Week Blah Blah: It’s been a while. Alot to talk about here…

08/03/2016

Wow, it’s been a long time. I should have been updating quite a bit.

The main purpose of this update, apart from just catching up, is to show how much I’ve still be able to go and do despite going through this surgery. I may wander away from the discussion about stuff that was impacted by wearing a boot or being limited in my movement, but I’m also painting a picture for myself to remember what all I have been doing.  I want this summer to be memorable and to prove that this has only slowed me down a little bit.

Throughout this time I’ve been doing my daily exercises almost every day that include:

  • Sliding my foot back and forth wearing a sock on a slippery surface. I think this is to increase my range of motion to be able to point my toe toward my head and away from my body.
  • “Windshield Wiper” movements where I stabilize my knee and focus on the side to side range of movement of my food at my ankle.
  • Light toe raises and heel raises while sitting down.
  • Rolling my ankle to help loosen up the muscles around my ankle and achilles.

Here is my timeline:

  • 05/26/2016
    • Got my stitches out. According to my doctor, everything was looking good. I just could not soak my leg and needed to be careful while cleaning the incision area while in the shower.
    • I was able to work while my wife drove us to Georgia for our family reunion.
    • We pulled our new (to us) pop up camper in the event that we needed somewhere else for our family to sleep if needed. Finding a place to park it was a total PITA because the cabin did not have any level land where we could set it down.
  • 05/27/2016
    • We spent my wife’s birthday with my family in GA at a cabin for the weekend. My aunt brought us a HUGE chocolate cake for her, but we didn’t eat it because we had so much other great food and we even had a banana split contest. We were going for the best looking banana split. One of my wife won 1st place!! Some of my cousins got crazy creative and they even made characters out of the food.
    • Again, my wife was a champ. We lugged the shower chair, my crutches, my iWalk, and everything else with us to the cabin. She still did a ton of work to get us ready for this trip.
    • The shower at the cabin for our room was huge and it felt amazing to be able to shower without a bag on my leg. It felt great to scrub my foot while being careful to not go near the incision.
  • 05/28/2016
    • Watched my family go down the Ocoee River on a white water rafting trip.
    • Spent the weekend with the family in the mountains of Blueridge, GA.
    • We ate good food and I was able to move around quite a bit on my iWalk crutch.
  • 05/30/2016
    • Memorial Day: Went out on my first boat ride while wearing my iWalk crutch.
    • Hot as hell and I couldn’t get in the water due to my wound, but it was great to get out of the house.
    • Getting in the boat wasn’t all that hard. It was getting out of the boat that was tricky. My cousin Zach pretty much had to pull me out.
  • 06/02/2016
    • Went in for my first round of PT. They put me on 25% weight and showed me how to use my crutches to only use 25% of my weight on the leg.
    • My wife went out of town on this day as well. She went to down to FL to go to a baby shower for my sister who is the Physical Therapist.
  • 06/08/2016
    • Wife came back into town.
    • I spent most of the previous week just doing most of my exercises and staying low key with a few exceptions to go grab something to eat or go to the library for some audio books.
  • 06/09 & 10/2016
    • Went into work in a building near Nashville to do some interviews. Just getting around where I work will wear you out.
    • While I’m super thankful for my iWalk crutch, it does require quite a bit of effort and walking longer distances will cause you to tire out.
    • I met someone at work who was going through the same surgery due to a similar injury. He was into week 14 and was able to walk around in a normal shoe. We had a great conversation about the healing process.
  • 06/10/2016
    • Went into work in a building near Murfreesboro to do some interviews.
    • My iWalk crutch was a huge help again. While I wasn’t able to move quickly, it was great to get out of the house and see some of the team.
  • 06/10/2016
    • Drove down to Alabama to see some family but did not get in until it was pretty late. I stayed at my cousin’s house. It was a bit rural and getting up the steps was a challenge, but my wife was able to help me.  The steps were a bit higher than normal steps and they did not have a handrail. I stayed in their main bedroom and their bathroom was super nice. Huge shower. It was really nice and made taking a shower easy. I’m still using my shower chair, but having the room to spread out made it much easier to get in and out.  I especially liked the limited threshold of the shower. Not much to step over when getting in and out.
  • 06/11/2016
    • Met up with my brother and his wife to meet my new nephew, Will.  We met up at Wintzell’s Oyster House in Montgomery, AL. Again, I had to be careful walking around. I tried to limit my walking again because I would get tired easily and it was so dang hot. I got to hold my new nephew!
  • 06/12/2016
    • Went out on a pontoon boat out on Lake Jordan for the day with my cousin Zach, his girlfriend, and some great people who are big fans of one of my family’s BBQ restaurants (Champ’s BBQ). It was great to get out on a calm lake in a pontoon boat. I basically found a spot on the boat and was able to sit in the shade while we cruised the lake. It sucked that I couldn’t get in the water to cool off, but I had plenty of cold drinks and damp towels. We listened to the Traveling Wilburys and Louis Prima amongst other classics. Most memorable songs that day: End Of The Line and It’s Later Than You Think.
  • 06/18/2016
    • Took the new travel trailer to Cedars of Lebanon State Park
      • I felt terrible because Sarah had to do most of the work to get us ready for our first time taking the camper out. Not to mention that I had some crazy sinus infection stuff going on. We cooked great food on our new small charcoal grill but figured out that we really need a gas grill to cook breakfast faster. Also, we had a Walmart and Dollar General right up the road in the event we needed anything (like sinus pills). It was certainly a challenge to move around at the campsite.  The bathrooms were the worst and taking a shower was a miserable experience. It would have been bad even if I didn’t have to wear a boot and walk on a crutch. The heat and humidity were pretty terrible.  Overall, I’m really glad we went and experienced our first trip in the camper. My wife is a master fire builder and our food was tasty. The people we did get to talk to at the campsite were really friendly and willing to provide advice on things to make our next trip more enjoyable.
