Welcome to Gary Goers' News
Medical update 5-23-13,
--out of hospital yesterday
I last updated to April 1st when things were looking pretty good Molded brace/boot
would be done soon and everything seemed to be healing. Got the boot by mid-April;
it fit well and I used it a couple of times--before things went bad again!
The pain level, inflammation in the foot and elevation level required for comfort changed
for the worse. Also the wound on top of the foot stopped healing progress and actually
seemed to be losing ground slightly.
I didn't think too much of it since the doc said there would be some swelling and the
wound healing would slow when I started putting weight on the ankle.
And--the followup ultra sound checkup was only days away. That procedure on May 8th
showed a very short, but very narrow spot high on the thigh in the new bypass. Deemed
to be the result of scar tissue pressing on the vessel, the fix would be to try the angiogram
inflating a balloon to open up the vessel or operate to put a patch on it.
Problem was that I had to wait until the following Wednesday morning because the coumadin
level had to drop into the safe range for an operation. Well, by that time the narrow spot had
almost closed completely and clotting developed in about 8 inches of the bypass.
Angiogram failed to clear the area, but did send loosened material downstreeam into the foot
further compromising circulation and causing the wound on top of the foot to double in size.
Just as before in this same situation, I was put on clot busting drug IV overnight and the next
day the third bypass operation was performed. It went well and things seem to be healing
quite well. This last bypass used a "harvested" vein from my left arm--ugly incision from the
wrist almost to the armpit. Still have the right arm unmolested--don't tell anyone.
So, another couple of weeks lost and it will still be a week before I can work a little in the shop.
Any fantasy of catching up on work is now not reality. I need time to heal, train new help
and complete over 100 orders already in the shop. I am forced to ask my customers to please
not send in orders until October.
Following is a summary of the shop situation and estimation of the timeframe for some items.
'55-'62 300 seat upholstery. I have several sets that were almost done when I broke my
ankle. As soon as I'm able, I must finish up these first.
Both presses used for the E, F and H basketweave and 300G embossed squares broke down
some time ago. I have had new components made, but there is still considerable work left to
do to get them operational. Then many hours will be needed to emboss leather which then
has to have the final finish sprayed on. That is a big operation which has to ve done outside
with a temp. of at least 70. Getting a 70 degree day past Sept. doesn't carry very good odds.
'55-'62 door and rear panel kits and headliners can be supplied in relatively short time. 300C
and 300H embossed panel vinyl is in stock.
'57-'62 Chrysler and DeSoto trunk carpets are in stock. '55-'56 trunk carpets are labor intensive
and the helper is not nearly good enough to sew them. That leaves me and that means not
for a few months.
Some firewall pads are in stock and my new help is getting more efficient in cutting them out, so
it looks like I'll be able to supply them without much delay.
All weatherstrips, channels, etc. are in stock. Molded parts are another matter. I have to do
these and they are at the top of my list, but my time each day will be very limited.
'60-'64 sill plates. Saw samples just before the last hospital stay. Looked great, but they still
had lots of fine tuning to do. Haven't checked on progress since then, but will next week.
In summation, I will try to supply parts needed keep you going on your project, but I must put
healing, time off and certain shop priorities at the head of the list. When I only have little over
two hours to work and Char is forced to eat up a half hour or more of it with a pile of customer
questions, a lot less work gets done by both of us.
Thanks for your understanding and support.
March 9, 2013
My medical crisis started on Nov. 14th. That's the day when a freak slip resulted in my left ankle being broken
in three places. On the 16th the ankle was put back together with a plate on the left side and 8 screws in appropriate
places. Access to the bone was through 5 inch incisions on each side. Bleeding was controlled by a tourniquet near
the knee. All seemed to be fine for awhile with no complications. However, the doctor decided that the staples
holding the incisions closed could come out after only a little over a week.
I certainly didn't think the incisions were healed enough especially the left one. But I didn't say anything--doctor
should know best. Within a week the left incision split open about 3/4" wide and 3" long. The inside incision was
healing nicely and was 90% finished in a couple of weeks; the left one was healing slightly during this time and
pronounced OK by the docs. Too bad it wasn't left stapled longer so it would have been mostly healed in those
two extra weeks because complication #1 developed.
There was a sudden increase in inflammation and pain when I had the leg down (like hobbling to the bathroom
with the walker). Off to the hospital and an MRI showed an occlusion in the left femoral artery near the knee (hmm
that area sounds familiar). Not to worry, the magic rotor rooter thing wound clear the clot and all would be fine.
Well, after three hours of trying from all access points, they were forced to give up when the angiogram tip peeled
a flap off the artery wall which formed a one way valve--the wrong way. That procedure was stopped and the search
was on for a good vein for a bypass. The popular vein used for heart bypass procedures was in good shape so
only one two foot long incision in the inner left leg supplied access for the vein and also the artery.
Bypass successful after 6 hours total on the table. All seemed to be healing well except very slowly for that open
incision on the ankle which continually oozed fluid and thicker yellow colored stuff. I was constantly told that this
was normal and the wound looked like it was filling in. I couldn't see it very well especially without being able to
bend much with the fresh bypass incision.
Complication #2 came along about two weeks later and it was a biggie. The familiar pain and inflammation returned
and an ultrasound exam showed that the whole bypass was plugged up. How could this be!? It took a while to piece
the facts together and the facts were surprising to say the least. During the first bypass the whole artery was left
intact including the clot which was only a few inches above the lower bypass graft point. The thinking is that the
body may eventually dissolve the clot and have the artery back in full service. Didn't quite work out that way.
The occlusion material loosed up and went down to the narrow spot (graft point) and plugged it almost completely.
After another unsuccessful angiogram which loosened material that went down into the foot causing the capillaries
to plug up, everything was put on hold for 36 hours while I had a constant IV of Heparin and a clot dissolving drug.
The foot was barely saved, but it's still here although about a 3" X 3" area of skin on top of the foot "died"--black-
dead and the circulation to the left side of the ankle was severely compromised. That open wound now became a
big long term problem.
You probably guessed it--bypass redone using the vein from the right leg. No more spare parts left now. Not to
worry all seemed well and the ankle was pronounced no longer fragile and I could put weight on it. I did some
walking with a walker and some with crutches and things seemed better. I was even able to go to the shop for a
couple of hours a day and get some stuff done sitting down.
This operation was Jan. 13th. Just month later and only little more than a week home and the ankle started hurting
real bad and real deep. Two days a having 102.6 degree fever spikes, I was back in the hospital where an X-ray
showed that the plate and screws in the ankle were loose and the outer bone was not healed well and barely
What caused this!?
Doc says the ankle is infected and the plate and screws have to come out. Although no doctor would give a direct
answer, it was obvious that the infection in the open wound right over the plate had gone into the ankle.
So, another operation to remove the plate and screws, wash everything out and close it up.
It turned out well considering that the infection wasn't in the bones and the loose bone was sturdy enough to leave
as is for now. That operation was on Valentine's day (birthday party with pizza and drinks thrown by friends
canceled) and so far is successful.
There wasn't enough skin to fully close the left incision, but it's close to being closed now. It will be April 1st before
I can put any weight on the ankle and even then only with a supporting brace. Meanwhile, I'm stuck in a recliner
with an antibiotic infusion three times a day. Healing is slow, but all is well so far.
I look forward to getting back to work and enjoying spring; missing winter wasn't really all that bad!