Thursday, August 03, 2006

Broken ankle, broken pelvis, broken sacrum, sigh

On July 14 I was in a car accident. A 4x4 GMC truck smashed into the passenger side of my Matrix. Unfortunately, I was the passenger. I have searched online for stories of other people's trials and adventures with a talus fracture and I have come up with very slim pickings. So, just in case there are other people out there searching for information on a person's adventures with a talus fracture and trying to heal from one, here is my story.
Yes, this was a mostly devoted to knitting blog, but I haven't been knitting too much lately due to some changes in living situations. Now that I have been stuck in bed, I haven't felt like knitting all that much. I find it uncomfortable to knit while laying down. Sitting is a also not very comfortable as I have a few pelvic fractures and sacrum (tail bone area) fractures on the right side. Ankle fracture is on the left side. So, needless to say, there is no comfortable position for me these days. I can lie on my back for a short while, turning on my right side is painful, turning on my left is difficult because of the cast. Lying on my stomach is comfortable for my back, but I can't seem to find a good position for the leg in a cast. So, 4 more weeks of this torture then I will be in a boot. Which, considering that I will have to be in the boot for 23 hours of the day, it probably will not be much better.
So, about the accident. We were driving home, turning left and did not see the truck in the oncoming lane. An "Oh, Shit" later and we were hit. I remember not being able to breath, thinking that I was going to die, then someone telling me that help was on the way. I must have passed out. Well, my ankle was hurting, my back was hurting and my chest was hurting. My husband, the driver, undid my seatbelt for me because I asked him to. He was trying to reassure me that we were going to be okay. Very scared, he asked me how I was every 5 minutes. After a while, I wasn't up to answering and was giving him a thumbs up. The paramedics or firefighters (really not sure which) cut the door off my car and got me out of the car. A trip to the ER revealed a talus fracture.
Me, not knowing much about a talus fracture thought all I needed was a cast and I would be back to work on Monday. The ER PA looked at me sadly and said "This is going to need surgery. You need to contact an orthopedic surgeon on Monday to get this taken care of ASAP." He gave me the name of an OS, Dr. Hayden, and informed me that Dr. Hayden would call me the next day, Saturday, to discuss the injury. I went home still with the hopes that this would be an easy fix. I worked in an orthopedic office for 5 years. I knew a great orthopedic who specialized in feet and ankles who surely would know the quickest and best way to handle this particular fracture.
Dr. Hayden phoned me on Saturday morning. He stated that
the talus, not a good thing to break. It has a very weak blood supply. In breaks of the talus, the blood supply is usually severed and non-renewing. There is, in fact, only a 10% chance that this blood supply would renew and the bone would heal to its previous glory. He offered to fix it for me, I thanked him for his help and told him that I knew a good surgeon who could help me out. He wished me well.
I hung up the phone and promptly burst into tears. It finally dawned on me that this fracture was not a simple wrap it in a cast and be on your way. So, I called a doctor I knew, Dr. Guess who is a back surgeon. He told me to relax, take my pain meds, get some rest and come into the office on Monday to see Dr. Heier. On Monday, Dr. Heier worked me in between surgeries. He was no more hopeful than Dr. Hayden. Dr. Heier told me the same thing, bad supply, bad bone to break, the bone will probably die and I will probably have arthritis in that ankle. But, we can definitely fix the break. Okay, Dr. Heier, thanks!
Surgery went well. It took 6 pins and a plate, but the bone fits into its rightful place in my ankle now. I am not quite sure how much of what is in there is actual bone, but there is something filling that space now and it isn't a bunch of bone spread about however it wanted. I was in a plaster splint for about 5 days then I was placed into a fiberglass cast for another week. I had the stitches removed this past Tuesday and I was placed into another fiberglass cast that I will be in for 4 weeks. A little window was cut into the top of my cast for my bone stimulator to fit into with the hopes that the bone will heal faster. The cast is torture, rubbing and pressuring spots that I find quite annoying. I can't walk and it feels like I will be in this predicament forever! It is hard to be optimistic when you know the chances. It is a waiting game now. Waiting to see if the bone heals, waiting to see if the blood supply renews, waiting to see if the bone is going to just die and calcify. Just waiting.
So, in short, if you are in the Dallas area and have a talus fracture seek out a surgeon who specializes in foot and ankle surgery for repair. Dr. Keith Heier in Carrollton is great. Talk to your surgeon at length. Get his best and worst case scenarios along with the percentages of a best scenario. Get it repaired as quickly as possible. Then hope for the best.
I will keep you posted as to how everything is healing. Email me or comment if you have a question or if you have been there and have some advice on how to cope.


