DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME : Text files and message bases are for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. Do not undertake any project based upon any information obtained from this or any other web site.We are not responsible for, nor do we assume any liability for, damages resulting from the use of any information on this site.This is the fourth and final installment of my highly acclaimed Leg Egg series!
For the previous installments, please check out My Leg Egg, My Leg Egg Part II, and My Leg Egg Part III.
WARNING: The following egg contains images which may not be suitable for people who are easily grossed out.
So! This is the one I\\’ve been waiting for! The removal of the frame! :D
I\\’ve spent the past 8 months with severely broken bones in my leg being held together with a frame. As you may well imagine, living with a large metal framework bolted around and through your leg is not pleasant.
Simple things that people don\\’t even think twice about doing were a laborious chore. Things like putting on underwear (I had to wear size XL boxer shorts so the leg was wide enough to pull over the frame) and jeans (These were cut off at the knee and a slit was cut 2/3 of the way up my thigh to enable me to pull them over the frame, but getting them on and off was still a struggle. It was tight, and the jeans would always catch on the frame).
Showering with the frame on was a nightmare. Even just getting into the shower with the frame on was a precarious task. Even the simple act of trying to get to sleep was made a lot harder by the frame. It was impossible to get properly comfortable, and I couldn\\’t just roll over when I got too uncomfortable. I had to sit up and carefully re-position my leg.
I had to use crutches to walk and so couldn\\’t even do simple things like carry a glass of juice through from the kitchen. Going up and down steps was hellish, especially if there wasn\\’t a railing to hold onto.
So, I looked forward to getting the frame off more than I\\’ve looked forward to anything else in life. This was a momentous occasion, a big step forward (metaphorically speaking, of course!) and the single thing that has occupied my thoughts more than anything else over the past 8 months.
I took the usual 250 mile trip to hospital on Monday 13th April. I was taken for a CT scan, where they scanned my leg to determine whether the fracture was healed enough to support my weight if the frame was taken off. If the scan showed that it wasn\\’t, then I\\’d have had to go home and wait another month. So I was pretty nervous about this, though I had a fair bit of confidence based on the doctors opinions from the previous months X-rays.
After the CT scan, I was obviously told that the scan was good and they would indeed be removing the frame (otherwise I wouldn\\’t be writing this, would I?).
The first thing they did before removing the actual frame was to remove the rods that are bolted externally on the frame and span across the fracture to hold it in place and support any weight bearing. They did this so that I could test the leg by bearing weight through it to see if the bone would hold without the support of the metal rods.
This was done with 2 spanners, and although I felt a slight strange sensation in my leg, it wasn\\’t painful.
This is what the frame was like before having the supporting rods removed:
And this was it after removing the rods:
So at this point I had to get up and see if I could walk on it without it causing me too much pain. If it was too painful they would have to put the support rods back on and leave the frame in place for another month at least. I was again slightly nervous about this. I asked the doctor if it was a possibility that my leg could just snap when I put my full weight on it without it having the support of the frame across the fracture. He replied \\"I can\\’t say that won\\’t happen, but we\\’re hoping it won\\’t.\\" Well, that\\’s encouraging, I thought.
So, I started walking down the corridor (or limping would be a more accurate de5cription! My ankle movement is still very limited so my walking gait is not what you would call smooth). Thankfully, the fracture felt strong, and it felt almost no different to weight bearing when I had the frame supporting my weight.
They were happy with that, and I was told that they would definitely be taking off the rest of the frame in surgery the following morning. They told me that after frame removal it is standard procedure to put a plaster cast on the leg, just for a few weeks to give the fracture a bit of support and some more time to strengthen up.
I was determined not to get a cast, as I had bought new boxer shorts, socks, jeans, and trainers to celebrate being able to dress normally again, and I had planned it that I would walk out of the hospital, dressed like a normal person at last, and carrying my crutches rather than using them for support.
So I did a lot of wandering about that evening, still using one crutch just for a little support and to ease my limp a little. I went down to my usual place at the back door a couple of times for a smoke, and even took a little walk that leads away from the back of the hospital. I wanted to prove that my leg was strong enough, in the hope that they would not put cast on it.
Time for a couple of pictures I think! You\\’re probably getting bored of all the reading by now!
This is the back door where I usually go to smoke:
The automatic door doesn\\’t open from the outside after 10pm, so yes, that is a crutch jammed in the fire door to keep it open so I could get back in:
This is the room I was in for the night. I had a room to myself for a change, I\\’ve always been in a ward with 4 or 5 other people, who are usually old people who are half-deaf and shout across the room to each other, repeating the same stories, talking about \\"back in the day,\\" and snoring so loud at night that it\\’s damn near impossible to get to sleep. So it was a welcome change to get a private room!
The \\"Get Well Soon\\" balloon in the above picture had been given to me when I was first in hospital right after the accident. I kept it the whole time, and it didn\\’t deflate at all!
See the pretty flowers in the window?
And here\\’s one of me sitting in bed (taken of the reflection on the window when it got dark outside):
Here are a few photos that I took of the frame and pins on that last night with the frame:
So, first thing the following morning I was whisked off to the Operating Theatre. I was given a general anaesthetic to knock me out (I didn\\’t get a choice, as I would have quite liked to have been able to watch and take a video for this egg!).
The surgery only took half an hour, and I took a further 10 minutes to wake up. I seem to react well to the general anaesthetic, because within 5 minutes I was feeling back to normal again. And I was very glad to see that my leg hadn\\’t been put in a plaster cast!
I was transported back up to my room, where I had to get dressed straight away so that I could walk with the physiotherapist down the corridor so that she could make sure I could manage walking OK. It felt fine, and within 10 metres I stopped using my crutches for support and just carried them. The leg felt as strong as it did when it had the cage supporting it.
Here are my normal looking legs!
I had breakfast and phoned people who had to be updated on how it went, and then I walked down to the back door with my normal looking legs for a smoke. While I was there I couldn\\’t help but look at the reflection of myself in the mirrored glass windows:
Then once I\\’d gone and packed up my stuff, and given my balloon to someone else who needed it since I was finished with it, I took the symbolic walk that I\\’d been picturing, wearing my full length jeans, with my bad leg once again looking like a normal leg and carrying my crutches at my side right down to the front door and out into the car park. I\\’ve gotta tell you, it was a fantastic feeling! :-)
When I arrived home, that night, I decided it was time to take off the bandage that had been on my leg when I woke up from surgery:
The standard arrow to make sure the surgeon operates on the correct leg:
(You\\’d think they\\’d be able to tell which leg it was! lol)
Unravelling the outer bandage:
The inner padding is revealed, complete with a spot of blood from one of the pin-holes:
Unwrapping the inner padding revealed some blue dressings which were covering the pin holes:
And the leg is completely revealed:
And that\\’s it, my leg looks normal again! Well, apart from the 39 hole scars and the 2 scars from where they had to cut me open!
I will not be receiving any physiotherapy, I have just to keep gently pressing against the limit of the movement in my ankle to try and loosen it off, and am now allowed to walk for as long as it feels OK, rather than being limited to 30 minutes per day like I was before. I\\’ve not to strain it or force it, I\\’ve to be gentle so as to avoid any chance of a re-fracture, which can happen after frame removal until the bone has toughened up enough.
I\\’ve to go back on the 27th of May so they can check and make sure everything is as it should be. They can\\’t predict when my ankle movement will be good enough to allow me to walk without the pronounced limp that I have at the moment. The ankle movement may have improved a little, but it is slow going. But slow progress is better than no progress!
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and to everyone who took an interest in my story. I really do appreciate it all.