2 Weeks Post Ankle Orif Op - Struggling...

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Hello everyone,

It is 3:30 am, just to give a heads up on my post being a bit scattered.

I am few months short of a 30 year old female, in good health and good career.

About 3 weeks ago I fractured my ankle in 3 places (trimaleleoar fracture). Had ankle orif surgery 2 weeks ago with one plate, 5 screws on one side, and 2 long screws on the other (back fracture didn't require fixation according to surgeon).

I have stitches, which are meant to be removed later today, probably why I cannot sleep, not that I get much sleep these days anyway.

I have never had any surgery or even visited the ER for myself prior to this. I can honestly say that this has been the worst experience in my life. The helplessness and inability to perform basic tasks for myself has really put me in a state of depression, anxiety and hopelessness.

I try to put on a brave face as I have many people around to help and care for me, including my mother who has taken unpaid leave to look after me, so I realize just how lucky I am. Still, I cannot help the tears anytime I drop something and realize I cannot get it without waking her up or asking for help.

I like to think of myself as a strong woman but I feel hopeless as I write this because in a matter of seconds my life took a turn I could have never predicted. I am trying to stay informed and positive and found this a good opportunity to share and hopefully gain insights from likeminded and kindred in sadness people.

As for today's first post op, the stitches being removed is heavy on my mind along with seeing my ankle for the first time since surgery.

Any advice on medication for stitches removal or how I can make this less traumatizing on my self than it has to be? Yes, I'm squirmish and still can't believe I didn't faint from the IV for surgery.

Thank you all in advance, please share your stories and all comments are welcome.

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  • Posted

    Hello!

    I'm so sorry you have to go through this - it is a really difficult process both physically and emotionally. But it WILL get better.

    I know your pain - I had ORIF surgery nine weeks ago. I can now walk about at home -slowly & with a bit of a limp - with no support and outside with just one crutch smile There is light at the end of the tunnel.

    I didn't experience any pain when I had my stitches out it was just a little uncomfortable and it was over very quickly. I did find it difficult seeing my ankle for the first time, it was pretty swollen. But it looks SO much better now. Hang in there and remember it will get better.

    Maybe you can plan something nice for after your appointment - watching a favourite movie?? Or something you've always wanted to see??

    Wishing you all the very best for today. Let us know how it goes.

    Julia

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  • Posted

    Hi. I feel ur pain.I had a similar operation. 39 staples in total. I'm 10 weeks post surgery. Yes. You are right. It takes a lot more out of u mentally. I'm still not walking. I've a boot now and I'm allowed to put 1 quarter of my body weight on bad leg. My next appointment at fracture clinic is not til 30 Aug. I got bad news on 19 Jul. Surgeon told me my fracture wasn't healing. I'm now being referred for bone density test. I'm 49. So older than you. I'm not overweight and I don't lead an unhealthy lifestyle. I've been through all those feelings of despair. I cried every day for weeks. At the end of the day u are the only person who can help yourself. Yes it is truly awful having to rely on people. My mum is 75 and she has been an angel. Not only is she helping me but she is carer to my father who has Parkinson's disease and both kidneys removed. The nature of my husband's job means that he has to work long hours in summer to cover lean times over the winter so he can't help that much at the minute. I couldn't look at my leg for the first 2 weeks. U look and think it doesn't belong to you. I know exactly what you are going through and my heart goes out to you. Nobody deserves this. Keep ur chin up and find a way to get through each day. I find that it helped pass the time by watching box sets at night and early morning then sleeping until 1130am. That sorts the morning out!! Hope you start to feel better soon.

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  • Posted

    Hi Damaged,

    Trust me, you will get through this.  I am 62 years old and I did the Trimalleolar fracture with dislocation of my ankle 6 months ago.  Had 2 plates and twelve screws inserted.  I thought I would never walk again!  I had had surgery before but this was my first broken bone!  Certainly did a good job of it.   Every contributor I have read about on this site expresses the same thing about the frustration, depression, fear of the future but we all seem to get there in the end some sooner some later.  The best advice I can give you is to accept that it will get better.  I felt the same asking for and accepting help from my husband and waking him in the night to assist me to the toilet etc.  You will work out with your Mum what you can manage to do and ways to cope as a team.  Everyone is different in how they managed the non weight bearing phase of their recovery.  Some people use a wheelchair, knee scooter, wheelie frame, crutches.  Go with what feels safest for you not what you think you should be using. Working out your own recovery with your caregivers and medical team is empowering.  Take the time to find hobbies and books to read, films to watch, all the things you have been too busy to do before.  You will find your Mum may need you to return the favour in the future as I am now doing for my daughter who was there for me, she is pregnant and on strict bed rest with a 5 year old, now I can be there for her!  All the best for later today,  you will be fine xx

