aileenscotland’s AchillesBlog

5 weeks 3 days
November 24, 2010, 2:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

well guys, I had no success with my doctor… there is no hospital in Scotland that does a modern protocol.

So it’s back into plaster for another two weeks, back onto the crutches, still NWB after all this time.

sad, depressed, p***ed off!

18 Comments so far
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I looked back over my posts at the 5-6 week stage, I was bored, fed up, complaining of cabin fever and very frustrated at my lack of progress. I spent 9 weeks in plaster post op, and my pleas for a boot and early mobilisation as per the protocols that I had read fell on deaf ears in my local district general hospital. Slowly and carefully does it seems to be the NHS approach. Other people on thus blog also seem to have a dip at the stage you’re at. BUT it does pass, honest!
The biggest fight is a mental one, especially in the early weeks and I do feel for you. Use this blog, I’ve found it really helped to keep me sane.

Comment by teresa1 11.24.10 @ 3:15 pm

Thanks Teresa, that helped. I’ve read through your blog and I think I’m following your treatment fairly closely. You are so right - the trick is definitely patience.

I thought I was winning the mental battle but I guess it hit me hard as I spent hours preparing for the consultation yesterday, and the answer was just a simple “no can do!”

PS I work in insurance and I think it would be best to tell your insurers. They might just note your file and not do anything else, but at least you’ve followed their protocol of ‘any material facts’ - I’ll check with my underwriting colleagues and see if they say anything different

Comment by aileenscotland 11.24.10 @ 3:48 pm

Hi Aileen,
the biggest battle is patience even as I am now I have days when I feel like I’m trapped in my own home. I feel like everyone elses life is going on and I’m stuck on the side lines. I also spent ages comparing my progress with various protocols but in the end you’re stuck with what they are doing with you. It’s probably not the protocol it’s the desire to get back to normal as quickly as posible. Be assured it does get better. I think the philosophy that helped me the most was everyday is one day closer to being back in the real world. The hard days get fewer and further apart hold in there, and when your fed up come on here and someone will give you words of comfort and reassurance. Keep healing :)

Comment by liverpoollass 11.24.10 @ 4:30 pm

Hi Aileen, I sympathise with your feelings and understand your frustration but everyday gone is a step closer to a full recovery.
I think we must trust our doctors as each individual case is different. At present your tendon is healing and is well protected with little chance of you reinjuring it. We read so many opinions of ATR surgery/non surgery and post-operative/post injury care of the AT that we all may have doubts that our path is best. It seems that, at present, there is no definitive treatment and rehabilitation of this injury. It is a personal choice. With the help of our doctors, in whom we trust, whatever route we take, we all strive to fully recover. I wish you all the best in your recovery and look forward to some good news from Glasgow soon. Take care. Paul

Comment by paulg 11.24.10 @ 6:00 pm

You’re post cheered me up there. Thanks…
It is seriously frustrating…
I’m am 6 weeks post op today. And I’m on the exact sample recovery plan as yours. Today I got fitted with a cast for another two weeks.
As Paul brilliant explained in his post lets trust the doctor. Full recovery is the most important thing.
I’ve a mental target to be limping around or partial weight bearing by Christmas Day that will be good. Helps keep me sane. And at least its winter out there!!

Comment by peadarh 11.25.10 @ 4:00 pm

Once again, thanks to all of you for your fab encouragement - I thank God every day that I found this site.

I was seriously considering going online and buying a boot today to take with me to my next doctor’s appointment on Dec 7th. The Donjoy MC Walker that Norm recommended is around £140.

However, thanks to all your comments, I’m just going to relax and be patient and wait it out. I AM getting better, even if it’s very slowly.

I think part of the problem is that my boss is putting me under major pressure to get back to work. He thinks that I’m going to walk back in the door the day after I get the cast off, and when I tell him that’s not likely, I get a big sigh…

But good things happen every day and I should be more grateful. Today, I ‘danced’ along to one of my favourite records on the radio, two of my guys from work phoned me to find out how I’m getting on and told me they miss me, and another colleague volunteered to pick me up next week and take me to the office for a visit, so that’s something to look forward to.

