Thursday, September 30, 2010

Snowboarder vs. Tropical Storm Nicole

I've been a professional crutcher for eight months. I can crutch circles around ordinary walkers.

I even know the intricacies of crutching that no one else would know about. For instance, you cannot crutch shirtless after putting deodorant on. It lubes up the arm pits and forces the crutch to slip right out from underneath you. No nurse or doctor will ever tell you this because they don't know how to crutch. I do.

I dominate the crutch.

Unless, of course, it's raining. Then, all bets are off. I found this out today during Tropical Storm Nicole.

As I was escaping the daily grind of work, I was carefully getting my crutch on down the side walk just outside the building. The right crutch landed in a puddle of water and slipped out from underneath me.

I hit my right heel and bear trap on the ground, but immediately bent my knee to avoid bearing my full weight on my broken ankle.

Unfortunately, I landed hard on my right thumb while holding my crutch. The thumb instantly swelled up and bruised. The pain was pretty bad. Because of the pain, the swelling, and the bruising, I was convinced I had either broken my thumb or dislocated it.

Dr. Borden's voice was running through my head, "boys will be boys," while I sat on my butt for a good 15 minutes. Co-workers passed me by.

I called Brooke up to let her know that I should probably go to the ER. She still knows the charge nurses there, so that would get me fast tracked. She gave the charge nurse a call to prepare for my arrival.

During the long commute home, my pain level was still high in the thumb, but I could bend it and the swelling wasn't getting any worse. Brooke met us outside the apartment and did a quick assessment in the car. We decided to not go to the ER because the thumb doesn't seem broken or dislocated and the ankle feels fine.

It's the right thumb. The swelling is minor.

I did end up bleeding out of this pin site in my heel due to the landing from the fall. That's the only damage to the bear trap ankle that I can see.

I married a nurse because I am smart. I can get healed instantly after a bad fall. Here's Brooke's work in action -- a tape-based splint system. I threw on a bag of ice and took some pills for pain and inflammation.

I'll give my doctor's office a call tomorrow to see if they want me to come in for X-Rays next week. I've been exposed to enough X-Rays, CT scans, and fluoroscopy to give me a healthy dose of radiation poisoning.

The bottom line is I'm fine and this in no way detracts from my already established and well known ability to be an epic user of the crutches.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Don't Get It

I need someone who is smart to explain this bill to me. We received another statement from Virginia Hospital Center. First of all, the bottom line is we still owe them nothing. That's good.

What I don't understand is the "Hospital Charges," and "Late Charge Discount" for $19,505.90 and -$19,505.90 respectively. What exactly is happening here?

Is this a late fee that the hospital has charged for the bill not being paid yet? If so, that's a huge fee!

I don't understand you, American health care system.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Two More Destinations

Thanks to Shreddit, I have more helicopter and snow cat destinations. A few people have asked why I'm going straight into helicopter snowboarding.

I'm an idiot, but I'm an experienced idiot. The plan is to get my snowboarding legs back at a few resorts in the area, like Liberty Mountain (thanks for the follow!). I'll see if I can continue leading with my right leg. If not, I'll have to work on my switch for a few trips.

But eventually -- I'm getting into a helicopter and snowboarding down a giant mountain. It is an unavoidable fact.

Blue River, British Columbia is one of the places someone from Shreddit recommended. It's in a remote area in Candada, but it looks amazing.

Another suggestion was Silverton Mountain, Colorado. The best part about this suggestion was that it is apparently cheap! Only $99 a ride.

I welcome more suggestions. I'm not sure when I'll be ready to go, but it's never too early to start the trip research.

As an update to the mustache post, I found this extremely insightful and relevant tweet from Marshall Brewery Co.

I don't know who invented the stache, but Marshall Brewery is right -- it saved my life.

Monday, September 27, 2010

How The Mustache Was Invented

Blogspot recently started tracking statistics for the blog, including search keywords used to find this site on the Internet through I recently noticed a few interesting search keywords.