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  • Posted

    By the way. I'm not going lie to you. Getting my 39 staples out was absolutely no problem. There were about 4 of them which were sore getting out around the bottom of the shin bone. That's it. Not bad and it was a few seconds of pain then it was over. No where nearly as bad as I expected. The male philipino nurse was amazing. Again I cried cuz he was so sympathetic and when someone shows u sympathy again there's tears!

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  • Posted

    I meant to add in my reply that if you use Facebook there is a great forum on there too that you may find helpful. Just use the Facebook search for 'Broken Ankle/Foot/ Leg Recovery - On a Quest for Normal.  About 1400 members and great cross section of ages etc.  Let us know how you get on today! 

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  • Posted

    Hi feel so sorry for you I fractured my ankle just over seven weeks ago in three places got plate and screws I know it's so frustrating I too had help but got really down at times I had staples which did not hurt to much when removed i did feel a bit lights headed when I saw my foot for the first time which the nurse said was normal I am now in a boot can put fifty percent weight with crutches massaging my Foot and doing exercises to get it moving again I have to say only last couple of days my foot feels like mine again still get pain and swelling which I know Wii happen as I do more physio just try and accept you can't do much I read a lot even books I read when younger to cheer me up and films even colouring books remember your letting your bones heal during this time stay strong you will get there this forum helps me let us know how your getting on .

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  • Posted

    Dear Damaged,

    You are not damaged. You are injured. There is a difference and you will heal. You are young and will get better. Having the stitches out is just a weird feeling. Not that painful. I too felt helpless and needed my family for everything. Each week your body heals and you progress. It is a very long road. Ankles take a while. Do not get discouraged. I just kept thanking everyone who helped me and tried to keep gratitude in my heart. I had my down moments and gave myself permission to feel those feelings but I did not stay in that negative space. Try to stay positive and strength will come from that. I cried when I first saw my foot but it changes quickly. The body is amazing with incredible powers. You can do this. Good luck. Stay strong.

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  • Posted

    I remember being so scared to have my stitches out after my first c-section. I'm the girl who passes out when the health teacher just talks about stitches. I can say with confidence that stitches are no sweat. Trust me, if you're going through this, you are a tough cookie and stitches are probably nothing compared to the pain I'm sure you've felt. As for seeing your ankle, I don't know, but maybe knowing is better than wondering. If I were you, I'd just ask someone to hold my hand at that moment. You're a bit ahead of me in this process, I'm 35 and my surgery for bimalleolar ORIF was just on Monday. I feel like everything you wrote was actually about me. My mantra is just that this is temporary. This isn't the rest of your life or mine. It's hard to lose your comfort, your control over your life, your certainty about what each new day will be all in one fell swoop. Hang in there!

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    I had ankle surgery 7 weeks ago, 11 screws and one plate. At the same surgery, I also got a plate in my toe and a tendon repaired. When my stitches were removed, the first thing that was scary was the saw to cut off cast. They cannot cut through to skin, so don't be afraid of that. I was scared of that the first time and I realize that can't happen with the extra white sock like padding between the cast and your skin. When they started to clip and remove my way too many stitches, I got faint. So a cold water cloth to my head did the trick. Tell them immediately if you get faint and the cool water cloth on the forehead will do wonders. I took pictures on my phone of my foot. I thought that would be cool, but realize that also got me faint. My foot looked bad, due to skin damage from the ice water machine used to ice foot inside of cast. Be brave, it only lasts a few minutes to get out stitches and recasted or whatever they want to do next. My ankle feels a bit better everyday. I am in week 8 today and I am walking with crutches and a walking boot, just ever so little weight on my ankle. I get to take off boot at night, feels awesome, compared to that tight cast!. I put walking boot on to use bathroom at night. I also use a knee scooter for inside of house, as needed. Use crutches or a walker outside of house.

