This site has saved me from absolute despair and rotting my brain on daytime TV and celebrity blog posts. I fell while rollerblading very fast and trying a omplicated cross-over trick on February 12th. Ugh. At 3:59 pm exactly. It's a moment I will never forget. The world sort of slowed to a crawl as I went sprawling and I felt my right foot twist at a weird angle. I tried to get up right away, but discovered I could barely put any weight on my right leg at all. Had friends help me home, where I elevated and iced my leg, but it felt pretty bad.
The pain was tolerable, but every time I moved a bit, I would feel a crunching sensation. I also kept crying for no reason I could explain. Finally, I sucked up my denial and went to an emergency care clinic where x-rays showed a spiral fracture of the right fibula, but with no displacement of the bone. The ER doctor said I was very lucky, would not need surgery, but would need a cast and a visit to an OS. He made me a hard temporary leg splint, gave me some crutches and sent me on my way.
I was pretty freaked out. Let me say, broken bones hurt something terrible. First thing I learned was to stay on top of the pain medication! I tried to stretch out the time in between doses, and let too much time pass. I was rolling around on the floor the next morning I hurt so bad. So, took the pain med exactly as directed from then on for the first three days.
The first OS I went to came highly recommended. Waited forever in his waiting room, and when he finally came in he barely looked at me. Told me I needed surgery with a plate and screws on the fibula and his nurse would set up the outpatient OR time. I was kind of surprised because I had already been told by the ER doc I would probably not need surgery.When I questioned him, the OS gave me the evil eye and told me that if I did not have the surgery I would get arthritis for sure and then said, " You are such a pretty lady. Arthritis could really slow you down". Ick. I really,really wanted to get this broken leg on track to treatment, but this doctor gave me the creeps. He just would not listen to me. I was so lucky in that I had not been in a major accident, and that my break was relatively clean. I could afford to question my doctor. I went out to this OS's waiting room and began to talk to his patients. I know, probably out of line, but I needed to know I was putting myself in the right hands. Most patients had had plates in and were having chronic pain, or trouble with screws. They said they had not been sent for physical therapy and that they had trouble getting appoinments with the doctor. A staff nurse heard me chatting, came out to the waiting room and in the nicest way possible told me hush up and move on. She said I should not question, but trust the skill of the doctor and I would be fine.
The door had barely swung shut on that office when I hurried into the exam room of a second OS that had also come highly recommended. I had gotten copies of my x-rays at the emergency room, and from the first OS. This doc told me I absolutely should not have the surgery as the break was a spiral, but the bone was not displaced. She recommended a hard cast for 6 weeks, and did not feel physical therapy would be needed. She was nice, but very aggresive and kept pushing me toward the casting room and interrupting my questions. I took a deep breath, and hoped I was doing the right thing when I asked to hold off on the cast so I could get another opinion. I mean, how could one OS say I had to have surgery, and another say with the same conviction that I totally did not need it? I knew the bone was not shifted, and by this time I had the Vader boot on. One more try, and then I had to start treatment quickly.
I called around to every doctor friend I had and finally got the name of an OS who was the official team surgeon for a US Olympic team. Heck, I can't imagine elite athletes would tolerate shabby doctors. I pulled in a million favors, and was so lucky to find a buddy willing to drive me and my elevated leg in a van 6 hours to a ski resort where this OS worked. She was amazing. She confirmed that the fracture was a non displaced spiral fracture, and said I was lucky. She noted that I seemed to have very little tendon and ligament damage, which would help the recovery along much faster. She said not to use a cast because she wanted me to get accupuncture on the broken leg to reduce the swelling. I did have to keep the Vader boot on 95% of the time day or night for the first four weeks. She said that she could cast it, but was putting the choice to me. I chose not to cast, but I had to be very careful, very still and religious about wearing the boot. I went with the boot, accupuncture, gentle massage and forced stillness and elevation. This OS also roundly agreed that I absolutely did not need surgery....she felt that the risks of the surgery for the type of break I had far outweighed any benefit.For my case, I was told that a plate would get me up and moving faster, but if I did not need to get moving right away, I was better off not having surgery. She sat with me and recommended a diet that helped bones to heal, herbal treatments, explained what accupuncture was. She said that after the first 5 to 6 weeks, I would probably see some callous forming on the bone which meant I could then start physical therapy. My insurance did not cover the two extra doctor consults, but it would cover physical therapy. She patiently answered every question, spent time on risks/benefit and told me how to manage the Darth boot and use the crutches. I was instructed to wiggle my toes, but no movement of the ankle or flexing of the foot. Okay. She even counseled me on how to set up a mini living area in the house and told me I would have a tough time with the elevation and NWB, but not to give up.
Well, I decided to go with the OS for the Olympic team and hobbled out to the car for the long ride home. This OS had given me hope that I could recover, that I could manage some of my own care ( diet, moving restrictions,etc..) and told me what to expect. She'd identified every problem I could think of and told me how to manage. I was off to home, a borrowed recliner, a microwave and too many frozen Lean Cuisine dinners to count.