The Road to Recovery

Fly Fishing Therapy

One bad habit we seem to have is taking life for granted. Take my mobility away from me and I become lost. I panicked and I didn’t function right. So you can only imagine how excited I was when the doctor told me I could mothball the crutches. Woohoo! Yes! I am close to recovering my full mobility! One step at a time.

I decided to celebrate by visiting Lakeview Lake located in the Bonne Terre City Park. I arrived at 8 am and I am here to tell you it was the beginning of a beautiful day. The temp had already climbed into the 40s. I had purchased a new Orvis Encounter fly fishing combo and I was itching to try it out.

As I was working the fly outfit I realized I was still pain free. Life is good unfortunately the fishing wasn’t. There are benches that were installed around the park so I decided to park my fat arse on one of the benches and become a nature watcher. I had some ducks and geese who were eager to entertain me. They put on a performance worthy of an Emmy. I watched them for a good 45 minutes until the geese decided to take flight and terminate the performance.

I grabbed the Orvis and began fishing again but to no avail. The fish obviously weren’t willing to cooperate.

One reason I chose Lakeview for my first outing was because there is a paved walking track around it. It provides easier walking than the perimeter of the lake and I didn’t know if I would still have a hitch in my git along or if it would be a good day.

After 40 years of chronic pain I wasn’t really sure what to expect on my first outing. In the back of my mind every time I took a step I was sure I was going to be overtaken by a painful step but it never happened. Not one bad step. A little faith goes a long way when you believe.

I didn’t catch any fish but it was a very enjoyable day. I know I have a long way to go before I am completely healed but I am off to a damn good start.

Eight Weeks and Still Healing

My ankle on December 4, 2020

I had a doctor’s appointment on November 20 and my doctor was sick and had to cancel. I made a new appointment for November 23.

I went in anticipating that I would lose the crutches. Wrong! I would have to suffer through another 2 weeks of crutches. I was so disappointed.

Had doctor’s appointment today. Had to get another x-ray. The doctor said he was very happy with my progress. I am at 8 weeks and ready to ditch the crutches. He finally told me I could get rid of the crutches but have to use the boot for 3 more weeks. I was ecstatic when he told me.

When he attached my new ankle to my medial malleolus, I think that’s what he said, splintered and he had to put another screw in and the x-ray showed it was healing really well. That was some really good news.

The first three days I had a lot of pain. Now that that is behind me I can honestly say I don’t have any more pain. I wake up in the mornings and my ankle isn’t hurting I lie there thinking am I awake or am I dreaming.

All things considered would I go through everything again? Yes I would. For the first time in 40 years I can take a step without pain.

Ankle on 10/16/2020

Slight Setback

New Walking Boot

Had my second post op doctor visit on 10/30. It was 23 days after the surgery. I was hoping to get the cast off and to be able to walk but it wasn’t going to happen this visit.

I got to the doctors office (4th floor) to only find out I was supposed to have the x-ray done first so it was off to the lobby again. Once the x-Rays were done it was back off to the fourth floor.

As far as my recovery there was very little pain in this two week cycle. What pain I had was bearable. The worse pain I experienced was definitely in the 3 days after surgery.

Once there they rolled me into the cast room and removed my cast. YES!!! Damn I needed that. Then the doctor removed the 25 stitches. The doctor had to place a screw horizontally to attach the replacement ankle to my leg and he doesn’t want me putting weight on it yet. However he did remove the cast and put me in a walking boot. I guess you can say I am half way where I wanted to be. So far the worse pain was the 3 days following surgery. The boredom really sucks but all in all the experience hasn’t been too bad but that is still dependent on how well the surgery worked to end my constant pain. Time will tell.

After Retirement

X-ray right front
Casted clogs on a foundered horse.
KB Aluminum bar shoe with a Myron Mclane support pad.
Doing what I loved.
Now the long road to healing

It’s been almost three years since I fully retired from horseshoeing. My health just didn’t cooperate. First I had a doctor treating me for a breathing problem when I was actually bleeding to death internally. Enough so that death was knocking on my door. Then my ankle continually got worse from a rodeo accident in 1979. So I had to hang up my hammer and apron.

I would like to give a big shout out to all the lady farriers out there. I really don’t think they get enough recognition. It’s damn hard work. I tip my hat to them.

As soon as I heal up I plan on enjoying retirement a lot more.

My idea of retirement!

Camping In Missouri

“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach of us more than we can learn from books.” – John Lubbock

Camping has become very popular for many Missourians. Camping venues, state and private, fill up rapidly on the weekends and some places are booked weeks in advance. They bring everything from RVs loaded with all the conveniences of home to the simple tent. Whatever makes them happy.

At the age of 66 I still prefer tent camping. I have been known to just roll out a pad and sleep on it. The simpler the better. I have a one man tent and a 3 man. I use the one man for one nighters and the 3 man for extended nights in one place.

3 man tent
Food taste better when cooked at camp.

There are so many choices for campers in Missouri. There are 41 state parks with over 3600 campsites. From lakes, rivers to trout parks there is a campsite waiting for you. Fun for the whole family. mdc.mo.gov

You can also find an abundance of privately owned parks throughout the state. Campers have so much to choose from in the state of Missouri.

Kayaking on Bismark Lake

A Week Gone By

My new cast.

