Monday, July 1, 2013

Snowboarder vs. Tweezers

No suture removal today.  Just a cleaning.  Like going to the dentist.

Good news and bad news.  The good news is Dr. Attinger, nurse Katherine, and our NP, Margaret, all thought the limb, incision, and recovery was going excellent.  They said it looked "textbook."  I'm on board with that.  I love books.

The bad news is we didn't get pictures from the operation.  The anticipation is driving me nuts!  I can't wait to see them.  According to Dr. Attinger, they're "still under development."  He's a busy dude, so it was understandable.  Hopefully in two weeks we can get our hands on those precious files.

His team takes almost as many pictures as I do.  In this picture you can see that the nurse tech placed a clear and sticky ruler on my leg to provide a sense of scale to the image later.  She also used the blue backside of a wound dressing mat to get a better picture, "on Dr. Attinger's orders."

We'll have the sutures removed in two more weeks.  Dr. Attinger's team likes to play it safe and keep the sutures in as the wound continues to heal.  If for some reason the incision broke open and dehisced, I'd be in a bad situation without them.

You only want to take sutures out once.

We handed Dr. Attinger our thank you card for him and his team.  When he saw the picture he burst out laughing and thought it was a great picture.  That's high praise.  The dude's an awesome photographer.  Seriously, check out his pictures on that link.  They're displayed all over the hospital.

Dr. Attinger took the thank you card and taped it to the front of his office door to show it off to everyone.  I need to remember to get a picture with him and Brooke.  We love this guy!

Now that things look good, I'm allowed to starting wearing a stump shrinker.  This will help reduce the size of my residual limb and get it close to its final shape and volume.  Without a shrinker, my limb would be like a water balloon with two bones in it.  As the day goes on, the amount of water in that balloon changes, which makes it difficult to fit snuggly into a prosthetic socket.  With significant changes in limb volume, I'd end up wearing several layers of stump socks just to fit snuggly into a prosthesis.

So the smaller your limb, the smaller the fluctuations in the volume of the limb throughout the day.  That makes for a better fit and a happy amputee.  I see Elliot on Wednesday to pick one up.

I asked if I could start doing quadricep exercises on the stump by placing stretch bands over the front of the tibia.  They were cool with it as long as we don't put any pressure on the bottom of the stump.  I was happy to hear that.

Before we saw Dr. Attinger, we ran into Tricia.  She had her amputation about two weeks before me and has been a great source of information for me.  I've asked her a lot of questions to see what's on the horizon for the recovery.

We increased my Gabapentin (Neurontin) dosage from 300mg to 600mg three times a day.  I was happy about that, too.  It definitely helps with my phantom pain.  Charlie Crone dropped in, too.  That was awesome since he's not my prosthetist.  He recommended I massage my good foot when I run into phantom pain.  

It's all about tricking the mind.

I also met with Rebecca Dean, the coordinator for the amputee support group at Dr. Attinger's center.  They offer educational and motivational speakers at monthly meetings.  I'm really looking forward to getting involved with that group.

Still a weird, but awesome sight.

1 comment:

  1. I remember the residual limb incision cleaning was SO painful. The scabs healed over my stitches and they had to open the scabs to remove the stitches. The basically reopened the healed parts and it hurt so badly. I had no freezing or anything. They just started pulling scabs off and cutting and removing stitches. Then they put some steri-strips on and I left. It hurt a lot! Best of luck to you man. I am know up and walking and it goes by so quickly. I have never been snowboarding but I would love to one day! (Amputation July 2014, revision operation on stump July 2015, surgeries since birth: 18)