Snakes and Ladders

January 31, 2010

I’m sure I’m not the first to use the comparison, but ATR recovery is like a game of snakes and ladders.

Unfortunately I’ve landed on the big snake that takes you back to the start, after suffering a full re-rupture last week.

It was 14 weeks after my ATR playing football.  I went the conservative way and things had been progressing well, apparently.  I’d gone in to the boot before Christmas and then in to two shoes mid Jan.  Indoors I was walking confidently, if with a big limp.

I won’t focus on the gory details but I got up from the sofa last Tuesday in the wrong way, on my toes, and that was that.

It took me a day or two to accept something serious was wrong as I still had good strength in my foot.  The pain hadn’t been severe, there was no ‘pop’, but clearly something had happened.

I went to A&E where an orthopedic chap said he thought I’d redone it so he admitted me.  The next day I saw two consultants.  Both were hopeful I hadn’t done severe damage but wanted an ultrasound to check.  That took a day to arrange with the right person.  It took one second for her to see the full rupture.

So I was in to surgery first thing the next morning - conservative treatment is not the same kind of option second time round.  The Surgery itself was fine (great painkillers!) and once again I’ve been lucky not to suffer too much pain.  My surgeon says it all went to plan and I now need to do what I can to help heal the wound and avoid infection, i.e. don’t move much, no football or pub crawls, and keep my leg up.

I’m staying with my parents for a week while I keep my leg up.  My Mum’s just retired so needs to keep busy to help herself manage the transition to life without work!  I’ll make sure I keep her working with requests for tea and cakes.

The whole event has been odd, to say the least.  It’s been emotionally draining - the thought of going back to square 1.  But I’m working out ways to keep positive.

For starters, it’s a different square 1 and I’m on a different board with new ladders to look for and new snakes to avoid.  Having tried conservative, and now having undergone surgery the injury feels like a different one.

On the note of conservative vs surgery, I wouldn’t urge anyone to use my experience to sway them either way if considering their own treatment.

I don’t regret going conservatively.  I really felt my progress was going well, but I fall in to the 8%/10%/15%/20% (depending on which study you favour) who have been unlucky.  That’s what my surgeon said: “You’re just one of the unlucky ones”.  That was strangely reassuring for some reason.

That said, I now have to put my full confidence in the surgical approach.

I won’t go on now.  There’s plenty of time for that in the next week or two once I’ve got my thoughts together.  As ever, it’s a great help to have somewhere to share this experience.