Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Shrinker, Sedation, and a Sidekick

Elliot vs. Stump Shrinker

This morning we met with my prosthetist, Elliot, at Orthotic Prosthetic Center in Fairfax to get my stump shrinker.  It was a simple and easy visit.  

Elliot was impressed with how the residual limb looked.  He also made use of the word, "textbook," to describe how happy he was with the progress.  The limb, with respect to its shape and volume, is very close to being ready for a prosthesis.  Elliot was expecting the leg to be much bigger.

I took some pictures below to demonstrate how to put a shrinker on.

The shrinker is very similar to a sock.  It's lined with hundreds of rubber bands to help constrict and shape whatever goes in it.  It's open at both ends.  I explained on Monday why this thing is necessary.

One end goes on over the stump.  I no longer have to wear an Ace bandage wrap.  I can put this right over the cotton wrap for the wound dressing.

I have to pull it up snugly all the way over the knee.

Once that's done, I pull that ring down as close as I can to the bottom of the stump.

Then I pull the remaining part of the shrinker back over itself.

Here's what the bottom of the shrinker ends up looking like.  You have to be careful that the two ends of the shrinker aren't too close together.  Otherwise that could create an uncomfortable tight spot.  I will wear this constantly to keep the limb size down.

Because the residual limb looks good and is close to its final shape, Elliot scheduled me to see him again just a few hours after we see Dr. Attinger for our four week follow-up.  Given everyone's excitement at how quickly it's healing, I'm hopeful that I'll return to walking in July instead of August.  Elliot's plan is to begin the process of taking a mold of my leg for a test socket that same day I see Dr. Attinger.  

I could be walking on a test socket that week, two weeks ahead of schedule!  Whether or not that happens depends on me not falling and whether Dr. Attinger releases me to Elliot for good.

So that's some good news for today.  We also heard a funny story from the surgery from Elliot since he was invited to help measure the cut (measure twice cut once).

Apparently I'm a hard guy to knock out.  At the time I was a very anxious and highly strung 6'3" and 198 lbs dude.  The patient anesthesia team, through tremendous effort, could not knock me out and struggled to get the epidural to work.  At one point, when it looked like they'd finally given me enough medication to knock me unconscious, I sat up on the operating table and started cracking jokes again.  This led Dr. Attinger to proclaim they'd all be there until midnight.  The wonderful anesthesia team eventually got all the bugs worked out.

They said I wouldn't feel my butt for weeks.

I thought that was hilarious but also not unusual.  It took multiple attempts to consciously sedate me right after my accident in Breckenridge in order to remove my boot from my dangling leg.

On final thing I'd like to point out before concluding this post.  Notice in the first picture of this post above that Brooke is sitting in a chair against the wall waiting patiently.  She's been the most awesome, loving, caring, and patient sidekick a guy could ever ask for!

I went back through some old photos of our ankle battles and found very similar images.

I know I keep ending these posts with how awesome my wife is, but holy crap she's awesome.  I love that woman!


  1. glad to see things moving along. you are very lucky to have such a supportive wife!

  2. Elliot used to have a show. I remember watching it. He's awesome and with an awesome patient like you, you'll be up walking before you know it!

  3. I was beginning to wonder, Lisa. On his website there are a few videos that make it seem like it was for a television series. Didn't know if that was just a production or taken from a real show.

    I will now harness my Internet searching ability to locate this show.

  4. Your wife is amazing, a saint really. She takes in all of this with such a great attitude and humor. I really and truely admire her. You guys are like the poster children for recovery. Cause even when it gets hard and stressful and youre both at wits end you still have that love and humor and that is so important. We should made a documentary about you two. Because i said so. I hope you get to meet with your snowboarding buddies. A nice reward for everything you two have been through. And one day i will meet you and we will roll around town being badass. I really am happy for you, not just bc you are a good person and deserve all of this to be going so well, but its also good to know there is hope out there. For so many things and on so many different levels and its contageous with you guys. Well done team ankle, well done.

  5. Excited for the great news that you're ahead of schedule! Keep it up! Ps. Brooke is amazing. ♥

  6. Great news Mr. Snowboarder!!! Keep on healing!!!


  7. Cool to hear things are coming along! Your wife seems awesome....maybe she can give "soft-touch" lessons to my hubby (also awesome, just the male version of "caregiver". Foot massages are of the "crank and pull" variety which is not helpful...although the poor guy tries hard.) I keep telling my hubby to read your blog...hopefully he will one of these days.

    Keep the good news coming! :)

  8. It's nice to see you have a very supportive and loving wife that's always there for you. No matter what situation you are in. All the best!