    • I learned alot about myself this weekend on my limits. I could do more than I expected, but certainly learned to pay attention to my body and when to slow down. It bothered me that my wife had to work as hard as she did.
  • 06/25/2016
    • Sarah went out of town for the week. She went on a trip with her friend to the Dominican Republic. I worked from home alone the entire week. It was weird not having her around. I missed her quite a bit, but I know she had a great time. Her pictures of the food and events were priceless. Her being out of town also improved my confidence in being alone. I figured I would be fine, but with her out of town, it really proved to me that I would be fine. I think I went out of the house two or three times the whole week.  That certainly helped us save some money.
  • 06/30/2016
    • Our 4th wedding anniversary! Sarah came home from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. I picked her up from the airport close to 11PM. I wanted to take her out, but it was too late.
  • 07/01/2016
    • Dr. appointment at TOA. Doctor told me that I could move to only have 2 lifts in my boot. From there, I would be able to remove 1 lift every week (on Friday) until I had no lifts in by boot for 1 week. After that I could move to a tennis shoe with 2 lifts and the every week remove a single lift.
  • 07/02/2016
    • Went to the lake and stayed with my wife’s aunt and uncle at their lake house on Watts Bar Lake near Ten Mile TN. It was great to see Sarah’s cousin and her family.  Sarah’s cousin is a nurse teacher near Ashville, NC. We went out on Sarah’s uncle’s boat to see some fireworks at night. Again, it was a pretty calm on the water that night. The next day we went for brunch at a restaurant across the lake. We took the boat for that as well. Again, it was hot but kept plenty of ice water on hand to keep me cool.
  • 07/08/2016
    • I’m down to 1 lift in my boot. This is much more comfortable and I don’t feel much stress or stretching on my leg when walking. I still have a noticeable limp, but it mostly due to weakness and a limited range of motion.
  • 07/09/2016
    • Went to see our god daughter in Knoxville for a short visit on the way to see family in Sevierville, TN. The family (I think there was 20 of us) went to Dollywood’s Splash Country. I sat in the shade with unlimited soft drinks while the family went down all of the slides.  It was great to see everyone. It did rain, but my family found a spot that was covered for me to hang out under. Again, I was able to take my boot off while I was still. It worked out because I could watch the family’s stuff while they were out having fun.  Thankfully, I was able to bring my work laptop and get caught up on a few things.
  • 07/15/2016
    • I am now able to start walking in my boot with no lifts. Talk about comfortable. It’s amazing. My heel does not feel as tired or sore because the weight seems to be more evenly spread across my foot.
  • 07/16/2016
    • Went to Alabama to see some family over the weekend.  I got my gas travel grill in from Amazon for Prime Day. My dad wanted me to bring my grill so he could see how it worked. We ended up cooking 24 hamburgers on it and they came out great.  I was limited on my mobility, but this was my last week in my boot before I could move to tennis shoes with 2 heel lifts. Again, it was super hot and I would take my boot off when I knew I could take it easy or if there was limited movement needed. As always, I stayed super careful. It’s amazing how much more mindful I have become about walking surfaces.
  • 07/19/2016
    • I called my insurance company to ask about a survey the needed me to fill out so I could get my claim funded for my surgery. It’s hard to believe that if you fail to fill out one survey they threaten to not pay a claim. Anyway, I was able to answer the questions about the claim over the phone so I didn’t have to mail in the paperwork.  While I had the insurance company on the phone I asked about my limited number of PT sessions. Initially, my doctor’s team told me that I was only supposed to get 4 PT sessions. After calling and talking to my insurance company I found out that I have up to 60 sessions that I can use.  This not only includes PT sessions, but therapeutic massage if needed. Know this, I will be setting up some regular PT sessions going forward.
    • We also started detailing Sarah’s car so we could sell it. I had been screwing with correcting the paint by wet sanding, applying paint, cutting, buffing and polishing. Talk about annoying. It’s an exhaustive process that takes alot more time, energy, space, and talent than I have.
  • 07/22/2016
    • Moved to wearing a tennis shoe with 2 lifts in it.  Pretty uncomfortable because I’m back to having all of that pressure on my heel again.
    • I started trying to wear my different tennis shoes. The one shoe that I wore on my good foot is looking a little worn out. I test my shoes and they all seem to be comfortable. My New Balance are by far the most comfortable, but the right one looks pretty ratty. My Adidas seem to be pretty comfortable and offer plenty of support as well.
    • Sarah and I started cleaning out the garage. We moved and added more shelving. We also got some additional storage bins so we could label and organize everything. I’d like to sell some of my beer making equipment and just get down to what I will be using going forward.
  • 07/24/2016
    • I drove to my sites in Kentucky for the first time in months to go see my teams. It was great to see all of the folks in my buildings this week. I was down to a single lift in my tennis shoe. I mostly wore my New Balance because they are a little lighter, cooler, and the heel up the back is so soft.
  • 07/28/2016
    • I wore my black Adidas tennis shoes today and had to do alot of walking around the building. That was a mistake. The back of the shoe that goes up above my heel is much stiffer and actually rubs my incision scar. Some time around lunch I noticed that it hurt more than normal. I got back to my hotel room in Campbellsville, KY and took off the shoes. I decided that I won’t be wearing them again for a while and I move back to my New Balance.
  • 07/29 - 30/2016
    • I met Sarah in Lebanon, TN and we headed towards her home town for her 20 year high school reunion. We had a great weekend seeing some of Sarah’s old friends and people she grew up with.
    • While we were in East Tennessee we stayed at Sarah’s Aunt and Uncle’s place again on Watts Bar. They have the most amazing shower in the master bathroom. It’s a full on deluxe European style shower with no threshold. I wish I could have used it more back when I was going through my first few weeks of surgery.
  • 08/02/2016
    • Went to PT after not going over a month. I spoke to my trainer about my wound hurting, swelling, and opening up last night. I’ll cover it more in my next blog entry as it becomes a much bigger deal than I expected.