First, who did a Google search for, "how the mustache was invented," and found this blog? Were you disappointed with what you found?

Update: As it turns out, I'm sitting at position number 7 when you do this search. I'm proud that the website preview text asks who you are and whether you were disappointed.

I'll be honest, I have no idea how the mustache was invented. I'm flattered, though, that my blog came up for such an important question.

My best guess is someone grew facial hair, started shaving, but got too lazy before they could take care of the upper lip. Hopefully that one person comes back to this blog and reads this post. Because until this post, there was absolutely nothing on this blog that would help you figure out how the mustache was invented.

Do you really think it's an invention? I guess you're right, there was one guy that did it first. Every other guy that saw it was blown away by it. It was probably an overnight sensation.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid my blog cannot help you determine the method or technique used to invent the mustache. I'm sorry.

I'd also like to know who is doing a search for "" into instead of typing my website into their browser.

Mom, Dad, I'm looking in your direction.

Finally, who is searching for "skin cost?" What, exactly, are you looking for? Again, my blog has just about nothing to do with how much skin costs. Wait, I guess I did mention that the Apligraf costs about $5,000.

But still. Who are you? Why are you in the market for skin? I'm getting a little worried about you, Internet.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Charts and Graphs

Yesterday was Clarendon Day. Brooke and Crystal ran the 10k plus some extra for their marathon training. I did my duty and ate food at brunch after the race with friends. Thanks for the ride, Troy.

It was great to get out of the apartment and change up the day-to-day activity level. Let's take a look at my activities since February when I had my accident.

As you can see, I've not been able to dunk a basketball since February, nor have I been able to enjoy any of the other activities I was very good at prior to my accident. All of my time has been spent sitting on my butt.

Because I was on my crutches for so long yesterday, it also occurred to me that there are several situations when crutches are extremely useful.

For instance, my crutches have had 100 units of usefulness since having a broken ankle. While I don't have a broken face, I imagine crutches would not help improve this situation. Crutches are also a very good way to get someone you don't know to start talking to you. While crutches are very useful (50 units of usefulness) at annoying Spunky, they have yet to help my fantasy football game.

Trade me Drew Brees, or I add a new usefulness situation for crutches to my chart.

Because of all of the questions I got, I realized something about my injury. I'm not very good at fielding questions regarding the story -- mainly because it's too long to tell, and it makes me look like an idiot.

The questions were hilarious. I heard things ranging from, "is that a spiral fracture," to "do you have polio?" Seriously? Polio? This is America. There hasn't been a case of polio in America since the Redskins won a Super Bowl.

As you can plainly see from the graph, at a certain point, I started getting angry after each question. Interestingly enough, after about 20 questions, I stopped caring. There's nothing I can do about my ankle. Inquiring minds want to know what idiotic thing I did to cause me to wear a bear trap on my ankle.

4 Millimeters

I learned how to use medical imaging software to measure the distance of the gap in my fibula. It's between 4 and 3 millimeters. Because I live in America, the greatest nation on Earth, I have no idea how big that is.

Apparently, it is the most commonly used scale by model railway hobbyists in the United Kingdom.

Friday, September 24, 2010

31 Days of Stimulation

What do you get when you go 31 for 31 consecutive days of bone stimulation?


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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gamma Ray Results

We're in week number six. Earlier this morning, Dr. Borden said the tibia looked good and the fibula looked okay. There are signs that the fibula is developing a bridge and growing.

You can see the fibula bridge that's developing to the right of the fibula.

Here's the side view. You can still see my pelvis in the tibia.

This was a new angle from last time. The fibula gap looks like it's bridging much better.

One thing I noticed was that there is a bone fragment right under my fibula incision. Cool, I guess?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Alaska, You're Up

Valdez Helicamps is a place up in Alaska. They offer helicopter rides. More importantly, they offer snow cat rides during bad weather conditions. I like it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Powder at Portillo, Chile

Next on my list of potential mountains is in Portillo, Chile. While they too have heli-skiing opportunities, this video convinced me without a single helicopter. The gigantic dog helped, too.

