On July 3rd 2015, I was hit by a car as a pedestrian.
I was taken by ambulance to Swedish Ballard (Seattle) where I was told I’d have surgery the next morning. My diagnosis? ”Comminuted Tibial Pilon Fracture with Fibular Fracture.” Basically, my tibia & fibula were shattered into ~15 pieces.
On the morning of July 4th, an External Fixator (a Medieval looking device aptly named “Franken-foot” by a friend) was attached to my right leg. I was hospitalized for 6 days in the Acute Osteo Unit.
Painful, painful, painful.
There were nights I felt like boiling water was being poured over my ankle. Finally, I stabilized enough to go home.
On July 10th, I had a 7.5 hour surgery Open Reduction Internal Fixation (ORIF) to basically rebuild my ankle. My talented surgeon used plates, pins and bone grafting to put me back together again. I stayed overnight and went home the next day to begin my recovery. I live alone; my loving, close friends took shifts to keep me out of a nursing home. The first six weeks someone was here around the clock.
I began with in-house PT & OT to learn how to get around on a walker, wheelchair, and then a knee scooter. Had trouble with bone healing, so started with a Orthopak Bone Stimulator in November. A CAT scan followed, and showed enough bone growth to begin partial weight bearing (PWB).
So— after 3 months of non weight-bearing (NWB) I begun using a walker toward the goal of full weight bearing (FWB) on the injured ankle. Bone healing & dorsiflexion continue to be major challenges. It’s now late December– 5.5 months out from my ORIF—and I’m still unable to walk without a walker.
Another CAT scan taken last week will determine whether I move on to Outpatient PT (if I have enough bone healing), or whether I need another surgery (bone grafting— this time doc would like to us my own hip bone).
I’m hopeful & willing to work hard. I know I still have a long road ahead. My hope is to return to the dancing I love (swing, waltz, modern square, contra, etc.) But, for now, I’ll be happy to learn to walk again.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear from others healing from Pilon (i.e., Plateau, Plafond) Fractures. Share your stories/tips/hopes below~
PS. I used to think I had TSA hassles wearing cowboy boots—but, then again, I don’t see myself going anywhere for a while.