A blog about my recovery from a ruptured Achilles.

Archive for July 7th, 2014

First Post Op - 8 days later

Had my first Post-Op appointment 8 days after surgery (July 3).  I had my splint/cast removed, along with my stitches.  The stitches were hideous!  Uggh, was hoping somehow my OS moonlighted as a Plastic Surgeon but no such luck.  At least my stitches weren’t too far up my ankle and into my calf.  I would show a picture but I can’t figure out how to insert a picture.  I followed the directions posted by Booklady to no avail.

Once my stitches and splint were removed, I was placed into a cast.  I really tried to talk my OS into giving me a boot or at least a new splint but I was not successful.  I am stuck in my cast for three weeks before being able to “upgrade” to the boot!  The positive is that I was given a choice of color for my cast and I chose hot pink.  So bright - might as flaunt it!

I am approaching my fourth week being on crutches (day one being the initial rupture) and it sucks more than anything.  My friend showed me a photo of a knee scooter and though I was tempted, I decided against it.  Instead I bought an iwalk2.0.  The idea of walking around my house hands free really appealed to me.  I’ve been able to put dishes away, prepare and cook meals, do laundry and a bunch of other chores (though not all at once since my leg starts swelling if I spend too much away from elevating it).  Though it is far from perfect, it is such a better alternative from traditional crutches.  I have yet to wear it out in public but hope to get the nerve to try it out once I feel more comfortable.

Double Unders

I was in San Diego for a long Girls’ Weekend Getaway with a bunch of my friends from high school when I ruptured my Achilles (June 13th - Friday the 13th, no less).  Being from the east coast, I was up by 5 in the morning and out running and doing bleacher runs by 6 in the morning with one of my friends.  I then came back into our condo and cooled down and took a shower.  After my shower, I was talking to my friend about what a great workout jump roping is (she hates running) and I grabbed my jumprope (I always travel with it) and showed her how double unders (two rotations of the rope in a single jump) could get her a much higher cardio workout than just regular jump roping.  Needless to say, I was barefoot and after two jumps, I heard and felt a “pop” to the back of my ankle.  I was convinced I had hit the back of my leg against a coffee table and looked behind and nothing was behind me.  I immediately sat on the couch and two of my friends came over to see why I was withering in pain and they both immediately saw the indentation behind my ankle and concluded that I had injured my Achilles (they are both nurses).  What?  OMG - what does that mean?  How long will it take for me to recover?  I had no idea what I was supposed to do so I immediately called my husband (while my friends had me elevate my leg and brought me some ice) to see if he could look up the nearest Urgent Care clinic for me that accepts our insurance.  We found one about 5 miles away and I called them to see if they could A) see me right away and B) able to provide me with treatment (crutches/boot).

I went in to see them and only had to wait about 15 minutes or so after filling out paperwork and the doctor had me on my stomach and started to squeeze my calves - I explained to her that my calves weren’t in any pain, that it was above my heel that hurt and she proceeded to explained that my toes should be moving when pressure is made on the calf.  She explained this was called  the Thompson Test.  No movement - she confirmed I ruptured my Achilles.  She wanted to check if she could have an MRI performed but wasn’t sure if she would be able to squeeze me in today and if not, I would need to get an MRI on Monday.  I explained  to her that I was on vacation and that I would be back in Boston on Monday and that I would just wait to consult with my GP on my return.  She was concerned about possible blood clots from flying and had me buy some aspirin and compression socks to help mitigate the risks.

I met with my Ortho on Wednesday or Thursday of my return (18th or 19th - can’t recall).  He gave me two options - surgery or non-surgery and since I had already done my research ahead of time, I went the surgical route.  We then scheduled my surgery for the following Wednesday (25th) which was 12 days after my rupture.

Surgery was an outpatient procedure and everything went fine.  I arrived around 9:15 and my surgery was scheduled for 11:45.  I was hooked up to an IV and I read a book for a brief while and eventually fell asleep from boredom while waiting.  Around 11:45, they wheeled me to the OR and it was indeed chilly in there.  I was given warm blankets - Ahhh, so comfy and cozy!  It actually felt nice.  The had me loosen my hospital gown (I had made knots to secure them, not knowing they were  going to loosen them for surgery.  I was doing my best to keep myself covered and save me some embarrassment from them seeing my backside, as well as preserving their eyes from looking at said backside).  Needless to say, they gave me something in my IV that made me pass out almost immediately because the next thing I knew, I was woken up in the Recover Room (so much for modesty).

I was in a lot of pain and they gave me meds through my IV and I felt better after a while.  Once they felt that my pain level was at a manageable level, they wheeled me back to my little curtained off room that I initially started in.  I fell back asleep and though they originally told me that I should be ok to go home a couple of hours after surgery - I wasn’t in a rush.  I woke up around 3:00 when my husband came in to pick me up (guess I forgot to call or text him to tell him to just stay at work until I was ready).  He just hung around until I was felt ready to leave which wasn’t until 7:00.  I was feeling nauseous for quite some time and just wanted to sleep!

We stopped by the pharmacy on my way home to pick up aspirin (to reduce risk of blood clots) and my prescription pain medicine (Oxycodone).  The Oxy on its own did nothing for me - only lasted about two hours before I would need to take them again.  Through trial and error, I found that alternating between Ibuprofen and Tylenol within two hours of taking the Oxy allowed me to go six hours before needing to take more Oxy (I was very concerned about becoming addicted since I heard that it was highly addictive).  After four days, I no longer had the need to take pain meds and stopped altogether.  I stayed in bed for almost 5 days.  My kids and dog were in NH with their grandparents so I had no worries other than getting up to use the bathroom.

Every morning, my husband would carry my pillows, computer and meds downstairs to the living room and I would set up “camp” for the day.  I had everything within my reach - phone, computer, drink, meds, remotes, pillows and drink.  He worked from home for two days to make sure I was ok.  I watched a lot of TV (Netflix) and managed to sleep quite a bit too.  It really wasn’t too bad at all. I didn’t have to worry about doing laundry, cleaning the house, taking care of the kids and dog, cooking or anything!  Wow - I can’t remember the last time that I had no one to worry about but myself with me being at home!