May 3, 2012
Latest Doctor's Report
Yesterday I had another series of x-rays and the checkup with my surgeon. It's been 14 months since the accident, 6 months since the last surgery. This was a mixed visit, with good news and bad news. The good news is that the bone appears to be 95% healed now.
The bad news is that the plate and screws are still wreaking a bit of havoc in there. The doctor was very happy with how quickly my bone has healed and the position it's in this time. However, I still can't actively bend my knee more than a few degrees due to the hardware position. He said not to worry, that "the literature" speaks of this problem with people who have small bones. Big wide plate, small bone. The metal pokes out and gets in the way of the soft tissue that has to move in order to bend the knee. One physical therapist told me it was a big benefit that I was a skinny gal when this first happened, but it appears that in this case it's working against me.
So for now, to keep from doing further damage to the soft tissue around and inside the knee, I walk with a pretty stiff left leg and all my exercises have to be done with the leg straight. That is what's been holding up my progress. It's hard to build strength within the limits of not bending the knee. I keep going with the exercises I CAN do, and I walk as much as the pain will allow, but I definitely feel like I'm plateauing. It's like I've gotten to this certain point and can't quite move past it.
A few months ago, when we realized how much pain and trouble the screws and plate were making, I asked how long before they could be removed. The surgeon told me 2-3 years, which to me seems like an eternity. I asked again yesterday, reminding him that my bone healed quickly after the initial break, and this time when they sawed it in half again. And that I'm a good, obedient patient. ;) Shooting for brownie points.... He said at first that he could remove the metal in November (I began to squeal), but then changed a bit, "No, that'd be too soon. I'd like to AT LEAST wait until February. We just really can't rush this." The holes from the first set of screws need to be filled in before he takes out the 9 that are in there now and leaves me with a new set of holes. We don't want a bone that looks like a sponge, I guess. I have to tell you that even those this is better than the first "2-3 years" prognosis, I'm not happy about it at all.
I go back and forth between being really frustrated by how long this recuperation is, to being too tired to even move (when DOES the energy level get back to normal?), and then stir-crazy from not being able to do all the things I'd like to. Thank God for the internet, where I can get my hands on medical reports and documents and read that lots of this is normal, but I still don't like it. I read that it's recommended that I grieve what was lost and accept the new normal, but I'm trusting that I'm not at my new normal yet. I'm trusting that this is going to be a total healing and that I'll be running and biking again, and that it won't be a chore to get from the porch to the dining room. So I don't WANT to be satisfied at this state, and accepting what's happening feels a bit like a lack of faith, somehow. Does that make any sense?
I did take the next step (haha) and turn in the rental crutches yesterday. I'm not totally sure I'm ready for that, but I've got a couple of canes and can lean on Ken as needed, so this will push me into using more of my muscles when I walk. I definitely am paying today for the few hours of cane walking yesterday evening, but I think it's the right time. I hope so. Now to keep my balance!
Thanks for sending up the prayers on behalf of this leg. I'm sure that's what's caused the quick joining of the bone back together. Please continue to pray for our car situation. The mechanic can't finish the work until the insurance company authorizes it, and the insurance company won't authorize it until some specialist goes out there AGAIN to determine if the damage really was due to the bus hitting us. So around and around we go, hopeful that it will end soon. Despite that our fellow bus riders are always gracious to give me a seat (phwew!), getting to the bus stop and then to the places we need to go once we arrive is not always easy in this "condition." We don't understand why this string of bad junk has happened and keeps happening, and it's very discouraging at times. But in everything, we're trusting God to lead us through and accomplish His purposes.