That is the timeline over the past couple of months. I’m sure I’ve left out details and I may update this further later on. I’ll try to update with pictures as well. I’ve got a ton of them.


Week 02: Got My Partial Weight Bearing Date (I Hope)

05/23/2016

I finally made a call to my Dr.’s office today to ask about which procedure was done. After the surgery, the Dr. told my wife what was done but I know he talks super fast and I was worried that we weren’t clear on what all had happened.

If you can’t tell by now, I research the living crap out of everything I am usually involved in. I love learning, and I love it even more when I fully understand a topic and can made the most educated and economical decision. I think it all goes back to my ENTJ personality type.

When I saw my Dr. for the consults before the surgery he told me we had four options on the surgery. He had told me that the options listed were in the most to least desirable order. He said each of them was easy, but he wanted me to know about each of them. He said he would not be sure which one he would do until he got in there and could see what his options were due to the severity and age of the injury.

They were:

  1. Dermal Allograft - Cadaver tissue is used as a scaffold to reconnect the broken tissues
  2. SpeedBridge - A knotless reconnection system using a multipoint stitch of fibertape to hold the tissues together
  3. FHL Tendon Transfer - This is where they disconnect a tendon from your big toe and relocate it to the back of your heal.
  4. Calf Recession (aka Gastrocnemius Release or Strayer Procedure) - This is where they cut the larger of the two muscles in calf to allow the tendon to become elongated where it can heal.

Though, from what I understand, option 4 was the least desirable to have to do, but was what they needed to go with. The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society has a well documented FAQ about the process. It seems to be one of the most intrusive processes. I hope the road to recovery is something I can apply myself to speed the healing.

The nurse that I spoke with on the phone said that on Thursday (05/26/2016) I may be able to get the sutures out, depending on how well it has healed up.  From there, I may be able to move to 25% weight bearing with heal lifts in my boot. I hope this means that I will be able to take this cast off and wash my leg. I never had to wear a cast before and I hope never have to do this again. Anyway, I’ve updated my Achilles Profile to include the partial weight bearing date to that date. I have my fingers crossed.


Week 2: Got Out A Little On My Crutch

05/23/2016

It looks like I’m updating my blog every 3 or 4 days. I’m okay with that cadence, but I would really like to keep it going here.

Since my last post, I was trying to get into the house after a long day and I was pretty tired. I miss-stepped coming into the house and tripped on the threshold. I didn’t land on my leg and i’m not 100% how it happened, but I was sore in my bad achilles for about two days. I was VERY afraid that I re-injured myself, but thankfully it did not. It was pretty messed up because it really scared me. I am now SUPER slow going through doors, especially where there are rugs around.

