May 10, 2015 - Right Achilles Tendon Rupture

June 15, 2015

In the previous post I recounted how an innocent stumble resulted in the full-thickness rupture of my already torn right Achilles’ tendon.  It was a beautiful Springtime Sunday at about noon, just outside the ball park (Nationals Park in DC - to see the nationals play the Braves).  I immediately tried to get up but my right leg just didn’t work, I knew immediately that I had ruptured the tendon.  I did not hear a pop or snap, but then again, with a moderate tear already diagnosed, my tendon was probably just hanging on by a thread.  I rolled around, my sons were concerned, and I looked up to see a Good Samaritan, and older lady in a Washington Nationals jersey, hand me a paper wipe to clean my bleeding right knee.  Out of nowhere a lady in scrubs was next to me, telling me she was a nurse and I appeared to be seriously injured.  I told her I had an injured Achilles and I was sure I had ruptured it and she told me to remain still while she called EMS and got me an ambulance.  At the same time, uniformed Nationals Park workers showed up and told me to stay still while they called medical.

My leg hurt bad, and I could not move my right foot up or down. A large hematoma was forming under the skin, and my leg felt as if it was full of fluid.  I thought about my predicament - Washington DC’s Fire and EMS is notoriously incompetent, and hospitals in DC are full of people with gunshot and stab wounds.  There are actual recent cases in the press about DC Fire not responding and leaving people to die. I was not going to risk my care to these clowns.  My two sons, both over 6 feet tall, picked me up and we got over to my car parked just outside the park.  I told the boys to enjoy the game, and I got in my car to head to my neighborhood hospital in Reston, VA, about 2o miles away.  I promised my sons that I would pull over and call 911 if I couldn’t drive.

My advice is that if you rupture your right Achilles, do NOT try to drive.  Post-rupture, your right foot is just a big block at the end of your leg that you cannot flex up or down.  My foot was getting numb and my calf was swollen and filled with fluid.  It was stupid, but I managed to slowly drive out to the Virginia suburbs, about 20 miles.  It hurt like  hell, I called my wife at home and asked her to meet me at the ER with my Vicodin prescription.  I parked outside the ER and drug my bad leg in and stumbled into a wheelchair.  My wife arrived and I chomped down two Vicodin while the intake nurse put a cold pack on my leg.  After a short wait I went in to treatment, the ER doc gave me the Thompson Test and diagnosed the complete rupture.  He started an IV and gave me 1mg of Dilaudid IV and sent me to X-ray.  No bone issues on the X-ray, so I got another mg of Dilaudid (that stuff is fantastic - 8 times stronger than morphine) and he put me in the boot and sent me home.

When I entered the treatment room at the ER the baseball game that I had just left was playing on the TV and it was just starting.  I was in the ER for about 3 hours, so I watched the entire game - our hometown Nationals beat the Braves 5-4!