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Old 06-01-2013, 07:16 AM   #1
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Ankle Reconstruction in 2wks... :-(

Hello,

I am scheduled for a total ankle reconstruction in 2 wks and hoping some of you will have some words of wisdom or tips/advice .

I'm going to be on bed rest for the first 2-3wks, in a cast for 12wks, NWB for 8wks and not able to drive.

Any suggestions as to what I should have on hand to make life easier while being on bed rest and while NWB? We've invested in a cold therapy unit for the immediate post op period . I'm a wimp when it comes to pain so hoping the cryotherapy unit combined with the pain med's will leave me with minimal pain.

I'm not one to lay around and do nothing....always have to be out and about doing things. This is going to a very mentally challenging few wks/months.

 
Old 06-01-2013, 07:46 AM   #2
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Re: Ankle Reconstruction in 2wks...:-(

Welcome to the boards and to the "club"! All of us here are very supportive and happy to answer any specific questions you have as you prepare for and go through the surgical process. There is a "sticky" near the top of the thread topics list that has an I depth conversation and suggestion on items you will need or want to have in place to make life while NWB tolerable. It is a long thread, but worth the read, I found it very helpful when I was preparing for my ankle ligament reconstruction surgery.

Many of us here have been in your "shoes" and are happy to answer any and all questions you have. One tip I suggest is that when you do have questions for the group, be as specific as possible, giving specific details will help us be able to give better answers to your questions. And of course feel free to hop on the threads other's have started that may be of interest to you as they may also help provide tips and answers also.

Since you will be NWB for an extended period of time and you ha e stated that you are a mover not a couch potato, you should look into getting a knee scooter! Be sure to get the kind that is steerable, in other words the kind that has handle bars similar to a bicycle. I rented mine online and found it invaluable! However the first two or three weeks you won't feel like doing much but being a slug and only moving from bed/couch to the bathroom a d back, but after that you will find the scooter to be much more helpful and less painful than using crutches all the time. I have had a long history of using crutches and am very skilled at using them, but this was the first time I have used a scooter. It was so helpful that I did not want to return it when my rental time expired. I live in a small single story house with some tight for Srs and spaces, so I found the SwivelMate model worked best for me and it has large enough wheels and a lower center of gravity that makes it very stable and useful outdoors as well.

Sorry for the long reply. I know you will find this community very helpful in answering your questions and helping you through the journey you are embarking upon. I hope that all goes well for you And that you will soon be on the road to a happy, healthy recovery. ��
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:53 AM   #3
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Re: Ankle Reconstruction in 2wks...:-(

Thanks. I will definately give the sticky a read. My husband fortunately has a fantastic boss and was able to get 3wks off to stay home and look after me for the first 3wks.

I looked into the knee walker and unfortunately we are not able to rent them here. Purchase only at a cost of over $400 :-( I'll have to master the crutches once I'm off bed rest or look into renting a wheel chair. We've purchased a bath chair for the tub...showers would likely be easier but our main bathroom has a corner jetted tub and no shower. The shower is downstairs in the guest bathroom, so I won't have easy access to that.

I'm thinking I will also cook up a bunch of meals ahead of time and freeze them so my hubby doesn't have to cook every night. We have 3 kids that like to eat..all boys of course and ages 12.12 and 13. A big grocery run is a must prior to the surgery I think.

I'm going to hire someone to clean and do laundry etc once my husband goes back to work. Make things a little easier on him as I'm sure he's going to find this a frustrating and trying process for him as well.

I am not sure what the procedure I am having done is called but he did explain what's going to be done. I am having tendon harvested from my leg, my achilles lengthened, holes/pathways drilled in my fibula, tibialis and calcaneus to route the new ligaments and screws to anchor the new ligaments and tendons to the bones. He said it will a 2-4hr surgery and a full recovery is 4-6months.

Very anxious about it and worried about the pain afterwards. Hoping it won't be as bad as I'm anticipating and keep telling myself that I need to keep a positive mental attitude to get through it. Someone told me to look forward to all the milestones...like getting off bed rest, beginning to ambulate, getting the stitches out, getting the cast off etc and to not look long term but just take it day by day as every day will get easier then the day before.

 
Old 06-01-2013, 09:55 AM   #4
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Re: Ankle Reconstruction in 2wks...:-(

Welcome to the board or "bored" which will happen being nwb for a long time. I bought all my medical aids because my Dr said it would cost more to rent for as long as I was going to need them. Except the wheelchair and walker and crutches that my insurance provided. I got a commode for over the toilet with arm rests to help getting up since I've had knee problems and didn't to make it worse. Got a shower chair and a suction wall grip to help get in and out of the tub. The knee scooter is definitely a must I bought mine online new for $222 free shipping. You can find used cheaper and there may be an organization in your city that helps or lends out medical equipment. I would use it all the time but since my foot has to be elevated 90% of the time I use the wheelchair with the leg lift when I want to be up for a while. This board is a great place for support and for advice and when you need to vent, one way or another, someone here knows your pain. A smart phone, tablet or laptop is a great companion, games, books, magazines, movies and of course tv will help with the boredom. Also be real nice to your family and friends you're going to need them alot. Good luck and keep us posted!
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Old 06-01-2013, 10:34 AM   #5
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Re: Ankle Reconstruction in 2wks...:-(

Thanks....I expect I will become a frequent flyer of the boards here...lol Nice to know there are plenty of other NWB cast confined people out there. Who better to be able to understand what its like then someone else who's going through the same thing.

