Tuesday, July 1, 2008

FMLA and other thoughts...

Frequent visitors of this blog know that I have been doing a bit of double duty the past few weeks. I have been doing my share of the chores around the house and I have been looking after my patient and doing her chores. While looking after Deirdre was certainly an act of love, doing the laundry was simple way out of my lane. Amongst her other great talents, Dee is also known as the Laundry Fairy. Need I say more?

Deirdre had the surgery two weeks ago to repair a torn tendon in her right foot and to say that it knocked her down would be the understatement of the decade. Sure, she was fine for a while immediately after the surgery, meaning that she was happy for the few minutes after they wheeled her out of the operatory. However, she was probably enjoying a post-Versed buzz and she seemed quite happy with her place in the world. Well, I got her home and then we were soon battling her post-operative pain. Following the use of a couple of pain meds which did nothing to alleviate her suffering, she was prescribed an opiate which relieved the short term pain. She also had to come to terms with a pin sticking out of the second toe of her right foot. And did I mention that she was on crutches as the post-surgical instruction was that she was to put no weight on her foot?

A week after her surgery, I took her back to see her surgeon, who removed the bandages from her foot and looked at how her incision was healing. Well, Dr. B. could not have been happier with how the incision was healing, and Dee was cleared to put weight on her foot, which meant that she could lose the crutches. Dr. B. told Dee to still "take it easy" and that he would remove the sutures next week. This was the first real opportunity for us to see the pin and I noticed that at the end of the pin was a small green plastic ball.

We left the doctor's office and Deirdre remained off her feet as much as possible the next few days. She continued to ice her ankle and walk only when necessary. We then began to wonder, what was the significance of the green ball was on the end of the pin. Was the pin color coded for its length? Its function? Perhaps the diameter of the pin? Or did the color mean nothing at all? We could only speculate until the next post-op visit.

Yesterday, I took Dee back to see Dr. B. to have the sutures removed. Once again, the bandages were removed and he was quite pleased with how the incision was healing. Dr. B. quietly and professionally removed the sutures and gave Dee some more instructions. She was to continue to take it easy and rest her foot, plus he said that he would fill out the Department of Labor Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) paperwork to document her absence from work, The document was faxed to her employer informing it that she was to remain away from work for six weeks from the date of her surgery. That would put her back at work no earlier than 30 July. Yes, the surgery was that debilitating.

Back to the green pin. After Dr. B. removed the last of the sutures, Dee asked him what was the significance of the green ball at the end of the pin. Dr. B in his normal deadpan delivery said, "Well, color does mean something. The pins come in a standard length that can be cut to a specific length for each patient. The color of the ball at the end of the pin has to do with the diameter of the pin. The green pin has the largest diameter of all the pins we use. The pin for your toe needed to be as large as possible for stability in your toe. Sometimes, the pins can bend if their diameter is not large enough. If the pin bends, then it becomes much more difficult to remove."

Really. It is not going to be pretty when the pin is removed in 3-4 weeks from her foot and Dee will be doing everything in her power to ensure that the pin does not bend. If you want to see the incision and the pin, click on this hotlink, read the section titled "Alternate Universe" and then click on the pictures link. Already there have been reports of people fainting at the sight of the images.


Lisa and Gary... said...

Maybe she would feel better if you painted a tiny, white Spartan head on it. I think that's perfectly appropriate for a green pin.


Paul's Blog said...

I do not know if Dee is up for a "peddie" just yet...