Today we are going to take a totally different direction with the blog. Normally I blog about my kids or my garden or some other little vignette about something that is going on in my life. This blog entry is more along what I do. I am a nurse (duh) and I know that it totally makes me sound like a cheese ball to say this but, one of the big reasons that I got into nursing in the first place was the help people. Well, that and sweet little old men. I am going to attempt (but no promises) to be serious about this stuff. Let me give you a little background story about this first.
Way back when, Greg abused the shit out of his body. (Thank you so much high school sports– it was football if we want to point serious fingers.) He has torn both rotator cuffs, torn all the ligaments in one ankle and severely (and on multiple occasions) damaged the other ankle. He has broken various fingers, had a few concussions, etc. Since he is so manly (read: stupid) rather than getting these issues fixed at the time of the injury, he would tape up the affected limb in between plays and go back onto the field when the coach called his name. Don’t get me wrong, my husband was a damn good athlete and was even offered a full sports scholarship (they were even going to pay for his surgery and red-shirt him during his freshman year so he could heal completely before playing in an actual game). However, good athlete does not always equal smart person and here we are.
Greg started to seriously complain about the pain in his left ankle immediately after he started college. I’m not talking about months into his first semester, I’m talking about the night that he got moved into his dorm room. He went to a party & (ahem) partook in certain illegal beverages and stepped off a curb. He twisted his ankle so badly that he missed the first two weeks of his college career. Stack that on top of the fact that he had crappy ankles in the first place, and we have two major ingredients for a disaster. After 4 years of this, I finally convinced him to see an ortho that specializes in ankles. He did and of course, the doctor recommended surgery.
I knew that this would be painful for Greg. I also knew that he would not get any better if we did nothing and at the time, there were no other options for him besides physical therapy, rest, ice, compression, yada, yada, yada. He had tried all of that and had gotten no results. So, we scheduled the surgery. Greg was off work for weeks. He couldn’t drive (obviously), he was on crutches for over a month & on New Year’s Eve, we spent the night in the ER so they could cut off his cast because the swelling was getting so bad it was causing his toes to turn purple. Eventually, he was semi-healed up but he did suffer some consequences from the surgery.
The surgeon severed a nerve in his foot, so he has no fine-touch sensation (pinch or pin-prick) on the outer aspect of his foot. He can feel medium to deep pressure but nothing else. Also, when the surgeon cleaned out all of the scar tissue and replaced Greg’s old ratty tendon with a fresh new cadaver (yep! I know, bleh.) tendon, he attached it very tight. Which is sorta good-sorta bad. It’s good because his ankle doesn’t feel “loose” like it used to, but he totally lost his ability to run because his ankle would no longer bend at an angle that would allow him to run.
A few months after Adrianna was born, I started working part-time at a pain management clinic. One of the doctors there is a Sports Medicine specialist and one day she was telling me about this new-ish technique that she and her husband do on athletes. It was called Plasma-Rich Pheresis. What she told me definitely intrigued me since I am married to a former athlete who could potentially benefit from PRP. I went home and told Greg that I made him an appointment to see her. He was less than thrilled. Remember all of the trouble he had after surgery? Well, he was still kinda blaming me for that. Anyway, I forced him to go and she did the first injection that day. She did an ultrasound of his ankle and was showed us the damage. He had 3 big bone spurs & TONS of scar tissue that was beginning to adhere to other parts of his ankle causing him even more pain that before surgery.
In a nutshell, here’s what she (and her hilarious assistant, Scott) did. They drew 60 cc of blood from Greg’s arm. (Don’t panic but if you are queasy then you should walk away–it’s gonna get worse before it gets better) Then they put it in the centrifuge and spun it down until the red blood cells and plasma were separated. Then they took a fat harvest from Greg’s side and mixed the fat with the plasma. (See? I told you that you should’ve left.) Then, by the guide of the ultrasound, she began to inject the fat/plasma mixture (after numbing his ankle with Lidocaine). What this does, is cause an inflammatory (read: healing) reaction right at the site of an injury. It induces a rush of red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, fibrinogen, etc right at the site that needs it most. She injected quite a bit of the mixture into his ankle and, at one point, I thought he was (literally) going to kick her in the face. She put just a few pieces of support tape on his ankle, gave me a prescription for Percocet and sent us home with a follow-up appointment in 6-8 weeks.
If you would have asked Greg right after he had it done, how bad it hurt, he would tell you that you are crazy for even considering having the procedure done. He cursed me so many times, I can’t even tell you. He asked me over and over again, “Why?” “Why did you let me do this?” “Why did you make me do this?” “I cannot belive that I let you talk me into this!” So basically, it hurts. A lot.
When we went back for his follow-up appointment, Dr. Tate could not believe the difference she saw. All 3 bone spurs were completely gone. Totally dissolved. The scar tissue was improved by greater than 75%. This was after one injection. She said that she wanted to do another one to help finish off that last 25% of scar tissue. Greg was a little reluctant at first, but I reminded him of how much better he felt in comparison to before he had it done and he agreed that he did feel better. So, she did another injection. The second time it didn’t hurt nearly as badly (she didn’t have to inject as much) or at least, he didn’t complain nearly as much 😉 He even asked if I could call and schedule him to have his other ankle done.
If you would ask Greg how he feels about it now, he would tell you that it was the best thing he has done in regards to his ankles. Obviously, he needed the surgery to replace the tendon that was (no kidding) balled up inside the ankle joint. Yup. You read that correctly. His ankle was only in place because of scar tissue (on the outside. The inside wasn’t quite as severe). He actually ran the other day at the gym. Amazing. Simply amazing. I cannot say enough good things about this procedure. The best part? This can be done at the site of any injury. So that old shoulder injury that my mom’s been nursing since my sister was about 3? She could potentially get that healed to the point that it doesn’t ache every time it’s going to rain.
So, if you made it all the way to the end of my rambling story, I hope that you got some good info out of this. Also? Sorry for the PSA. Next week we will be back to stories about boogies & farts from Brock’s point-of-view.