Follow-up Appointments

Last Cast

This morning I had my third follow up appointment with Dr. Koop. This time I got the first post-surgery X-rays, which showed that the bones are healing and fusing at a better pace than expected for someone my age. It has only been 6.5 weeks since surgery, but the bones are already showing clear signs of fusing together as expected.

The swelling was down enough that we were able to make a mold for my new AFO. This brace will be a solid piece, without any hinge, though once the rehabilitation and PT are far enough along Dr. Koop may decide to modify it to allow for ankle movement.

I got my next cast put on (this one light green), which Dr. Koop says is bound to be the last. This cast, like the one before it, should be on for exactly two weeks (barring any complicating factors if Coronavirus spreads across the Twin Cities before then making the hospital appointments change in some way), and then it’ll be time for another round of X-rays, and in all likelihood fitting my new AFO. So, this is the last cast as far as we know right now.

Further, Dr. Koop said that at least some degree of weight bearing will start following that next appointment if all goes as it seems it should based on today’s visit. We’ll see what that means in two weeks, but my guess is mainly that I shouldn’t put 100% weight on it (so, take stairs like I have been right now or just using my left foot weight bearing on stairs), and may want to have the walker nearby if needed. Certainly, more semblance of normal may pick up over time starting then, including the ability to bathe and shower more normally, perhaps. But we’ll see. It’ll all be according to Dr. Koop’s medical orders two weeks from now. Onward.

Achievement unlocked: AFO molded.

At Home Recovery

Silly Eric

So, you know that part of my non weight bearing recovery where I was going to stay on the second floor except for follow-up doctors appointments? Bit late for that, all thanks to Eric. Story time:

Over the last few weeks Mary has been complaining that our fancy (but at least a decade and half or so old) front door lock that lets you use codes to unlock it has not been working for her. It has been working just fine for Eric and I.

Anyway, a little bit ago she came home and, again, could not unlock it. But this time, Eric insisted he show her it worked. So, he went outside, with no coat, just a T-shirt and pants in sub 20 degree weather, locked the front door, and proceeded to watch her try and unlock it. She failed. Again. And again. Then he failed. Again. And again. The lock has a normal key too, but neither of them had it. Cadi enjoyed watching this unfold from the front hall. I, less so, hearing it from upstairs wondering if they would need help.

Then they call me. First Mary insisted that Eric ask me for my code (which I’ve used since we got the lock, and that originated from my student ID number at Crosswinds). I tell it to him. They try it. Again. And again. The lock doesn’t unlock. Nuts.

So they ask if I can go downstairs to unlock the door manually, as, you know, you can do from the inside. Mind you, I hadn’t done that while in non weight bearing recovery on my own before. Good news, I figured out how to do it. They got in. Eric could begin to defrost.

He tries the lock with no pressure of the door being closed. It doesn’t unlock. Well, he thinks, should have tried that first. Guess we need a new lock for our front door. But by this time I’m downstairs. So we all eat lunch in the dining room and Eric researches new door locks. I now know I can get downstairs on my own, and have already pretty much been getting back upstairs with no help anyway. Well, in both cases, I still need someone to bring the walker up and down. But still, I get myself on the stairs well enough.

As I write this I’m back upstairs and Eric is off purchasing a new lock. Since technology, as, well, technology, constantly changes and it has been over a decade, we at least get to try some of the benefits of that time. The new lock he plans to buy will still have a way to enter codes to unlock the door, but also work with the Home app on our devices so our phones and watches can lock and unlock the door as well, even with proximity. Apparently this also means we would be able to remotely unlock the door if, say, an aunt or cousin needs to get in and we aren’t around. Maybe we’ll use the codes way less, and also all share one within our family, and still possibly have one for my cousins who are in colleges nearby.

Achievement unlocked: I can get down, not just up, the stairs on my own.

Lesson learned: Try unlocking the door before you lock yourself out.

Follow-up Appointments

Cast Change

Today, amidst the frigid windchills in the Twin Cities, I had my first cast off, a check-in with Dr. Koop, and a new cast put on. The most important questions I had for Dr. Koop were how he thought my recovery was going, and what the timeline looked like. Everything is going as expected from his view, and the casting people were also pleased with how well the cast held up and how my foot was doing in it. There were no signs of infection by the three incisions, and the foot was more or less the same color as the rest of my leg. So, just keep doing as I’ve been doing was the basic advice. This is a great relief to me, because I’ve been worried that maybe parts of what I’m doing weren’t as good, or that things weren’t quite right, but it turns out that it is all good.

This new cast will be on for a few hours less than 2 weeks, which is nearly half the time the last one was on for. At that time the plan is to get X-rays and based on those and the progress of swelling diminishing determine if it is time to mold an AFO, and what the timeline to weight bearing is. The pre-surgery information regarding non weight bearing was really 8-12 weeks for an adult, but 6-12 is the full window. This next appointment will be the 6 week mark. There will be at least a third cast while the AFO is made.

We’ll see how it goes. I’m taking my recovery day by day, and mostly with no pain (just stretching that I’m feeling) my days are both a normal pattern, and a good way along back to doing normal activities (that is, spending time at my desk doing the consulting work I do). I’m still just on the second floor, but life is getting along towards normal. As such, there simply isn’t much to report here in between follow up appointments. But I will still report following appointments, if something comes up, and if I have advice for others in similar recovery processes. Feel free to reach out to me as desired.