I did get to go to a wedding this weekend. It was really great to get out of the house and see some people. My wife and I met up with some friends after the wedding and actually went out to a bar. I didn’t drink too much, but moving around in a crowded bar on my crutch was a challenge. I really only got up to go to the bathroom, but I don’t think I want to go do that again.

Life doesn’t have to stop! =)

While out of town I slept on my friend’s couch because it was on the first floor of his house. He has two Bernese mountain dogs as pets. I’ve never seen an animal want to stay that close to me because they knew I was injured. It was really sweet because they wanted to lay on or near me to keep me comfortable.

After talking to my sister last week, she was adament that when I start going to Physical Therapy that I have someone who will spend as much individual time with me as possible. She said to find someone who does more than handing you a sheet of paper with exercises and walks away or has to split their attention between 5 or 6 people. In order to heal and get the most out of my time in PT, they need to be hands on with exercises and massages for recovery. Because she is a Physical Therapist, she knows what it takes to really recover. I plan on using her as a resource. I’m really lucky to have someone like that I can talk to about everything here.

Another item I forgot to mention the other week had to do with my cast protector that I use when taking a shower. It turns out that the items never arrived in time so my wife had to go to the drugstore and get me the cast protectors. She couldn’t find them at the local Walmart, nor one of our regular CVS drugstores. She had to go to a Walgreens and get a protector that was almost $15 each. I think it’s much thicker vinyl than the ones I was talking about getting and it only came in a pack of one. The only real problem I have with it is that the rubber pulls my gauze bandages down when taking it off. I’ve been practicing a few times and gotten better at it but it works really well and has done a good job.

I also got the suction balance assistance bar for the shower. It’s been a huge help. I don’t put all of my weight on it, but it helps give me a little more control. Other thing to note, is this gauze has Velcro on the ends that keep it wrapped just right once adjusted. I’m really impressed with it about how well it’s holding up. I’m just looking forward to being able to take a regular shower and wash that leg.

The leg protector I got from Walgreens

The Curad cast protector did finally come after a neighbor brought it by because the mail was delivered to the wrong mailbox.

I feel like I’m constantly writing about stuff to make life easier, but one last thing for today. I was wearing my right running shoe that I got as a pair a few months ago. Well, the laces they came with were WAY TOO LONG. They weren’t just a little too long, they were WAY long. I noticed that the laces could be a trip hazard when I’m walking on my crutch with the other leg because there are alot of times I don’t take full steps because I am trying to walk as carefully as possible. So I ordered some new shoestrings, and I think going forward I will be replacing all of my shoelaces in my sports shoes with the replacements I purchased. They are called New Balance Sure-Lace Shoelaces and they are pretty amazing. They have little beads in the laces that keep them from slipping. I suggest you check them out.

My wife and I have started to eat alot more rotisserie chicken to up the protein I’m eating each week. They only cost about $5 at Sam’s Warehouse. and there is so much meat on them. We are also using the chicken for making chicken salad. It’s delicious beyond compare even if it is a little fattening. She uses greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise and it is amazing. I am also tying to eat as much pineapple as I can too. I’ve read on LiveStrong that along with other foods can provide your body what it needs to recover.


I continue to research the types of techniques and therapies I can use once I start PT. My reason for constantly researching is that I want to be as prepared as possible and know what to look forward to.
Again, I will be skeptical of any therapy technique and will want as much evidence based research applied to whatever processes I use.

One of the items I’ve found is called the Graston Technique. This method uses steel rods, pokers, and other scary looking and expensive equipment to help break up scar tissue. There are lower cost tools that aren’t stainless steel used in Gua Sha therapy. Again, just because the title of an article is “The Science Behind Gua Sha” does not necessarily mean real scientific studies have been done. Again, I’ll be talking to my sister to get her input.

Graston device in use on an achilles

Graston tools

Gua Sha tools work the same way

Part of me knows that there may only be a little or no truth to these therapies. Even though, I don’t feel like researching this is a waste of time. If anything, it will help me identify when someone is discussing with me what they are talking about as well as being able to tell if they were bamboozled by the pseudoscience. i almost feel like the scraping massages listed above may have more truth to them simply because they are massage techniques as apposed to “finding electrical shorts” in your nervous system.


Week 02: Still At It

05/18/2016

I spoke with my sister, the Physical Therapist, yesterday about the ARP Wave therapy. She was as skeptical as I am. She told me that right now I need to focus on just healing and not doing too much.  I’d like to stay ahead of the game as much as possible by being ready for anything I can do to help this heal as fast as possible.

She did point out to me that when I do finally switch over to my fixed boot that she has had some patients who have complained of back and hip discomfort due to the boot leg making your legs different lengths. She suggested that I look into getting an Evenup Shoe Balancer. I have had problems with my back before, so I’ll be looking to get this when I get out of my cast.