The main appeal to places like this is fewer crowds and ample amounts of powder. Chris Davenport's explanation toward the end of the movie applies to just about every mountain I've been to. (Sorry, Snowshoe, but you're an awful mountain.)

Back in college, my friend Ken and I decided to climb to the top of Peak 8 at Breckenridge. It's about 13,000 feet once you get up there. The view was awesome.

How's the leg? Let's look.

Spunky agrees. It's fine.

Pin sites look good. This might be the best pin picture I've taken. It's worth clicking on and enlarging to see how close I was able to get the image to focus.

The pelvic incision has healed and left a radical scar. The sutures dissolved on their own.

My atrophy is still epic. I decided today to measure it with a common household item. Beer.

Here's my left calf. It's basically as wide as a beer can.

Here's the calf that hasn't been used since February 13th. It's going to be a while before he's back to beer can shape.

Dr. Buchanan just had a kid (congrats!), so I'll be seeing Dr. Borden on Thursday. Dr. Borden will send the X-Rays home to Dr. Buchanan so he can take a look at them and get back to us if there are any concerns.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dog Stuck In Exfix

The doctors told me this might happen.
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Ruby Mountain

I'm entertaining ideas for where the helicopter experience happens. Here's my first candidate. The Ruby Mountain is a range in northeastern Nevada. It isn't cheap, but for 39,000 feet, it's totally worth it.

The Ruby Mtn. Heli-Experience

Friday, September 17, 2010

Where'd My Kicker Go?

If you can make it one month without hitting your ankle on something while crutching, you've accomplished something. If you can go one month with a bear trap installed without hitting your ankle, well, then you've really accomplished something.

Today I hit my ankle on a few things. I stood my crutches up against a cabinet at work lazily. They slid down and made a perfect impact with the bear trap. Surprisingly, it hurt. A few minutes later, I hit it again on the desk. A third time when I got home.

Needless to say, I experienced a bit of pain tonight. Pain pills take care of business, but hopefully this external fixator has done it's job and continued to stabilize the situation. The good news is I have no pain in my ankle. It's all in the pin sites.

The distal pin site on the tibia looks much better now. I cannot see my tibia bone anymore when I move the skin. I took some time to pick off the cement formed from the iodozorb ointment.

The proximal pin site is also coming along. I was able to get rid of most of the grossness.

It's still got some healing to do.

I'm really looking forward to heli-snowboarding. What I need to do is prepare and, unlike this guy, keep in mind that my snowboard is not an FAA approved device for flying.

I'm in a fantasy football league with some friends from work. One of the older guys I work with, let's call him, Gil, forgot that he dropped his kicker from his team. A day later, he posted to the league forum to ask what had happened.

That's where I got the title of the post from. A mind's a terrible thing to waste, but it can be hilarious to watch it happen. We got him a package of adult diapers a few months ago for his birthday. Hopefully he doesn't forget to use them.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Post Injury Domination

For the last eight months I've led a sedentary life on a couch maintaining a blog. When I tell people that I blog, I get a lot of looks like this.

It's almost the same look I get thrown at my new ankle hardware.

Team -- we need to turn it up a notch. We're due for some serious action items on an agenda of domination, post-ankle injury. Cue the Knight Rider theme song in another browser tab and leave it running. Don't already have it book marked? Here you go.

I need to press the crap out of the turbo boost button. Make up for lost time. Time to be a man who does not exist -- on a couch.

Real quick, how awesome is this theme song almost 30 years later?

Grow A Mustache. A Real One.

Along with the rest of the group, I tried to grow a for-real mustache during the snowboarding trip in February. It didn't even come close to working out.

Have they invented lip Rogaine yet?

Las Vegas

Every year we make an excuse to go to Las Vegas. Usually, it's because someone is getting married. I'm not sure who's on deck in 2011, but it needs to get figured out now. I was offered to attend this year's trip. In fact, I was guaranteed a scooter upon arrival. I thought my friends were being nice. Turns out they wanted to use me to carry beer and cut in lines.


