Cool Stuff

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The END....Of The Beginning!

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
This is the situation in a nutshell: A significant triangular shaped chunk of bone is missing from the bottom of my Tibia where it seats into the Talus bone in the ankle. This has caused the bone to slide out of it's proper place and essentially lock into place. It has significantly swollen and is extremely painful.

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 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.


  1. I can actually guess what the pharmacist did without even having to ask....which I might add is illegal. They are a pharmacist, and there are some checks that pharmacists SHOULD do in case 2 different MD's give contraindicated meds, but they should in no way give lesser dosages, or replace pills with sugar pills against the orders of an MD. They do not have that right.

    I did work with some very wonderful pharmacy techs in the military, and one caught a very serious contraindication involving a heart patient which could have had dire consequences. However, he did not have the ability or right to just change anything, he contacted the MD, pointed out the two medications which could cause heart related complications and the MD in agreement with him as another physician ordered the other medication, changed it to a safer medication.

    That's how that is supposed to work, anything other than working in conjunction with an MD to make sure a patient's safety is first and foremost is grounds for a lawsuit, and frankly, I'm surprised you didn't have his/her license since I'm very certain of what must have occurred since you were not given proper medication for your injury/illness.

    I hope that all goes well and that you are not one of the ones that has this procedure numerous times. I hope it goes well and takes the first time so that you can be done with it. Remember too that a good frame of mind is just as important in your healing as a great physician and it sounds like you're on the right path on both accounts!

  2. I'll be honest. I don't feel very good about any of the choices given me simply because with all of them there are significant risks with a long drawn-out and painful recovery.

    Thank you for the kind wishes...