saving elmo

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Late night 9/16/16: I didn’t see the stairs. Medically, that caused a “comminuted open fracture of the left distal femur.” In 6 months, we added “nonunion.”

IOW, I absolutely powdered my thighbone right above Elmo, my replacement knee, so there’s not much left for Elmo to live in, and it’s having trouble growing back.

The goal: Regrow bone so that Elmo has a home. In the meantime, I’m learning about life in a wheelchair, and fretting, because so far that dad-blasted bone is about as fertile as a rock.

The threat: If the bone doesn’t grow, Kaiser wants to remove Elmo and replace him with a new, less successful implant that wears out pretty quickly. When it does, my only recourse is mid-thigh amputation. The Kaiser traumatologist says if I’m lucky, I’ll be so old it won’t matter.

I’m not sure you can get THAT old, so let’s not go there. I’ve found leading tramatologists who say Kaiser is taking the wrong approach; my leg can be saved. This series is about exactly that.

10 08, 2017

So how did you break your leg?

2017-11-29T09:47:33-07:00

A nanosecond between me and death, but I never paused: I leapt from that window like a deranged chimpanezee, smartcard clenched between my teeth, reaching reaching reaching for the strut of the helicopter and climbing inside. "Arrrrgh!" yelled Mr. Big's frustrated henchman, hurling manhole covers after me. One struck my knee as I shoved the dead pilot aside and took [...]

So how did you break your leg?2017-11-29T09:47:33-07:00
4 08, 2017

View from the mountain

2017-11-29T09:48:40-07:00

Ever find yourself on a mountaintop, musing, "Now how the hell did I get up HERE?" That would be me. I'm having a small surgical procedure in the morning, which apparently caused me to sit back, notice the mountain, and decide it's not a bad place to be. Since it's Morganica Mountain, of course, it's a bit ...odd. Thank you, [...]

View from the mountain2017-11-29T09:48:40-07:00
26 07, 2017

The ravell’d sleeve of care…

2017-11-29T09:51:02-07:00

Life is something to do when you can't get to sleep. --Fran Lebowitz Oh, c'maaaaaaaaaan! So today, I get this call from Kaiser, can't answer right away because my boss' boss is teaching a class and I'm in the front row. I figure they want to talk about Elmo and my leg, and what's going on with the proposed surgery(ies) [...]

The ravell’d sleeve of care…2017-11-29T09:51:02-07:00
22 07, 2017

Test: Can you spot the cripple?

2017-11-29T09:52:29-07:00

The look he gave me was pure disgust. "Do you expect to put THAT," he spat, pointing to my wheelchair, "Into MY car?" I stared, not quite able (or willing) to understand. "Excuse me?" The Elmo stories (of Elmo, my replacement knee and then the fight to save him when I smashed my femur) have been going on for more [...]

Test: Can you spot the cripple?2017-11-29T09:52:29-07:00
20 07, 2017

Zeroing in and leveling out

2017-11-29T09:56:25-07:00

BANG!! The crutch crashed down onto Elmo. Ouch. "I'm so SO sorry!" he gasped, taking my hand, "Oh my god I feel so bad! Are you alright?" The Elmo stories (of Elmo, my replacement knee and then the fight to save him when I smashed my femur) have been going on for more than two years now. People ask to [...]

Zeroing in and leveling out2017-11-29T09:56:25-07:00
16 07, 2017

Femurs, accessibility, and Utah: Saving Elmo II

2017-11-29T09:59:51-07:00

Cramming four flights, three states, and two surgical consultations into three days would be a challenge for anyone, but moreso when you do it from a wheelchair. Gets even more challenging when you're also processing some pretty life-changing information, because the folks at University of Utah agreed with Stanford: Elmo-the-knee-replacement, about to be ejected by a nonunion fracture, can most [...]

Femurs, accessibility, and Utah: Saving Elmo II2017-11-29T09:59:51-07:00
14 07, 2017

Tripping the light surgical: Saving Elmo II

2017-11-29T10:20:35-07:00

"I'd propose," said Doc David, "A very different course." Six words. Life-changing words, words that open up a whole new dialogue with Elmo, the knee replacement I'd planned to divorce on July 28. Six words that could cost me my house, a bunch of pain, a chunk of retirement money, oodles of work... but give back the ability to walk. [...]

Tripping the light surgical: Saving Elmo II2017-11-29T10:20:35-07:00
12 07, 2017

Wheelchair traveler…

2017-11-29T10:34:00-07:00

The pic is a storyboard from an upcoming Will Vinton claymation movie, and it seemed particularly apropos considering what I'm doing this week: I'm on the road for the first time since I started riding the range in a wheelchair. I wouldn't recommend it to the faint-hearted, but (so far) I'm having fun. It's part of the last-ditch effort to find [...]

Wheelchair traveler…2017-11-29T10:34:00-07:00
6 07, 2017

Filling up on sweetness, with fragility

2017-11-29T11:40:51-07:00

"Excuse me," I said quietly to the cashier, handing her my receipt, "Would you mind giving this to the next person who needs a meal?" She took it, gazed at me in bewilderment, "But you paid for lunch! Don't you like it?" "It looks great, but I have no way to carry it back to the table," I replied, pointing [...]

Filling up on sweetness, with fragility2017-11-29T11:40:51-07:00
26 06, 2017

Saving Elmo: Sometimes the bear eats you

2017-11-29T11:42:20-07:00

As far as saving Elmo (my knee replacement) is concerned: We didn't. Barring miracles, he becomes a biohazard on July 28. "This should have worked; I'm out of options," sighs The Doc, looking sad, "I'm so sorry, but I want you to see Dr. Jack, our traumatology expert. Maybe he'll have some ideas." I head to the other side of [...]

Saving Elmo: Sometimes the bear eats you2017-11-29T11:42:20-07:00
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