Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ankle Update

Definition: physical therapy - 1) the treatment of injuries or disorders using physical methods, such as exercise, massage, or the application of heat, 2) a jazz fusion band from St. Louis, Missouri active in the 1990s.

Except for the days and nights when my ankle has hurt really bad, the last week has been just great.

While the bottom of my foot no longer hurts, my lower shin, fibula, and calf have begun to make we consistently walk like I'm 74. That usually wears off after a few seconds of walking. When I hit my stride, I'm going pretty quick -- much of it due to my new awesome Skecher Shape Up shoes.

The cane is surprisingly popular. Strangers have been paying me several complements for the flames. I've definitely noticed a difference in people's reaction to crutches and a cane. George Costanza said it best, "with crutches it's a funny story, with a cane it's a sad story."

I took a video earlier tonight of my ankle flexibility. It has not gained a significant amount of more mobility since the last video, but it is stronger. One thing I recently noticed was how much larger my fibula malleolus is now.

Spunky is feeling much better. The drugs are continuing to give her time to rest and heal. She's feeling good enough to smell my awesome ankle.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Definition: cankle 1.) having no defined ankle so that it appears that the calves are directly joined to the feet. 2.) Fat ankles.

There's no way around it -- I have a fat ankle. It's probably a permanent thing. No, I should stop trying to fool myself -- it is permanent.

Physical therapy today went well. My big toe flexibility has almost completely returned. After the session was over, I was extremely sore. I'm still sore.

Why'd I hit that tree, again?

I've noticed a large swollen area over my fibula break. I'm hoping that's a sign that the two bones are finally starting to fuse together.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Family Emergencies

I'm really glad I've been obsessed with taking pictures of my ankle. It allows me to go back through my collection and see first hand the progress I've made.

This is what my ankle looked like on April 1st. At the time, it was a breeding ground for deadly bacteria. They were well on their way to borrowing a deep hole in my shin.

Imagine waking up one day and seeing this as your new ankle and foot. Hilarious, right? What a great April Fool's joke.

So I'm afraid I've got some bad news concerning our dog, Spunky. Last Tuesday, after returning from the veterinary, Spunky began to show signs of severe neck pain. We took her to the animal hospital Friday night. She was prescribed some medication to reduce inflammation.

I took her to the veterinary again today and received some more bad news. X-Rays show that she has some mineralization in the disc between her third and fourth vertebrae. This means it's developed over the course of most of her life, so nothing acute caused her pain last week. The disc problem is likely due to her tugging (and I'm afraid to say, our tugging) on her collar during walks. We feel terrible. The good news is she has no neurological deficits, so she is not in any life threatening danger.

The Spunkster is about to undergo some major lifestyle changes. Her activity level has to be dramatically reduced, and if her symptoms don't improve after a few weeks, she's facing surgery. If you've ever met Spunky, you know how difficult this transition will be for her. She's usually a 90 mph dog.

First, I hit a tree, break an ankle, and visit the ER. Now, our hyperactive, smelly, hilarious, and sweet beagle has a bad neck and makes the trip to the Doggy ER.

That leaves Brooke as the only family member without an ER visit in 2010. Maybe we should encase her in bubble wrap to help prevent what appears to be inevitable.

That Looks Normal

Check out the cool trick I can do now with my ankle.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cars and Freedom

I'm going to see Strasburg pitch tonight against the White Sox. As always, I'm expecting a no-hitter.

The ankle is doing alright. Flexibility continues to improve, but I still need to use my crutches most of the time. The bottom of the foot hurts less and now most of my pain is in my Achilles tendon.

The nerve pain continues to bother me, especially when I wear a shoe. I'm hoping that eventually goes away.

This has nothing to do with my ankle.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Snowboarder vs. Spunky's Tennis Ball

One of Spunky's favorite toys is the tennis ball. She's had it for years. It's been slobbered on and it smells bad. Fortunately, she's loaned it to me to start working on loosening up the joints and muscles in my foot and toes.

I've had two physical therapy sessions so far. I'm seeing significant improvements every day in my flexibility and strength. It hurts more than I was prepared for, but as long as I see things getting better, I'm cool with the pain. Almost all of the pain is in the bottom of my foot. So far my ankle hasn't bothered me.

Rolling the ball hurts pretty bad, but I've noticed that the feeling has started to come back in my foot.

The areas of my foot where I have feeling have grown to this highlighted area. The top of my foot is getting better as well. This is a really good sign. It suggests I'll probably end up getting almost all of my feeling back.

Oh, and before I forget -- click on my ads.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Physical Therapy

This morning I had my first visit with my physical therapist since we found my infection in early April. The session lasted about an hour and a half.

Before we started, I could bend my foot up about 25 degrees. When we finished, it was around 37 degrees. That's a good improvement for one session.

Most of the time was spent on manipulating and stretching the connective tissues between the bones of my foot. Because my foot has been immobile for four months, the tissues surrounding the bones have contracted. I walk with an epic limp.

After we finished therapy, my foot was hilariously sore to walk on. It makes me wonder if I'll be able to use a cane.

Speaking of canes, it arrived this evening. The flames are intimidating.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Next Step and Strausmas 2010

I've been a Nationals season ticket holder for the last four years. We've stuck by our team through their last place seasons -- through the worst.

