Wednesday, July 07, 2010

A Bad Break

Today after I visited the surgeon, and got cleared to put full weight on the leg, I crutched myself over to the trauma hospital next door and got a CD full of the images of my broken body. Included are before and after X-rays of the leg and arm, as well as CT scans of my leg and head and the ultrasound run one night to see if I had a blood clot (negative).

side view

I'm pretty glad that I didn't see these images until I had already assured myself that walking on the leg is possible. They might have scared me so bad that I would hesitate to try.

cross section

I knew that the original orthopedic surgeon who was consulted said "I'm not touching that. Those have high probabilities of bad outcomes. You have to go see the trauma guys." I knew even the trauma specialists said it was a pretty bad break. I just didn't really grasp how many pieces the bone could shatter into. Now I see why my operating surgeon said I'd pissed off the bone gods.

These images only give a few glimpses of slices through the bone at various points. Sitting at the computer stepping through the CT slices put me into near tears. It's hard to believe that's fixable. How is it humanly possible to do this much damage just walking along, with normal bone?

This 3D reconstruction gives a better feeling for how the top of the tibia is fractured into so many bits. I feel so fortunate to have great doctors who can screw and glue that back together, a healthy body that can mend quickly, and the fortitude to put in the therapy time that it takes to recover from this.

The doctor today said I've recovered remarkably well -- can't really ask for more. Only time will tell how I'll do, but I am walking now with only one crutch, really for balance only. The leg is very, very tired this evening after pushing the muscles to take my full weight. Standing on the bad leg and raising the good leg to the side was one of the hardest things physically and mentally that I've ever done. Hopefully, I'll sleep better knowing that walking is within my grasp.