Someone’s Got a Screw Loose…

I promised you a less-than-perfect-day and we certainly had one this week. I’ll return to the travelogue soon, but first, a real-time update on the Saga of The Foot.

Faithful readers will recall that just a little over a year ago, the CE exercised the pain and suffering clause in our marriage by rupturing his posterior tibialis tendon.  This is one of those body parts you don’t know exists until something goes wrong; its purpose is to support the arch of the foot. All you flat-footers out there, get thee to a podiatrist forthwith – orthotics as well as other measures can help if the condition is caught early on.

Note the difference: the foot on the left has a normal arch, the foot on the right is flat, indicating a problem with the PT tendon (image from

The CE’s condition was so severe that he had to have his entire foot re-built, which is why he chose to have the amazing and esteemed Dr. Ferkel (who literally wrote the book on this surgery) at Southern California Orthopedic Institute (SCOI) perform the surgery.

Dr. Ferkel, baseball nut and surgeon extraordinaire (image from

This involved cutting into the heel, removing a piece of it and re-fashioning it to stabilize the foot. The tendon was completely ruptured, which means that it basically rolled up like a windowshade and had to be teased out and looped together with another tendon in order to restore function to the foot. (Sorry, I should have mentioned you might need a barf bag before you read this paragraph.) Every physician, nurse, x-ray tech and other human being who has looked at the CE’s scar gets very wide eyes and says “Wow! You had a BIG surgery!” Very reassuring…

Post-surgery last year

The foot is now almost fully functional, although it does appear that the CE has some residual sensory nerve damage. This could have resulted from the original condition, the surgery or the nerve block that was done pre-surgery. He can walk, but he does have significant pain in the foot. He has also had pain from the ginormous screws they put in his heel to hold things together, and he jumped (okay, truth be told, he’s not jumping all that well these days…) at the chance to have them removed.

Yes, THOSE screws!

Last time around, he was in the hospital for two nights, in a cast for a few months and in a boot for what seemed like a lifetime. We knew this time around would be less of an ordeal – for one thing, it’s an out-patient procedure, but we didn’t know much else.

The CE and Natalie, Dr. Ferkel's assistant at the pre-op appointment: WHY is this man laughing?

So it was a relief to learn that although the procedure required general anesthesia, there was the possibility that the CE could bypass having a cast and go straight to wearing that familiar old boot. I never thought I’d be happy to see the boot again, but it’s much better than a cast!

And I was amazed to see how quickly he rallied after the surgery. Here he is just a few hours later:

A few hours post-surgery: they gave him the screws as a souvenir (yes I know there's a bad joke here, but I'm not going there)

Another bonus, since we spent the night in the Los Angeles area, was that Victoria took a break from her studies at USC to come visit!

Victoria just aced a big test! Congratulations!

He’s in considerable pain, but hopefully the heel, at least, will hurt less now that the screws are out. Since he’s on crutches for the next week or two, the CE is staying down in the poolhouse with Chloe, Rosie and Birdie for roommates, but he’s already feeling well enough to hobble around. PG brought lunch yesterday and we had a picnic with the chickens.

Is it wrong to eat chicken salad in front of the chickens?

"I hope he gets well soon so he can throw the tennis ball for me!"

Thanks to everyone for the calls and well wishes, to Victoria for the fruit and the visit, to PG for lunch and to Ashleigh for keeping us afloat until the CE is back to his usual superhuman self.


Polloplayer edit: a fair amount of traffic arrives here via searches for “posterior tibialis”. For related posts on this subject, see “Break a Leg?”, “Getting a Leg Up”, “Cast and Characters”, “Ups, Downs” and “Das Boot and Das Molt”

About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
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6 Responses to Someone’s Got a Screw Loose…

  1. Chicken Emperor says:

    I feel sorry for those of you who were casually tuning in for a few chicken tips and instead you get to see surgery photos. But such is life. The Chicken Lady has done an amazing job of taking over and keeping everything running smoothly. Of course she has enjoyed considerable assistance from her highly trained crew of Hope, Autumn, Soho, Dizzy, Cody, Dodger, Chloe, etc.

    Many thanks to all of the Pollo Player fans out there who have gone out of their way to assist me or the Chicken Lady as we try to keep all of those feed bags and water bowls full. We are not in a position where we can afford to begin processing complaints from the inmates without offering immediate transfers to another facility, most likely located in Bhutan.

    Stay tuned for more escapades, and I am sure the CL will do her usual eloquent job of keeping you all posted.

  2. Katherine says:

    I have absolutely no idea how the CE can look so smiley in all these photos (except the one with Victoria in it – that I understand.) I’m going to suggest that either a) the medications were excellent, b) he heard that the price of the surgery is less than one night’s stay at a hotel in France and/or c) the CL promised to drop the idea of a Fowl Seasons chicken-vacation-hotel on the South 40.

    Rah-rah, CE! We’re cheering for you and your speedy recovery.

  3. Katherine says:

    Silver lining: built-in Halloween costume. Slam-dunk with Long John Silver. Just hoist Autumn onto your shoulder and you’re done.

  4. Chicken Emperor says:

    It is a humbling experience when Katherine comments on one’s comments. All of the long hours a person spends trying to be clever are instantly and completely overshadowed by the quipping she dashes like throwing food in Karma’s bowl. It is discouraging in the extreme. And it is well substantiated that a large number of PP fans will not put forth a comment for fear theirs will appear as a child’s balloon next to Katherine’s Silver Hindenberg. But in spite of the shriveling effect that her comments might have on the rest of us, we all stand and applaud the Master Commentor, as true genius is always to be admired and encouraged.

  5. Katie Hutchison says:

    I am a Dr Ferkel patient and must say I think he and his staff are absolutely wonderful! You picked a great surgeon to take care of things for you.

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