Yep. Sorry, Mom, Dad, and Brooke, but this is happening. I'm getting a new board, one ticket to the top of a gigantic mountain via a helicopter, and some pizza.

Name one thing more awesome than heli-snowboarding? I challenge you.

What else goes on the agenda? I need input and ideas. Let's do this. Let's make it happen.

Family Pictures

Mom asked for some pictures of us. Apparently, EVERYONE that visited us over the last month mostly took pictures of Spunky. She somehow managed to make it into three of these.

No, Spunky. You are not human.

Notice the motion blur of the tail.

No, Spunky. There is no food up my brother's nose. That shirt says, "Don't Hate the 918." Please, under no circumstances, do not hate the 918.

I'm sure Spunky is just out of frame.

I could take him. Easy.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Chigga Chigga Chicken 65

I had a lot of requests come in for more Willbur Sargunaraj. He's probably my new favorite Internet personality. He will soon be an Internet meme. Count on it.

This is a song about Chicken 65, apparently a first class meal out of India. Binoy, have you tried this? Is it any good? Can we get it in DC? If this guy is singing about it, I want in.

I fast forwarded the clip to the best part. I wonder if he'd write a song about my ankle.

His dance moves are also first class. I'm making a mental note to throw them in my already huge repertoire once I can dominate the dance floors again.

Twenty bucks says this song will be stuck in your head all day.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

This Again

To undress, wash, and redress the ankle, I usually need to allocate about an hour of my time. As a result, I've been washing my ankle about twice a week. An unfortunate side effect of neglecting to wash the ankle is massive amounts of dead skin.

Yep, gross. This happened last time. It's awesome.

The pin sites actually look good. I had stuffed them with iodozorb a few weeks ago and needed to wash it out. If I move the skin around I can see bone. You should see it sometime.

The fibula scar is healing up just fine. No more staples.

Here's the tibia incision with the stitches removed.

Friday, September 10, 2010


I tried to have a conversation with Cleverbot earlier about snowboarding and my accident. I didn't make it very far.

Cleverbot was made by a bunch of computer scientists to simulate human conversation. Do not visit the website. It will just make you angry.

I'm extremely happy to be back at work and not sitting on my butt. Doing things is way better than not doing things.

The epic edema has returned now that I can no longer bend my ankle to pump out the fluid.

It doesn't help that I'm up on it more now that I'm back to work.

Think I can make a smiley face? Worth a shot, right?

Awesome. My foot now shows how happy it is to the world. Good thing the ankle is covered up.

I bet its face is nasty.

Free Car

My friend Joe has been taking me into work the last two weeks since he lives in DC. He just left the car running to grab some coffee.

Too bad I can't drive.
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Why Do I Need A Fourth Operation?

It'd be great if I could get my ex-fix removed like this guy. Doubt it, though. I think mine may have a few more parts to it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stitches and Staples Removed

I had about 20 staples and a lot of stitches removed today at the doctor's office. Because the stitches had been inside the skin for more than three weeks, the skin had healed over many of them. This made removal extremely difficult. There was a lot of bleeding and it took three people, sharp metal, and a flash light to do the job.

Good work out there today, team.

Friday, September 3, 2010

External Fixators Anonymous

I got this comment on the blog yesterday from a fellow boarder with a bad break.
"Hey man I shattered my ankle april 14th riding in Vail. I had 2 surgeries, an Ex-Fix installed as well as a plate and 10 screws. I thought my break was the worst ever but apparently you got me beat. I was just wondering what your recovery time has been like. its been almost 5 months for me total and 3 months or so since I got the ex-fix out. I still can't bend my ankle past 90 degrees and my toes wont fully out stretch. im kinda getting concerned im goona be a 26 year old pirate myself. I've been doing the PT and all but I just cant get this damn thing to allow my foot to bend up (it goes down and side to side fairly well, although not as well as before). so my question to you is how long did it take yours to start bending naturally? and how was your overall recovery/how functional is your ankle compared to how it used to be. Please answer and be honest even if it only took your ankle a couple weeks or something. Im kinda freaking out. thanks alot man any info you could give me would be much appreciated... and yes I plan to shred again also, even if it has to be at half speed and with weak style."
First of all -- I feel your pain. Going from being active to sitting on your butt all the time is awful. It's good that you're starting physical therapy, because at least you can start doing work and celebrating minor results.