Chrissy said...

Oh my gosh! That sounds like quite the ordeal. I really hope it heals up properly. I'll be thinking of you. Keep us posted on your progress.

David said...

Hi there and i thought i was the only one as well.First off how are you feeling,swelling,cast discomfort these are all normal things and the swelling takes the longest to go away even after you get the cast off and the boot.As for the cast discomfort the main problem is that it rubs the incision site and irritates it and causes discomfort.Sleeping is terrible,never a good positions,try putting your foot on a pillow.As for the stimulator i had the same thing,how many hours do you use it for per week?it takes a while for the results but it will show,just do as the doctor says.Please feel free to e-mail me,

Anonymous said...

i spent alot of time researching talus fractures as well. My husband has fractured his, and displaced another bone. His surgery is tommorrow and i wondered so much about how is cast would look, and if the pins used were internal or in a housing of some sort. Thank you for posting your experience. Ill be sure to come here and indicate his experience. RLH - Texas

lee allen said...

hi my name is lee allen i'm from scotland i broke my talus 3 months ago and had to have surgery with 3 screws being put in place i would like to know how you are coping with this and how you have healed if you could get bk to me my email is

dave said...

Hi, I hope you are doing as well as can be expected. My 23 year old daughter was in a car accident 10 days ago. She fractured her left talus, broke her left tibia and also broke her right foot. She had emergency surgery that day on her left foot (an external fixator) right foot surgery was 4 days later, a plate and 2 screws. She has gone to an extended care facility until the swelling on her left foot goes down enough to have surgery, they are talking bone grafts, pins, rods, and screws. We are very much afraid of the outcome, short and long term. We will follow this blog and leave updates.

father of Laura

wilsonfamily said...

Hi! I randomly found your blog. I was also in a car accident (in 1993) and suffered from a broken sacrum, pelvis and talus. I currently have "foot drop" due to nerve damage from my injuries. I wear an AFO (brace) on my left leg. I'm curious to know how you are feeling now. Write me back if you want to talk.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I saw myself when I came across this blog. I was in a car accident in Dec. 1982, broke my pelvis and other bones, I have had 2 major surgeries for this, I have a lazy leg and just did a grade III sprain to my right ankle, broke the foot 5 years ago. I have had to have a colostomy due to these injuries and on it goes. They are now trying to find a traumatic surgeon who will try to fix my lower right pelvis, a bone graft did not take. It has been a long haul.

Bill Cartwright said...

My wife was in an accident Wednesday, and will need surgery to repair her broken talus. Something was dislocated so they reset that and have to wait for the swelling to go down.

Anonymous said...

Seven months ago brother picked me up from work. on are way home we were tboned by a drunkdriver . in a truck.
i was knocked out on impact (truck hit on my side) and I do not recall anything.
i spent 2 weeks in the hospital.
i suffered many fractures to my pelvis . a broken sacrum . 4 broken ribs and a punchured lung. i spent 3 months laying in a hospital bed in my living room. trying to get comfortable was impossible.

JackInTheBox said...

Hello there, My wife broke her Talus bone last week in a car accident and her surgery is next week. Just wanted to check with you to see, if you are doing fine after 4years of ur surgery?

Deva said...

Still doing great after just about 4 years.
I haven't been to see the doctor in over a year. I have some popping, some discomfort, some stiffness and occasional "locking" these days. Nothing debilitating, though I will probably have arthroscopic surgery on that ankle before the year is out to see if I can get better ROM and improve some of the above symptoms.