I love to learn new things. After college, my roommates and I traveled to California. It was my bright idea that we each pick a topic related to the trip, do research on it and share our findings when we return. Bet you want to vacation with me! But, several of us actually did it. I remember I wrote a paper on the meaning of kosher. Someone else researched the use of windmills we saw all over the place. Seriously, it was interesting stuff.
Life really is fascinating and holds immensely more than anyone one of us can ever take in. But we can embrace each season for all its worth. My current season seems centered on hobbling around, trying to stay off a fractured foot. And once again, I’m seeing there’s much to learn.
Upon giving me the bad news about my break, my doctor explained what needed to take place for my foot to heal. Roughly, it sounded like a bunch of cells that specialize in eating up debris move in to clean up the broken area during the first few days. Then new cells begin to form bone.
What I’ve since read says that the healing begins almost the moment you break the bone, but the whole process can take up to 18 months. Typically, the healing is at about 80 percent by three months. If that’s the case, I’m just a third of the way there. <Sigh.>
Here’s the Reader’s Digest version of the healing:
1. Bleeding tissues form a fracture hematoma (blood clot) within the break.
2. Blood vessels form a jelled substance and bring phagocytes which eat away debris.
3. At 3-4 weeks, fibroblasts produce collagen fibres that surround the bone. They are rubbery to help restrict movement.
4. Bone matrix forms into which bone crystals are deposited and gaps are filled in. This stage should begin to show up on x-rays.
5. When the ends of the fracture are firmly held in place, normal stress can be introduced and may even encourage healing. Over the coming year, “remodeling” will continue, removing any bulging and rough edges. I asked my doctor about one of these jagged edges that I noticed on the x-ray and she assured me that over time the bone would smooth over. Has God created our bodies in an amazing manner or what!? Basically, it sounds like it’s advisable to follow doctor’s orders, but the healing all takes place pretty naturally.
My doctor was encouraged to see there was already evidence of healing on my two-week x-ray. But the fracture is severe enough to warrant well over a month of no weight bearing. Good nutrition, calcium and keeping off it are all essential to healing. I’m trying my best to be a good patient with the hopes of reducing the healing process. The last thing I want is to be hobbling around on a bum foot at age 70 because of impatience today.
Once again, I’m seeing that you really can learn something new every day!