Jun 09 2014


Do the 12 steps of grieving apply to the loss of an Achilles tendon?

Posted at 8:42 pm under Uncategorized

Continued from previous post….

Morning after my injury I went in to see my primary care physician and he quickly diagnosed what I feared.  He then referred my to the sports medicine ortho group.  I hobbled over there and the ortho doc confirmed the previous diagnosis.  He then listed my options non-surgical vs surgical.  He presented the non-surgical option as something that would have less than stellar results.  Which seems to up for debate after reading some info here.  I went with the surgical option and surgery was on the calendar.  I did some background searching and heard nothing but good things about my surgeon, so I stayed the course.

By 2 days after my injury, getting up in the morning was excruciatingly painful.  Going from horizontal to vertical was not pleasant.  It felt like my leg from my knee down was in a vise that kept getting tighter the longer I stood.  The pain would slowly begin to abate after about 5 minutes of torture.  At 4 days after, I was forced back to bed after my initial attempt at standing and was looking forward to getting repaired.  However, I had some trepidation about surgery the morning of the operation, but everything went smoothly.

I woke up with my lower leg on some pillows with an ice bag and little to no pain.  The surgeon said it was a complete tear and he was able to close the gap to about 1cm.  The bottom part was in good condition, but the top was not.  This forced him to stitch further up into my calf muscle.  They had a splint on my lower leg, which was held on by a mile of ace bandage.

I spent the next 4 days in bed watching movies, sleeping, reading, and doing some work in the guest bedroom.  Pain was not bad and I stopped taking vicodin after a few days.  I had every intention to make a few conference calls, but somehow slept right through them.  Sleeping was good though.  Having a wonderful wife that has an office 100yrds from home was/is a god send given my lack of mobility.  The only issue I had was my tendency to “run” in my sleep (restless legs).  I had one zinger that shot me awake.

About a week later I went in for the first follow-up.  The doctor simply checked the status of the incision, gave me the thumbs up, and I went on my way after scheduling another appointment in 4 weeks.  For some reason I had it in my head that I would get out of the splint and into a boot on the follow-up appointment.  A bit disheartening to hear 4 more weeks of the splint.  I did acquire some wheels though, which has made getting around much easier.  The basket is key.

At present this injury is more of a mental challenge than anything (4 weeks post op).  It is finally summer and I am not able to do the things that I love to do this time of year.  I’m supposed to be climbing mountains and trail running, not sitting inside on beautiful weekends.  It is as if part of me is dead at the moment.  I’m pretty sure I have gone through denial, currently dealing with acceptance….

8 responses so far

8 Responses to “Do the 12 steps of grieving apply to the loss of an Achilles tendon?”

  1. jeffk58on 10 Jun 2014 at 7:23 am 1

    Looks like you should be getting closer to PWB/FWB status - which does make things easier, both physically and mentally. It does not help that we are having one of the nicest stretches of weather in the PNW, though. Even though it is not as good as being outside, I have found going to the gym and working out has been a godsend, especially time on the stationary bike, which I began using at the 3-week mark. If you are getting ready to move into a boot, I would look into getting the Vacocast. For me, it has been a game-changer in my recovery!

  2. juanron 10 Jun 2014 at 7:58 am 2

    It’s super important not to get too down. I agree, this derails your lifestyle. And it’s an uphill battle just to get back to normal. This site helps a lot in knowing that people have successfully recovered from this. Time will fly, and in the end you will be back to normal and be a stronger person.

    Take this as an opportunity to do something new and grow. Take a course on EdX, learn a new language, read more books, learn to play guitar…etc There are tons of new things to do. It probably sounds boring in comparison to the physical activities you’re used to.

    Sorry if it sounds like I’m preaching, but this has been my approach and the ATR is affecting my emotions less and less everyday.

  3. boredoutofmymindon 10 Jun 2014 at 8:01 am 3

    Hey Jeff, hopefully you are correct. And yes it has been absolutely beautiful lately. I have been working out, not much cardio though. I read another post about heat rash and infection occurring under the bandages which has kept me from doing anything that might cause me to heat up. I sweat alot. So I am looking forward to boot day which is tomorrow and a maybe a shower without a bag on my lower leg. I will check out the Vacocast, thanks for the heads up.

  4. boredoutofmymindon 10 Jun 2014 at 8:18 am 4

    Hi Juan,

    It does not sound like you are preaching at all and I appreciate your comments and suggestions, thank you. The EdX is a good one, I will have to check that out. I made a list of things to do. The hard part seems to be breaking inertia and getting rolling on them.

  5. normofthenorthon 10 Jun 2014 at 11:21 am 5

    The story you heard about the benefits of surgery was the standard for a LONG time, and was fully supported by the evidence until 2007 and later studies came out. So its not surprising that some surgeons still repeat it. It’s also possible to look at the data, even now, and find a small performance benefit from the op. And the elite and pro athletes are still mostly getting the op. Things are gradually changing on all fronts, though - even the USA! :-)

  6. Ali39on 11 Jun 2014 at 3:00 am 6

    Sounds totally normal. The only thing which kept me going was knowing this is relatively short term in the scheme of things. I went to an anatomy exhibition last week called ‘Body Worlds’. When I looked at the ATs in the figures, and how dependent our mobility is on the AT it is hardly surprising we are knocked for 6 when this injury happens. Stay positive, you will recover. The spam word is patience, every bit will be needed right now. All the best.

  7. ATRbuffon 11 Jun 2014 at 3:36 am 7

    The 12 steps of grieving - you are kidding, right?

    Anyway, I though there were only 5…

  8. Roarkon 11 Jun 2014 at 6:43 am 8

    I wish someone would have reassured me that I could get back to everything I could do prior to the ATR, which seems more than reasonable where I’m at now. Instead everyone was like, eh, maybe, maybe not. If you’re in good shape and put in the work to rehab it early, surgery or no surgery, you’ll get back just fine.

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