I did take a bit of a tumble while taking a shower yesterday. I didn’t hurt myself, but I slipped and it scared the hell out of me.  I seem to remember people I know having some sort of suction cup based balance handle they put in their shower. I will probably be ordering this: Moen LR2308W Home Care 12-Inch Suction Balance Assist Bath Grip.

Also, my iWalk crutch has been super successful. I did have a pretty long bruise behind my knee because of the strap there. I don’t bruise easily, so I know I needed to get this fixed.  My wife, again being amazing, took an old microfiber dishtowel and fashioned me a slip cover for that part of the crutch. It is hard to see in the picture below, but it makes a HUGE difference. She also put a stitch on both ends so it would not slide around. Those stitches will need to be cut if I need to adjust the strap, but that is a small price to pay to have it stay in place and not bruise my leg.

Slip cover on top strap. Regular strap and cheap pad that came with it below for comparison.

So far, this has really been the only flaw I have found with the crutch. Still totally worth it to have both hands free.

I also found out that I have this cool tracker I can add to my blog. I would love it if I could turn it into a widget.


Week 02: First Few Days Back At Work (From Home) & A Little ARP Wave Research

05/17/2016

I’ve cut back on the pain pills. It’s nice to have a clear mind. It took some time and I still have some cloudiness from time to time.  I’m really not a fan of those pills even though it was the hardest I had slept since I could remember.

Had my first day back at work (working from home).  The email barrage was to be expected.

I’ve been focusing on eating foods high in protein. After having a conversation with a co-worker who went through a similar issue he told me that his Dr. made it clear to him on the healing process. Tendon don’t heal faster at this stage by pushing yourself.  I guess that makes sense. I’m still going to continue to look for things I can do to help myself heal as quickly as possible.

I did some reading for different physical therapy methods and I came across ARP (Accelerated Recovery Performance) Wave therapy techniques. I’m looking at this as a skeptic because I have not been able to find any hard science behind it other than testimonials.

At about 1:20 through this video it explains that the device is an FDA Authorized device.  It states the following when talking about the ARP Wave system:

A patented, FDA Authorized, soft tissue rehab SYSTEM that can DIAGNOSE the ORIGIN of what is causing soft
tissue pain/injury and ELIMINATE THE SYMPTOM 60-80% FASTER than traditional therapy
Combines Direct Current with a high frequency, double exponential wave form that’s HARMONIOUS to the body
Allowing the doctor to locate scar tissue/neurological disconnect WITHOUT impedance of fatty tissue or causing harm to patient.

So basically they run DC current through your body to identify where you might have a short in your nerve circuitry without having to cut you open.  I’m not 100% clear on what they mean by a DC current that is “HARMONIOUS to the body” either.

They go on to say that the ARC Wave System, unlike “Electric Stimulation, Laser, Ultra Sound, Graston, physical therapy, etc cannot diagnose and ELIMINATE SYMPTOM permanently“.

at about 1:50 they further explain that the system uses DC current “in our wave form”:

The ARP Wave System System is able to treat the patient with ACTIVE movement, breaking down scar tissue, allowing for muscles to LENGTHEN and more importantly eliminating compensation patterns that helped caused the issue in the first place

My interpretation of this is they use physical therapy to break down scar tissue. The “allowing muscles to lengthen” is common for all scar tissue removal as explained in this video at about .

So once the scar tissue is identified it is then removed using physical activities that help break it down.

Other optional ways to break down and remove scar tissue seem to be massage and surgery.  So I’m guessing that the exercises you do will help break down those scars. While this sounds like it might be legitimate, I’m still not 100% clear how a doctor can learn to identify where scar tissue exists by using electrical current.  So I researched a little more and came across this video where someone won free treatment and they were recorded going through the process.

Again, the skeptic in me arises, as there some tricks you can do that can cause you to have similar sensations of weakness, lack of feeling, or mistakes in understanding what you are feeling. Part of the reason I feel that way is because of how the guy in the video tends to remind me of someone who is selling something to make you feel better (AKA Snake Oil Salesman). Also, they are promoting their therapy and not really breaking down the science.

Because the device is “FDA Authorized” I knew could look up what they submitted to the FDA before they were allowed to use or sell the devices in the US. After some snooping on the FDA website I was able to find the two devices made by Arp Manufacturing, Inc. There is the ARP POV SPORT and the ARP RX100. It looks like the SPORT is used more like a traditional electrical stimulation device for strengthening muscles. It is the RX100 that is used for “Muscle Re-Education”.

I am not fully against this technology, but I would certainly like to see the scientific evidence and any studies on how this process actually works. How is a doctor or therapist trained on how to identify the short circuits in your nervous system.

I will be reaching out to my sister who is a Physical Therapist to see what she thinks, but I would love some input from anyone else out there.