Two more things to look forward to - swimming and getting the cast off before Christmas. I’m supposed to be going to stay with the in-laws for Christmas but we’ll see…

Take care everyone x

Comment by aileenscotland 11.25.10 @ 5:08 pm

I used to think the world was divided into people who preferred to just trust their Docs, and those who liked to be their own patient-advocates and push their doctors into doing what seemed to be best for that individual patient. And I used to think that I was one of the latter kind.

WELL! It turns out I’m one of the latter kind when it comes to ankles, calves, and ATs!! But when it comes to open-heart surgery — I’m going in this coming Wednesday for a valve replacement or two — I REALLY REALLY care how comfortable my surgical team is going to be while they hold my heart in their hands!! I’ve already caved in, or wimped out, on 3 or 4 decisions that I probably could have pushed if I wanted to. (Whether I would have gotten my way if I’d pushed is still another question!)

So on the one hand, I think you folks are all wimps — no offense meant, of course! — to go along with casts and slow rehabs because your Doc says you should. But on the other hand, I have way more understanding of you wimps since I became one, too!

Mind you, if the ATR studies showed that going slower decreased the risk of re-rupture, then there’d be a legit tradeoff between gaining convenience while adding risk. But that’s not what they show at all, and especially for you non-op folks, I read the evidence as going exactly the opposite way: gain the convenience and there’s LESS risk! At least up to the speed of the studies that produced the best results.

Good luck and good healing, folks. (I think I’ll finally take a few days off from this great site starting on Wednesday! ;-) )

Comment by normofthenorth 11.26.10 @ 12:41 am

I don’t think it’s fair to say we’re wimps. In many ways the NHS is the greatest thing ever (and I say that having worked for it for 25 years). But there is very limited scope for shopping around, and it can be very difficult to negotiate your treatment protocol - even when you are well informed and assertive, which I certainly am. In the end, it can be easier to go with the flow and save your energy for your recovery, rather than tilting at windmills.
In time the NHS will change practice, but it works slowly.

Comment by teresa1 11.26.10 @ 4:41 am

I totally agree with teresa, I personally cannot fault the NHS and am a huge supporter of it, but as she says it gives us little in the way of leverage to push things in a different direction. I find this site a huge support, but also at times frustrating when you start comparing yourself to protocols we can’t follow. In the end you will become healthy again, have faith in that. Try not to let the frustration get to you, it will only make your journey longer and more agonising. Look for the positives, find things you can do in your cast. I put a chair in the kitchen and baked. My family and friends were massively grateful. As a teacher I also started doing worksheets and resources for my colleagues. All this made me feel productive and useful. Stay positive Aileen. You’ll get there eventually, then you’ll look back on all this and realise it’s made you a stronger person. As a good friend of mine says “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!!!”

Comment by liverpoollass 11.26.10 @ 5:28 am

Thanks ladies, I agree with your comments about the NHS. The doctors and nurses have all been so kind, but they are so busy and under such pressure that they sometimes forget to stop and explain. However, every time I’ve asked for information I’ve got what I needed.

LL you hit the nail on the head again, I think my frustration on Wednesday came from comparing myself to others and feeling like I was lagging behind. But when the doctor told me that the boot is not available in any hospital in Scotland (without going Private) then there is no point in pushing it - you can’t order cheesecake if it’s not on the menu!!!

I love the idea of baking - I put a chair beside the cooker so I can make dinner but now I fancy trying some scones!

Good things today already - a friend that I haven’t spoken to for a while called me and I had a great conference call with work. It’s nice to feel part of things, even from home. I think I’m going to try posting my “good things” every day - even if they’re only minor.

