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Friday, January 31, 2014

ankle hardware removal surgery: part 1

I don't even know how to start this post...

I'm really really happy. Last night I was up for like 4 hours, between 1-5am, just feeling happy that I'm finally at the beginning of the end of this thing. SO! HERE WE GO (This is kind of long, so I've broken it into part 1 & 2...even though both parts are long too. I figure if you care, you really care, if you don't, you'll move along):

The Night Before: My sweet papabear came up from Eugene (a town 2 hours away) the night before and we hung out, had veggie burgers, talked. As I do every night I took my vitamins. 5 minutes later I realized HOLY SHIT THE NURSE TOLD ME NOT TO TAKE MY VITAMINS THE NIGHT BEFORE SURGERY. Should I throw them up? Dad said no. We googled "which vitamins to avoid before surgery" - lo and behold, omega 3's were on there, and I took fish oil. "May cause excessive bleeding". Awesome. I called the hospital and spoke to receptionist who supposedly asked the night nurse about it and they gave me a bullshit answer that vitamins are fine as long as I didn't take ginkgo. I called my surgeon's on-call number and spoke to his assistant. She put my mind at ease. But I was still nervous. It made me have to poop, so I did - which is good considering after the first surgery I didn't poop for like a week. 

Game Day: My check in time was 7:45a, with a surgery time of about 9:45a (I was awake at like 6a). I pooped again in the morning - I think my body was preparing for the worst (bodies are SO SMART). My dad and J took me to the hospital, I checked in, put my gown on and got and in bed. Shortly after the nurse came and took my weight, vitals, and health history (shout out to J for being my photog). 

I told each nurse (there were 2) about vitamin incident - they both seemed to think it was fine. I also told some other random guy who brought me some paperwork to sign. 

God: Eventually the Chaplain came in - even though I told the nurse who called me a few days beforehand that it wasn't necessary - and I told them when I checked in. He asked me what kind of name "Mihal Freinquel" was, and when I told him it was Hebrew he became noticeably uncomfortable. 
"Oh...well...I've been to Israel...I know some people there," he tried to assure me...or something.
"Oh really?" I said. "Cool." 
"I wish somebody had told me you were Jewish, I have prayer cards especially for my Jewish patients." 
"Well, I'm actually non-practicing, so no worries," I said, trying to set the obviously squirmy man of God at ease. 
"Well you know," he went on, "most people in Israel are actually not religious...it's really just the Hassidic people who are." 

I feigned interest in the bullshit that just came out of his mouth. He eventually thanked me for letting him come talk to me, wished me well, and practically ran out of the room - far away from the awkward Jewish girl with no soul. 

The IV and Dr. Gellman: Right when the nurse began to put the IV in, myleastfavoritepartIhateneedlesohmygod, Dr. Gellman - my superhero surgeon - walked in. As promised, I checked with him one more time to make sure he didn't wanna take the plate in the back out. He said "I'm sure you're sure that you don't want me to." That shut me up. Ugh, I love him. Then he started going over how to change the dressings on the wound, how to take care of it, etc. It was sweet because he was clearly trying to distract me from the needle going into my arm, however, all I could think about was the needle so I heard nothing he said. Whatever. Thankfully my pops caught it. 

Anesthesia/The Operation: Gellman left and the anesthesiologist - who was probably 12 years old - came in. I told him about the vitamins. He said no big whoop. Then they rolled me to the OR. Dad and J kissed me on the forehead and I didn't cry this time. Last time I was unconscious by the time I got to the OR. This time I was a little loopy, but fully aware. I switched beds myself and breathed into that face mask you see on TV. Before I was put under, I asked the staff in there if they watched Grey's Anatomy. One guy said he'd seen 2 episodes. The gal said she prefers House. And the other guy said he likes Scrubs because it's the most realistic. They all said I'd have no recollection of that conversation when I woke up from surgery. FALSE. 

on to part 2...


  1. Hi there,
    10-26-14 A man ran a red light after he was at a complete stop. My two children and i were struck in our vehicle. My kids thankfully walked away with minor scrapes. Me on the other hand was taken to the hospitol. My tibia shattered like a dry peice of wood leaving loads pf bone fragments in the muscle. My fibia was shattered aswell. I have a rod from knee to ankle and a 6 screw plate in my fibia. My Tibia has had 3 bone graphs. My face is scarred up abit aswell. I healed from the accident. And in Jan 2016 my meniscus in my other leg tore due to the added pressure from limping. So on 3-1-16 i had right meniscus surgery and left fibia hardwear removal. So double leg surgery. i was floored when they said i would walk out of this surgery. But hey, hey!! They were right. Not too well but i am walking. i have nerve damage all thru out my foot and knees now. Just the water hitting the top of my foot feels like little stabs. I have lupus so when i had the the bone graphs i had to use my hip. Cadaver is not an option to me. Right noq i have 16 Staples in my ankle.Im wearing a airvast boot on my left foot. I'm not sure if it right but i take it off for bed. Its been a long hard 15 months and i still have rehab left. I'm not on medication apart from the post-op meds. i am fearful that i am gonna have more surgies. I have had 5 so far. I was just curious if anyone has gone thru this. I am so grateful to read people who have simular stories. i know i sound ungrateful. Im not im so glad me and my family are alive and well. It has been hard i am a single mom with no physical or fanancial help. oh and whats your thoughts on sleeping with the aircast on?? thanks so much for your stories.

    1. I'm so sorry to hear about your story Meghann! To answer your question, I didn't sleep with the cast on, it was too uncomfortable! I slept with it elevated for a really long time, until I figured out how to use pillows to support my ankle in other positions.

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  3. Hi mihal my mum had operations on 11th Jan 2017 for removal implants on her ankle.She's a diabetes pt n her wound getting dry day by day.I'm juz wondering is she can walk or need to wait for 6 weeks then she can put weight bearing.Tq

    1. This is definitely a question for a doctor or physical therapist :)

  4. Hello , thanks for all this information, I feel so much more relaxed after seeing this . I broke my tibia and fibula and tore every possible ligament in my ankle on Nov 11th . I go into have 2 screws removed tomorrow a.m . I hope to be up and doing yoga soon 😊

  5. Hi I had my plates,screws, rod and some bone removed from my ankle / leg 10 days ago. I had two types of infection between bone and hardware. One is a form of merca not sure on other. Surgery took 1 hour and 35 minutes my leg was very bruised even up above my knee from holding it still to remove the hardware and bone. I have had an infusion of antibiotics that last 21 days then I have to go back for another IV infusion. Also taking another antibodics 3 times a day for 42 days along with self administrated shots for 21 days. Tylenol 1000 mg 3 times a day and oxycodone every 4 hrs. For pain which isn't bad at all. I go back in on the 30th to have outer stitches removed I am NON WEIGHT BEARING and have not been told for how long. Is this case similar to anyone else wanting to know when I can start putting some weight on it again. This is my second break on same ankle first time was a breeze to get thru recover was long second time it never healed from the surgery surgeron said I had nerve damage that was in july of 2015 I finally found a surgeron willing to fix it on January 17th 2018. I just want to wake up to a leg that isn't seeping fluids or hurting so bad I don't wanna get out of bed. Due mainly to infection and the ridiculous amount of metal he put in my leg with metal and swelling was 3 times size of the other ankle regularly before surgery. Hoping for a great ending this time hard to work 10 hrs a day on this thing