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.


  1. Really Really feeling for you and praying. That's frustrating stuff but I know God still has a plan in it all and through it all - in you and through you - for every day for you - whether you are running or crawling - for His glory !! Yay for being a GOOD patient.

  2. wow, i'm still praying for your pain, strength and complete recovery

  3. Hi Christie,
    I knew some of your story because Ken had visited my blog and left a comment or two, but I caught up on more of your story this morning...
    I'm so sorry about your accident and the 14 months of recovery you've been going through. Pain and limitations suck!

    A few thoughts...
    You are not finished healing! After my accident (in May, 2004), I had ongoing surgeries for 4 years to repair things that therapy alone couldn't do. But I had some ongoing healing for at least 5 years that wasn't due to surgery. As long as we give our bodies a good environment (good food, enough rest, gentle therapy/exercise) they continue to heal.

    I had damaged nerves that were causing the top of my foot to be numb and I expected that would stay numb the rest of my life. But about 5 years post-accident I started doing an exercise (carefully running barefooted) which stressed that area slightly by forcing each of my toes and the muscles and nerves connected to them to work individually and that's what they needed to reopen and allow feelings through them again. I now have almost total feeling on the top of that foot.

    Sometimes it's hard to know the line when doing therapy/exercise... you want to stress things slightly, but not so much that you cause damage. Obviously with metal pushing places it shouldn't, you have to be careful about that.

    Your frustration with how long your recovery is taking is totally normal! For about the first year of my recovery, I was optimistic and determined thinking if I work hard enough, I can 'get over' this and life will get back to normal. When the one year anniversary rolled around and life wasn't back to normal, I began struggling with frustration and depression.

    So my heart breaks for you right now. I can't even sugarcoat it, you are in a really tough place. I'm so sorry!

    Don't give up faith that you will heal more! But at the same time, know that the pace of healing has slowed down and you do have to make adjustments to how you do life.
    Both your body and emotions are on a roller coaster right now... some days you will feel up and somedays you won't.
    As I'm sure you've learned, everything takes longer than you want it to... but your body will not heal as well if you are anxious and/or stressed, so give yourself plenty of time to rest and to simply be. Do life at a slow pace... you will have less pain and you will heal better.

    This is getting long... feel free to message me on FB, if you have questions or want to chat.

  4. Wow! Your insurance problems make the American insurance system seem like a dream! It is great to hear you are healing faster than expected. Just reading your description of the metal plate made my knees hurt. I will pray that your leg will heal even quicker than the doctors predict and be stronger.


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