Day 3: 72+ Hours After Surgery

05/13/2016

My first night was by far the worst. The pain after 10PM was growing until I was able to take another pain pill.  The 2nd day was painful, but I kept the pain meds going semi regular. I only skipped one.

Today I’ve only taken one pain pill and I only have occasional spikes or waves of pain, but not enough to warrant taking another pill… yet.  It’s bizarre because it only happens once or twice an hour.  I’ve been consistent with my antibiotic, stool softener, and baby aspirin.

The reason I would like to cut back on my pain pills is for multiple reasons.

  1. I don’t like how it makes me groggy and sleepy
  2. I’m not super worried, but I don’t want to run the risk of addiction
  3. It slows down my gut (hence the stool softener)
  4. I want to have a few ounces (roughly 6oz) of my homebrew beer, and its not a good idea to mix

I’ll certainly take them if I need them due to pain, but for now I think I’m okay.

As far as food, my wife has been awesome by making sure I’m eating high protein foods. I believe it will give my body what it needs to heal. I did have a few cups of coffee today. I can usually drink a whole pot black by myself. I did not have any coffee yesterday, and that could have contributed to my slow gut. I don’t want to talk about it too much, but it is a concern and I don’t want it to make me feel worse than I already do.

I am a little disappointed that I did not get my order from Amazon of Curad Cast Protectors.  Amazon said they were delivered, but we never saw them in the mail.  It’s pretty rare for Amazon to mess up for us, so I’m willing to bet it was the USPS that made a mistake. I was able to get a refund for the item, but I’m a little concerned, because I do want to take a shower soon.  My wife said she could pick some up for me on her way back from heading over to a nearby city to go see some friends. I took a long hot shower on the day of my surgery. Also, I’ve not done anything strenuous nor have I been really hot, so I’m still somewhat clean.  I do plan on taking a shower tomorrow though, even if I have to use a trash bag.

Since I haven’t been taking many pain meds I haven’t been as loopy. I’ve been able to try out my iWalk crutch. At first I didn’t latch the back strap that goes across the calf because I was worried about pain of putting pressure on the long cut up the back of my leg.  I tried it out, and it did not hurt, so I started wearing the crutch and was able to walk around carefully around the house. I even was able to go up and down the stairs in my house.  I think my wife would kill me if she knew, but I took my time and rested multiple times if I was feeling any sense of tiredness. I love the scooter, but this crutch will really give me the freedom to use both of my hands.  It enables me to get coffee, carry my laptop, or whatever I need. I’ve even gotten to where I can sit on my couch with my leg propped up without even taking it off. I will keep wearing it and trying different things and report it here.  I’m not getting paid or compensated for this information, so please take it as an honest account for how amazing this crutch is for giving you the freedom you will want.

Picture of me laying on the couch with my leg propped up wearing my iWalk. The towel is still there because my cast was wet when I got home. I didn’t realize it was going to be that kind of cast.

Here is a picture of my wearing the iWalk crutch before surgery. I wanted to learn how to move around in it before hand. My left leg was still at 10% strength, so that was why I was wearing the boot.

One thing to note, and I think I already said this, but going to the bathroom standing up is SO much easier with this crutch.


Day 1: Surgery was at 8AM and 12 hours later, throbbing pain slowly increasing

05/11/2016

I didn’t sleep much and the wife said I didn’t stop moving all night. I think I was just wanting to feel my leg move because I know I wouldn’t get to feel it again for a long time. I was pounding water the day before because I knew I wanted to be well hydrated for the surgery.  After waking up and going to the bathroom I weighed in a 235.5lbs.  I’m now down 17 lbs since I started tracking what I eat using MyFitnessPal.

We got to the surgery center at Tennessee Orthopedic Alliance and went through the admin process. The prep for the operation was not bad. I spoke with a few nurses and doctors. They asked me to spell my name, my birth, and to verify my birthday at almost every step of the way to make sure I was the right person. I had no problem with that at all.  I also made sure they knew that my weight was down by about 5 lbs since they last weighed me.

They shaved my leg after giving me my IV drip. I had another doctor come by to ask some questions and verify and mark my leg. Of course it was cold and even colder when I got to the operating room. They put warm blankets on me and had me breath some gas. It wasn’t bad at all. It wasn’t long before everything went dark and I don’t have any recollection of a thing until I was in recovery.

When I woke up I felt a little nauseous from the anesthesia. I’ve been put under before, but I’ve never been made to feel like that when coming out. Apart from the nausea I was groggy and my throat was pretty sore. Again, I expected the grogginess, but the sore throat was to be expected, but I didn’t know that. The sore was because of the tracheal intubation they give you while you are knocked out. My wife said it took a little longer for me to wake up, but they suspect it was because of my lack of sleep over the past couple of weeks.

