A tale of Old Ilizarovs from Australia Number Four
As related via e-mail to me and his family and associates by
Mark Northage
Hi Friends,

It's taken me a while, but here is the latest leg bulletin:

Last Wednesday I went back to Royal Brisbane Hospital for my 5th operation since 15th January 1997. This one would be blessedly short. It took over 7 hours to exchange my old nail for a new one and put the Ilizarov frame on - a bit like underpinning your house. But inserting the 3 locking screws in the nail and removing the frame is like making toast by comparison.

In the waiting area, Dr Holt visited to reassure me he would make my leg the right length. Well, within 5mm, anyway. He seemed to think I wouldn't mind being a bit taller (the cheek of it) on one side. This is indeed the most likely outcome since I wound on so much length and he has to lock the pin before removing the frame...

True to predictions, I was back on the ward by 5pm, dreamy on narcotics and too sleepy to eat till next morning. Thursday morning, I was out of bed by 9.30am after a hospital breakfast and careening on crutches to the shower with plastic covering the offending leg. Yes, no frame, only a few bandages covering various holes. I was amazed how easily the leg seemed to be coping with this op', but then again, I am a seasoned campaigner...

The fact that I could get around meant an immediate discharge as soon as they'd redressed my wounds and pumped another bag of antibiotics thru' my drip. I quickly arranged for sis' to pick me up. At last, I could wear boxer shorts again!

The guy in the bed next to mine turned out to be a Christian with a crushed disc in his lower back. It had been operated on already and he wasn't too mobile at first. We swapped travel and litigation stories for hours (me waiting for my ride) and he improved noticeably. Ah, the healing power of competitive raconteuring...

So, it's been 9 days now and things get better each day. Knee bend is up from about 45 degrees to nearly 95. Took my stitches out this morning and all the holes are healing nicely. I took photos to prove it...

Of course, there's a long way to go yet. Apart from rehabilitating my very weak leg (physio' appointment Monday) the whole bone growth thing continues with avengeance. Neither the break nor the osteotomy are anywhere near 'closed' or united. The osteotomy will take from 2 to 6 months to close and harden. Remember, it has about 35mm to cover! The break could heal any time.

Meanwhile, my uncle-ing skills grow apace as does my (unplanned) preparation for parenthood...

Thank you for your continued prayers, support and emails! Luke 8:25

Love to all

Mark


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