The most daunting part of recovery for me thus far is probably the timeline involved. At the time of my surgery I was told that I would have to stay completely off of my broken leg for at least 12 weeks. To say that I’ve had a very difficult time accepting that fact is a gross understatement. Having been more or less immobile for a few weeks now, in addition to the constant guilt of feeling useless, I am now going absolutely stir crazy. The idea that I have another 9 – 10 weeks of immobility ahead of me is weighing pretty heavily on me.
After reading many stories of other people’s recoveries, it seems as if other people with IM rods are often able to start bearing weight on their legs much earlier than 12 weeks, so I was curious why my timeline was seemed a bit longer than some. At my first post operative checkup this week I was able to pose this very question to the man handing down my sentence.
In addition to reiterating the fact that the damage to my leg was more radical that the average break, my surgeon explained that a lot of work went into reconstructing my tibial plateau and that there was a real risk of compromising that repair by putting weight on my leg prematurely. The difference between a good repair and a bad repair he said was probably the difference between having bad arthritis in my knee in the future or not. I can’t say that I feel any better about being immobile for what amounts to 3 months, but at least I now understand the reasoning behind it.
On the brighter side of things of my incisions have been healing nicely and I was able to have most of the 103 stitches in my leg removed this week. They were replaced with steri-strips affixed via some sort of smelly medical adhesive. I can’t say that this had made my leg look or feel any better, but it’s a milestone of sorts and one that brings with it the prospect of not having to have my wife wrap my leg in a trash bag when taking a shower.
Physically speaking I feel a little bit better this week. The swelling in my leg, ankle and foot continues to decrease very slowly, but it’s enough that I can’t tell the difference between this week and last. I’m still experiencing pain, but it’s tolerable even though I’ve backed off of my pain medication substantially. I’m doing daily exercises to improve the range of motion in both my ankle and knee. Both joints have had a very substantial loss in flexibility unfortunately. I’ve also been moving around on crutches more this week which has been challenging and provided a bit of exercise to boot. Baby steps as they say…