Norm, best wishes for Wednesday. I hope everything goes wonderfully well.

Comment by aileenscotland 11.26.10 @ 6:44 am

OK, sorry about the wimp thing — though I have surprised myself recently with “wimp-like behaviour” in that other context. But if you have to convert the whole COUNTRY to change your protocol, that’s way huge.

Have you checked this site for other Scottish ATR “graduates”? Maybe you can start a little NHS-reform group. Boots are actually CHEAPER to the system than a series of casts, I’m pretty sure, in addition to the patient-side benefits. But a big system has enormous inertia, even a good one.

This is not an issue to worry about while you’re busy healing, I agree. I was hoping it could relatively quickly turn out the way Johanna’s story (”firstdayofsummer”) turned out in Stamford, Connecticut. She just barely managed to reform the whole hospital’s practice, just as she was arriving at her wit’s end in frustration!

Good Healing, all, and keep enjoying the milestones as they go by! And thanks for the best wishes, Aileen. I’ve never done any of this stuff before!

Comment by normofthenorth 11.26.10 @ 8:38 am

Hi all,

following a couple of recent fantastic bits of advice, I phoned the hospital today and asked what would happen if I bought my own boot.
Their advice was still along the lines that it wasn’t necessary but I stuck to my guns. They finally confirmed that they would take me out of my cast and fit the boot!!!

So today I ordered an Aircast XP Walker and it’ll arrive in time for my appointment next Tuesday. I’m pretty excited that I will definitely be out of the cast.

Is anyone else in one of these boots? What do you think of it?

All best wishes everyone

Comment by aileenscotland 11.30.10 @ 4:58 pm

Hi Aileen I’ve been in the aircast for about 5 weeks and although initially I struggled with it I’ve found it to be fab. I started with 3 wedges inside and slowly over 3 weeks removed them. I’d also buy some fabreze as they tend to get a bit stinky, especially as I slept in mine for nearly 4 weeks. I’m currently reducing the amount I wear it but with he weather it’s still a must outside. Is your boot coming with wedges or are you already in neutral?You’ll be walking around in no time! Good luck with it. Oh nearly forgot, get some shoes that have a thick sole to try and even your legs out, it make a huge difference. I bought some walking boots as I thought they’d be good for the winter.

Comment by liverpoollass 12.01.10 @ 4:59 am

Hi Aileen, well done! I am definitely ordering a boot now. How does the Aircast XP compare to the Donjoy ones, do you know? Sara

Comment by jsdecody 12.01.10 @ 7:39 am

Hi Sara, isn’t this site just the best thing ever? I’m on every day. When I was really down last week, all the replies picked me back up and it’s great to be able to track how everyone’s getting on and think that we’ll be there in a few weeks.

I’ll let you know how I get on when I take my boot to the doc on Tuesday. Please keep me up to date with your progress too.

Comment by aileenscotland 12.01.10 @ 11:11 am

Yes, it’s great to know you’re not as isolated as you think! It has certainly been among the most difficult and depressing two months of my life and it is so helpful to have other people’s experiences to help you along! I am getting my cast off next Thurs so we are quite close time-wise.

Comment by jsdecody 12.01.10 @ 3:42 pm

Ha ha have just seen you were also injured when dancing! I was at a rubbish party when someone hijacked the DJ to put on ‘ Sweet Child O’ Mine’- one small boogie and no more dancing for me…has caused lots of amusement among friends who want to know what funky dance moves I was pulling…

Comment by jsdecody 12.01.10 @ 3:45 pm

In UK doctors may be slower to adopt new techniques because of the influence of the NHS. At times with new drugs that turn out to have problems this can be helpful, more of the tme it is frustrating.
The BBC ran a piece about the trial of VacoPed in NHS patients in Leicester,, 20 patients by June 2010.
Privately it is available but not all use it, as shown by this rehab protocol from a London surgeon,

Comment by snapdragon 12.02.10 @ 5:01 pm

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