to the day. I'm finally walking.

It's about time.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day, Mom

Happy Mother's Day, Mom! Thank you again to both you and Dad for coming all the way from Oklahoma to help us out!

I thought Mom had made this cake for my on the day of my birthday. I found out afterwards that this was several days later.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Looking Good

I discovered that the worst part about the wound vacuum is that when you change it, the hair around the wound comes with it. Whether or not you want it to.

Fact: Wound vacuums work. It's still the same size, but the swelling and edema around the wound is gone. The part of the wound where the cave used to be is surprisingly healing first.

Just last week, this hole looked like this.

Two to three more weeks.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Vacuum Installed

Yesterday was installation day. It was also Brooke's birthday! A No Leg Talk policy was implemented for the whole day, so I didn't get a chance to update the blog until now.

The doctor's office had just switched wound vacuum companies, so I was the Guinea Pig. We had about six people in the exam room with a sales representative explaining how the vacuum worked.

Before we could put on the vacuum, I had to have "wound slime" scraped out of the wound. This stuff needs to be removed to expose the soft tissue underneath. As Dr. Borden cleaned away, it would hurt when the scraping tool touched the skin. She said she played a lot of Operation when she was growing up, so she was prepared.

Because the wound had borrowed underneath the skin about 2 or 3 mm, Dr. Border had to take a scalpel and remove the skin above it. The wound was covered with Lidocaine, so I was fine.

Here's what the wound looked like just before we put on the gauze. You can see how it's really grown in the last few days. It's vacuum time.

Here's the final product. Nothing too exciting, but hopefully each time we change this, the wound will be smaller. Right now, we're supposed to do a change two times a week.

I had new X-Rays taken last week, but didn't get chance to look at them until last night. My fibula still has not healed. There's a good chance it may never heal. The good news is it's a non-weight bearing bone, so I should be fine with the plate

Monday, May 3, 2010

Don't Touch Anything

Brooke and I were redoing the wound dressing and noticed how my wound is following the incision line up my leg. It's formed a cave underneath a paper thin layer of skin. It's still growing.

At first we thought maybe the infection had returned. Brooke did some research on iodosorb. It's common for wounds to appear larger after iodosorb treatments because it significantly reduces swelling in and around the wound. The redness is also normal while the incision heals. It can take around two years for an incision to completely heal.

It's frustrating that Brooke and I have to do all of this research ourselves. That's probably why Brooke decided to be a nurse practitioner.

I was about to listen and not take a look at the contents of the box, but we had to sign an agreement that said we checked all of the parts were here.

So I checked.

Vacuum, check. It's heavier than I thought it'd be. No dog hair attachment.

A place to store all of the gross stuff that comes out of my wound. And a tube.

We also got five kits that each contained sponges, saline solution, and a sterile ruler. I guess we use that to measure healing progress.

Installation Scheduled

The wound vacuum representative should arrive within the next few hours with a box. I was specifically instructed this morning by my nurse not to touch a thing. They really know me.

I'm scheduled to go in tomorrow morning, on Brooke's birthday, to have it installed with Dr. Borden. Back in February, I had to go in to have my fracture blister drained on my birthday.

What a way to celebrate our birthdays!

I saw Dr. Borden when we first discovered the infection and the wound. She works in the same office as Dr. Buchanan and specializes in wound care and podiatry. She's the only doctor I've met so far that thinks I shouldn't snowboard again. But that's not an official medial opinion.

This is what my right leg looks like after I've been up on it for about a minute. I'm color blind, but I know this is bright red. I still have to keep the leg up when I'm sitting to avoid edema build up.

Crystal made a rude comment on my last ankle picture.
"The most disturbing part of this picture is that your ankle appears to be about 2.5 quarters in width."
I was about to argue with her, but I think she has a point. The wound's location is about a half inch below this quarter on my right ankle.

Plus, you can't win arguments with Crystal.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Wound Vacuums Are Not Cheap

Mom wanted to get an idea of how big the wound is now, so we held an extremely filthy quarter next to an opening in my skin. It looked better last night after giving it a rest. It wasn't draining as much as it has been. The skin was just cleaned with saline, that's why it looks like plastic.

I got a call yesterday about the wound vacuum. It costs about $1,800 to rent for a month. My insurance is going to cover about 70% of it. It arrives Monday morning and I get it installed either Monday afternoon or Tuesday.

I added up all of the claims from the numerous providers since my injury. It came to just over $126,000. And we're not finished. I've not even started physical therapy sessions.

It's a lot of money. But fortunately, our out of pocket expenses has only been around $2,800 to this point.