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WARNING: Graphic Images…Part II

On the morning of Wednesday, April 18th I will fly over to Honolulu, O’ahu for surgery number six on my left leg.  I will be a guest of The Queen’s Medical Center for a few days.  I am not too excited, nor am I looking forward to this trip, but if all goes well, this will be the beginning of the end of me and my leg challenges.

I have been avoiding questions about my leg and upcoming surgery in the hopes that I wouldn’t be forced to talk about it whenever I interacted with someone.  That was very poor logic on my part, because I did not realize everybody else in the world wants to talk about it…except me.  Maybe it’s the strong, silent type in me that does not want to make a big deal out of it, but even with this blog as a guide to my life, I am constantly asked for updates and given opinions from people I just met.

Todays blog is designed to explain the surgery that will take place Wednesday afternoon and hopefully answer any questions you may have about my leg and the surgical procedure.  I will be using a bendy or flexible drinking straw to represent my tibia and knee areas, both of which will be involved in the procedure.

A representation of my knee and tibia...pre-op.

After I check into the hospital we’ll do the standard meet and greet with the operating room staff, as well as the nurses and the anesthesiologist.  After being put under anesthetic the will begin with an incision on my knee.

A slight incision on my knee and the fun begins.

Dr. Harpstrite will then move my kneecap off to one side and drill a whole into the top of my tibia down towards my foot.  Once the hole is drilled he will pass a guide wire into the tibial bone canal and begin feeding the titanium rod into the canal.

The titanium rod is put into my tibial canal through my knee.

If any resistance is met, a five pound rubber mallet will be used to force the titanium rod down inside the bone canal.  Thank goodness I’ll be out during this part.

Please Hammer, don't hurt 'em.

To lock the titanium rod into place, screws may be placed at the upper and lower parts of my tibia.  The screws will go through my bone and attach to the rod.

Getting screwed will never feel so good...eventually.

If everything goes smoothly, I will not have to have my fibula re-broke.  That will be a game time decision by Dr. Harpstrite.  If my tibia cooperates, then it won’t be necessary.

I will also have another bone graft done during this surgery.  The doctor will be taking marrow from my hip, which according to many, is more painful than any part of aforementioned procedures.  Apparently my hip is going to hurt more than my leg will, but I am definitely in doubt over this prediction.  With the bone graft comes more possible incisions and more stitches.  My current number is 40, so we’ll see how much higher I can go.

If all goes well I should only be int he hospital for a few days.  I can put weight on my leg almost immediately and recovery will be based solely on the amount of pain I will be in and how much I can tolerate.  I should be able to resume physical therapy after the wounds are healed and stitches are removed.  The estimated time of recovery will be four to six months after the surgery, so I will be aiming for August for my triumphant return to work.

I have decided to not allow my family to fly out for this procedure.  They offered and would move mountains to be with me, but I do not see the point in having them come out.  From the conversations I have had, I will not be in any worse shape than I am now, mobility wise.  And if my hip is going to be the most painful side effect of the surgery, tending to my every need will not help me heal any faster.

I have amazing people in my life that have offered to fly over with me and get me back to Maui safely after the operation.  If all goes well, I shouldn’t need too much help, but if I cannot handle it I will definitely pick up the phone and call for help.