It has been some 4 months since I went under the knife (and chisel, spanner and mallet) and had the ilizarov frame bolted into and onto my leg.
By and large it has been a lot easier than I had feared. I’d had almost a year to prepare mentally and practically for the op so when the day finally came there was little shock at the appearance of the frame fitted to my leg and whilst it has been painful and uncomfortable and life limiting to large degrees, for the most part it has been easier than I had feared it might be.
The lowest point has to have been the pin infection I had shortly before Christmas. I’ve been taking daily morphine doses every day to cope with the pain of the frame but the pain from one nasty infection was greater than any pain I had experienced before. An infected nerve ending meant absolute agony of the worst kind. Morphine had no effect whatsoever and there were times when I would have gladly chosen an amputation had it been offered to me!
But eventually the antibiotics did their work and the infection abated, much to my relief! Another infection in a pin near my knee came soon after but it was much less serious and has caused only minor additional levels of discomfort.
And so the endgame approaches. On the 6th January I have a clinic appointment where, all being well I will get the green light to have the frame removed. I have been fully weight bearing through the fracture since the bolts were wound back in early December. This should mean the new bone and fracture has had time to stabilise and strengthen and that I can dispense with the frame.
I don’t know how soon after I might expect the operation but i do know it is a day surgery procedure performed under general anaesthesia. I’ll arrive with the leg frame on and leave later that day with it removed. That will be my real Christmas present and New Year’s wish all rolled into one.
I’l be able to wear jeans, lie on my side in med, do so many things that are either difficult, painful or plain impossible now. I will need some physio to get my knee bending once again. It’s been locked almost entirely straight for all this time and the lengthened leg means many muscles, ligaments and tendons in that leg will be very tight now. But that shouldn’t be a huge obstacle and the incentive of being able to sit on a chair with bended knee and drive once again will ensure I get that sorted as quickly as I can!
Below is an assortment of the various pin infections and other pin issues that are a day to day problem for those with ilizarov frames fitted. Anyone considering a limb lengthening procedure for cosmetic reasons (and there are many who do!) needs they’re head examined. Whilst it has not been as bad as I feared, it has by no means bean easy as my Twitter posts show. Many I time I’ve leant on my Twitter buddies for moral support when I’ve been at a low ebb.
WARNING: DO NOT click on these pics if you are squeamish!