Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Hero: Prof. Dr. Franz Maurer, MD

On day six after my successful leg/knee surgery it is time to pay tribute to my new-found hero, Prof. Dr. Franz Maurer.
Chefarzt Prof. Dr. med. Franz Maurer, Oberschwabenklinik Ravensburg
Over the past week I have come to see a lot of Dr. Maurer, who, upon the tireless insistence of Sabine, took over my case even after I had been taken to Tettnang hospital. He was the one who operated on me last Friday morning, apparently shaking up his established surgery schedule to fix me first thing in the morning, since he deemed my case the most complex of the day. I can sing nothing but high praises. Obviously, we cannot know how the surgeons at Tettnang would have patched me up. However, it is difficult to second-guess a surgeon who not only after the surgery but after reviewing his handicraft through a CT scan later labels my chances of 100% recovery as extremely likely. This doc knows exactly what he is doing, and when I went under the knife I felt 100% confident that I could trust him.
CT scan showing my new titanium hardware—hold on, TSA, here I come!
There are great and exceptional surgeons all over the world; I've been lucky to have been taken on by someone with not only outstanding technical skills in his profession, but somebody who as a medical caretaker dispenses humor, compassion, and humanity. Every day he has made it a point to see me twice, and every time he gives me all the friendly and warm attention that I can ask for, and more. Much more. Thank you, Dr. Maurer, for not seeing me simply as yet another case but as the person who I am.
Handsome zippers

Comparative view
Multi-colored bruising
My recuperation so far has been coming along at a steady and satisfactory, albeit slow, pace. Well, when I say slow, I should probably put it all in perspective: Less than a week ago I was totally immobile, and now I am limping around on crutches, allowed to bear up to 25% of my body weight on my broken leg (about 20 kg). For a few days I have had visits by a physiotherapist who straps me to a robotic movement machine that gently mobilizes my leg to a bearable angle; when I started, I could stand maybe 20 degrees, and now the knee already allows close to 40. He has also shown me how to climb stairs with my crutches, something that will be essential once I am back in Freising in two days. On my first day out of the bed I was allowed to use the Porsche Cayenne, as they call the pictured four-wheel scooter.
Using the Porsche Cayenne

"Schnell, schnell, Schwester Brunhilde, die Maschine ist bei 125 Grad!!!!!"
I've been extremely lucky in that I have experienced essentially no pain at all. Maybe it's been the meds that I have been given, but more likely my pain receptors focus so hard on abdominal anti-thrombosis shots and the occasional drawing of blood that major pain gets tuned out. For what it's worth, initially I was given novalgin, voltaren, and arcoxia for pain management and anti-inflammation, and oral-dispensed xarelto has replaced those nuisance shots. I've reduced the pain meds to a minimum or less but keep listening to my body.
German engineering: bed-mounted crutch holders, TÜV-approved, no doubt
As I had mentioned in my last post, the staff in Tettnang were attentive, and here they are even better. They are amazing, just like the food, which could be served up in any half-decent restaurant. If you need to have an accident, make sure you're in Germany and close to Ravensburg.
Anybody for Kaffee und Erdbeer Torte for the afternoon coffee-time ritual?
Since the surgery I have been in a private room that provides more privacy (and Sabine can stay in the evening longer than 8 p.m.). The room has big, bright windows and a beautiful view; when I have my meals (now taken at the table) I look out onto trees and hills.
The view from my hospital room in Oberschwabenklinik Ravensburg
So, as you can see, in a shitty situation I am well taken care of and (almost) enjoying myself. Sabine comes over for visits in the afternoon—with some nice weather this week I told her to go for bike rides on the lake instead of hanging with this decrepit fella in the ward. Tomorrow we will go back to Bernd and Isolde's place in Wasserburg before returning to Freising on Saturday. I'm a bit apprehensive about the almost-three-hour drive, but I'll manage. Thanks to modern technology I've been in touch with friends, airlines, insurance companies, and my hometown physician—it feels good to get things done. My return to Lubbock is scheduled for July 1, so I will have a lot of time in Freising for rehab work. Recovery to where I can feel somewhat "normal" again will take around three months or more. Well, it could have been so much worse!

Thanks for reading,


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