Monday, May 30, 2016

Modified Brostrom Surgery - Return of the Frenemy

I apologize for being a bit slow to update you with my progress following this latest surgery. Unfortunately, I'm still battling this darn migraine on top of the ankle, so  I've been limiting my time on the computer, which seems to aggravate everything. Sorry, but thanks for sticking with me!

On the plus side, the ankle recovery seems to be going smoothly. The first few days immediately post-op were a little rough. I was a little surprised by the initial pain levels, but that was purely my own fault for expecting this to be more in line with the hardware removal, rather than an actual surgical procedure. Silly Jenna. Added to that my stomach's usual disagreement with pain medications and it was a slow start, but once we got a prescription filled to help that out everything settled down quickly.

I spent a very long two weeks and two days stuck on our couch, keeping my ankle elevated and being entertained by the kitty cats. I did a full read-through of my favorite book series (Percy Jackson), watched a few movies, had some great friends stop by and say hello, and took a lot of naps. I'm not a good sit and wait person, so honestly I'm so glad to be back at work and back in the swing of things.

Last Wednesday, I had my first post-surgical follow-up appointment. I didn't see the surgeon himself but saw his PA who I've seen before and like quite a bit. I also met with a student that studying with them for the year, and a nurse who was there to remove my stitches.

After the stitches were out, the student physician and the PA took a look over everything. They were quite happy with the lack of swelling and redness around my incision, but apparently during the surgery, both the anterior talofibular and calcaneofibular ligaments were exceptionally thin. Although they were still able to do the surgery as planned, that did change their post-op a bit. Initially, they thought I'd be in the boot for 2-4 weeks after the splint/cast, but now I get a full six weeks at least. Woohoo.

I'm a little frustrated by that, but after three separate surgeries on this ankle, I'm trying to remind myself that it is better to move slowly and do this correctly than to rush this and risk injuring everything all over again. I'm bummed I won't even be able to touch physical therapy until July, but I guess this is a good opportunity to practice being patient.

Initially, when the student physician came in and talked to me, he said that a lot of people who have had this procedure go into a half boot at this stage, rather than the full walking boot. But upon looking at my surgical notes and the thinness of the ligaments, plus hearing the demands of my job (outdoor historic site, chasing after 4th graders, giving walking tours that cover uneven grounds) they put me back into my old friend/enemy/frenemy, the walking boot. Check out my first, painful little baby steps below. By day two back in the boot my calf had stretched back out enough that I was walking comfortably again, but that first day or so was not super comfortable.

The next morning following my appointment was my first day back to work. And of course, it was an insane chaotic day where we had one 4th grader pass out from heat stroke (because why wouldn't it be 90 degrees in May) and had to deal with a volunteer being exceptionally rude to my new intern (wheeeee), plus just the general chaos that comes with trying to shepherd 75 ten-year-olds around a historic site. According to my Jawbone Up Move activity tracker, I went from taking about 300 steps on Wednesday to taking almost 4,000 on Thursday and 5,200 on Friday.

So, from here, it is really just trying to be patient with myself, not pushing too hard at work, and doing what I can to keep the rest of my body healthy while I wait until July 5th, which is my next appointment. My stamina levels are slowly returning, so after another few days of work I'm going to try heading back to the gym and will start doing some upper body weights. Gotta start somewhere!

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Bathing with a Leg Cast


One of my dear friends (and I know occasional readers, hello Debbie!) has also dealt with some unfortunate ankle issues, and the other day asked me about the realities of keeping my cast dry while bathing. I was more than happy to answer her, but if she has questions maybe some of you do as well so today I thought we'd get up close and personal. Obviously everyone's experiences are going to be a little different, and as always I am not a healthcare professional, but here is my reality of bathing with a cast after three ankle surgeries.

Supply list:
Dry shampoo
Cleansing wipes
Cast protector
Shower bench
Handheld shower head
Relaxing bubble scent of choice
An extra towel, hand towel sized
Whatever other regular bathing supplies you use (my favorite shampoo & conditioner, FYI)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Hello from the other side

I won't write much now as I'm on some pretty serious pain meds and quite exhausted to boot, but today's surgery was very successful. The ligament was very thin, but the doctor was pleasantly surprised by how little scar tissue was in the area. Just goes to show why sticking with a PT who does a lot of hands-on manipulation is a good thing!