I finally got the pins removed from my tibia August 18th and
I am now in a molded, hard plastic brace, which I can adjust/remove via four velcro straps. The sense of freedom is great, but almost too much to handle. The breaks have not healed yet, which means each break is basically a hinge point in my leg.
To give you a visual of what I mean…sit on your floor, legs straight out, now ask someone to grab under your heel and lift your leg upwards. Notice your knee forces your shin (tibia) to keep a straight line with your thigh (femur)? When the doctors lift my heel my shin bends the wrong way and begins to resemble a cesta (the basket they use to hurl the balls in jai alai). Seeing this medical deformity happen before my eyes has introduced a new and exciting sensation into my life…the art of the diaphoretic response.
Diaphoresis is defined as: excessive sweating commonly associated with shock and other medical emergency conditions.
Basically, when someone removes the brace on my leg (remember this is that plastic contraption that is holding me together) I begin to sweat like I just finished a marathon. Fortunately, I found this problem to be a mental one and not a physical one, I’ll explain. The first time it happened was the day after the pins were removed, my doctor removed the brace, he cleaned my wounds, I saw the leg move in ways even he agreed were not natural and…bam; my shirt was soaked, I began to have tunnel vision and I explained that I had not decide to pass out on his table or not.
The next day I was supposed to remove the brace myself and clean my leg. Sitting on my transition bench in my shower I carefully removed my tibia brace, I slowly began to unwrap my leg when the mad sweats came and I began to feel a little woozy. I put the brace back on and drove to my primary care physician and asked them to do the dressing change for me. I warned the poor nurse who helped me what to expect. No sooner had I explained my past reactions than I began to sweat, profusely. She even made the comment that my kneecap was sweating. The following day I returned and the same nurse helped me, but this time she had a plan. As she distracted me with questions she removed the brace and changed the dressing on my leg without a bead of sweat appearing. The ensuing dressing changes were tolerable if I had the same nurse, but as soon as I got a new face I was back to square one.
I realize that this response is a mental issue, which means one should be able to overcome it with the right help. It obviously is a trust issue with me as well. I do not trust anybody near my broken leg and it shows when I get a new nurse or doctor and I begin to sweat. More significant than the trust factor, is that as soon as that brace comes off I’m transported back to the day of the collision; sitting in the middle of the road, holding my thigh while my broken leg twitches uncontrollably right before my eyes. That image, burned in my brain forever, makes it very difficult to let my guard down and allow others to lay their hands on my leg.