Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wire Soup and the Foot Race Society

Let me quickly tell you how this post is going to go.  It's going to start out gross, get grosser if you watch the video, then get sweet and sappy.

That's just how I do it, especially when the Redskins are down to the Eagles.  At least the Redskins have realized it's time to pull Grossman and put in Beck.

Over the last week or so, I've experienced more pain and soreness in all fourteen pin sites -- particularly the proximal k-wire on the lateral side of my leg and the two pins on the lateral side of my fore foot.  In order to sleep, we've had to resort to some of the heavy duty medication from several weeks ago to keep the pain managed.

As a quick aside, walking on an external fixator is a totally different experience than passively wearing one for three months.  Last year, I was off pain medication within two weeks of the surgery.  This year, it seems like as time goes on, pain medication is becoming more important to help me tolerate bearing weight.  Bearing weight is an essential part of ankle distraction arthroplasty, as I'm learning from the research, so it's extremely important to me to continue walking on the ankle.

Part of my problem is edema.  As the ankle and leg swells with fluid, extra pressure is exerted on all of my pin sites.  If the pin site is not sealed, it will spring a leak (so to speak).  The edema fluid will dry around the pin site and form a crust -- kind of like a scab.  As the edema continues to build up, the skin inflates around the dried crust and causes irritation.

It's an endless cycle of awesome.

This is the proximal k-wire pin site on the lateral (outside) side of my leg.  This picture was taken yesterday.  Of all of my pin sites, this guy has caused us the most grief since mid-September.  While edema is a problem here, Dr. Jeng and I are more concerned that either a latent infection is causing some issues or, worse, a partial fracture around the bone might be allowing the k-wire to move as I bear weight, irritating the muscle, bone, and skin when I walk.

The fluid leaking out of the site does not appear to be infected.  It's clear and yellow, indicating that it's edema fluid.  However, the pin site itself is continuing to get more red and the fluid is now draining from the site like its a bathroom faucet.  

this video is gross.  

You'll notice two things in this video, taken yesterday.  First, the lemonade is indeed flowing from the pin site like a bathroom faucet.  Second -- and this one takes a keen ear -- you can hear a clicking noise from my shin muscle rubbing up against something -- either the k-wire or the half screw.  
After sending this video and other pictures, linked above, to Dr. Jeng last night, I got an email from him this morning:
We should get the soupy pin out this week. How many more weeks until 12 weeks?
Hence the Campbell's Wire Noodle Soup picture above.  So it looks like on Tuesday we'll be taking this k-wire out.  My immediate concern is whether or not I'll be allowed to bear weight without this k-wire.  I assume he was asking me for the removal date to help him decide whether or not I could continue bearing weight.

We're currently sitting at three weeks until I've worn this ex-fix for twelve weeks.  We'll see what happens Tuesday.  I imagine we'll also take some X-Rays of the mid-section of my tibia to look for hairline fractures near any of the other pin sites.  I will, of course, have video of the k-wire removal.

Now that the gross part is out of the way, now it's on to to the sappy and sweet part of the post.  A few months ago, I was joking with my Grandmother that she and I should get matching canes.  We were discussing with one another that we needed to setup an official race to see who was faster on their feet.

She was challenging me to a foot race.  And, worse, I was very worried that she'd dominate.

Last week I had two custom canes made for both of us.  It's a golden sienna derby walking cane with a black beechwood shaft and silver collar.  In other words, it's extremely fancy.

More importantly, both of our canes have a custom oval engraving that includes our initials and our position in the Foot Race Society.  My Grandma ended up beating me in the presidential race, so she's the President of the Foot Race Society and I'm the Vice President.

I'm hoping this stops her from continuing to challenge me to a foot race.  Like I said, I'm fairly certain she'd beat me every time.

The handle is my favorite part.  I know you're jealous.  You want one, I know.  

Here's the President of the Foot Race Society proudly displaying her new can along with her beautiful October decorations outside her country home.

And here is the Vice President, proudly displaying the exact same cane in front of a deadbeat dog in the background that only knows how to sleep, eat, and fart.

I'm forcing a smile here because I just found out the Redskins lost.

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