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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

It really has felt like my ankle and I have been in a holding pattern for a while.  We have been waiting for my wound to heal so that I can start physical therapy and (hopefully) quit taking the antibiotics.  Last week, Dr. Carbonell said that he hoped the tissue would grow over the exposed metal and that the wound would close up on its own in about 2 months (maybe).  Tick . . . tock . . . tick . . . tock.

Well--guess what!?!  I went to my usual appointment at the Wound Care Center with Dr. Carbonell yesterday and THINGS ARE MOVING AGAIN!

Let me tell you what happened . . .

After saying hello to all of my friends in the waiting room (a lovely mix of people with crazy foot issues--we look like the Land of Misfit Toys), I was called back to the go to one of the examination rooms.  My favorite nurse, Judy (Shaun Cassidy's mother-in-law--no kidding), took the dressings off my foot and thought it looked great.  

Then Dr. Carbonell walked in and was amazed at how much I could move my foot around.  He told me that I should start "walking" on it as much as possible to strengthen the bone.  We decided that he would let me go to physical therapy ONE time so I could learn how to use the walker while being about 75% weight bearing. 

 Then he said that he felt like I could start DRIVING again!  Judy and I both were like, "WHAT?!?!?"  He said that the ankle is strong enough now to be able to apply pressure to the pedals (one more reason for you to stay off the road!!).  I think I will hold off on that for a while but it sure was a sweet idea.  Ahh . . . independence.

THEN . . . he noted to himself that the tissue is still having a hard time growing over the bracket.  Just then, he left the room and said to someone in the hallway, "I think this patient would be a wonderful candidate for your new product."  In walks a pharmaceutical rep (I had noticed him hanging out in the waiting room previously) who looks at my wound and says, "Yep, I just saw another patient who had exposed metal in his wound and the orthadapt worked great on it." 

Dr. Carbonell looks at me and says that this rep is introducing a new product and would like to donate one application of it to a patient of Dr. Carbonell's choosing.  I immediately got the feeling that I was about to receive the equivalent of a free kidney or something.  Turns out that orthadapt is a very expensive "bioimplant" made from the sheath that surrounds a horse's heart (it wasn't enough that I already have human newborn foreskin on my wound--now I have a horse's heart, too!!!).  The orthadapt is cut to fit the wound and is then attached using multiple stitches around the perimeter of the wound.  As a result, the now-covered wound begins to produce enzymes that accelerate epithelialization (growth of tissue over a wound).  

As the wound heals, the outer edges of the orthadapt becomes dark and hard.  Eventually, the entire orthadapt will be dark and fall off like a scab with my own skin healed underneath!!  From the research I saw today while googling, I can see that this is really great stuff and should increase the liklihood that my wound will heal on its own (and faster!).  

It was obviously such an amazing blessing that I would be there just when the rep was visiting, and that Dr. Carbonell would choose me from his other hundreds of patients to receive the one free piece of horse heart.  So awesome.  Of course, I still have all the scary stuff looming (infection, death, or shattering of the bone resulting in an ankle fusion) but for today, it was great to have some good news!

Of course when it was all over and I mentioned to Judy that I was hungry, she said, "I bet you could eat a horse!"  Then when I tried to get down off the bed on my own she said, "Hey!  Hold your horses!!"  Let the horse jokes begin . . .

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