Archive for June, 2010

Jun 02 2010

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Weeks 2-4: Life on Crutches

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On my one week anniversary, I had a Dr’s appointment to check on my foot. That was the first time I saw my doctor since prior to my surgery. At the appointment he told me that everything went well with the surgery. He did say that the ends of my tendons were shredded. According to him, this indicated that my rupture was acute not chronic. I still wonder if the massaging of the tendon the guy at the basketball court did had anything to do with it.

He explained again that I was going to be put into a cast and recasted every week until my foot reached 90 degrees (I was splinted with my foot pointed down) at which time I would be transferred to a boot and be full weight bearing. And like that, I was casted up and sent on my way.

So over the next three weeks I had to deal with life in a cast. The 3 biggest annoyances were trying to shower without getting the cast wet, not being able to carry food from the microwave/refrigerator to the table, and going up and down stairs. But as with any obstacle in life, you learn to overcome it… or at least adapt.

After seeing how ineffective plastic grocery bags were at keeping my cast dry, we bought a plastic cover specially made for protecting casts at the drug store. It was a long plastic tube with, with a hard plastic ring and rubber gasket at the top. I referred to it as my leg condom for obvious reasons. It worked like a charm and allowed me to shower standing up. I know I was supposed to be completely none weight bearing at that point, but I cheated and used the bad leg just for balance… my good leg supported 99% of my body weight, I’m sure.

I don’t think I ever found a good way to hold a plate a food while on crutches, but I did manage to get the job done when necessary. Basically the way I managed was to use one crutch as normal, while the other crutch I held only in my armpit; I needed my other hand to hold the plate. The armpit crutch, I would swing out in front of me allowing me to scoot forward while keeping the weight off my bad foot. Not efficient, but got the job done.

Stair climbing was always interesting. I never had a problem going down stairs. I would put both of my crutches in one hand and use the other hand on the railing to support my body weight as I lowered myself to the next step. After reaching that step, I would reset my crutches to the next step below and again support my weight between the railing and crutches to lower myself to the next step. Not the most efficient (or maybe even safe) but I was comfortable with it.

Going up the stairs, I took one of the other blogger’s advice and went up on my butt. Over the course of the 3 weeks, I transitioned into going up the stairs standing up. I was able to that by standing on the bottom stair, with one crutch in either hand, and stepping with my good foot up to the next step. After my foot was on the step, I would raise my body up afterwards. Again, maybe not the safest way to do steps, but I became quite confident with it.

My recommendation to anyone in this phase of their recovery is to do the safest way possible to get up and down steps, which is probably on their butt. You are always one slip away from rerupturing, so be safe.

I was casted for a total of 3 weeks, each week moving closer to the magical 90 degrees. After torturing my wife with my cast color selection (Week 1: White, Week 2: Hot Pink, Week 3: Christmas), I came out of the cast for good on my 4 week anniversary of surgery. Oh happy day!

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Jun 01 2010

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February 24, 2010 - Surgery and Week 1

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Surgery day came. I had stayed up all night to make sure that I could make it to the afternoon without eating. As many know, you can’t eat or drink from midnight the day before until surgery. My wife and mother took me to the hospital. Although it was my first real surgery (I had my wisdom teeth taken out before), I was not nervous at all, just anxious to get on the road to recovery.

After being prepped for surgery, my doctor came to go over the procedure one last time. Hour long surgery, in and out. The anesthesiologist then came to give me a nerve block that was suppose to numb me from my knee down to relieve me of any pain for the next 48 hours. He also gave me what he called, “happy hour”, which is a pretty heavy sedation. I don’t think I was put completely under, but I wouldn’t have known any different. The only thing I remember was waiting to ask the anesthesiologist a question after adding the happy hour to my IV only to wake up in the recovery room.

After the surgery, the nurse had told me that I had slept so long that the doctor had left. My wife and mother were there to greet me when I woke up and to let me that they spoke to the doctor and everything went as planned. The nurse then explained to us the medication I was prescribed and all the dos and don’ts for the next few days, and I was sent on my way.

From the time I ruptured through the surgery I rarely felt any sort of pain as long as my ankle/foot was stabilized. From day 1, I sat on the couch with my foot on the floor without any problem at all. The only reason why I ever elevated my foot was because that was what I was SUPPOSE to do, not because it relieved any sort of pain.

The only time I recall feeling any sort of pain during the 1st week was the night after surgery when the nerve block finally wore off. I think it was 4 am in the morning when I was woken out of my sleep by a throbbing pain coming from my ankle. The anesthesiologist was a little off on his estimation because I still had about another 12 hours left in the 48 hours he said the block would work. I woke up my wife, who was right next to me, after tossing and turning for a half hour and told her my foot was throbbing. She got up to get the medication the hospital had given me. After a couple of hours and as much medicine as allowed by the prescription, the pain was bearable. Of my entire recovery, that was my longest night to date. That episode was the only time I needed to take any sort of pain killer.

Week 1, post operation was a very slow and boring week. I spent 90% of the time on the couch and watched more TV than a human being should. I did try logging on to my work computer the week of the operation. The only day I wasn’t able to log on was the day after I had taken the pain killers. I felt nauseated sitting up at my laptop, so I had to turn the computer off and lay down. Other than that it was pretty uneventful.

I did speak to my doctor about elevating my foot, being that it bothered my sciatic (don’t ask, it’s a long story). I read in some of the blogs that elevating not only helped with pain, but also helped accelerate the healing process. I told him that I didn’t want do anything that would harm my progress, but I would prefer not to elevate. He said that elevating was for my own comfort and that it wouldn’t slow my recovery if I didn’t do it.

On the following Monday, 5 days after surgery and just over a week from my rupture I returned to work. Fortunately, my wife worked less than 1 mile away from my job, so she was able to drop me off. Besides going up and down 2 flights of stairs to the bathroom, which I had began to get the hang of from being at home, it was pretty much the same as sitting at home.

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