It’s 1:30PM on Friday and I just got home from my early morning adventure over to O’ahu to speak with Dr. Harpstrite, an orthopedic surgeon and trauma specialist about my leg. I have seen Dr. Harpstrite a few other times, but today’s visit was a bit more serious than our previous consultations. Today’s appointment was to discuss the future of my leg…and more seriously, my life.
Up until this point we have been hoping that my left Tibia would heal without any additional hardware (other than the 7 pins and external fixator from the early months). I don’t smoke, occasionally drink, I’m somewhat young-ish and I was in relatively good physical shape before this all happened. These were all factors that seemed to improve my chances of healing from such a bad break. If my lifestyle choices weren’t enough to heal me correctly I had the power of technology to aid me in my quest to become whole again. I have used a bone healing system for many months and was wishful that the ultra sonic waves were doing the trick.
As we all have seen from other blogs of mine, the x-rays and CAT scans do not lie…my Tibia has not healed. Dr. Harpstrite and I sat down today and spoke, again, about my limited options. After weighing the pros and cons, the only logical decision for me is to go back under the knife and have another surgery. Dr. Harpstrite will be placing a titanium rod into my left Tibia (the bone marrow canal) as well as repeating a bone graft to strengthen and support the compound fracture site.
The procedure, known as IM rodding or Intramedullary rodding, will take place on April 18th over on O’ahu at the Queen’s Medical Center and, at the very least, I will remain overnight. The surgery involves an incision on my knee, moving my knee cap aside, then Dr. Harpstrite will drill into the top of my Tibia in order to get a guide wire into and down the length of my shin. After the guide wire comes the titanium rod. To get the rod down all the way down to the base of my tibia, they will use a rubber mallet to bang the rod downward (high-tech right?). Once at the desired location the rod will be screwed into using my bone as an anchor.
Due to the external fixator and the 7 stainless steel pins I previously had drilled into my bone, the risk of infection in this surgery is greater than normal. Bacteria has already been introduced into my body from those pins and if the new rod creates a reaction with that bacteria it could spell bad news for my leg. I will not explain the worse case scenario, so we can all remain positive that my body will kick any infections ass that comes close to my leg.
For the next few weeks I will be trying to avoid discussing the upcoming surgery, just to keep my mind from exploring all the different avenues in which things can play out. So if you see me out and about, feel free to talk about the weather, my right leg, my hair (which is out of control) or even politics and religion…if you must, but let us ignore the elephant in the room and steer clear of left leg conversations.