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Renoir? Monet? van Gogh?

It’s funny how boredom can quickly turn in to creativity.  Now I didn’t say it was GOOD creativity!  I mean, how long can you stare at your cast before you start getting that urge to spruce it up a bit?  I’ll be honest, the wine could have had something to do with it … nah, I was bored.  So what do you think?  Yeah I know … don’t quit my day job.

So I went to the doc last Thursday which was 5 1/2 weeks post op & 3 weeks with the blue cast.  They really enjoyed my graffiti but it was cast-cutting time … poof just like that, my original artwork was trash bound!  I was really hoping for das boot & maybe some PWB but no such luck.  My doctor said he wanted me in ANOTHER hard cast for 3 more weeks (ugh!).  No worries … now I can really have fun so I chose a WHITE cast this time … I prefer white CANVAS.

Do we have any creative souls out there?  Give me your best one-liners or comments & maybe I’ll add them to my next masterpiece.  Move over Renoir!

 

After a long 16 days after surgery I finally got to see my surgeon’s craftsmanship on Thursday when they removed the original post-op wrap.  God that felt good for my leg to finally breathe, if only for 20 minutes!  Metal staples & no signs of infection, not unlike most of the other pics on here.

 

I chose a nice blue cast, my wife says it will go well with our household decor & considering she’s taking care of my every need, I’m not about to complain … blue cast it is!

 

So we’re eating lunch today at the breakfast table which overlooks the backyard & we noticed a turtle crawling thru the grass.  When i was a little kid growing up outside of Boston I spent my summers catching turtles & frogs & snakes (& anything else that moved) so I was kind of intrigued to watch him slowly crawl thru my backyard (ok, I was bored!).  I also thought, hmmm how fast is that turtle?  You know, I’ve mastered the crutches after 3 weeks … maybe I can’t walk the dog right now & maybe I can’t play tennis but surely I’m faster than a turtle, right?  Right???  Mammal versus reptile … race on.

 

 

Ok, he’s quicker than he looks … put him on crutches & I bet he’ll lose a step or two.  Next time I will be ready!  Is he gloating???  If he didn’t have such a long neck this race would’ve been a lot closer.  He is gloating … damn!

 

Thanks for all the comments, advice, & well wishes … greatly appreciated.  Time for some (hopefully entertaining) rambling … I remember the Celtics glory days from the ’80s when Larry Bird was ruling the basketball world despite his inability to jump very high.  Back then 6′9″ guys didn’t really have to jump in the NBA … funny how things have changed although I still contend that white men still can’t jump … hell, just look at me!

So I’m now 9 days postop, 4 or 5 painfree days (amen!), & I have to imagine that like most people I’m finally settling in to my new routine … my new temporary lifestyle.  I’m past the “why me” & feeling sorry for myself stage.  It’s funny to think that I couldn’t bare watching Wimbledon matches just days after my injury … the sight of those players running around the tennis court, putting so much stress on their ankles & especially their achilles just made me cringe & want to turn away.  Fortunately that only lasted a day or two so I was able to really enjoy the Federer vs. Nadal men’s final which was really, really awesome.

My dog & cat are still a bit leery of the crutches but they have welcomed me into their daily ritual of napping, snoring, & scratching places I can’t discuss.  They seem to really appreciate a little cjazz during the day … you know, some Peter White, Chuck Loeb, or George Benson … really gets them into a deep sleep (correction: gets US into a deep sleep!).  I don’t think I’ve felt this rested since I was 6 & considering the amount of wine that’s consumed in my house that’s saying something.

I’ve been living in the basement for a week now which is starting to get old.  Granted I have all the comforts down here … media room, wine cellar, workout equip, & access to the lower deck in the backyard but I miss the rest of the house … I miss the kitchen & raiding the refrigerator!  Getting up & down the stairs on crutches is tiring & dangerous though, especially if I need to go 2 levels up & get something in the bedroom.  So for now I’ll be patient … I’m just not used to being this lazy!

It’s funny how you appreciate the simple things when you can’t do them anymore.  I can’t really walk far in the backyard due to a moderate slope that starts about 15 feet from the deck & I haven’t been able to take my dog for her morning & evening walks thru the subdivision.  Can’t say I’m complaining about not being able to mow the grass but I feel bad that my wife is inheriting all my chores.  No doubt she’ll want to renegotiate her contract later this year, & rightly so.  I did make 6 salmon patties for the freezer the day before surgery last week so I haven’t been completely useless around here (had to throw that in incase she was listening).

I see the British Open is on live t.v. today but watching golf on t.v. just makes me want to go hit some golf balls.  The Olympics start next month so there should be a lot of daytime coverage coming from China … that should be fun.  My Tivo has been invaluable.  There really isn’t much on t.v. during the day … the Jewelry Channel?  Nope.  Soap Network?  I don’t think so.  I mean how many episodes of Monk can you watch in a row?  CNN repeats itself every hour.  Can someone tell me how ”Breaking News” can still be “Breaking News“ 4 hours later in the same day?  I think I heard them report “this just in” about 6 times yesterday.  You would think that they could at least get some new video footage after a few hours of following the same story but they keep repeating that too … I’d rather watch John Stewart re-runs!

