Compartment Syndrome

Balancing Change Everyone experiences drastic changes or problems in their lives, and the ones who can react and find solutions to them will most likely end up conquering them. For some, it can take a long time to adjust, while others can come out on top quicker. It was a normal feeling Friday when I woke up on January 26th, 2007, but little did I know this would be the biggest challenge that I have ever had to face. “Ring…. ring….. ring,” the school bell rang deafeningly through the gymnasium.
It was first period, and the first class on my agenda for the day was my personal favorite, “P. E. ”, short for Physical Education. The class started out with our muscle-loosening stretches, and then moved on to one of my all-time favorite sports, basketball. The sparkling, brand new “Kobe Bryant 8’s” were a necessity for my feet in order to play. As I was tying the knots to begin, my best friend Ryan Decker glided swiftly into class with his “Heely’s”, which are shoes made with a wheel incorporated into the sole of the shoe. What did I do, when I first spotted them?
I asked him if I could try them on and roll around the gymnasium, because the slick floor provides a perfect surface for rolling around on. As I was rolling around, a basketball rolled in between my feet. I stared at it, and thought about it for a couple seconds. I thought to myself, “How cool would it be to roll from one side to the other, then shoot a layup right into the basket? ” Step by step, glide by glide, I was gaining speed. “BOOM! ” Before I could even comprehend what happened, I glared down at a surging pain that vibrated through my whole body, mainly sourcing from my left ankle.

My ankle was completely turned backwards. I frantically yelled out to my instructor, “MY ANKLE IS BROKEN! ” As he sprinted over to the other side of the gymnasium where I was laying in agony, I could see an audience starting to gather. He informed me that the ambulance was on its way and that my mother had been notified. Five minutes later, the ambulance arrived to my side. Before I knew it, I was placed into the ambulance, and I was on my way to seek urgent medical attention. Within four hours, I went through multiple x-rays, took a bunch of ain-killers, and a vibrant green colored cast was placed onto the lower half of my leg. Unfortunately enough, I had suffered a double break through my tibia, which is the second biggest bone in the human body, next to the femur. I thought to myself about all the consequences this would cause and how it would interfere with my everyday life. After a long ride home with my mother, I finally saw my house in the distance; I was home. With my leg still screaming with pain, I wondered why the pain was still so severe, even with the help of the pain killers.
I kept on repeating to my parents that I was still in excruciating pain. The pain was so unbearable that I couldn’t keep my mind off of it. This continued on for a couple days, but then something went terribly wrong. I tried to wiggle my toes to see if my movement was still there, but it wasn’t. Over and over again, I kept trying to move them and then I came to realize all of the movement in my foot was gone. I finally communicated to my parents that there was really something bad going on and that I needed to get rushed back to the hospital for a checkup.
After impatiently waiting in the waiting room for about an hour, I the doctor finally arrived to escort the family and I to the testing room. Then the worst words, that I will never forget came out of her mouth. “Robert……I made a mistake when I diagnosed you with a broken ankle…you have suffered from a condition called compartment syndrome. ” “Compartment syndrome is a limb threatening and life threatening condition, defined as the compression of nerves, blood vessels, and muscle inside a closed space (compartment[->0]) within the body.
This leads to tissue death from lack of oxygenation due to the blood vessels being compressed by the raised pressure within the compartment” (PubMed). All of a sudden, the doctor said I needed to be placed into surgery immediately before the condition worsened. I kept thinking about my future in school, sports, and most importantly my health. My education was in path to become a big failure, sports was not going to be a significant part of my life anymore, and hopefully my leg was still going to be attached to my body by the end of this.
After a successful surgery of putting in screws through my thick tibia bone, adding new tendons from a cadaver, and fixing it cosmetically, I finally woke up from the anesthesia. Movements with my ankle hurt like hell, but I didn’t even seem to care because I was able to regain movement and at least half of my feeling back. Eight weeks passed by, and I was finally able to start my physical therapy training to try and overcome this beast of an incident. The physical therapist first instructed me to walk down the hallway on about fifty percent of my weight.
As I was taking my second step I heard and felt a click in my ankle. The stitches holding my tendons together into place ripped through them like a soft cheese. I again was not able to move any part to my foot and ankle. I was back to square one once again. I was not physically and mentally prepared for something this bad to happen. I was going to have to go under the knife once more to fix this mess of an injury. This same instance of ripping through the cadaver’s tendon in my ankle happened five more times before I was fully healed. But what does fully healed mean?
Fully healed to me, meant nothing because of everything I went through to get to this point. No student should have to miss 3 months of school in one school year and have to be strayed from any scholastic activities for that long. No athlete should have to miss a whole season and championship run because of an injury. Lastly no human being should have to worry about their health and their chance of living at the age of fifteen. At the end of this challenge, I had to go through seven surgeries, when really it should’ve only taken about two.
Because the doctor never tested my ankle for compartment syndrome, I had to suffer. What did suffering do to me in the long run? It turned me into who I am today. A young man who feels like he can make his was through any adversity, problems, or change. When something bad happens to yourself, you are given two choices: either to react in a manner aiming to better yourself from the situation, or to grieve and stay emotionally broken. Always keep your head up, and never think the worst because it can always get better with the right attitude.
I am now right back on track with my education, and the ankle feels better than ever. Never again, will I ever put on another pair of “Heely’s” in my life. The art of being able to balance change is something that I believe has transformed me into the person I am today and the person I am going to be. Works Cited: Board, A. D. A. M. Editorial. Compartment Syndrome. U. S. National Library of Medicine, 18 Nov. 0000. Web. 09 Oct. 2012. . [->0] – http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Compartment_(anatomy)

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