Monday, September 5, 2011

Snowboarder vs. The Island

Pain killers are great and pain killers are a burden.

Pain killers are great at taking terrible ten out of ten pain and turning it into a tolerable pain or no pain -- and, if anything, pain killers let you forget it ever happened.

But when you stop taking them, at least for me, I take a ride through a series of steps in withdraw. For the first time, with a clear mind, I'm able to face the reality of my situation. It hits you all at once: eighteen months have rushed you by with four surgeries and, guess what?

You're ankle?

It ain't fixed and your prognosis ain't good.

When I saw a picture of what's left of my cartilage -- a tiny island in the middle of barren, unhealthy, incongruent bone -- it was my first opportunity to see my enemy face to face. And I saw it winning; dominating.

This is the first step in withdraw for me -- I'm finally able to assess my situation with emotion. And, holy crap, there are a ton of emotions that I run through.

While all that's happening, you get to hang out with some other pretty awesome withdraw symptoms.

Night sweats with chills (quite the paradoxical experience). No energy. That constipation problem you had? Imagine that problem as one end of the spectrum, and, after you stop taking the drugs, you're tossed on the opposite end of that glorious spectrum -- arguably the worse end.

No, it cannot be argued. It is manifestly worse.

There are a few methods to cope with withdraw. The best one?

Delicious slumber. Sleep. More sleep. When you wake up, go back to sleep. Each time you wake up, you feel better.

So, I'm feeling much better. Unfortunately, withdraw impacts more than you think in your life. I missed two fantasy football drafts, opportunities to be with good friends, and I'm sure my awesome wife, Brooke, loved hanging out with a sleepy, quiet, pooping husband.

But I finally feel myself. Thankfully this is the fourth time I've had to go through it, so I know how to handle it. It's never easy, but at least we know what to expect.

So, how is the sweet ankle? We put on a new dressing last night. It looks like it's improving -- slightly.

You can see how one of the k-wires has pulled my skin out. How does it feel? Pretty amazing.

Above is a picture of the top part of the exfix. This is an area that we're concerned about because it looks slightly inflamed. We tried to push down on it to see if we could get any fluid to come out of the pin site holes, but no toothpaste came out.

Something to keep our eyes on.

So, with withdraw defeated, I'm feeling much better about my situation. My ambition and focus on returning to snowboarding has returned. I'll do whatever it takes. I'm hoping for the best with ankle distraction arthroplasty and preparing for the worst.

And as for surgery number five? Brooke, Dr. Jeng, and I all agree -- it's my last one.

1 comment:

  1. Dude, you are tough as nails. I never would have guessed it from looking at you, but behind that slightly nerdy exterior lurks a pain-dominating, mentally strong, eternally optimistic beast of a man.

    And your wife is even tougher than your inner man-beast.

    The Pettyjohns love Brooke and Tony. :)