Second -- don't panic. It can be extremely difficult to see past your recovery. Keep your eye on the prize: returning to the slopes.

My recovery has basically restarted since I'm back in an external fixator. I'm not back to normal yet. Here is how it's gone up until now.
  • February 13th - Initial injury. ORIF of fibula with external fixator. One plate with eight screws. Not bearing weight. No PT.
  • March 1st - Second surgery to remove external fixator and ORIF of tibia. Second plate with 11 screws. Not bearing weight. No PT.
  • April 2nd - First physical therapy session. Therapist says, "I can't work with this ankle in the condition it's in, see me in a month."
  • April 15th - Infection discovered. Not bearing weight. No PT.
  • May 5th - Wound vacuum installed to heal the wound from the infection. Bearing 25% weight. No PT.
  • May 19th - Skin graft. Bearing 25% weight. No PT.
  • June 11th - Start Physical Therapy. Bearing 100% weight. Driving!
  • July 18th - Ankle really starts to bother me.
  • July 28th - Ankle and plates are broken. Time for more surgeries! Not bearing weight. No PT.
  • August 16th - Third surgery. Hardware removed. Second external fixator installed. Not bearing weight. No PT.

On my first visit to PT on April 2nd, I got a giant list of exercises. Check those out and make sure you're doing those. I was able to work on these until we found the infection.

It took a very long time to get the strength back in my foot. At first, it felt like a lead weight hanging from the end of my leg. I couldn't move it, and when I tried, it hurt really bad. That feeling went away after doing those exercises every day for about two weeks. I was already getting a little flexibility back, but nothing past 90.

While I was in PT from June 11th to July 28th, I was seeing small but steady results. I was constantly working at it, even when I wasn't in PT. My biggest concern, like you, was dorsiflexion.

I was eventually able to get about 10 to 11 degrees past 90 with my dorsiflexion. This was sometime around the end of July. However, my fracture never healed, and some of that could have been contributed to some bending at the fracture site. Physical therapy hurt -- bad. But again, the fracture never healed so all of that pain was due to a broken ankle.

Ask your physical therapist about a Dynasplint. I only wore mine for about a week since we discovered my ankle never healed. But I think these things work.

You might also want to look into orthopedic shoes or Skechers Shape Ups. While your flexibility is bad, these shoes will help you walk.

Finally, I'd recommend you start taking videos of your flexibility every month so you can compare the small changes.

As far as my toes go, my great toe was really my only concern. On April 2nd, I couldn't move my toes at all. There are several exercises in that list that address toe movement. I highly recommend them, because I had some movement in both directions by the time I started PT up again in June.

My physical therapist said getting the great toe to bend up is the key goal, while bending your toes down isn't as big of a deal. Right now they're starting to get stiff again, so I'm working on my great toe every day while I'm in the external fixator.

If you're fighting any swelling or edema, it's absolutely critical that you work every day on it to get rid of it.

Above all else, don't panic. This injury has been a true test of my patience. Keep working at it. As long as I can walk, bike, and put my foot into a snowboarding boot, then I consider my recovery a success.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Toe Rig

One of the biggest problems I'm facing is stiffness. In the two and a half weeks I've been in the external fixator, I've already noticed my toes are turning into wooden posts.

I got permission to do physical therapy on my toes while I'm hooked up to this contraption. I used one of my stretching strips to rig up something to stretch my great toe. My goal is to prevent walking like a pirate, as cool as it sounds.