4 weeks post-op. Back from Vegas.

June 7th, 2011

In April three friends and I made a plan to revisit Vegas — a reunion weekend for the four of us since we did a similar trip a few years back. We are all moms of young kids and these getaways are gold to us. We had it planned: June 2 to ­ 5, cocktails by the pool, maybe a show, a little clubbing, lots of shopping, loads of laughs . . . so of course I was dismayed when I got the news about my 6-month recovery. Although my airfare and hotel were not refundable or transferable I offered to bow out; I couldn’t imagine my girlfriends dragging my suitcase/stuff as I hobbled around Sin City.

They wouldn’t hear of it. So on Thursday, I packed my crutches and away we flew.

Here’s how we did it.
• My friend Susanne, a manager who is exceptionally good at organizing people, asked the airline to have a wheelchair waiting for us at check-in. She pushed me to the gate — so we could meet the other two in our party for a pre-flight cocktail — but airline staff would have taken me/us if we’d wanted. This worked best on the return flight; a staff member pushed the wheelchair and took us through all the shortcuts to clear security in Las Vegas.
• I used my crutches minimally. I am fully weight-bearing now, but I’m slow and I get tired, so it was easiest to either get wheeled around (for shopping or sightseeing), or to use the crutches for short distances (from our room to the pool or casino). The hotel let us sign out a wheelchair at no charge and we were free to take this wherever we wanted, in taxis and down the strip.
• Before the trip I crutched around the block from my office to the medical supply store and chatted with a sales associate there. I bought some clear, waterproof medical tape for swimming. Although my incision is pretty well healed, I don’t like to think about what kind of bacteria might be floating in a Las Vegas pool . . . yuck. I was also nervous about going un-booted (I think someone here compared it to taking a turtle out of its shell) I worried I might get kicked by an enthusiastic kid, or taken out by a drunken Jersey Shore hopeful. But it worked out well. I walked up to the ‘lazy river’ in the air cast, and my friends acted like blockers when I was slipping in and out of the water and even while we were floating around on our inflatable inner tubes. Moving my ankle around gently in the water felt terrific, and it was easy enough to dry my leg off and slide the cast back on when I got out of the water. It might seem a bit pathetic to say this: but swimming was probably my highlight of the trip.
• As an aside: at the medical supply store I also bought some Mepiform. Has anyone tried this? It’s a thin, flexible, self-adherent gel sheet that apparently, over time will help soften and flatten scars. I know you told me not to worry, Norm, but I do have that addiction to pretty shoes. Aside from vanity, I have read a few people saying that shoes rubbing on their scars became an issue later, so if it helps to cut down on that I’ll be happy. I just cut a little strip and stick it over my scar. It will need to be changed roughly every 7 days. It’s a bit pricy ($20 for a sheet that I expect will last a couple of months), so if you’re not concerned about your scar, probably not worth the money. I will let you all know how it goes.
• Finally, and I know this is basic common sense, but not necessarily easy in Vegas: I tried not to overdo the drinking. Obviously I didn’t want to take a tipsy misstep and re-rupture. And because I was sharing a room with one of my pals and didn’t want to be undoing the Velcro on my air cast all night (taking it on and off to use the washroom), this paid off in multiple ways. I still had a super time; I have wonderful, funny, exceptionally helpful friends. Next time we travel I plan to be fully functional, but it still turned out to be a great trip all around, even if I did lose $20 on the penny slots.
Worth noting: we’re everywhere! As I was checking in at the airport to return home, a stranger in line asked if I had blown out my Achilles. I wondered how he could know that, until I noticed he had the identical Ossur air cast to mine. He is a fireman from Victoria (our provincial capital, just a short ferry ride from Vancouver). He is nine weeks post-op, did it walking off the soccer field, and looking forward to going cast-less starting next week. It’s an unfortunately small world when it comes to
Achilles tendon ruptures, apparently.


PS. Go Canucks Go! (Not letting last night’s game 3 blowout in the Stanley Cup final get me down.)

5 Responses to “4 weeks post-op. Back from Vegas.”

  1. normofthenorth on June 8, 2011 1:45 pm

    Sounds great! I think most of the short ankle boots go to ATR folks and diabetics with a range of foot problems. The rest are a bunch of different problems.

  2. chuckp17 on June 8, 2011 2:58 pm

    Nice blog on your Vegas trip. I am at a similar point, with a boot and about a half mile of velcro (or so it seems) I am starting to put weight on the leg, like you, although I am a few days behind you, from a surgery standpoint. I can’t wait to get in a real live shoe!

  3. polly on June 11, 2011 12:25 pm

    Great blog post! Awesome that you went ahead and did your Vegas shindig- and that you had a great time. I am just 6 days post-op and you can imagine my mental state: will I ever play sports again aside, I am wondering, will I ever wear heels again? Love your comment about pretty shoes! Thanks for the tip on the mepiform- great info. Congrats on your awesome progress!

  4. deana on June 11, 2011 1:06 pm

    I did actually encounter a few people in Vegas with different styles of walking casts, and of course we immediately high-fived each other. You certainly see things a different way when you travel while injured, and discover plenty of off-the-beaten-track routes while you search for an elevator. It also really highlights courtesy and manners in people around you. There are those who rush to open doors and hold elevators, while other people try to get past you as fast as they can — to them, you’re an obstacle, not a person. I will definitely be more aware in the future when I encounter those who need a hand. Overall though, it was great. And my girlfriends had plenty of fun timing their wheelchair sprints.

    Chuck, I hear you about getting into shoes. I can’t wait to feel somewhat normal again, but I’m also terrified to put any kind of weight on my right foot without my air cast. I suspect walking again (and then hiking, running, yoga-ing, surfing, boarding etc) is going to be as much a mental challenge as a physical one. I see the surgeon on Monday, and I believe I will be scheduled to start PT then. I hear it’s pretty painful, but I am looking forward to the challenge.

    Polly, so sorry to meet you this way. Haven’t quite got to the point where I can say I see a bright side, but there are daily improvements and the time is actually going faster than I expected it to. I can hardly believe it’s been 5 weeks! I remember six days though, and I will say that cruising around this site and reading other people’s experiences has helped me to know what I can expect. It has also been an enormous help reading about some of the more aggressive weight-bearing and rehab schedules, so I am already a bit ahead of my surgeon’s plan for me. I hope to see a return to sports and pretty shoes sooner rather than later! Do start a blog. These guys (especially Norm) are great at answering your questions when they can, and it helps to have some background. Good luck!

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