Three years out…

January 6th, 2012

Greetings.  It’s been three years plus and not a day goes by without a reminder of the rupture.  If I keep still for more than ten minutes, my tendon becomes stiff and I have to flex/stretch to move well.  My rupture was on the right foot, and for the last two years the left Achilles aches occasionally and also stiffens after a prolonged rest.  I’ve learned to stretch both every morning before showering otherwise I shuffle across the room.  Frankly, I’m afraid of rupturing the left tendon so I exert myself with extreme caution—not very healthy.  I am now over fifty so this may all be an age issue, but I feel that I am still recovering.  Indeed, I finally rode a bicycle in November.  I’d love to have all my  courage back.

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Limping to the milestone

May 27th, 2009

I can hardly believe it will be a year in just few days.  Since the rupture I have not run, jumped, moved impulsively or dashed up or down the stairs.  It doesn’t help that my other leg (actually it’s the knee) has a rebuilt ACL with a patellar graft. When doing lots of walking I have to pay attention or I’ll get lazy and start limping or worse, waddle when I’m tired.  But this is sounds like a downer post…not so.

The edema is practically non-existent and I have basically my original full range of motion after a little morning stretch and exercise.  True my gait has changed but the cool thing is I no longer have my callus on the ball of my foot.  I walk differently.  I learned that Earth shoes are still on the market and I now own a pair of cool Earth mules.  The negative heel helps stretch and exercise the tendon when I walk.  I also learned that my husband and sons can find enough food in the kitchen without me hovering over them.

I did not gain weight despite being laid up for an entire summer.

I have lots and lots of pain pills left over…I didn’t need them.

I had/have a good surgeon and a good physiotherapist….again (from the ACL).

Perhaps most important is that I am healthy and I learned that I do not have to teach every summer session because it is all right to stay home and read for pleasure.  I am looking forward to riding my new bicycle later this summer.

Fellow Badminton ATR Fallen - At my age I have decided to retire from the game.  I will enjoy the sport vicariously since my spouse and sons compete.   The local indoor pool can provide the low impact exercise I crave.  I’m in the metro DC region and the badminton community is relatively small so if you play and you attend a tournament, you’ll see me.

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What’s New

February 18th, 2009

What a view!!1.8 million assembledA lot has happened locally.  I’m walking with ease but there is tightness in the mornings, particularly cold ones.  The scar is softening but I accept that I’ll have a lifelong reminder.  Perhaps I should name the scar…  Anyway, last month we had a houseful.  We were a complement of twelve, some from The Netherlands and the others from California USA.  Why did they descend upon our humble abode?  See the photos.

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December 19th, 2008

It’s been a while since I’ve posted…because I’ve been ridiculously busy.  The semester ended today and I gave my last final exam.  I’ll spend the next week grading.  All this means is that I will continue to sporadically exercise for at least a week.  Since the weather has become colder I find I am stiff in the mornings and my ATR scar makes its presence felt.  I did keloid so I’m using Mederma, but  I suspect this will have little effect because a keloid isn’t just a scar.  In addition the scar is much darker than the general area.  I’m not vain, but I already have scars from my ACL so I’d rather not walk around looking like I fight for a living.

I am still not allowed to run which is fine with me; winter’s on its way, but I haven’t had time to go on the treadmill for over two months.  My plan for the break, visit the gym.  My Spring schedule is much more sane so I will have a routine with my health in mind.  All in all, I’m barely limping, but I’m not even 80%.  I feel fine, just disappointed that I was not able to do more of the right thing.  I’ve been reading post about reinjured ATRs.  This scares me, especially since I occasionally feel a tingle back there.  Yes, I’m long overdue for a decent massage and workout.

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Callus? What callus?

October 17th, 2008

There have been too few good things from this ATR but I concede to an odd one.  I developed a callus on the bottom of my right foot when I had my sorry gymnastics dismount fall back in 1974.  I suffered a bad sprain of the right ankle and somewhere during recovery, I began walking differently and developed that little patch of rock.  Now I have almost no callus…it’s barely there.  I thought the little bastard would return, but I’ve been walking in two shoes and now almost cane free for almost 10 weeks and still it’s barely there.

Woohoo for the little things.  [And no, I do not miss it after 30+ years.]

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No Limp

October 9th, 2008

I have one week of physical therapy left and I am finally not thinking about not limping when I walk.  I just walk without the limp.  I returned to work six weeks ago and I’ve been extremely busy since I was MIA via ATR for two months.  Colleagues have been supportive without hovering.  I have found two helpful products; compression knee-hi hosiery and a compression open toe ankle booty.  I was surprised by edema when the cast came off.  Almost none of my shoes fit because of the swelling.  This has gone down considerably and I am finally believing and seeing a light and the end of this tunnel.

I realize now how worrisome this has been for my children, particularly the limping and the cane.  I still have the cane, but I use it when I know I’ll climb stairs as I walk across campus or go to other buildings.

It’s been four months, and I’m still healing.  My gait is almost normal and I’m happy about that.

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Charlie horse

August 13th, 2008

My physical therapy has been very helpful. Every morning my balance and walking feels better and stronger. Of course theres a “but” coming…. but Sunday as I was walking up the stair case I started with the right foot [instead of the correct foot] and felt my calf muscles vehemently protest. I’ve been aching ever since. I am annoyed because the tendon area is fine and I want to exercise, stretch and massage, but now I’m afraid of this muscle cramp. Monday the PT put me on the stationary bike and I couldn’t complete five revolutions because of the discomfort. He took me off immediately and spent the rest of the session working on the calf muscles. I didn’t expect this and realize now that I should have told him about the cramp before starting the session. I haven’t had this sensation since swimming way, way back in secondary school.

