Attending the Big Game – or Should I Say the Tall Game?

So Vinny and I went to the UNT game on Saturday.  It was pretty forgettable but Vinny had to climb to the highest point in Apogee Stadium. It was a long climb, as you can set below.

This was a special deal with i9 Sports – his flag football league. At halftime they let the kids high five the players as they came back out on the field.  He thought that was pretty cool.
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Vinny the one in the black scarf and red jersey. You'll have to trust me on that one.

Vinny is Free of Crutches

So Vinny continues to heal at a record pace. Is Dr says his leg should be fully healed by Christmas or so. Once the bone is completely restored he’ll be able to do all the things he would normally do. They say he can even play tackle football as early as next spring, even while the rod remains in his leg.  

On friday the doctor told him he no longer needed to use crutches. That was actually a big surprise since they originally said he would be on crutches for nine months. I think it’s actually been less than 4 months since the operation. He’s obviously ahead of schedule.

Mean Joe Greene

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And now we’ll take a break from Vinny’s leg.  Today I’m writing about Pittsburgh Steeler great and Hall of Famer Mean Joe Greene.

As you probably know, Vinny loves the Steelers.  He considers Greene to be one of his favorite players even though he obviously never saw him play live. 

Last weekend Joe made an appearance at Grapevine Mills Mall. We decided to
head that way and get the boy an autograph for his birthday.

Vinny’s godfather bought him a game used, period-correct Steelers helmet.  We bought a ticket and got in line,  hoping to perhaps get a picture with Joe too.

Vinny used his wheelchair since he had to wait in line for quite a while. When he got up to the signing table he was pretty much awestruck and tongue-tied.  After Joe signed his helmet he told Vince to “back that thing up here kid so your dad can get a picture” before we could even ask him for a photo. 

So Now want so mean after all.  Vinny is still sky high over it. 

And the Lengthening is Complete

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When Vinny turned on his magnet tonight he was thrilled to discover that he’s reached the maximum length on his Precice Nail. He’s stretched the leg 65 mm or a little more than 2.5 inches. 

So far every checkup has been perfect.  His physical therapy hasn’t been much of a challenge for him. He aces their tests every time. Since the lengthening is done,  now we just have to wait six months for the bone to grow back. 

He’ll stay on crutches (or wheelchair) until then but at least one phase is complete.  Is it just a coincidence that he finished moments before the start of the NFL season?!  He’s ready to play!

3 Weeks, 2 CM

The lengthening is going extremely well. The doctor was all smiles. Therapists were all smiles. They said there’s not one thing that could be going better.

He’s been lengthening for about 3 weeks now. That puts him at about 3/4 of an inch, or roughly 2 cm. Here’s how it looks today compared to the first day and after 5 days of lengthening. Check out the gap in the bone down by the knee…

Limb Lengthening with Ellipse Precice Nail

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Vinny Returns Home

After 2 long weeks at the hospital Vinny has finally come home.  Most of that time was spent rehabbing – they wanted to make sure he was ready to rehab on his own before turning him loose. He is, so he came home Monday.
From here on out its all about stretching and exercising.  Failure to do so can be disastrous.  He’s off to a good start.  I like his chances!

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Vinny’s Leg is 1 MM Longer Today than it was Yesterday

So today we started the lengthening process. Dr. Birch dropped off the giant electro-magnet that Vinny will use 4 times a day for the next 90 days. The goal is to grow 1 mm per day, and if my math is correct, that should be about a 1/4 inch per week.

There’s not much to it at this point. Vinny just lines up the device over a mark on his leg and pushes the button. A minute or two later he’s done. It sounds like an MRI machine but apparently he doesn’t feel anything. The troublesome aspect of it is when that skin and muscle and tendons start stretching. That can be pretty uncomfortable and cause him some pain. It’s also possible for him to pop his knee or his hip out of place! Those are 2 reasons why his physical therapy is so important. He’s gotta keep that leg loose.

Precice Nail Limb Lengthening at work

Precice Nail Limb Lengthening at work

It would appear the first day hasn’t caused him any distress. He’s been wheeling all over the hospital today. Right now he’s doing laps around the 3rd floor. The nurses just nicknamed him Supersonic because of how fast he comes down the back stretch.

Supersonic approaching the final turn

Supersonic approaching the final turn

1 Week Down, 35 to Go

Tonight marks the 1 week anniversary of Vinny’s hospital check-in. Since his rehab will take about 9 months, it would seem he has about 35 weeks to go. He’ll be on crutches the entire time and won’t be able to put more than 25 lbs. on the leg at any time.

So far, as reported, things have gone really well. They removed the ace bandages yesterday and everything looks fine. He has one cut where they inserted the rod under his knee, one on the side of his leg where they broke the bone, and 4 smaller places where they inserted the support pins. It occurs to me that I don’t think I posted the x-ray (did I?) so, see below.

The only times he’s really experienced any severe pain is when his knee has accidentally dropped while he’s been sitting. It happened once when this foot slipped off the stool the nurse had set up, once when I mistakenly released the leg support on his wheelchair instead of the wheel lock, and tonight when he attempted to sit down on a chair he wasn’t used to and it rolled a little bit. I’ve asked the nurse to see if the doctor will give him a splint of some kind to keep that from happening again. I don’t know why they wouldn’t (or why they didn’t think of it before me) since they want him to keep his knee straight all the time.

In happier news he’s had quite a few visitors lately. If anyone wants to stop by he should be here at least for 2 more days and possibly through the end of the week. He’s in room 307.

Here's the rod inserted in his femur. Screws hold it in place at top and bottom. Notice where the bone is broken right above the bottom screws. That will be slowly stretched.

Here’s the rod inserted in his femur. Screws hold it in place at top and bottom. Notice where the bone is broken right above the bottom screws. That will be slowly stretched.

Dr. Birch removing bandages.

Dr. Birch removing bandages.

The amazing Dr. Birch

The amazing Dr. Birch

Not an MRI. Vinny rolling himself through a tight-fitting tunnel outside.

Not an MRI. Vinny rolling himself “nose-up” through a tight-fitting tunnel outside.

His first day outside at the TSRH park.

His first day outside at the TSRH park.