Thursday, 17 November 2016

Operation 16 and What Happens Now

The cut through my tibia was made on November 8th in an operation which lasted around 90 minutes. Everyone was happy and I was feeling pretty strong the day after so I was discharged with, as usual, a big bag of meds and dressings. There was the usual wait for pharmacy to deliver the drugs, but they did in the end and we got home about 7pm. The only visible change is a new dressing where they cut in to get at my bone.

After Op 16. Dressing covering incision to break tibia.

Incision with clips. Pretty? :)

What happens now is 10 days waiting for the bone to begin to knit together, then lengthening starts. So this is tomorrow now, Friday November 18th. I have my instructions and spanner. The break is where the incision is, meaning that the ring near my knee will not move, but everything else on the frame will. One quarter turn on the square nuts four times per day, that's one turn per day, which is 1mm extension. We're going for about 20mm give or take, so 20 days of adjustments to come.

Now, here is the thing: I have been told often that this is tough, the lengthening process. In fact, I was told at physio this week that they once had a patient who was in the SAS and had been on tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, and this process broke him. Here is why: it's not the bone. You can 'grow' your bone 1mm per day no problem, in fact I've done this before in 2012 with the straightening process. It's not the bone, the pins move with the bone, the issue is with the soft tissue, the skin and flesh. Moving the frame down means I will cut open wounds wherever a pin enters my skin below the cut. There are 12 of these sites. Opening up a 20mm wound in each of these locations. And soft tissue doesn't want to stretch at 1mm per day either, wounds notwithstanding. So I think I understand now why this might get tough. Hopefully though I've so little feeling in my lower leg that I won't feel so much as the pins cutting through. It does sound a bit like self-inflicted torture I guess..

On the plus side, the physiotherapist did say I had already been through a lot (true) and that I looked like an excellent coper (also true, I think). Well we will see won't we, whether I'm tougher than the SAS. I'm ready. Lengthening and cutting starts tomorrow then.

Expect regular updates and measurement photos like last time :)

Bonus free spanner to adjust the frame with!

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