Last November I asked to have my second external fixator removed while I was awake so I could capture it on video. I thought it would at least make for a unique video and perhaps help educate people on external fixators.
The video recently exceeded 10,000 views on YouTube -- earning a whopping $7.38 -- so I wanted to take a closer look at the video's statistics. Why were people taking an interest in this video?
The demographic breakdown was just as you would expect. It's mostly dudes around my age looking for something gross. It's the Internet version of rubber necking.
Further supporting that theory is this "hot spot" graph. The graph on the left is "viewer attention" over time. I'm not sure how YouTube measures viewer attention, but you can see it's at its highest when the drill is removing the half screws from the tibia.
That's my favorite part, too.
Since the video's been up on YouTube, I'm discovering it's serving another purpose. While there aren't many of us, other people go through similar injuries as mine. And if they're anything like me, they want to know as much as possible about what they're about to go through.
It's one of the best ways to eliminate fear.
A few days ago, I got this message on YouTube from another viewer about this video.
Hey man. I saw your video of getting your external fixator removed, and i saw a link to your blog and read a bit about your story. I broke my leg playing highschool football last septemver. Tib-fib compound fracture. The doc put in a nail, which led to infection, and eventually an external fixator on for about 4-5 months (got it off this July) Before i had the removal surgery I watched the video, and it really calmed me down, and helped me understand that it wasnt as serious of a surgery as I had thought, so thanks!
This injury has put my wife and me through what seems like an endless cycle of surgeries, rehab, pain, and healing. I've made it a goal to work hard at maintaining a great attitude through the whole ordeal, but, of course, it can be difficult to find the silver lining. Certainly, hitting a tree has brought me closer to my wife and made me realize how amazing my friends are.
But the message I got a few days ago from this YouTube viewer surprised me. It was an unexpected silver lining.
It's amazing how much easier it is to cope with your own severe injury when you know that, by sharing your story, you've helped at least one other person's ability to cope with his or her injury just a little bit easier too.
Let's be honest, though. Seeing that drill take out that massive screw from my shin like a carpenter uninstalling a table top is totally awesome!