Monday, April 27, 2009

April 27 - A stitch in whine

First, the photo at right. My wife Jen did a quick edit of my Valley of the Sun marathon thumbnail pic and put a running foot on my cool it was to see this today! Mucho kudos to my sweetie.

I had been dreading this milestone day as getting stitches out ranks right up there with a root canal and brain freeze for a few of my unfavorable things.

It's something of an expedition to get my half-legged butt into the SUV. Jennifer holds the front screen door open while I hop out the door and then down a step to the sidewalk. The slight slope isn't much but enough to give a nervous pause for balance. She unlocks the Pilot's doors and I make a boneheaded head first entry into the back seat. No problem really, just not as safe as going in backward with the butt-cushion available for crash control. The chair is not lightweight and Jennifer has to wrestle it into the cargo area; I try to help from my perch but can only assist in guiding it a bit. Off we go across town to the West Ashley office to take the next step.

Dr. Ohlson's PA greets us at the office and takes me down to x-ray. Good people may not be able to change someone's mood who is determined to be bleak, but when you feel such positive warmth it's impossible, at least for me, to be anxious at all. there are stitches involved but now the edge is gone and I haven't blown blue smoke from my hot rod chair wheels blasting out the door.

I get to sit in my chariot while x-rays are made...later in the examining room Dr. Ohlson and I look at them together. There I see my amputated fibula bridged over to my tibia, held in place with a single screw through a piece of bone. Very neat, it's going to be a terrific weight bearing foundation which should make prosthetic wear much easier since the distal end can absorb impact more like a natural foot. Dr. Ohlson inspects the stump; the skin color is natural and there is no weeping or discharge...looking very good indeed.

He tells me to come back in 6 weeks and after that I can get my tempoary prostheses. Next milestone!

Now it's really showtime...

My experience this time around was nothing like any previous suture removal. When I wrecked my cousin Danny's 50cc motorcycle just a couple of years after being thrown under the bus, and I had a number of stitches on my right knee. As Dr. Taylor began removing the bandage, I remember seeing this goop stretch up from my leg to the bandage and hearing the good doc call to his nurse..and this is no exaggeraton...COME NOW I'M LOSING HIM! My blood pressure dropped and I passed out. This among other incidents caused my fear of this otherwise benign day.

I was expecting a tug and stinging from the awakened incision site and maybe enough pain to result in watery eyes. Instead I watched as the nurse gently worked the thread out of my skin, nothing more than a mild sensation, no stinging, and no whining from the newly courageous patient. After all these years the promise came true: this won't hurt much.

The nurse applied Steri-Strips over the entire length of the incision and then I rolled the shrinker up my leg. Back at the main desk I made my appointment and got an application for a temporary handicap placard. I intend to use it only for the time I need the chair or have some complication with my prosthesis that requires me to use those convenient parking slots.

Jennifer brought me home and went back to work. I did my own PT session at home, worked on this post a bit, ate way too much...and always trying to get caught up on correspondence. I have made some friends via Twitter, kind of fun to use and just another way to communicate, something of a crease between IM and email.

Been another full day with more to come and I embrace what is yet to be. You just have to live long enough to see and feel some things. Some never get that chance. Live your life, fear is the only darkness.


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