The new even bigger and more uncomfortable fixator.

My doctors recommend a new surgery again. They now plan to remove a small piece of bone from my pelvis and place it on top of the fracture inside my leg. They explain to me this is another approach used in cases like mine and most of the time is successful. Man, I think to myself, what is next, leg transplantation?! They inform me that the down side of this procedure is that there might be permanent nerve damage on the side of my pelvis and the post-surgery recovery period is considered quite painful (which is the technical term for it will hurt like a mother-f#$%r). A couple of hours after waking up from surgery, the anesthetic starts to wear off. I feel as if a horse has kicked me below the rib cage.

A couple of days later I am once again checked out the hospital and back to my attic room – or what I also had started calling that period The bat-cave. Every time I had a check up with my doctor, I just asked how much longer… He always gave me the same answer, A couple of months more, have patience… That was probably the worst part of all these years. Building hope every couple of months just to receive bitter disappointment again. The X-rays (which by now I have become an expert in examining by myself) only show a black disheartening gap. No white color, no calcium formations… just a black gap, which also resembled my mental state. I started spending most days in my room contemplating if an amputation would be a better solution. Whenever I talk about it with my doctors they tell me to have some more patience and not to rush into extreme decisions. Not to rush? It’s been almost two years and still no results, what do you mean not to rush? I don’t want to spend all my youth sitting in a dark room and having surgeries every couple of months!

Those were the darkest times of my life. Locked in my room, unwilling to do anything productive, feeling too tired to feel angry, feeling down. I have never felt so tired in my life before, even though I did nothing but sit or lay on my bed all day. Where is all this fatigue coming from I wondered. I had been an athlete most of my life, training for national championships, lifting weights , swimming 3km’s, running up to two hours some days and training a total of 3-5 hours most days. Yet, I never felt as tired as I felt now. Just going to the bathroom felt like a whole journey. Physically, I felt as if I had grown forty years over the past twenty months. I guess depression does that to you.

Since I was young, I always had a tendency to get depressed and melancholic due to my nihilistic philosophy about life (Nietzsche was sort of my role model). But, exercise was a great way to distract me from those moods. Now, however, I was going through all this and had nothing to distract me from such feelings. My body felt heavy, my mind was constantly blurry with no energy to focus on anything. I would try reading a book, but after trying to focus on a couple of lines, my mind just became foggy and I felt worn out. I felt disconnected from everything and everyone. There would be days when I would spend all day in bed with some music playing in the background from my laptop speakers while I just starred at the empty ceiling. Those two years felt literally like an eternity. Some days I almost counted every single minute.

Everything was failing and my doctors once again proposed a new operation. They would remove a piece of muscle from my back and place it on top of the fracture where the skin quality was bad. Because a lot of muscle and skin tissue has been removed in the first surgeries, the fracture-sight might benefit from some additional healthy soft tissue,” they tell me. “Yet it’s quite a risk because you are left with only one functional artery for blood supply in this area, they explain to me. I begin to think they must be making a bad joke.. When I understand they are serious about removing part of a muscle from my back and placing it on my leg, I decide I have had enough of all this and that I am going somewhere else for a second opinion.

After what had been two and a half years and a total of 8 surgeries and no actual progress in the last year, I decided to fly over to the Netherlands. I am also half Dutch from my mother’s side and have a few folks there. The Netherlands have a good reputation in trauma medicine so I decide it’s a good place to get a second opinion. I move to the Netherlands, find a good surgical team and get started with treatment again. After a couple of surgeries and two different fixators installed in my leg, the bone seems to start to healing again. A year passes by and they install an inner titanium plate removing my fixator. I’m finally fixator-free for the first time in three and a half years! You can’t imagine what a relief it is not to have any metallic objects going through my leg after such a long time. Although I do have an inner titanium plate, I don’t really care. I can’t feel it that much anyways. I could finally sleep in a different position other than my back and walk outside without people staring at my leg as if it has some kind of alien technology installed on it.

After two months I have an inner infection again and they are forced to remove the plate. Still the bone has healed quite a bit and they tell me that it might completely heal in the following months even with just a leg cast. After three months my doctors allow me to walk again and I start rehabilitation. Something, though, doesn’t feel right. It is as if my leg will crack and break if I put too much pressure on it. It just doesn’t feel sturdy enough. I inform my doctors and we do some x-rays, but nothing really shows up. It’s probably normal to feel like this after not walking for so many years; apparently it’s just psychological I think to myself. Until, one day I trip while crossing the road and the bone breaks again. There I was, after four and a half years of walking on crutches and canes, having six different metallic systems screwed into my leg and severe depression – back to square one. Waiting on the side of the road for my second ambulance ride. This must be big long nightmare I think to myself. Maybe I was left in a coma after my accident and I’m just imagining all this.

A couple of days later, I am once again lying down on a couch at home with a broken leg, staring at the wall. They had put a splint on it, hoping it would heal. Since the skin of my leg was so destroyed from the accident and all the prior operations, it couldn’t sustain any more surgeries. Two months pass by and the bone-healing rate is minimal.