The Marines taught me a lot when I was young but apparantly knowing when you are hurt itn’t one of them.
On the day of Christmas Eve, my family and I were enjoying one of the last couple of days on a great western carribean cruise. My kids and I were participating in an Amazing Race type event on the ship where families are given clues that lead them to stations on the ship where they answer ships trivia questions or perform activities such as climbing the rock wall, playing a hole of miniture golf or in my case shooting as many basketball free throws in a minute. While crouching to shoot, I was hit in the achilles by a ball that was being thrown back to me. I immediately lost the power to push off of that foot and needless to say didn’t make any more shots. Thinking that it was just a deep bruise, I hobbled along with the kids for the rest of the race.
Against the better judgement of the smart one in my marriage, my wife, I simply iced the leg and didn’t see the ship’s doctor. I continued to hobble around the ship and it was a week before I could see my GP at home. When I saw him, the ankle was pretty swollen and looked like a bad strain or twist. He tested to see if I could push with my foot and said at least I was lucky that I hadn’t torn the achilles. He suggested continued rest and ice.
At 6 weeks with everyone in my office and my wife telling my I was nuts for thinking that my leg would get better, I went back to the GP. He couldn’t believe that it wasn’t better and recommended that I seek some physical therapy. To be safe, he set up an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon to make sure that I didn’t hurt anything while doing PT.
It was day 29 after my injury when I saw the ortho and he was shocked that I was walking without aid when he saw that I had ruptured my AT. MRIs confirmed his concern that the tendon had retracted with a gap of about 5cm. On day 30, he had me in surgery. He found that I had years of damage to the tendon and that he had to make a v-cut in the tendon to lengthen it enough to come back together. He said that it was one of the trickier surgeries that he has had to do and he cut me open more than he likes to so that he could clear the scar tissue that had formed.
After a night in the hospital, I was sent home with the foot in a brace with instructions to stay on my back and elevate the foot for a minimum of 23 hours a day for five days. I’m now on day 3 and I’m pretty bored. I’ve been able to get some papers written for a masters degree that I’m working on and a lot of paperwork for my job but staying still is not my thing. On Monday, I need to schedule my first follow up appointment around day 10 when he will take out my staples and either cast or boot me. He has said both so I’m not sure what direction he will take. He projects a tough rehab given the time that I had between the injury and surgery.
Luckily, the pain hasn’t been as bad as I anticipated. I’m still on pain meds but I’m weaning myself down off of them. The uncertainty about what will happen next, when I get back to work, when I can resume traveling for my job and will I get back to running is my biggest challenge right now. I run a sales team so I can sit a desk most of the time that I’m in my office when I’m not traveling to customer sites or meetings. We have important customers coming in this week that I want to be there so see but my office won’t let me back in without the doctor’s permission. I need to work out how much I can work from home or do I need to file for short term disability.
I’m conflicted with trying to determine the breaking point between pushing myself to a speedy recovery and driving myself to the point of reinjury. Luckily for these first 5 days, my wife stressed to the doctor the importance of writing clear, straight forward rules and he set me on my back for that period. Now I want to know what to do on day 6.
Sorry for the long post…three days on my back with uncertainty has me ready to explode.
5 Comments »