 
Old 06-01-2013, 03:58 PM   #6
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Re: Ankle Reconstruction in 2wks...:-(

Hi if you can't get a knee scooter at least get a walker with a seat my ins paid for it. You can put your knee on the seat. Another thing to consider for the middle of the night is a bedside commode. I've seen those at goodwill. Trust me at first you will love it. Be sure to wear a good shoe on the other foot so you don't slip. You want to make sure you pivot it's easy to twist that knee or for the bottom of the good foot to get sore cuz you are putting all your weight on it.

Also if you can get one of those things to put on your toilet seat to make it higher it makes it a lot easier getting up. Unless you're real atletic.

A grabber is good to have to pick up things.

Good luck cathy

 
Old 06-01-2013, 04:15 PM   #7
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Re: Ankle Reconstruction in 2wks...:-(

Quote:
Originally Posted by noevr View Post
Hi if you can't get a knee scooter at least get a walker with a seat my ins paid for it. You can put your knee on the seat. Another thing to consider for the middle of the night is a bedside commode. I've seen those at goodwill. Trust me at first you will love it. Be sure to wear a good shoe on the other foot so you don't slip. You want to make sure you pivot it's easy to twist that knee or for the bottom of the good foot to get sore cuz you are putting all your weight on it.

Also if you can get one of those things to put on your toilet seat to make it higher it makes it a lot easier getting up. Unless you're real atletic.

A grabber is good to have to pick up things.

Good luck cathy


Hi Cathy,

It's funny that you mentioned the walker with the seat. We just bought one. I got looking at them and thought I'd be able to do just what you said...put my knee on the seat.

We were also considering a commode. Undecided on that one. Our insurance will pay for all of the items we have to buy.

Sooo many things to consider, think about , buy and prepare.

 
Old 06-02-2013, 09:53 AM   #8
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Re: Ankle Reconstruction in 2wks...:-(

Good Luck with your procedure! I am currently just over 5 weeks non weight bearing with another 3 to go, almost there . From one active person to another, my experience was that the first bit isn't too bad as you won't feel like doing anything other than resting, but once you start feeling better, that's when it begins to be a little frustrating. I am not good at asking for help, so that was a huge lesson for me at first, having to ask and rely on others to do things for me. Thanks for family and good friends!! I began calling my frustrated moments as being "castaphobic" hehe , i had moments of mild anxiety when letting myself focus on my cast because it was keeping me from things I used to take for granted, like showering standing, driving, carrying my own food, cleaning, running, etc... When we are healthy, we take for granted all of the little things we are able to do, it's a real eye opener!

All in all, time will go by faster than you think, it will feel slow in the moment, but when looking back, you'll be amazed. When/If you start to get frustrated, just remember, this time is worth it in the long run, you will be a healthier, stronger person on the other side of this, and these few months are nothing in comparison to the time you will enjoy after you are healed!! Good Luck!

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Old 06-02-2013, 12:51 PM   #9
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Re: Ankle Reconstruction in 2wks...:-(

Hi FLIN.

Thank you for that msg. Like you, I am not good at asking anyone for help. Miss independant here...aside from being anxious about the pain I'm going to be in, the inability to 'fend' for myself is going to be the most difficult I think. Not being able to be physically active for a good 12wks if not longer is a real downer as well. No cycling, no running, no swimming, no walking>>>NOTHING! :-(

When I finally get through this I'm sure I will have a much greater appreciation for everything that we do indeed take for granted. I was expecting to be going in for a simple tendon repair...boy was I shocked to find out I needed an entire ankle reconstruction.

I'm struggling with my ability to keep a positive attitude about this and I havent even had the surgery yet. Today I woke up and started my day thinking how I only have 2wks of freedom left then I'm literally going to feel like a caged animal or that I'm in jail. Then I start worrying about how my leg and ankle are going to look because of all the incisions and the size of incisions he needs to make. I don't expect its going to look like a very pretty ankle/leg for many months , if it ever looks good again. I hate that I'm thinking about things like that....all the negatives and non of the positives.

I'm worried about something going wrong...I'm sure that's normal for anyone going for surgery. I've had minor surgeries in the past (2 knee scopes/debridment) but never had anything as invasive or extensive as this done, the worry is consuming me.

Coming to this board and hearing everyone else's stories and reading positive replies such as yours helps tremendously. I'm sure I will be spending ALOT of time here in the coming wks/months.

