Wednesday, March 12, 2014
A decade or so ago I was injured in a freak accident, and today a letter from the surgery center that had put my ankle and fibula back together after the accident arrived in the mail.
The letter stated that Colorado law allowed for the destruction of medical records that were ten years old or older, and the record of my surgery fell into that categorization, so, unless I wanted to come pick up my records into the shredder they would go.
I have no particular desire or need for those records, so shred away.
I was actually caught a bit off guard by the letter, as I had somewhat forgotten about that whole episode, or at least put it out of mind.
Of course, after reading the letter I got to thinking about it, and how awfully inconvenient it was to have broken bones in my right leg. I was completely laid up for a month after the bones had been set and screwed in place. I was very fortunate to have family and friends around who helped me out during the full 3 months it took to heal up (boatloads of gratitude to Patti, Ron, Ryan, Nicole, Brad, John, Carl, and many others).
The injury occurred just as I stepped out of my Jeep. I stepped right on a patch of black ice and as I twisted to try to regain my balance, the side of my foot lodged on a patch of dry asphalt and I went down, hard.
I actually got right back up and tried to walk it off thinking I had simply sprained or twisted my ankle. I hobbled all the way into work and sat down at my desk, expecting the pain and swelling to subside. I took my shoe off and elevated my leg on my overturned trashcan, then went to work on my computer.
I was like that for a couple of hours before Brad W. walked by the office I shared with Carl, saw my ankle and said, "That's not a sprain, that's broken. You need to get to a hospital."
Carl then took me down to the hospital, and after waiting about half an hour in the emergency room, I was wheeled into X-ray. The Radiology technician took a few pics, then wheeled me back out to the waiting room. A few minutes later she came out and confirmed that yes indeed, I had broken my fibula and my ankle.
The bone was reset, the ankle screwed back together (and some bone spurs removed while it was exposed), and a cast was put in place. Carl and I went back to work, and after a few minutes spent in HR going over what happened (I had slipped on the black ice after parking in the area designated as company parking), I was sent home. Well, actually, I was driven home by Carl as the painkillers given to me after the surgery had started to kick in.
HR told me I was not going to be allowed back at work until I received clearance from a Doctor, and processed workmen's compensation paperwork for me.
A month on a couch reading every book Scott Turow, Michael Crichton, and Phillip Roth had written, along with quite a few Agatha Christie and PD James mysteries, most for the second or third time, really numbs the ol' senses. By the time I was allowed to go back to work (on crutches - no walking cast for my heavy ass out of concern I might stress the repairing injuries) I was nearly stir-crazy.
After nearly three months the cast and screw were ready to be removed. It was a very quick and surreal operation. I was awake and alert the whole time, watching with a morbid curiosity.
The cast was cut off with a small electric rotary saw. Once the cast was off my lower leg and foot were cleaned with an antiseptic, an extremely tight rubber sleeve (somewhat like an open toe sock) was placed over my anesthetized foot and leg, then quickly rolled up to the bottom of my calf, effectively becoming a tourniquet.
It took less than twenty seconds for the Doctor to cut open the area were the screw had been placed, and using a Makita cordless drill, remove the screw.
The Physicians Assistant quickly sutured the opening back together and bandaged it all up. I was given instructions on how to care for the area and told to return in 10 days to have the stitches removed.
I have a nice "S" shaped scar on the outside of my right ankle, but I've never felt any discomfort or pain associated with the injury. The Doctor and his assistant did a great job.