This nightmare never ends...but now I am beginning to understand that in reality, it has probably only just begun. What was it that Winston Churchill said after the British finally got their first real, substantial victory over General Erwin Rommel and the German Desert Army in WWII?:
"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
That is about how I feel about this whole leg/ankle injury ordeal. I think we are just now starting the "let's try and fix this thing" part of the process now that we believe the infection is gone.
Yesterday I met for the first time, my Ankle Surgeon Specialist who i'll refer to as Doc G or just Doc or "the Doc". He is located in Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo, MI about 1 hour and 40 minutes away from where I live. I was impressed with him and his staff....for the first time I actually felt compassion along with professional competence. This dude was very precise, strait forward and thorough.
|Swollen Rt Ankle|
Doc believes that this was caused more by my Neuropathy then the infection that I was fighting for several months this Winter, Spring and Summer. That is NOT good news because it lessons the possibility for a Ankle Fusion to succeed because the bone could continue to deteriorate and frankly never stop.
He told me there were three realistic options for this situation and one of those (bracing it and living with it indefinitely) is not practical or realistic after all this time has passed. The second option is an Ankle Fusion and there are two types, each of them shown in the pictures above. The first type involves a plate attached from one direction (above) and the other (at top) is a far more robust method based off a large rod inserted through the bottom of the foot all the way through the ankle joint into the solid (we hope and pray) bone of the Tibia. This is the fusion we would choose. Both involve removing bone and flattening out each end (pictured below) so the bone can eventually grow together, eliminating the joint all together.
The third option was to amputate the leg about 6" below my right knee. this in many ways is the surest and simplest way to solve several of these problems once and for all. But it is obviously very FINAL and not something to choose hastily or without understanding ALL the facts and implications. My heart literally sank when he said this but I was prepared for this because it isn't that unusual for someone to have the Fusion several times only to discover that it will not heal, so they end up having to remove the leg any way.
After many questions and much consideration we have chosen the Fusion using the more robust "rod" method. But as I have discovered this surgery and recovery is no JOKE...it is really serious and very intense and I will not be able to walk for at least 3 months. the recovery could take more then 6 months.
It is extremely painful which means that I would be taking heavy doses of pain medication and for a significant period of time. That means working with my Pharmacist at CVS to avoid the"God Playing" that the SOB Pharmacist at Walgreen's in Coldwater did repeatedly that hurt me so much. His unprofessional, near criminal behavior and dangerous decision making (if you want to know that story email me, I won't risk a law suit and print it here) caused me a great deal of physical pain and set my healing back in a big way. In addition to creating a mind-set where I will NEVER again trust a pharmacist.
So that basically is the background on what is going on. Currently we are doing tests to first: verify that the infection is indeed gone for good. Secondly, have a C/T Scan Friday in Kalamazoo to take pics to show the exact extent of the damage and measure the bone density to ensure that the bone is solid enough to support the Fusion. Once we get get thumbs up on the infection and get the other tests complete...we will set a surgery date.
My intention is to blog about this whole ordeal from beginning to end, complete with pictures and whatever else will enlighten the reader and give them a better understanding of whats entailed when having an Ankle Fusion Surgery. At this point I am not sure that I will post that here on Shell Shock Serenade or set up a new blog just for that purpose. I am leaning towards doing it here because that would fit in with the original premise and Mission Statement of "The SHOCK": capturing my life in real time, day to day to give a realistic peak at what life is like for a recovering Addict/Alcoholic.