Friday, April 28, 2006

Longer still

I'm starting to realise that I was pretty lucky with my initial experiences of the Ilizarov. I had been told that the lengthening process was painful and it's difficult to deny that it is much more so than before I started lengthening. I certainly can't take anywhere near my whole body weight on the left leg and I'm back with two crutches which I can't do without. This is quite a change from just before the leg break when I was going pretty well.
On a positive note the latest X-Rays at the hospital yesterday showed that the bone is growing in the break just as it should. At the time I had "turned" for 14mm but this probably only represented 10mm of real growth (you always lose a few mm as the wires bow). I've about 25mm left to go so only another 3-4 weeks and then I can start to let things settle down as the bone grows back and consolidates. The physio is geared to making sure that I keep good movement in my knee and ankle and is painful but well worth it.
The Consultant was also pleased with the healing on the wound and has now given my the OK to have a shower and allow it to get a little wet - a nice bonus.
So, we'll keep up the exercise and the stretching, go back for another X-ray and check-up in 2 weeks and keep smiling.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Best Foot Forward

Started lengthening yesterday (Thursday). Using two 10mm spanners I adjust each of the 4 nuts by 1/4 turn 4 times a day. That makes 1mm per day in total. I'm two days in with no adverse effects but am told it starts to hurt after 3-4 days, and that I really need to work on my physio to ensure that the muscles and tendons stretch at the same rate as the bone.
Managed a really good walk today. Dunham Massey park, from the car park to the Tea Rooms and back, with only one stop each way en route. Must be over 400m in total - no prizes for speed though. I'm now absolutely worn out and aching. Must be good for me!
A few words about clothing.
Maggie has made me a pair of semi-retro flared trousers by buying two pairs and letting a flare in to the left leg made from one of the "spare" legs to cover the frame. Now having no foot ring you can't see the frame at all when I have the trousers on - fewer stares.
I can now also get some form of decent footware on. We adapted a pair of Teva boat sandels(veterans of the Colorado Raft Trip through the Grand Canyon) by cutting out sole shaped sections from an offcut of vinyl flooring. These were glued together and then two large velcro pads were used to fasten them to the sole of the left sandel. Seemed to work OK and will be easy to remove when my leg gets longer and I no longer need the elevation.
12 more days of stretching before I go back for a clinic session, by which time I should be over over 1/2 inch taller.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Latest Leg Photos

These photos were taken 5-6 days after the breaking and removal of the foot ring and the leg is still pretty swollen and brusied. The incision used to break the leg is really tiny but the one used to find the leaking artery is rather larger. It's nice to see the foot again without the foot ring but it needs a good wash. Just waiting for the pin sites to heal up before it gets a good lathering.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Hospital Again

A mixed bag of experiences from this weeks hospital stay.
The main job was to break the leg so that I can start lengthening. I was last one in theatre on Monday due to the MRSA so had a nice long wait with no food. Could tell it wasn't my lucky day when I can round in recovery and was told that I was a bleeder. To be more accurate, a small artery had bled and lost about 1 litre of blood, so I now have a nice wound on my calf, about 4 inches long, where they had to track down the leak and fix it up.
I must be honest and say that they broken leg is painful. It's still pretty swollen and is frustrating when I was getting so much more mobile beforehand. Still, it's the start of the last major step that we can see at this point. I start lengthening next Thursday - I have been presented with my pair of 10mm spanners!
At the same time as breaking the leg, the foot ring was also removed which will hopefully see the end of the worst of the MRSA. It feels strange to be without this major chunk of metal. I now need to work hard on my ankle to keep the muscles moving and avoid foot drop.
I've also been warned to work hard to keep my knee active when I am lengthening so that the muscles will stretch along with the bone so I can keep my leg straight.
Sounds like physio is going to become even more critical over the coming period.
The skin graft too is now looking very good - much more like real skin
I'll sort some photos out in the near future.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Latest Pics

These latest photos show how well the skin graft has worked. There's still a bit to heal up but comparing these with the older photos shows just what a great job the VAC dessing did and the benefit of the graft to get some skin on the wound quickly.

Hopefully this is also the last time I will post a photo with the foot ring on the frame as this should be off on Monday.