    Hang in there! I feel for you and know the helpless and sad feelings. I went it totally alone for 2 weeks, and I even had to manage getting 2 dogs outside 3 times a day with a walker. That was painful and scary. You are in the worst stretch right now. I 2 weeks, it will get better. Hugs.

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  • Posted

    You are at the lowest point in time right now. Everything has set in, it is boring, it is frustrating, it is so strange to need other's help and feel like a burden.  Everyone here has felt what you feel at this point. It is uphill from here. Please trust us! We've been there. It does take time though, so you need to be patient and kind to your body. It is very busy working on fixing you!

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  • Posted

    Hello!  I am a 35yo male, otherwise healthy, and am 9 weeks post-op from a very similar surgery.  I also got very down and depressed during the first couple weeks after surgery.  Please know that you WILL get better, and sooner than you might currently think.  It seemed like it would take forever until I could be self-sufficient again.

    I just posted an update on my story in a comment to a thread I started a while back.  The thread was "1-Week Post-Ankle Surgery: When will I be able to lower my leg without massive swelling and pain??"  If you read the original post, and my comment posted today, you will see from my story that I really turned the corner at about week 3 and 4.  I am now at week 9 walking without crutches in a walking boot.

    I hope that my story will help you see that what you are going through is very normal, and that you will get through this faster than you think.  My biggest advice would to not let the horror stories that are out there (which are the exception, and not the normal case) make you lose hope.

    When I was really down, my wife (who went through an awful cancer journey at age 30) reminded me of advice she received when she was diagnosed - that you can either feel sorry for yourself, or be positive.  Choose to be positive.  I know that is easier said than done in your current position, but please stay positive.  You WILL get through this!!!

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    • Posted

      That is very touching and so true Andrew! In life it is a matter of how you look at things that makes all the difference. This is really the small stuff, which you so eloqently showed!
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  • Posted

    I am in the same boat as you. Same injury. I saw my surgeon last week already. I get my stitches out tomorrow. However one piece of advise. If they change your type of bandage, like going from very thick padding to something thinner, make sure they remold your splint cast. I ended up back in the er that same day at night because my splint cast no longer fit my ankle properly and by nightime the pain was a 10.
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  • Posted

    Hello everyone...thank you for the overwhelming welcome and all of your kind words and stories!

    It's so nice not to feel as alone in what feels like the worst event in my life thus far!

    The stitch removal wasn't painful, but I felt extremely faint from the tugging through skin sensation. I'll take pain over that any day!

    Stitches were removed, then put into a NWB sad cast for another 4 weeks, then hopefully boot and PT.

    Woke up multiple times with insane itching under my cast....it's unbearable! Idk what to do with myself, felt like gnawing away at the cast to get to the itch! Is this normal and how do you survive it?

    Also, when the splint was removed I had a large (6 inches) mark on top of my ankle from what I was told it was a blister that had popped...but it wasn't present before surgery...

    Has anyone experienced post surgery blisters or burns (it looked like a burn to me, nurse had carefully peeled darkened skin, etc.).

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    • Posted

      I had a big blister just like that. I used the iceman cold water machine that had a sleeve that was put under my first cast. I blame it on that. All of my skin was ice burnt. I am now in my walking boot since last week, and the blister is almost healed up, just some dark dried up skin on the edge of it, that's even after bathing it daily or every other day. The itching will be there for you. Hang in there. I am in walking boot and just starting week 8 post op. Some weightbearing with crutches/walker. Foot feels better every day.

      I got faint just like you with those stitches passing through the skin when they were removed. On my last cast removal, at 6 weeks, I finally wasn't faint. That was then into walking boot. I take my walking boot off in bed. The first 2 nights was awesome! No itching under a cast! No swelling feeling like ankle was busting through the cast. I slept so well those first two nights! Hang in there! Your situation sounds just like mine, I am just a few weeks ahead of you in time. We got this!

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    • Posted

      I had a blister too. It healed. Good luck with your second cast. Hang in there with the itching. In four weeks you will be in walking boot and your skin can breathe again.
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