Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Iron Man

Well, I had another visit to the orthopedic clinic today, and managed to get a copy of my x-rays while I was there. The stitches in my wrist came out as well, and I actually got to help out with that part by holding them with the tweezers while the corpsman cut them with a small surgical blade. Very interesting to be involved in one's own suture removal procedure, lemme tell ya.

This here's my left wrist, post-surgery, obviously. Though you can only make out two, there's actually three plates in there, with something like 18 screws holding everything in place. The weird thing is that when I have my cast off, I can actually feel the hardware in there, which is a bit unnerving.

I've still got a long ways to go with the physical therapy, as I can't really flex my hand forward or backwards much, and can't quite make a fist just yet.

Here we have my right ankle, with what looks like about a 4 or 5-inch steel plate with 8 screws holding it in place. If you look closely at the bottom of my tibia, you can see what appears to be multiple fractures down there. I don't know if there really are that many, but it sure looks pretty cool.

What you can't see is the fracture in my fibula, the thin bone on the left. I'm told it was broken a few inches below my knee, which means the force had to travel between the two bones, which also means there's some risk of damage to the ligament between the two bones. Although the doctors could've done another operation to screw the two bones together (and there was much debate on the subject), they ultimately decided that everything was aligned as it should be, and additional surgery was (thankfully) unnecessary at this point.

Obviously, I'm very grateful that this is the extent of my injuries - motorcycle accidents have a nasty way of turning out very, very badly for the rider. However, I am getting a little tired of the knowing looks and self-righteous mini-lectures from the medical staff when they find out that I was in a *motorcycle accident*, but I suppose that they see this kind of thing all too often, and that undoubtedly colors one's perceptions somewhat.

Of course, all these plates and screws means I'll never have a normal airline flight at any time in the foreseeable future...


Anonymous said...

Wow - that's alot of metal in one body. Good grief - it is amazing that the medical community really can put us back together ala the 6 million dollar man.

I myself will never have a trouble-free airport security experience either. My hip replacement surgery is this coming Monday...

DoctorEric said...

Make sure you get an official card stating that you have implanted hardware. It will make your passage through TSA screening much smoother!

Anonymous said...

Cool -- surgical steel or titanium? I'm all titanium; rods, plates, cages and screws, courtesy a new neurosurgeon who ripped the old hardware out and put the new stuff in on operation #3 3.5 years ago. God bless the good folks at Bethesda :)
Good news about titanium (besides the tie-in w/the Blackbird) is it doesn't set off airport metal detectors so you don't have to carry around the credit card size x-ray film. The bad news - you don't get to carry around the credit card size x-ray film so you can convince folks you realy don't have a screw loose...
Oh yeah -- mine is L3-S1 and C2-C5 (we're working our way to the middle).
Seriously, glad to see you're on the mend. May the Good Lord bless and strengthen you physically and spiritually on the road that lays ahead for recovery and your new calling.