I am blogging because I’m home rather than at my PT. I still have the cramp when I gently apply pressure with my toes and the ball of my foot. This is not good and has to be worked out. Did I mention it hurts? It also frightens me because I think of re-rupture. I also have a deadline…faculty return on the twenty-first. I’m walking slowly, with a cane or crutch, and my mind still functions so for all intents and purposes I can work. This ATR completely consumed my summer; I teach so with the exception of finding an adjunct for my summer session course, I have had the luxury of time to convalesce.  I’m still not driving, cannot stand for too long and I’m not really in two shoes…the edema trumps that option for now.  This cramp was not a part of the agenda!

I think I’m venting.

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Damn edema!

August 9th, 2008

Started rehab last week and by the end of the first session I walked more smoothly with my crutches. I feel stronger and more confident each day, but the swelling is distressing. The tightness and stiffness is surprising and expected but the edema is awful. It probably isn’t as bad as I think it is, but I’ve never had anything like this before. The therapist massaged the area (a major Wow!!) and recommended a compression stocking. I now have a pair of thigh highs. It does help actually, but it is major work getting it on. All this inactivity has left me with freakishly long fingernails. I’m enjoying them but will cut them off before returning for the new semester, however it is evident that I am easily amused as I make a game of putting on tight edema hosiery without puncturing the stocking with my claws. Think of Edward Scissorhands.

Two days ago I started using one crutch and will probably move to my cane only for staircases by the end of the weekend. I guess I am full weight bearing now, and so here is my confession; the surgeon was right…I didn’t need the boot after all. I’ve worn it twice. This may be posted for the world to see, but I’ll not tell him!

Well, I watched the Tivo of the Beijing Olympics’ opening ceremony with my foot elevated. Impressive production. Obviously I know better than to expect badminton coverage even though matches have already begun.  The US isn’t likely to medal and the sport isn’t well known here.  Thankfully the Internet provides access to direct feed for many of the badminton matches. I just watched men’s singles, (Ireland lost to Germany) and happily look forward to more. So I’ll do my exercises, elevate and massage, watch Olympic badminton and not dwell too much on my lost youth.

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Time Biding

July 26th, 2008

I have to learn to temper my need for independence with sensible, practical patience. I was too excited about my newfound ability to partially walk, albeit slowly, and now I’m back on my butt. I didn’t injure myself, but clearly my walk to the corner was foolhardy. The last two days have been spent with my foot elevated and covered with ice packs because of the swelling. There was no swelling at all at the time of the injury. I didn’t even have swollen ankles with my two full-term pregnancies!! Now I have this bloated hoof with peeling skin and gaudy traces of a once fine pedicure. It’s also too uncomfortable to put on the very boot I rallied for.

So now I must bide my time and really, really be patient. I messed up. Learn from this, dear reader. Every day requires a full 24 hours and that’s that. Time to put fresh ice in my bag.

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July 24th, 2008

I’ve been cast free for 24 hours. Yeah!!

Yesterday the doctor sawed off the purple cast. He told me to swing my leg around (off the table) and show my fullest range of motion. He nodded in appreciation of his masterful technique and began writing in my file. I stared at the reduced, ashy appendage that had once been my right foot. I moved it again and felt the stiff tightness so many have already mentioned. The wound was caked with dried blood and scabs. The doctor looked up and casually said “Don’t pick at it. Let it fall off naturally. You can do harm otherwise.”

As I became aware of my husband’s picture taking, the doctor rose, handed him my papers for physical therapy and turned to me and smiled proudly. “So, that’s it. I’ll see you in four weeks.” I articulately quipped, “Huh?”

I was surprised; it was over too quickly…but hey, hang on a minute, where’s my boot?

I’d been online. People had given me answers, sent research articles. I’d even looked at several types of walkers and learned the prices so I wouldn’t get ugly insurance coverage surprises. I recovered quickly and before his lab coat disappeared I asked “Don’t I need a boot? I haven’t put any weight on my foot since the injury. I don’t want to re-injure myself between now and my rehab.”

He looked both surprised and indignant. “You don’t need a boot. Your tendon is fine. You should start walking. You are going back to Nkem, right? (Nkem was my PT from a previous injury/surgery/rehab) He was perfectly composed and perhaps wondered why I had any doubts.  I had to think.

“Yes,” I replied, “but I didn’t bring a right shoe. I should have a boot…to protect your work.”

“Okay, you can have a boot. You don’t need one. Okay, all right. You can soak your foot in warm water, but don’t pick at the scabs. Let them fall off. Stand up…put your heel down.”

I actually didn’t have a problem putting my foot flat on the floor. As I slowly put weight on it I felt the weirdest sensation in my heel. Eeeeew. When I looked up he was gone. A few moments later the nurse came in, asked me my shoe size. I had my boot. What mystifies me is that if I hadn’t learned about this site and read the other accounts, I would have happily, yet nervously, hobbled out of the office. This afternoon I took a walk, outside, by myself. I carried my crutches and wore my boot. I walked to the corner, only one house length, and back. It took forever. I was really tired, but so truly happy to have a tiny bit of independence again.

DEAD DRY SKIN [This can be upsetting.]

Following my doctor’s advice, I placed my foot in warm water with a little Detol. As I rubbed the bottom of my foot gently the water began to cloud. The dry skin was literally falling away into the water. I was shocked; I never realized how much skin humans shed. The stuff had been accumulating in the cast with nowhere to go. My little foot was easily a two-loofah job. Today the flakes continue to fall. Not pretty. At least I can hide it in my inflatable boot.

Okay, so how do I change my profile from NWB to PWB?

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