Last night we were rewarded, big time. It was the greatest baseball game I think I'll ever see in person. It was the Strasburg debut, or as the locals have called it, Strausmas.

I think I took this from my phone around the first inning. The guy was absolutely ridiculous. Fourteen batters struck out! No walks! It was unbelievable.

He packs a 103 mph heater. The radar gun at the stadium displayed "TILT" on most of his pitches.

Last night was also the last time I'll wear a boot. That's right. I'm done! I went into the doctor's office to see both Dr. Borden and Dr. Buchanan. I asked if I could drive, and I was told not only could I drive my car again, but I should stop wearing the boot to regain my flexibility and grow my calf muscle back.

If you look closely, you'll see a bandage tan line on my bad ankle. Today was the first time I've worn a shoe and sock since February. It was a big step. Amazingly, walking around like this felt better than I thought it would.

Update: Doug pointed out that the above photo was either Photoshopped or taken in a mirror. It was taken in a mirror. Very observant.

The skin transplant has finished healing. The scar looks awesome.

I'll probably have to wear a compression stocking for the rest of the year to control my edema. I start physical therapy Friday morning. I'm really looking forward to that.

I go back to the doctor in six weeks, the longest break we've had from their office ever. Dr. Borden said she was sad and that we should have taken a group photo. Next time!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ankle Flexibility After Two Months

Two months ago, I was finally able to move my ankle. Here's what it looked like.

Here's what it looks like today. It's a big improvement, but I have a long way to go.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fashionable Cane

Do you think I could sell my Fleet's Enema Twin Pack on Ebay? I did a quick search and came up with nothing. So either Ebay is currently sold out, or I'm an idiot.

My Dad found a cane for me at According to the site, "The tourist handled triple wound carbon fiber flame cane uses the same design as Dr. Gregory House on the hit television series House M.D on Fox."

It's pretty awesome. I'm not sure if I'll need one. I'm really good at walking in my boot without crutches. Without the boot is probably another story.

But since when has not needing something been a reason to not get it anyway?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Snowboarder vs. Two Trees

I put up a post to one of my x-rays on a few days ago asking if anyone else had hit a tree as hard as I did.

I didn't really expect anyone to say that they had. Not only was the answer, "yes," it was, "yes, and it was more than one tree."

Back in January 2009, Kevin was snowboarding near Alberta. He was ripping down a black and hit a flat light spot. Flat light usually occurs in an overcast. It's nearly impossible to get a good read on the slope in front of you because you don't see any shadows from the terrain. You just kind of have to feel it and react quickly.

The lighting caused him to misread his line and he lost control going about 45mph. He hit the first tree and bounced several feet into a second tree! He was impaled with a branch about 20cm, breaking his pelvis. He also broke at least four ribs, had a collapsed lung, and fractured his shoulder socket.

Unbelievably, he survived, though he did flatline during the Helivac to the hospital.

Here's a picture of the wound where he was impaled.

Shattered pelvis. He broke it in a non-weight bearing area near the top, so he lucked out there.

Here's a 3D CT scan of his shoulder socket break.

Screws to fix all of the broken pieces. I know how that goes.

He revisited the site of his accident one year later, just like I plan on doing. Unfortunately, he was in a car accident recently and that's caused some problems for him and his recovery. But the good news is he's going to return to snowboarding. That's the way it should be.

We're in an elite club of snowboarders that have hit at least one tree and lived to talk about it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Nerve Damage

Since I've been walking more recently, I've had a chance to evaluate what impact my nerve damage will have on my awesome gait. Surprisingly, I believe my gait will be just fine.

Here's someone's foot. It isn't mine. This foot looks like it's been pampered. Mine hit a tree going really, really fast. I think we can all agree, my foot has not been pampered. The area shaded in what I've been told is red is where I have absolutely no sensation.

Real quick -- Yes, I'm color blind. I know what you're thinking. The answer is No. Contrary to what you just thought, I can tell the difference between the color white and the color of whatever color a tree is. I don't know what color they are, but they are different from white snow.

So back to what I was talking about. I can't feel anything on the bottom of my foot -- except, oddly enough, I can sense cold. Not sure how this is going to help me.

Someone suggested now I can walk across hot coals easily. No. I cannot. I'd have to hop on my bad leg. This is just a bad decision, Don Grote.

The area shaded in what I've been told is blue is where I used to have really good sensation a few weeks ago. Since I've been walking, it's very dull now.

As I walk around barefoot I can judge how my weight is distributed based on how the top of my foot feels. I can feel the right half of my foot on the top. As I bear weight, I can sense the skin here push out from the pressure of the floor. The brain adapts quickly, I guess.

I'm still hoping for a return of sensation by February 2011, but I'm glad to see that it may not be that big of a deal.

The worst part about the nerve damage is I have continuous fits of stabbing nerve pain in my toes, the soul of my foot, and the sides. It's been like this since day one, and I doubt it's going away anytime soon. I've gotten used to it.

It reminds me to avoid trees.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

If I Were A Skier

Doug just sent me this. I've only skied once. That was enough for me. But if I had continued, this would not have happened to me. Everyone knows I can out-ski avalanches.