Surgery Day

On Crutches

My girlfriend drove me to the hospital, but she couldn’t stay since she had to go to work. She felt guilty about leaving me there, and she said that she’d cancel her meetings if I needed her to be there. I told her not to worry since she was going to return to the hospital before my surgery was over, and I’ll see her when I regain consciousness.

I waited for hours and was finally called back into the pre-op area. I had a backpack with me full of extra clothing and books. I probably stared at the same two pages of a book for about an hour. Every receptionist and nurse that I encountered was a bit surprised that I was there by myself. Before that, I didn’t think much of being there alone, but their surprised looks made me feel a bit abandoned. So if I do have another surgery, I’ll make sure that I have someone there with me. If nothing else, so that the nurses won’t make me feel badly. ;)

Reminder: It’s good to have someone with you before the surgery for emotional support.

I changed into a gown, and the nurse measured my blood pressure, etc. I then spoke with the anesthesiologist in his mid 40’s. He put an IV in me, and I waited around for some time. He asked a few questions about my health, whether I was allergic to any medications, etc.
He gave me a choice of either general anesthesia or blocking the pain only in the lower portion of my body along with mild sedatives. I said to do what’s best for the surgery, as I didn’t really care. In retrospect, I should have done more research into this. If I am given a choice, I need to be able to make an informed decision.

Anesthesiologist replied that I wouldn’t have been given an option if they had a preference for one way or another. However, he still went to check with the surgeon and came back and said that they’d decided to put me under general anesthesia. I asked what the likelihood of not waking up is, and he said that there is a higher chance of dying in a car accident on the way to the hospital.

As they were rolling me down the hallway towards the operating room, the anesthesiologist slipped a drug into my IV. The nurse was talking to me while she was rolling me down the hallways, through sliding doors where it progressively became cooler. They maintain cooler temperatures, I assume, to keep the infection rates low.

Well, he put me under real good, and the last thing I remember before the surgery is being rolled into the operating room.

After the surgery, I regained consciousness surprisingly refreshed and almost euphoric.. then I got dizzy and nauseous. It was miserable, but the nurse was very kind and gave me some juice and butter cookies. I took some pills, probably some pain killers.

I was in a new cast. I’ve heard that some people get bandages/splint. I think that is a better option since if there are any complications, swelling, it’s less torturous for the patient.

My girlfriend was there waiting for me. I went to the bathroom, and then she drove me home and she took good care of me. I slept and slept.

I woke up around 9pm, and I felt better. My food intake for the day consisted of cranberry juice, cookies, hot chocolate and a bananna. I hope I lose some weight through all of this.

The schedule is: Non weight bearing until a follow-up appointment in 10-14 days to get the stitches removed, and another cast. Partial Weight Bearing after that.

cast leg on bed


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24 Responses to “Surgery Day”

  1. Hi Dennis,

    This site has been a fantastic resource. I tore my Achilles two weeks ago and the research I’ve been able to do leading up to surgery in a week has been really helpful. It’s been a huge psychological boost to know that there is a whole community I can reach out to for advice and support.

    It even got me to start a blog about my own recovery here on the site.

    Thanks again,
    Mike

  2. [...] how I was feeling a year ago, I went back to read my post about the surgery on the main site: http://achillesblog.com/chronology-of-achilles-rupture-to-recovery/surgery-day/ And the more brief, slightly different post on my own AchillesBlog: [...]

  3. Hi Dennis,

    I’m coming up on 7 months post OP. I have to say, my emergency room visit after ruptering my achilles is exactly like yours. I felt alone and was wondering, what the hell did I do? I’ve never broken a bone, never been in a cast, etc. I arrived at the emergency room around 10am. I was in surgery by 5pm. Went very smooth. I had a complete rupture of my left achilles tendon. I was in a hurry and instead of stepping off of a 2ft high step/platform, I jumped. That’s all it took.

