Last week I went to a surgeon for a consultation on my ankle. For those of you who don’t know, six years ago I was riding my motorcycle and was broadsided by a car. Due to injuries from that accident my left leg is titanium from the hip ball down through the ankle, with the exception of the knee.
A couple years ago my ankle, which has two plates and several screws in it, developed degenerative arthritis as a result of the impact of the accident. I was told then that surgery was in my future, when it got to the point where pain was affecting my quality of life. That point arrived this spring and has gotten progressively worse over the summer. When you are forgoing about 75-85% of what you would normally due because of the pain and swelling, it is time to take action.
The good news is that 95% of the people who have an ankle fusion done, once healed, never have pain again. The process is done as outpatient surgery. The bad news, the surgery is done under a local anesthetic for which I will be numbed only from the knee down and away during the entire process. Not good! I’m a chicken!
Following the surgery there is a twelve (12) week non-weight bearing period of recovery. I am certainly not looking forward to that time, as I will be dependent on people to drive me everywhere, and I will be living in a colonial home alone. Prior to the surgery I will need to make sure everything I need is moved to the first floor of the home where I can access it. I lived like that before after the accident, but I had my husband to help me at that time.
When you hear out-patient, the mind tells you it can’t possibly be as bad as you think. Well, think again. When I commented that I could probably go back to work in a day or two the nurse practitioner said no, I will be in a lot of pain that first week. Well isn’t that an encouraging thought to someone who is already extremely nervous about the entire process.
That evening I sat in my house contemplating the process and the fact that I would be alone. I looked around and thought sleeping on a couch, learning to wash my hair at the kitchen sink, fix my own meals, maneuver to do laundry, carry things, and get dressed, all while popping pain pills and with a cast on my ankle on which I can not put any pressure at all.
I panicked. I called my sister-in-law and she has agreed to come down and stay with me those first few days while I get adjusted. A second bonus, if for some reason she is unable to come, my best friend who lives in North Carolina has volunteered to drive up and stay with me. I feel much better having someone here while I am learning to hobble around and figure out how to do things one-legged.
So, am I nervous? No, I’m terrified, but I will get through this. What other choice to I have? I have decided that surgery when you are the subject of a trauma and unconscious is much easier to handle then contemplating and analyzing prior to a planned procedure. Unfortunately I have a lot of time to contemplate as the procedure isn’t scheduled until the middle of November. Maybe I’ll relax and get used to the idea. Who am I fooling, that isn’t likely to handle, but one must think positive.