AmputeeOT: Why I am getting an amputation, pre-amputation intro
*machinery and welding sounds* Hello. My name is Christina Stephens, and I am an occupational therapist living in St. Louis, Missouri. On January 17 2013 I was down in my garage. I was changing the brakes on my car. I had my car elevated by one jack stand and as I was pulling off the brake caliper the car fell off the jack stand and fell directly on to my foot It’s a good thing my husband was there because otherwise I would have been stuck there for a really long time. Next Tuesday, I will become a below-knee amputee. Now, you’re probably wondering why my surgeons and I decided to go with below-knee amputation for my foot injuries. Well, I will tell you. When I first went to the emergency room and got x-rays taken of my foot, the X-Rays showed two broken bones. A CT scan about a week later showed that I had broken a lot more bones than that. Actually, my foot is broken in about eight places. It’s broken in the fifth metatarsal, in the third metatarsal in two places, in the second metatarsal in one place, and in the Calcaneal bone, which is your heel bone, in one place, and also the cuneiform bones, which are the little bones inside of your foot kind of like the little bones in your wrist, have been separated, because I broke some of the– I tore some of the tendons in the cuneiform bones. Now this wouldn’t be a huge deal, usually the treatment for this kind of injury is to splint your foot or put you in a cast, and then later maybe do a fusion of the cuneiform bones so that that separation is no longer there. However, what happened to me was a little bit different. The problem with crush injuries which is what my injury was is that there’s a lot of soft tissue damage to the area that’s injured. Not only did I have a bunch of broken bones, but I also had damage to the vascular structures of my foot, those are the structures that supply the blood to the rest of your foot. I also have a lot of nerve damage and a lot of muscle and tendon damage to my foot. My foot is really disgusting. I’m not going to show you any pictures in this video. My foot is basically dying. I have two options for my foot. I can try to reconstruct it or I can amputate it and I’ve chosen to amputate my foot. And I’ll explain why in a later video this video is probably going to get too long if I try to explain why. What’s really interesting about this whole ordeal is that I’m an occupational therapist. I have done a lot of research and work with amputees and also with wheelchair users and so I think that I have a unique perspective going into this whole thing because I’ve been on both sides of the therapeutic relationship. I’ve both been an OT, helped give therapy to other people, and now I’m the one receiving the therapy and receiving the healthcare. So I think that puts me in a unique situation to perhaps offer some different insights for people who might be going through the same or similar things to me, that people might not otherwise get. So I hope you guys will join me on my path to rehabilitation, because in four days I’m going to be an amputee, and I’m going to try to document as much of my rehabilitation as possible.