Thank you for your reply...helps put things into perspective a little more and makes me think that maybe this won't be as terrible as I think it's going to be.

I wish you well with your recovery and hope you are back on your feet in no time.

 
Old 06-03-2013, 12:07 PM   #10
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Re: Ankle Reconstruction in 2wks...:-(

Giving up your independence is the worse, the first few weeks my husband wouldn't let me do anything, he was very over protective. After about 3 weeks he has mellowed some (after some heartfelt discussions). And will now let me do the few things im capable of, myself. We are /were active people, go to the gym, mtn bike, ride atvs, walk, but for me that's not possible, but he wouldn't even leave me alone to workout. Which was frustrating since I didn't want to hold him back.

I think I listed above all the medical equipment I got to help make life easier during my recovery and I'm so glad I have every one of them. But I'm also probably a lot older than you which makes a huge difference, that and a lot of other previous injuries that hinder my ability to use everything as well.

Being concerned about the surgery is a valid concern, but most likely everything will go just fine. The pain is controllable, and you learn to deal with the boredom. I saw 6 amazing women who all lost limbs in the Boston marathon bombing, on tv the other day. That kind of put things in perspective for me. Not that I don't have an occasional pity party, and then I usully come on here and read posts and reply to many, since what else have I got to do
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Last edited by mnags; 06-03-2013 at 12:14 PM.

 
Old 06-04-2013, 05:18 AM   #11
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Re: Ankle Reconstruction in 2wks...:-(

Thanks Mnags. I'm sure I'm "overthinking" it and expecting it to be much worse then what it actually will be....the fear of the unknown right.

I don't expect I'll feel like doing anything but laying in bed 24/7 the first week post op so that first week will be tolerable...lol. But once I start feeling better its gonna kill me.

Google is not my friend right now either...lol.....I think in this case ignorance is bliss and the less I see/know about whats going to be done to me the better.

Do the screws stay in forever or do they get removed later on down the road? After the first 2-3wks will the pain/throbbing be tolerable to that I'll be able to be up and around or it will it still be bad enough to keep me on the couch/bed with my leg elevated. I'm hoping the cryotherapy unit will really help the first 3wks and help the pain/swelling decrease quickly. I'm wondering if I'll be able to go in the pool once the stitches and surgical dressing are out/off and I go into a cast. If I get a waterproof cast protector I'm hoping I'll be able to at least go in the pool with the kids and hubby for short spurts here and there.

 
Old 06-04-2013, 05:32 AM   #12
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Re: Ankle Reconstruction in 2wks...:-(

I've already "warned" my hubby that I don't want to hovered over and constantly have people here doing things for me...that will drive me insane. I can't stand being dependant on anyone for anything and don't like being the center of attention. So Jeff....YOUR MOM CAN'T MOVE IN FOR A MONTH....haha! She's the type that will be here wanting to do everything but that would just totally annoy me.

 
Old 06-04-2013, 07:06 AM   #13
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Re: Ankle Reconstruction in 2wks...:-(

I don't know about your screws, mine are permanent unless they cause problems. I have pins that will come out in 5 weeks. Everyones surgery, is different so I can't tell you what to expect as far as pain. Mine was only really bad they first 3-4 days. As long as I do what Dr ordered, keep it elevated 90% of the time it doesn't hurt. If I'm up with it more than a few minutes I can feel it begin to swell and throb, and shooting pains. So since I want it to heal right I'm following Drs orders. As far as people helping this experience will humble you and you might have to let them do more than you think for longer than you think. I've had several other surgeries including 2back, 2 shoulder, and knee, not to mention other injuries from flying over the handle bars of my mtn bike to flipping mt 400 lb atv on top of me. And never have I needed as much help as I have this time. But that all depends on what your Dr recommends. And how you feel. Hopefully you will be able to all you plan to do, just don't set yourself up for disappointment, this process is hard enough without adding to it. Not trying to be negative, yours may be completely different and you will be able to do more, I certainly hope so, lm just speaking from my own experience.
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Old 06-06-2013, 07:56 AM   #14
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Re: Ankle Reconstruction in 2wks...:-(

Asked Dr about the screws and they are permanent unless they cause a problem.

I've decided not to set myself up (as you said) for disappointment. I'm expecting a slow recovery and just need to keep reminding myself that it won't last forever and my ankle will let me know when it's ready for me to start doing things. I will be gracious to those who come and offer help, as much as I'd rather do for myself....I will need their help and just have to accept that.
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Old 06-06-2013, 11:10 AM   #15
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Re: Ankle Reconstruction in 2wks...:-(

Like I said your recovery plan and time will be totally different than mine, totally different surgeries. But, ankle reconstruction sounds pretty serious. Your positive attitude is great and I'm guessing you'll probably recover better than most. It's really hard not doing things for yourself but like you said its not forever and surely you'd want to help someone in your family or a friend if they were incapacitated, you'll just owe some favors when this is over, I sure do. And when it all starts feeling overwhelming just get on here and let it out, we've all been there
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