Samuel Jerome and Richnightder

Samuel Jerome and Richnightder
Our boys in Haiti

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Craptastic October

Some seasons in life are crappy.  Everyone has a period (or two or three) of life where everything seems to be going wrong.  At the other end of the spectrum is the time in life when everything is just hunky dory!  I am most definitely mired in a craptastic period of life which I will call the orthopedic phase.

It started at the beginning of Craptober when the horse smashed my bare foot causing me to fall over and bruise my scaphoid bone in my wrist.  They at first believed it to be broken, but numerous follow-up x-rays revealed a bone contusion.  My sesamoid bone in my big toe is still sore and a little purple, but the hideous shade of green and yellow has faded.  Our fun continued when we took Thomas to an ortho in Bismarck who diagnosed his right knee as having a completely torn ACL.  His crappy recommendation was to wait 6 years and then have corrective surgery.  Until then we were supposed to keep him calm!  Yeah, right!  Keep a 13 year old boy calm.  That guy was smoking the funny weed!

We took Thomas to a Pediatric Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Specialist at Sanford Health in Fargo.  The doctor there manipulated his knee and happily proclaimed that his ACL felt totally normal and intact.  We had an MRI and then consulted with the doctor immediately afterwards where he showed us the proof that indeed, the ACL was 100% normal.  He did notice that Thomas has loose joints to include his knee cap and suggested some exercises to strengthen his quads which would in turn, help tighten the knee cap.  We drove home happy as fat cats with that news.

The appointment with Thomas in Fargo was Monday.  On Tuesday evening, I added to the orthopedic needs.  I was busy minding my own business, just sitting on the couch with the laptop on my lap, surfing the net.  Kitty and Bunny were romping thru the house and it crossed my mind that the dogs might catch the power cord for the laptop which would cause yet one more broken computer in our household.  No sooner had I thought about that scenario than Kitty came running by and my instinct was to extend my right leg off the couch in an effort to stop her from yanking the power out of the computer.  My leg extended alright, but Kitty kept on running, catching my right ankle causing my knee to act as a pivot.  When I looked at my leg, it was pointing a different direction than the upper part of my leg.  It was hideous. 

I saw an ortho at a different clinic here in town than where Thomas went and I had gone for my wrist, and I really liked the doctor.  He was able to easily move my femur to the inside of my knee by 7 CM which is FRIGGIN huge!  It hurts like H.E.L.L and I am now wearing a most uncomfortable leg brace from my ankle to my thigh.  The good news is that a complete grade 3+ tear of the MCL (medial collateral ligament) usually heals without surgical intervention.  The bad news is that I'm still waiting for my FRIGGIN insurance to pre-authorize my MRI so they can determine if I'll need surgery.  Because of the extreme laxity of the knee, he knows I have severed the MCL but needs to know if it also pulled away from where it attaches to the femur and/or the tibia.  There's also a chance I ripped the ACL.  If those things are determined then I will need surgery to reattach everything since I have nothing left to hold my knee together. 

I am most definitely not an over achiever in my life, but in this aspect I seem to have exceeded all expectations.  The one thing the doctor said to me that made me laugh was that he said this is one injury you don't get by sitting around on a couch.  HA!  I showed him!  Not all MCL injuries occur in highly trained athletes.  They can also happen to middle-aged, home educating moms, who happen to be surfing the couch!

This body was not designed to motor around on crutches.  My uncoordinated gate on the crutches is proof of my 'non- athlete' status.  I am in a boatload of pain and imagine it will continue for some time.  Well, it has improved some since yesterday when the doctor was examining it and moving what's left of my knee around.  I actually screamed out when he moved my femur to the left of my knee.  Not a pretty sight and not a pretty feeling.

Until I get the MRI, which I hope is sometime in the next week,  I am living in limbo.  I am supposed to have PT but am a little uncertain if I can handle it before getting all the shitty news that the MRI might give me.  My knee is scattered and so is my brain.