    I was 4 weeks in a none weight baring cast, two weeks in a full weight baring with a boot attached to my cast. Two weeks in a removable boot. Infact, I went to London England to see my San Diego Chargers play the Saints in a boot. Try walking on cobble stone streets with a boot. Not fun. But I made my way around London, and Liverpool England ok. I did visit lots of Pubs so that took my mind off the boot for awhile. After 8 weeks total I was back in shoes. Walking with somewhat of a limp, but that has passed. I would say I’m about 95%. Still, I am very careful of how I step, and make sure I don’t hit any uneven pavement. Overall, I’m doing well. Glad to hear you are coming along great.

    Take Care

    Glen
    San Diego

  4. Glen - thanks for your comment. Glad to hear that you are staying active and walking around. Thanks for visiting, and keep us posted!

  5. Nice blog.

    I’m 4 weeks in following my surgical repair. My story seems quite similar to yours. i am worried that it maybe sometime before I get back on my bike or play with my kids with vigour again! I hope I make good progress, as well as everyone else on here.

  6. Hi David,

    You’ll make excellent progress. Just takes time. I’m 8.5 months Post OP. Achilles feels strong and doing plenty of walking. Can run as well.

    Good luck to you

    Glen
    San Diego

  7. Hi, So glad to find this blog(my first!) as my surgery is 1/6/2011. How are you now-over1.5years later.
    Thanks,
    Kipper
    St. Pete

  8. i ruptured my achilles last tuesday and im having surgery tomorrow i was playing flag football when it happen

  9. Great blog!

    Although I’ve been in many surgeries, this was my first as a patient. I opted for the knee block, consisting of 2 separate shots (front and back of the leg). They used ultrasound to locate the nerves, gave me a local anesthetic, then the blocks. By the time I was wheeled into the OR my foot was numb. I went into the OR at 1:50pm joking with the surgeon and his team and was knocked out under general anesthesia very shortly after. I woke up around 4:20pm and was home by 5pm. The surgeon had me in a splint, and because my leg was numb, I didn’t feel a thing. I also had no issues from the general anesthesia, so I spent the rest of the night as I would any normal night…until the knee block wore off.

    I woke up at about 2AM with my ankle feeling like it did when I originally ruptured it. I’m talking about the pain from the first 20 mins on the sideline post rupture. The pain lasted for about 36 hours. I took the prescribed Norco (10mg hydrocodone/325 Acetominophen) for the first 24 hours. I then decided to abandon the medication because I have a high tolerance for pain and didn’t want to compound the constipation that ensued from general anesthesia with the medication.

    I am 3 weeks post surgery today and in a cam walker boot, FWB. According to my surgeon, the tensile strength of the repaired tendon should be at about 60-70%. Basically, I can’t rerupture it using my own muscle strength, however it can’t handle anything explosive or sudden such as a misstep. My achilles is extremely tight, however I can get my foot to about neutral through active stretching. I try to take the boot off as often as possible to work on my ROM and strengthen my ankle as much as possible without over stretching the achilles. This also helps with circulation to the foot and organization of the scar tissue fibers in the tendon when healing. It’s amazing how quickly the calf atrophies when immobilized. Also, for those of you worried about the incision, mine was only 2.5 in. medial to the tendon and healing like a champ. I don’t anticipate having much of a scar if any.

    I’m planning to run the Camp Pendleton Mud Run in June 2012 (10K obstacle course) , which gives me a hard time frame for getting back to full activity and in shape. My wife thinks I’m crazy, but a little insanity can be good, right?

    That’s my story so far…good luck with recovery everyone!

  10. This premises has been a fantastic resource. I tore my Achilles two weeks ago and the research I’ve been able to do leading up to surgery in a week has been really helpful. It’s been a huge psychological boost to know that there is a whole community I can reach out to for advice and support.

  11. I tore my Achilles two weeks ago and the research I’ve been able to do leading up to enterprise in a week has been really helpful. It’s been a huge psychological boost to know that there is a whole area I tins sweeps out to for endorsements and support.

  12. It’s been a huge psychological boost to know that there is a whole community I can reach out to for advice and support.

