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If you are new to the blog, you probably want to start at the beginning of the whole sad story. To get there, use the "Blog Archive" tool in the right column of the blog and click on "2009," and then "January 25." From there you can continue to click on each week to see the weekly entries.

I would love to hear from you! If you would like to leave a message, you can reach me at aheetderks@wcsmiami.org!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hey!  I survived!  

Last night, I ate a ton of food right up until midnight (the food and water cut-off time for surgery), and then stayed up and watched T.V. until 2 am. My plan was to sleep in this morning as late as possible so I wouldn't notice that I wasn't going to be able to eat until after 8:00 pm!  I made it through the morning without any accidental snacking and took a nice, hot shower--knowing it would be my last for a while.  

When my friend, Nancy, came and picked me up to bring me to Jackson, I felt like I was leaving for a haircut.  Seeing as this is my fifth surgery since my fall, I feel like I have the surgery routine pretty down pat.  The blood work.  The EKG.  The lovely gown.  The gazillion medical questions.  The endless search for a good vein.  The annoying need to go to the bathroom right after being hooked up to the IV and heart monitor.

I was assigned to Nurse Judith.  A by-the-book, on-the-ball, to-the-point, not-messing-around kind of nurse.  She was wonderful and even brought me peanut butter and jelly with some crackers after my surgery.  Best meal I had all day.

I like a nurse like Nurse Judith MUCH better than the dropping-the-needle, misplacing-the-armband, rolling-the-eyes-at-the-doctor, what-was-your-name?-kind of nurse.  That had happened the day before when the nurse walked in and said, "OK, Ms. Heetderks, we are ready to take you for your chest X-ray . . ."  I thought, "I am getting my ankle fixed and getting a cosmetic enhancement at the same time???  Hot-diggedy dog!!!"

Anyway, when it was time for the surgery, a man came in with Dr. Carbonell to explain the procedure that they were going to use on my foot.  Basically (look at the picture), they would staple a number of metal brackets around the perimeter of my wound.  A wire would be strung through the rings and attached to a timer (the blue and white thing).  The timer will gradually pull the wire over the next two days--slowly cinching the wound closed.  The diagram shown here is so pretty.  When I saw what it looked like on me after the surgery (I chose not to include a picture out of respect for my squeamish readers!), it reminded me of some fancy new advancement in torture technology.  

The surprise for Doug and I was that I will be having another surgery in two days on Thursday!  This will be a quick surgery where they will remove the brackets and the timer, and then secure the closed wound with staples.  Amazing.

Dr. Carbonell is hopeful that this procedure will actually work and will be the end of my open-wound days.  If it is successful, we will still have to keep a close eye out for infection or rejection of the tissue on the metal.  For now--we will stay positive.

It was so funny.  On Monday, I had a full x-ray done of my foot.  When I was leaving the radiology department, there was a dark room with the door open.  Here inside were two men staring at computer monitors with a big foot illuminated on their screens.  They were discussing various aspects of the image, so I was trying to inconspicuously hang around so I might catch a word or two of what they were saying (as inconspicuously as a big woman with a turquoise walker and a tube hanging from her leg can look).  As I was analyzing the image, sure that I was recognizing hairline fractures in the talus, and slight bone death on the perimeter of the bone . . . I realized . . . the foot didn't have any pins or metal plates screwed into it.  What an idiot!  It wasn't my foot at all.  Remind me not to quit my day job to pursue a career in radiology.

Dr. Carbonell said that he didn't get to see MY ankle x-rays because the computer was down. Just as well.  I don't want to get any bad news about bone death.  Today is just about wound closure.  

A special word of thanks to all of you who have been praying for my family and me.  God has been allowing us to learn so much through this experience.  Every day is a blessing in its own way.  

Love to you all!


P.S.  As if having his aquarium explode wasn't bad enough . . .  This morning, Doug was getting ready to do a little presentation at our morning faculty meeting, when he heard the maintenance guys using the weed whacker around his barn.  Unfortunately, they were not aware that two of Doug's hens have been faithfully sitting on eggs underneath the chicken coop over the last few weeks.  By the time Doug reached the coop, it was too late.  The hens and all of their eggs were weed-whacked to smithereens.  He had to reach under the coop and pull out the dead hens and all of the broken eggs with the little chicks inside.  So sad.

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