When I began my journey to full ankle replacement I had so many questions that I couldn’t get answers to. I talked to a couple people who had had it done but they really didn’t help much.

After some thought I decided to record my journey and do a series of blogs outlining my recovery. I figured those who were thinking about having the surgery could maybe get some of their questions answered to help them in the decision process.

First off a little history about myself. 66 years old, 6 feet tall, overweight (250 lbs) with high blood pressure. Retired farrier. Injury happened in 1980 crushed heel, broke ankle and broke instep. Never took a step without pain since it happened. Lived with chronic pain for 40 years. Warning: some of the photos are graphic

Surgery was 10/07 and I had my follow up doctor visit today 10/15. Cast was removed. The incision looked good and the doctor was pleased.

After a thorough examination Doctor Sloan informed me that I was to return in 2 weeks at which time he would remove new cast and I would begin physical therapy. He then applied the new cast.

My thoughts on the first week. I know everyone has a different pain threshold. Mine has always been relatively high. Ten years ago I was kicked by a horse and I incurred 2 broken ribs and a bruised spleen and was shoeing horses 3 days later. Pain chart I am using 1 is little pain, 10 horrible pain. They used a nerve block on me which lasted almost 14 hours so that helped. The first 3 days my pain grade bounced between a 4 and an 8. I am not going to kid you. It hurt like hell, but it was bearable. By day 4, 5, and 6 the pain began to ease considerably. I still had my moments but they were fewer and farther between. On days 6, 7 and 8 I only took 1 pain pill each day.

My biggest mistake was not losing weight and I had plenty of time to do that and didn’t do it. I couldn’t put any weight on my foot so my arms, shoulders, left leg and foot were taxed heavily when I needed to go mobile. Then figure in my age with this it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out if I would have dropped 40 pounds it would have helped my predicament a lot. I also should have done some upper body strength exercises. Even though I had plenty of time I didn’t do either. Two things that would have cost me nothing but would have benefited my endeavor immensely. Lesson learned!

That pretty much sums everything up. If you decide to get the surgery don’t be a Wayne, use your brain instead. I know, I wish I would have.

A Long Way To Go!

The art of healing comes from nature not from the physician. Therefore the physician must start from nature, with an open mind. “ – Paracelsus

One thing I didn’t give much consideration and I wish now I would have, is physical strength. Presently I can’t put any weight on my right foot. At 66 years old it has produced a little bit of a problem. I have to use my upper body strength to get up and down. I am managing but wear out quickly. I would recommend working on your upper body strength to make moving around and walking easier.

As far as pain I can report that it hasn’t been real bad. I talked to two people who had went through the surgery and had a battle with pain. They are healed up and life is good for them with their new ankles. My first couple days I ran around an 8 on the pain scale but stay around a 2 now. What I call the “healing itch” has started and I am treating it with Benadryl and it seems to be working fine.

October 10, 2020

Day three and no problems so far. One thing i have learned is how important it is to keep my foot elevated. It keeps the swelling down for sure.

My biggest cocern was getting around. I had access to a walker and my insurance would pay for crutches. The crutches make it easier to navigate steps.

The pain was an 8 the first 3 days and today it has subsided a lot to a 2. I must confess I was a little worried because I had heard from a couple they had a real tough time. I hope I’m not jinxing myself.

So if you are thinking about getting a full ankle replacement all I can say is it isn’t going to be a cake walk. It is going to be tough. I plan on keeping you posted on my progress.

Hope?

Surgery is done.

The day finally arrived. I had mixed emotions. Nervous, skeptical and hope. My accident happened in 1980. I crushed my heel, broke my ankle and broke my instep. That is when the pain started.

Fast forward to 2019 when I changed primary physician. He referred me to an orthopedic surgeon. He informed me ankle replacements had been happening for 25 years. He said he could help me so here we are.

It started at 10 am. Not sure when the surgery was finished but I awoke around 5:15 pm. I thought they were going to keep me but they decided to send me home. I guess one can really say this is where my journey begins.

I havent taken a step without pain for 40 years. I have lived with chronic pain. It wasn’t as bad in the beginning but it has got worse over the years. The surgery is supposed to take care of the pain. Time will tell.

Note: I plan on recording my recovery through my blog.

Life Is Precious

“I hope I can be like the autumn leaf, who looked at the sky and lived. And when it was time to leave, gracefully it knew life was a gift.” – Dodinsky

We live in such a fast paced world today. Always on the move. No time to enjoy life. We have became a society of instant gratification.

So many people take others for granted and even life itself. We assume that when the sun rises tomorrow everything will be the same. Will it?

We are so busy that we don’t take the time to reach out to friends and family to just hear their voice or to see how they are doing. There is no guarantee that they will enjoy tomorrow. There is no guarantee that any of us will see the next sunrise.

How many times have you entertained the idea of calling them or sending a note or card and you didn’t do it? Then a couple weeks later you hear that death has knocked upon their door.

Life is precious. Friendship is a gift. Celebrate life every day and give thanks that you were given another day to enjoy life, friends and family. Don’t take anything or anyone for granted.

Get up early and watch the sunrise or at the end of the day sit, be still and watch the sun set. Stop! Slow down! Take the time to enjoy your life, family and friends. Tomorrow may be to late.