I had a little bit of a Diet Coke, maneuvered to get dressed, climbed in a wheelchair and was rolled out to my wife’s car.  We picked up my meds on the way home and I started texting friends and family.  I was preferring not to talk because of my throat, but I was so appreciative of everyone for checking in with me.

When I get home, I hobbled into the house using crutches my wife put in the car the previous night.  From there I landed on the couch where I could push back my seat and put my legs up.  A few big pillows to raise my leg, a blanket, and some water was all I needed before drifting back off to sleep.  It was some of the best sleep I have had in a long time.

While I was asleep my wife did some research on my meds and wrote up my schedule on when I was supposed to take everything.  She even made me a chart using Google Sheets breaking down a way to track days and times to take my medications. It made it super clear and easy to follow.

This is the schedule my wife made up. You can use Google Sheets or Excel.

It’s my dad’s birthday, so we talked several times today. He mostly talked about my surgery.  I had a few other calls, but I appreciated my wife doing most of the talking because my throat was still pretty sore.  Also, I was going in and out a little bit because of the pain killers. Again, I was so thankful for my wife for taking care of me and the rest of my friends and family who called and sent me texts to check in on me.

I would recommend that if you do have to be put asleep where they will be performing a tracheal intubation that will lead to a sore throat that you eat some food.  I wasn’t hungry until I started to eat.  The sandwich my wife made me was a big help. I later ate almost a whole bag of popcorn I bought last week.  Skinny Pop or something like that is perfect for this situation.

The doctor also prescribed the Venapro vascular therapy system. Basically, it’s a sleeve that goes on my good leg that blows up every other minute to keep me from getting a blood clot.  When it blows up it makes a buzzing noise. My wife and I keep thinking it sounds like an old land line phone when it is off the hook.  I’m not 100% how long I have to wear it, but I think it’s for the next week or so.  One cool thing I noticed on the device was a mini USB port. As an IT guy, I wanted to see what it could do.  From what I read, you could use the USB port to get a data dump of the device’s operation. It can also be controlled using the USB port, but you have to buy a separate device because the sleeve won’t work on a computer.

I started this journal entry a few hours ago.  It’s not 10PM here and my leg is starting to  lose it’s numbness.  This means there are coming waves of throbbing and pain.  I’m not looking forward to the next few days, but I will be taking my pain killers to keep it under control.


7 Hours Till Surgery

05/11/2016

I’m pretty tired but I have a feeling that I won’t sleep well tonight. I’m scheduled for surgery tomorrow morning at 8AM.  As soon as I finish up here I plan on taking a long hot shower, focusing on scrubbing and washing my leg, shaving my face, and then laying in the dark until I fall asleep.

Again, my wife has been SUPER supportive.  She has everything ready in the car tonight for the trip to the hospital.  We discussed the logistics of how and where I will land when I get home.  It’s between the couch in the living room right near the main entrance, or it’s the haul to the back of the house to the bedroom.  She spent the day going to get protein rich food for us to eat for the next several days. She and cooked a great dinner she made up of

I think I snapped at her a few times as she would talk to me because I was trying to finish up my work so I could put it down and start to unwind and get ready for my shower and then to bed. I can’t express how thankful I am to have her there to help me out.

I’ve gotten messages from my family wishing me luck and asking if my wife will keep them informed on my progress.  I swear I feel like this is a bigger deal than I know it should be.  This is my first surgery on anything mechanic like this.  I’ve had lithotripsy for kidney stones before, but I was rushed into the operating room so quickly that I didn’t have time to think about it.

I did have to stay up late to work on some documents for work tonight. My mind just wanders thinking about the surgery. I told my boss today in our weekly 1:1 conversation that this procedure has made me foggy all week. I haven’t been able to concentrate or stay focused while working from home.  I think once it’s done I will have a much better time of this.  I just want to get it over with.

I liken this to back when I played football in school.  The hours before the game were usually pretty tense. Hour upon hour the tension and anticipation grows until you are on the field in your uniform warming up.  You go through your first warm up drills and you get to bump helmets and pads.  It relieves some of the tension, but you don’t the full cathartic and visceral shift in your thoughts until that first hit in the game.  After that, it’s game on.


36 Hours Until Surgery After 8 Weeks Since Injury

05/07/2016

To introduce myself, I am a 39 year old who works at a company that uses warehouses to fulfill orders for stuff.  I need to be able to walk fairly long distances on occasion while at work, but I can work from home most of the time.

My injury happened on the way back home from a weekend celebration in Chicago for St. Patrick’s day.  My wife and I drove back to TN where we stopped in Indianapolis on the way home to see some friends.  When we got there, they were brewing beer and wanted to play a game of football.  I obliged as I used to play in high school and did not think much of it.  We were about 30 minuets into playing when I took off from the line of scrimmage and heard the pop.  I looked back at our QB thinking he hit me in the leg with the football REALLY hard, but he was looking at me waiting on me to take off.  Apparently he wasn’t close enough to hear the pop, but I could immediately tell there was a problem.  The wife, as a saint, ran to CVS and got me one of those refillable ice packs along with the Alieve and ibuprofen.  It really helped as I kept the ankle pretty dang cold for the first 48 hours.