  13. I had bone spur removal surgery a week ago. My Achilles tendon was reattached using 4 bone anchors. I am in a cam boot and non-weight bearing for 4-weeks,
    Very little pain and everything was going well until yesterday when I fell and put full weight on my healing ankle. Pain was severe and I called my doctor’s office. They want me to come in for x-rays, but my doctor was doing surgeries today and won’t be in until tomorrow.
    Has anyone ever had to have the bone anchors reset? I’ve had pretty severe pain since the fall and a burning sensation where my stitches are. But no bleeding and the stitches look sound.
    I’m worried

  14. Linda

    Hope you are ok & just jarred it, nothing more.Pls post w an update, I felt bad when I read that you fell, my biggest fear :( I just started this past Wed w some FWB but with one crutch in small increments, makes me rally tired & sore & swollen.

  15. I just started this past Wed w some FWB but with one crutch in small increments, makes me rally tired & sore & swollen.

  16. Just had surgery this morning. If given the option, I would get the nerve block for sure. The IV pain meds given after surgery didn’t really touch the pain. I think it’s easily as much pain as I had been in since the immediate post injury time! It’s worth it especially if you get to back off the Percocets, even if only for a day, to help with the ’side effects’…

  17. Again, thanks for your website! I’m now 46 hours post surgery. My contribution is to comment that I received the knee block and they told me it would last 18 to 24 hours. Mine lasted…well, it’s still a little tingly. I was worried 30 hours in, when my leg was still completely numb and called the doctor’s office. They informed me at that time that in some cases the knee block numbness could last in some cases up to 48 hours, and in rare cases up to 72, and that I shouldn’t worry. It appears they were right. There’s my contribution to this leg of the journey.

  18. Hi Missedstep,

    Fortunately, I had the same experience, which probably saved me a lot of pain. My nerve block lasted over 2 days, and when it ended, I felt 5 minutes of pain and that was it. I was luck because I have heard nightmare stories about the first 3 days regarding pain.

    Good luck,
    Ron

  19. Just had surgery this morning. Luckily had nerve blocker and pain is very low. Occasionally I feel stinging pain near the surgery site. I noticed that right after surgery, I was able to wiggle my toes, visually verified only. Now I have a bit more swelling and can’t wiggle them. Anyone notice this? I noticed increase in swelling when I sat up to eat and my heart wasn’t below the leg.

  20. Hi VegasJoey,

    I’m very nervous. I have surgery this Friday and I didn’t realize how serious this injury is! I was thinking I could be off work for two or three days and just come back with my leg propped up. After reading the posts, it seems that’s not the case. I put a claim in for short term disability, but am nervous about so much. I’m 39 and I live alone in a three level house with stairs! Ugh! I am going to stay with mpg mom for a few weeks (I guess) but she’s almost 70 and can barely get around herself. No idea what to do…

  21. Tami. You and are almost verbatim in situation. 40, live alone. I was told 10 weeks for return to work. Unfortunately, I don’t have a desk job. My job requires some lifting and a lot of driving. The surgery itself went smooth. More time is spent in preop and post op. Luckily my mom came out to stay with me for about a month. Everything is a chore. Like going to the bathroom. You realize how little things become a chore. I’ll keep posting and let you know how I’m progressing. Maybe I’ll start a blog too.

  22. Tami. You and are almost verbatim in situation. 40, live alone. I was told 10 weeks for return to work. Unfortunately, I don’t have a desk job. My job requires some lifting and a lot of driving. The surgery itself went smooth. More time is spent in preop and post op. Luckily my mom came out to stay with me for about a month. Everything is a chore. Like going to the bathroom. You realize how little things become a chore. I’ll keep posting and let you know how I’m progressing. Maybe I’ll start a blog too. Good luck with your surgery.

  23. Tami - I has surgery on Wednesday the 16th of April and was able to go back to work the following Monday. I had several things working in my favor: it was my left achilles so I could drive, I have a very short commute and I have a desk job. For the first several days, I had a chair with a pillow on it next to my chair and kept it elevated. Worked with a headset, wireless keyboard and a “lap desk”. Was not terribly efficient, but it all worked out. I think a lot depends on how much swelling you have, which seems to really vary from person to person. Good luck - hope all goes well!

  24. Second day. The nerve block is wearing off. A little pain, nut not unbearable. Took a oxycodone this morning with breakfast. Have notice the surgery area is warm. The rest of me feels good though. Feeling a bit more mobile.

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