My ankle surgery (there are pictures--unflattering pictures)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Holy crap, it's been a hard year. In addition to my son's difficult diagnosis, his two surgeries, and moving to another state, I had ankle surgery on Sept. 19th (about a month after we moved). 

Ankle sprains have been an ongoing issue for me since I had a severe sprain, partially tearing the ligaments and a tendon in my ankle when I was a sophomore at a basketball camp. The ankle was ever after weak, and I sprained in numerous more time as I played rec and church ball. 

On June 22, 2014, I was running and stepped on a stiff hose. I heard a pop and I went down. I couldn't walk on it for two days. I called the doctor, but they said it sounded like a severe sprain, and there was nothing they could do. 

I should have gone in, but honestly, I was so overwhelmed with all my son's health problems--he was in a wheelchair again, and we didn't know if his leg would take years or months to heal. My husband was interviewing for a new job, and we were pretty sure he was going to get it, which meant him leaving our family until our house sold (did I mention our house was for sale at the time?). It meant moving to a different state. 

Also at this time, I was having tests done on my heart for an arrhythmia, which turned out to be related to stress. 

I didn't have time or the capacity to deal with being injured. I tried to suck it up, I even went running again two weeks later. It was extremely painful, and I realized I was going to have to take a full 6 weeks off for a sprain. 

At eight weeks, I was still in a lot of pain, and my ankle sprained every time I scuffed my foot on the floor, or my heel caught on a stair. 

So I finally went into the doctor. 

I had broken off three chips of bone (on both sides and the back), all of which were causing me pain. I had also completely ruptured one ligament and rendered useless another. I had also torn a tendon. 

And I needed surgery. Well, I was moving in two weeks, I couldn't have surgery. So we waited until after we moved and were somewhat settled. 

On Sept. 19th, I had surgery. It entailed cutting the ligaments, folding them over each other, and sewing them back together. The tendon was sewed back together. The groove where that tendon passed the back of the fibula was nonexistent, so the doctor drilled a hole and collapsed the bone to make a groove (so it would stop dislocating). He also drilled more holes and sewed synthetic ligaments through the bone (as even repaired, my ligaments were shot and would be easily damaged again). 

I felt pretty good right after surgery--that had everything to do with a nerve block. But when that wore off on Sunday, holy mother of all pain. It felt like a white hot branding iron was sitting on the back of my fibula (where he'd made a groove for my tendon). In tears, I called my doc. He called me in a stronger pain pill. 

It knocked me out, but the pain kept building. By Sunday morning, all I could do was cry. So my mom took me to the emergency room--I'm not proud to admit I sobbed the whole way, but it's the truth. 

As soon as they cut the soft cast off, I stopped crying. It had been too tight, cutting off my circulation. They checked me for blood clots, thankfully I was fine. After, they gave me a shot of tordol, and I started feeling pretty good. 

Not a very flattering picture, but I believe in being real. 
They sent me home with instructions to keep up on my pain pills so my pain didn't get out of control again. Problem was, I couldn't stop throwing up. Eight hours later, I was crying in pain again. The doctor called me in something to help with the nausea and I finally had some relief. 

The next few days were a blur of pain and reactions to the drugs. First, I would get dizzy and tired, then insanely hot. I'd feel loopy and stupid. And there was always the ever present nausea.

After a few days, I was just starting to feel better when I fell, stomping on my right foot to catch myself. The pain shot back up. I had some online retail therapy. There is no need to mention how much I spent.

On the 29th, I finally started to feel like I was going to survive. I'm still bed ridden, as standing lets all the blood fill up my ankle and the burning starts, but at least I can bathe and get up to use the bathroom without wanting to curl into a ball and cry after. 

I am so grateful for my church. Even though I barely know anyone here, a girl named Ann has taken my daughter to kindergarten each day. Dawn has picked my son up from cross country practice. They brought us supper every night for 5 days. My mom and mother-in-law came and stayed with me, taking care of my family and running errands. And my sweet husband has taken over and been super helpful since they left. 

I won't be able to walk on my leg until three weeks out. Won't be able to drive until 6 weeks out (thank goodness I found someone I can carpool to the conference I'm teaching at). But that seems like a piece of cake after what I've already been through.

Now I just hope I can get off these stupid pain pills.

*edit 10-9-14*
Not long after I wrote this post, I had an allergic reaction to one of the medications I was on (my doc thinks either the antiboitic or the arnica). I was covered in hives. Like, COVERED. My incision was the worst, and the burning and itching was so bad I couldn't sleep at night. My doc put me on steroids, which really helped with the reaction, but the night sweats and emotional mess they made me were a steep price.

Because my incision was covered in blisters, I wasn't able to remove the stitches when I was supposed to. So another week of stitches. Yay.

This can end any time now. 

6 comments:

  1. I am so sorry you had to go through all that. At least after you recover you will be able to walk again. Next time go see the doctor early and crutch your way around if you have to. I understand why you chose to wait and all the circumstances you had to deal with. Just glad you're reaching towards the other side Amber and wish you all the best. God bless you, your family and all those who have helped you.

  1. *hugs* I've been thinking about you and your family.

  1. It must be difficult for you, this injury Anyway, if you’re taking your medication and therapy religiously, the healing process is likely to take a shorter period of time. It would also be helpful if you gently massage your ankle joints, so that you can loosen up the cramps that you usually feel when you move your feet. I hope it helps. Take care!

    Mark Wallace @ Chiropractic Memphis

  1. Wait, I'm just hearing about this now? I'm sorry you're going through this. I have a scar on my right ankle, too. Did you know that? Feel better soon! :)

  1. I guess I would have cried as well had it happened to me. Anyway, you just have to continue to rest and take the medication prescribed by your orthopedic. That way, you and your injured foot would recover in a timely manner. As much as possible, refrain from moving too quickly, as doing so might only make the pain worse and slow down the pace of your recovery. I wish you all the best!

    Jacqueline Hodges @ Dr. Koziol

  1. I just broke my ankle in 3 places and dislocated it, and have been feeling a lot of things, not the least is self pity and feeling so alone. This put things in perspective. It’s absolutely perfect.

    Dr.Farber | Ankel Braces


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