I had hurt my left ankle multiple times throughout my life and I thought that I rolled it really bad like I had in the past.  Turns out that wasn’t the case.  About a year prior to this happening I was on a cruise when I had a similar accident when I took off running towards the stage during a show because we were competing in a silly game.  It was a similar pop, but not quite as bad.  Hurt a little less, but the rest of my cruise was going to be me limping around.  Good thing it was toward the end of the cruise.

So here I am now about 7 or 8 weeks from my “re-injury” while playing football with friends.  I finally went to a doctor after my sister, a physical therapist, took a look at me 4 weeks after the incident and did a few things to try to diagnose the problem.  She sees these injuries often, but she wasn’t 100% sure how bad it was.  Because my leg was so swollen I couldn’t identify the problem.  She helped massage down the swelling and showed my wife how to work it out as well. I was in tears from how much relief the massage provided. I had been walking on the leg for weeks and it didn’t seem to be getting any better and was still very weak.  After my sister performed the calf squeeze test, she was pretty sure something had torn.

Once the swelling went down, my wife noticed that the back of my leg felt like there was a sizable gap or divot where my leg muscle should have been.  That was when it confirmed what my sister had feared.  It was a Saturday so I could not line up my doctor back home until the following Monday.  I was really looking forward to seeing  doctor at this point because I had feared being with a limp for the rest of my life.  I love dancing with my wife and I had pangs of fear that might be over.  While I know I can recover and it will take a while, this really felt like it changed who I was and how people would perceive me.  I didn’t want to be the guy who couldn’t dance anymore.

So after a few doctor visits, MRI, and X-rays, I was put in touch with a specialist, Dr. Robert Thompson.   From what I understand, he is an amazing doctor and I am lucky to have him as my surgeon. After seeing him for my consult about a week ago he outfitted me with a boot.  As soon as I started to wear the boot, it took alot of the stress off my heal.  Because I had been mostly walking on my heal there had been pain of pins and needles a few times a day.  Now that I have the boot, I feel like a different person and I felt like I was finally starting to take care of this problem.  Upon my last visit with Dr. Thompson he gave me some inserts to put in the boot to start pointing my toe down a little more.  I’ll have to admit, I tried my best to wear the inserts but they were so uncomfortable and they kept slipping. I didn’t feel like they were doing much other than making my boot very uncomfortable.  I went to a crawfish festival in Nashville this last weekend and wore the inserts over half the night after much walking.  They got to be so uncomfortable that I had to take them out later in the evening.  I’ll continue to wear them and try to build up to wearing them all the time, but my surgery is 36 hours away so I’ll do what I can.

Images of my MRI with the 4CM gap:

I’m very fortunate to have a friend who experienced a similar injury. He is letting me borrow his crutches and his knee scooter.  I have been half joking about putting a racing stripe and some flames on my boot and the knee scooter.  It would seem appropriate as I tend to walk pretty fast and the humor would certainly help.  My wife is on her way to another city to go get the borrowed medical equipment.  Again, she’s been my saving grace and I’m so fortunate to have someone like her to help me out like she does.

I did see the iWalk 2.0 crutch on this website a few days ago.  After much research and thinking about how long I will have to keep my weight off of my leg, I figured it would be worth the investment if it can mean I can have a little more freedom and not be such a burden on my wife. When I first got it I put it together some of the holes did not line up on the foot of the crutch to the support tubes.  I’ll post some pictures if possible later, but I emailed the support and they replied about 15 minutes later.  I just didn’t see it because my spam filter caught it.  I later called them and they called me back the same day.  They even made a quick video to show me what I needed to do to fix the issue.  I figured I could have done the fix before calling them, but I didn’t want to damage my new $150 crutch.

Pictures of the support tubes not lining up:


Here is the video that the iWalk company sent me soon after I emailed them (over the weekend) to show me how to fix the issue I was having with the support tubes:

I’ve been trying out my new crutch for a few hours now around the house.  I even went up the stairs. I plan on going back down shortly, but it is certainly more comfortable to wear my boot when using the crutch. Also, some of the band tend to rub the back of my knee even with the supplied pads.  I’m sure I’ll get it rigged to be comfortable once I’m back up and walking after my surgery.

I’m hoping this site will help me work through my fears of being put under the knife as well as encourage me to stick with working through this.  I’m pretty concerned on how this will impact my summer.  The wife and I have some plans to ramble this summer and hope to see some state parks, go camping and just drink up life (like we usually do).  I certainly don’t want to put a damper on us getting out and living life.