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Open reduction, internal fixation. ORIF. That's what my orthopedic surgeon called it. I call it painful. Let me explain.

No, there is too much. Let me sum up. I originally had paragraphs upon paragraphs of text for you to read. Long story short, it was boring. I edited. You get this.

I broke my ankle almost a month ago playing volleyball, which is ironic, because I don't even like volleyball. Last Thursday, I had an operation to repair the damage done. I had it last Thursday because for three weeks doctors passed me around, claiming that my ankle was simply sprained, and the pain "should be going away by now." When I finally saw a podiatrist, his immediate reaction was anger. "They told you to walk around on this?"

The diagnosis was relatively simple. I fractured my talus at the neck, across instead of down, which is apparently the "common" direction for this rare injury. There are words to describe all this, but I happened to be medicated every time the doctors tried to explain.

So, simple diagnosis. 8mm fracture of the talar neck, disrupting blood flow. As the talus is a high weight-bearing bone, any displacement of the bone when it sets will effectively tear my ankle apart. Without surgery? I'll need a fuse or a replacement in ten years, tops. Not good odds, as I'm in my 20s now. Nobody wants to be a cripple at 35.

So I opted for surgery. In theory, ORIF means that they cut open your foot to set the bones, then start sticking metal into you to keep stuff in place. In practice, it went something like this: they put me under, opened up my foot on both sides, cut away part of a bone that was obstructing access (note to self: get this all in writing from the doctor when I'm back on my feet. Er, foot) and re-broke the talus, which had started to mend in the three weeks since I injured it. Then they set the bone and started inserting pins and screws until all the pieces stayed where they were supposed to. Ever played pick-up sticks? Yeah, the inside of my foot looks like that.

Pick out all the tiny fragments of bone from when I pulverized it, sew me up, done. Total time under: about two hours.

Total recovery time: I'll be off the foot for about three months, then into physical therapy to learn to walk again and restrengthen the muscles from the nasty sprain I acquired along with the fracture.

As for after that, well, the doctors say that in the best case, I'll have increasing levels of arthritis in my ankle and need to have it fused or replaced around 50. Worst case, the blood flow through the bone won't be able to re-establish itself, the bone will die, and it will have to be fused much sooner than that.

I'm banking on the best case. In the meantime, I'm laid up for a while, medication and pain keeping me from driving or even walking much, so I'll be around. Shoot me a /msg if you see me around, I'm probably pretty bored.

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