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Ankle Total Ankle Replacement Journey

KCDewie

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Well today was the day of the operation. I am staying overnight and returning to my hotel room tomorrow. You see, I had the surgery done at Duke Ortho in Durham, NC and I live in NH. I have a follow up on 05/23 and then heading home 5/24.

Everything went well. They hit me with 2 nerve blocks. One is shorter lasting and the other can last 3 days, with some saying it lasts much longer. So I can't move my toes at all. There is some kind of TENS unit working on the numb calf, though I can't tell. On the other calf is a pressure cuff the inflates, de-inflates every 30 seconds or so. Not bother some. Almost like an all day massage!!

I tried uploading some pics but it gets to 100% and then says that it failed. No idea why!

In any case, last night I had to shower and then scrub down my whole body (only with the sponge side) with the same things the Dr.s use before the surgery. Then you stand there for 3 - 5 mins at the end of the tub so the water doesn't hit you, and then rinse off. I had to do the same thing this morning.

In the instructions it mentioned removing a "Nail Pick" so I was nervous about opening it. :) Turns out it's only a plastic piece used by the Dr.s to clean under their finger nails.

If I think of more to share I will. And if anyone has hints on uploading pics, I'm all ears!
 

Jockette

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Welcome to Recovery!

You need to reduce the size of your pictures, then they will upload fine.

Best wishes for a great recovery!
 

Jamie

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Thanks for all the details of your experience and I'm glad to hear you are doing okay so far. We'll be eager to hear anything you want to share because we don't get a lot of ankle patients yet. So please share as much as you want. Photos will be great if you can get them posted. I'm sure Jockette and Pumpkln are correct that your picture file was probably a bit too large for our system to handle. Just save it to a lower resolution and it should reduce the file size.
 
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KCDewie

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Screen Shot 2019-05-22 at 8.00.31 PM.png Screen Shot 2019-05-22 at 7.57.57 PM.png Screen Shot 2019-05-22 at 8.20.58 PM.png Screen Shot 2019-05-22 at 8.16.41 PM.pngScreen Shot 2019-05-22 at 8.12.54 PM.png
So what do we have here? First is the right ankle before surgery. Second is the left leg with a pressure cuff that inflates and de-inflates every 30 seconds or so. Third is the ankle they operated on, post-surgery, with the associated TENS unit. Then the scar unveiled during re-dressing and finally the Duke blue cast, again with the TENS unit. No pain yet. I am on a 96 hour nerve block. The short term nerve block is wearing off so I can wiggle my toes.
 

Jamie

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Glad you were able to upload your photos. They are very interesting and helpful for us, since we don't see a lot of ankle replacement patients (not YET, anyway). Hopefully the nerve block will successfully get you through the first days which can be the worst for pain. Make sure you communicate any pain quickly so that medication will be adequate to stay ahead of it. You don't want to wait until you're really hurting to ask for pain meds.

I hope things continue to go well for you.
 
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KCDewie

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Thanks, I already have the pain meds but no need for them yet.
 

Jockette

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That’s awesome that you don’t need those pain meds!
 
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KCDewie

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Well, so far, still no pain. But I do feel nauseous most of the time, but I'll take that over the pain. Also, I have been sweating through night clothes and sheets every night. Last night was better so we will see how that goes.
 

Jamie

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If you're on prescription pain medication, that can cause some of the night sweats. It's usually temporary, so try and hang in there.
 

Jaycey

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@KCDewie Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Hope you continue to get pain relief from the block. Are you allowed to bear any weight on your new ankle yet?
 
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KCDewie

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Well it's been a day over two weeks. I had the cast and stitches removed. There is still quite a bit of swelling and the stitches were quite tight so a little harder than normal to remove. I did not go back to Duke for this cast change but will on July 1, at 6 weeks. The Dr. in NH thought that the redness was a little concerning and is putting me on a 10 day antibiotic. In 10 days I will go back to see him to make sure the ankle is less red and less swollen and get another new cast. I messaged the Dr.'s at Duke with some pictures and they thought everything looked normal and there was no need for the antibiotics. However, I am going to err on the side of caution. I really don't want my ankle infected so I will take the meds. The pic with the tape was taken just before the new cast went on. The color actually looks a lot better already without the meds.
 

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KCDewie

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@Jaycey, no weight yet. They want me to wait until the 6 week mark. Then I think I am getting a walking boot.
 

Jaycey

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@KCDewie Thanks for your update. I guess it's better to be cautious with the swelling and redness. Are you allowed to ice your ankle at all to cut down on the swelling? Hope you get that boot soon!
 
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KCDewie

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@Jaycey I'm sure I could ice it but would have to be careful not to get the cast wet. The ankle doesn't bother me so it's just not worth the effort. :) . However, when I go back a week from today, I will get a waterproof cast.
 
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KCDewie

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Second cast change. Looks a lot better. Could not put on a waterproof cast because the wound was still a little bit open. Only 2+ weeks until the cast comes off for good!
 

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marieltha

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Thanks for sharing your recovery and the pictures.
What antibiotic did they prescribe as a precaution?
Good luck with your continued improvement!
 
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KCDewie

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@marieltha oxycodone. Now I have to get rid of it somehow!! Rather that than having to take them because of pain!!

Administrative note: Oxycodone is an opioid pain medication, not an antibiotic.
 
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KCDewie

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So I took off my cast today. I am visiting the Dr. on Monday and have to fly there. So I asked them if it was ok to take it off, use the walking boot I have, AND my crutches until I get there. I have to fly to Raleigh so thought it would be easier without the cast. They said it was ok but didn't want me to take the cast off myself. But after watching them do it twice already, I figured I'd save a trip to the Dr. The ankle and foot look much better and now I get to take a shower without wrapping the top of the cast with a towel and duct tape, and then a garbage bag over that!! YAHOO!!!!
 

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KCDewie

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Cast off, stitches gone, as well as, the steri-strips. Now the real work begins. Have been walking on it some with the walking boot and crutches. Think I will get a cane. No need for carrying around a single crutch. But it hurts more now than before but it's not the joint itself just everything surrounding it as I try to loosen it up. Still no need for pain meds but ice on it feels good. Asked the Dr. about my lack of need for pain meds and he said that they don't get many (if any) requests for additional meds, so maybe this procedure is just not that bad. PT starts tomorrow.
 

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