Craptober cannot end soon enough.  I'm ready to move on to the happy phase of life which is supposed to follow all the crap.  Every cloud is supposed to have a silver lining and I sure hope that holds true for my life right now. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

hunting and pecking

I'm typing using only my left hand and it's gosh darn difficult.  Yesterday didn't go as planned and i ended up at the urgent care clinic.  let me just say that no good deed goes unpunished.

Madison brought josh, our 24 year old horse up to the house and was screaming for me to come look at him as he ad a large swelling on his back.  I told her i'd be right back out as soon as i put my shoes on, but stopped,and figured i'd just have a quick looksie.  Number one rule around horses is to always have shoes on and i broke that rule.....and paid for it.

I touched the sore spot and Josh splattered promptly smashing my bare foot under his hoof into the very hard concrete.  I recoiled with my foot lodged under his ample hoof and fell over smashing my right hand and thumb.  Madison drove me to urgent care where the x-rays show a crack in my navicular bone in my wrist and a crack in my sesmoid bone in my foot.  i'd be on crutches but i can't since my arm is in a splint until i can see an orthopedic surgeon on Tuesday.  It seems the bone in my hand has poor blood supply and these fractures frequently require a screw to make it heal.

So Thomas sees the ortho for his knee on the 24th and i see my guy on Tuesday.  I bet we'll get a few looks walking into the clinic.  Maybe we'll get a two-fer deal on our surgeries?

excusenthe typos's but hunting and pecking sucks, but I'm stocked up on pain killers!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's official. It's a torn ACL and bruised meniscus

Thomas had his appointment today with the orthopedic nurse practitioner.  She maneuvered his leg in ways that made Marc almost vomit.  She twisted and contorted his skinny minny leg every which way but behind his ears.  He also complained of his hip hurting so that was x-rayed as well.

We knew sommin'  was up when the actual orthopedic surgeon came into the room to introduce himself shortly after his x-ray was complete.  He proceeded to twist and jerk and pull on Thomas' leg all the while making guttural sounds like a fat, happy pig.  We heard a lot of umph's, and a lot of uggggghhh's.  Thomas made no noise other than to tell him when something cracked, popped and snapped.  The real doctor, not the nurse practitioner who I actually liked, looked at us and pronounced that his knee is extremely unstable and loose and he has a completely torn ACL.  He almost announced it in a way that made us feel like we should be proud of our kids youthful accomplishment.

The doctor told us that surgery at this stage of the game is highly discouraged as it would interfere with the growth of the leg as the surgery would involve messing with the growth plate.  He also said that due to the nature of a young, teen aged boy and his ability to use common sense with a replaced ACL, the re-injury rate is enormous.  His recommendation is to wait for surgery until he is through his growth phase and his decision making ability is better and he is approximately 19.  HELLOOO!  That is 6 friggin' years away.  He wants me to institute a swimming regimen and weight lifting program to strengthen his quads and hamstring. 

Modern medicine??  Is this the best you can offer my son.  His knee literally blows out sideways when he over flexes it or twists or heck, even runs slowly.  So for 6 years I am supposed to tell  my very active son to use his critical thinking skills, weigh the pros and cons of his intended activity and then proceed with caution.  Get a friggin' grip.  This from a kid who can't think far enough ahead to realize poking a beehive with a stick is probably not a good idea.....especially with a bad knee and a quick getaway needed!

I'm a big proponent of second opinions, so guess where we're headed next Monday.  We have an appointment with a Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis.  I think I'll feel much better hearing this doctor's opinion.  If it jives with what the doctor here said, well then great.  We'll do our best to keep Thomas from taking unnecessary chances with his knee.  But if we hear a vastly different opinion, I'm inclined to follow the doctor at Children's.  We've had some really great experiences with the doctors' at Children's and I have every reason to believe this experience will be as educational and comforting.  Knowledge is power and I fully intend to be as informed about pediatric ACL ruptures as one can be short of medical school.