The B'ones That Got Away

This is the fourth post in the Story of my Life series which covers my life as an amputee from the very beginning. To get all the context, please do read the other posts as well incase you haven’t already!
1. The Lottery of Birth
2. The Russian Connection
3. Lord of the Rings

It was Christmas season in the year 2001, usually a season of joy and good times. Things were finally starting to look up for the plucky 7 year old that was me, as Santa was bringing home a special gift in the form of another surgery.

The third surgery to remove the Ilizarov rings was set to be on the 27th of December. Eight months of dragging down a bone and excruciating pain were finally coming to an end!

The Ilizarov rings surgery wasn’t a complete success though. The bones that were supposed to join were like two magnets with the same poles, so close but weren’t willing to stick together.

The doctors along with removing the rings had also decided to perform a procedure called a fibulectomy which involved adding a metal plate and screws to get the bones to unite. Having done a couple of surgeries already, I was starting to get used to that sinking feeling you get in your chest. It’s the same feeling I would get before writing an exam but the only difference was I had no control over the results of this test.


Nailed it!

The surgery went well and now I was left with one leg slightly shorter than the other along with some screws inside. In order to walk I was made to wear something called a leg calliper. The callipers had a sole that was larger than normal to offset the difference in length of my legs.

This contraption would be my literal support for probably the next 7 years of my life. At home though, hopping would become my main mode of transport. I’ve gotten so good at hopping, that Kangaroos have tried to slide into my DMs.

At every periodic visit Dr. Rex didn’t see any progress being made. A few more months passed in a jiffy. My sister turning two marked the anniversary of my first surgery as well. But except for time everything in my life seemed to be going backwards with my leg seemingly getting smaller and bones not joining.

3 kids on a sofa

Look at the camera! Why do you have to be such a Karen?

Around the end of May 2002, I had my 4th and 5th surgeries in succession in the gap of just a couple of days. Since the plate and screws weren’t working out, they decided to remove them. And a couple of days later, on May 31st, a day before my birthday, I had another surgery. This time they decided to graft a bone from my hip and place it between the two bones that were not joining in order to get them to fuse.

Four nails

Souvenir from the past

I woke up the next morning in the hospital bed, a year older but not any wiser. The doctors were nice enough to get me a cake and have a little celebration in the middle of their busy day. Back then I had this craze for G.I. Joe action figures so the most appropriate birthday gift was another one to add to my growing collection. I was able to go back home a couple of days later and had to keep learning to walk with crutches and the callipers.

I kept having my periodic visits to the hospital which revealed that the hip bone that was grafted didn’t seem to be working either as the bones were just not joining. Which is the perfect segue for me to get into my philosophical segment of the post where I compare bones to people.

Puzzle pieces that aren’t meant to fit can’t be forced together, unless you’re a persistent 4 year old. Sometimes people come into your life that seem right at first but then no matter how much you try, they just don’t stick around.

It’s neither person’s fault. Just that the circumstances and ideas that shaped both of you were different and now your lives cannot intertwine no matter how hard you try.

And that’s just fine.

I like to joke that the human body has 206 bones and I am short by quite a few. I think I’ve left or lost as many bones as people in my life so far. But even though I could have done with those bones, over time I’m still able to function pretty well without them.

Some bones were bad for me and made my life hell so it was best to get rid of them. Some bones were a sacrifice to be made to try to get to a better life. In the end bones don’t last forever.

The hip bone didn’t last either as it literally vanished into thin air. I was left again with a gap between two bones not willing to join.

So what do you do when one bone graft doesn’t work out? You try again with another one and see if that does.

Which is what the doctors were about to do in the next surgery which was to come 4 months after the hip bone was grafted.

If you’re a bone and reading this, know that you will always be remembered. Even if our relationship was brittle from the start and the break ups were hard and rough, you just weren’t the b’one for me.

Until next time. Bone journée.