Well Sergei the cat (after Sergei Samsonov) has assumed a new, more comfortable position in his favorite chair.  Not a bad idea, I need my rest too … happy hour begins in 4 hours!

 http://achillesblog.com/drahcir61/files/2008/07/sergei.jpg

One of the reasons I was interested in this website was to hear about the “typical timelines” that people experience for surgery, post-op, PT, etc … it’s a long road so what should I expect?  I noticed many people had their surgeries within a week, many within a few days after the injury.  I was like, what the friggin’ happened to me?  It took me 2 (long) weeks!  Hmmm all I can surmise is that it’s alphabetical … see my last name begins near the end of the alphabet so I figure there must some sort of alphabetical process for scheduling achilles surgeries … yeah that must be it.

So I ruptured my achilles around 5pm on Wednesday, June 25th (’08) … a nice start to the summer.  My wife was great helping me get home from the tennis court & getting the ice packs along with several pillows to elevate my leg.  I knew I needed xrays & more than likely an MRI so we went to the ER (she drove despite my insistance that I’m actually a better driver when I’m in pain & in need of urgent care!).

Not much luck at the ER, no xrays & no MRI … those needed to be done at Kaiser (which was closed) so I came home with my ankle braced & wrapped.  No big deal, I knew it wasn’t going to get any worse overnight plus after a few glasses of wine I’d be sleeping in the dog’s bed.  I went to Kaiser the next day & got my xrays but they needed to schedule an appointment with my primary care doctor for further evaluation … so I waited another day.

The doc didn’t think it looked good so he wanted me to see the orthopedic specialist which is not part of Kaiser.  Fortunately I got in to see him on Monday, June 1st (5 days after the injury) … he couldn’t tell anything from my xrays but did confirm that I had ruptured the tendon (the ‘ole squeezing on the calf muscle & the foot don’t move trick).

FYI, this is a large & very prominent Ortho group in Atlanta so I felt very comfortable visiting them (& still do).  Nonetheless I checked the bio’s of all of their MD’s beforehand.  This particular doctor was a specialist in hand/wrist injuries so when he confirmed my achilles was ruptured & told me that he would handle my surgery I had some reservations.  Hand/wrist … ankle/achilles, kinda similar.  I realize the ankle is connected to the shin bone which is connected to the thigh, the hip, spine, upper torso, eventually leading to the hand/wrist but seriously, did I really want a hand/wrist expert performing surgery on my achilles?  I think not … unless he slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Actually he was great & very professional … when I explained to him that I was hoping to resume a very high level of competitive tennis (wishful thinking) he immediately suggested having his colleague (a very skilled ankle/foot surgeon) perform the surgery.  Now we’re talking, bro.  Seriously though … managed care works both ways … health care professionals will manage your care but YOU have to be active in managing your care, as well.  I knew what I wanted going in & wasn’t going to settle.

On we go … so all we needed next was an MRI but that had to be done at Kaiser.  He writes up the referral & 2 days later I get my MRI (1 week after the injury).  July 4th weekend so nothing is happening on Friday & I figured what the hell … honey let’s go to the pool.  I didn’t have a cast yet & by now the swelling looked liked a case of elephantitis.  Off with the bandages & dive right in … well not quite, I gingerly hopped down the pool stairs while holding the edge … but boy that water felt good once I was in (& what I’d give to be able to soak my leg right now!!!).

So the holiday weekend wasn’t a complete waste.  Monday morning I got to see the foot/ankle specialist who surprisingly told me he didn’t need the MRI … he could tell from the xrays that the ligament was completely ruptured.  Grrrrrrr … I waited 2 weeks for this?  It wasn’t all bad, he got me in for surgery the next day … it took 2 weeks but I got the surgeon I wanted plus I was able to perfect the one-legged, doggy paddle in the pool.

I don’t remember much about the surgery … took a few deep breaths with this funny mask thing on my face & then I woke up with this 10 pound cast on my leg … I hate magic tricks.  I also hate when they ask if you’re allergic to this or that … I’m allergic to needles.  The intravenous in the hand was the worst part of the day … well until later that night.

FYI … I highly recommend the nerve block in the leg before surgery; I couldn’t feel my toes until 12 hours after surgery.  I just wish they had told me to take the Percocet BEFORE the nerve block wore off.  It’s now 3am … 12 hours after surgery & I wake up to feel my toes … hey I can feel a slight tingle, great.  15 minutes later I can feel the pain … not so great.  Grab the damn Percocet!!!  10 minutes later the pain goes from a 9.0 to a 9.7 & I’m in agony!  The things we learn … Percocet will kick-in about an hour after you take it … plan accordingly! lol

The good news is I only needed the Percocet for the first 2 or 3 days & then the pain was minimal.  Interesting that I read the stuff is addictive & kids get off on it these days … I don’t get it.  Maybe it was the pain but Percocet just made me sleepy.  I never got any sort of “high” or weird feeling from it.  Now wine … ok, wait … that’s another blog.  Btw, no wine (or any alcohol) with Percocet … that combo can kill you.  So I’m in a holding pattern until I get the first cast off in 9 days but who’s counting … I am!!!  More good news … the Percocet is now out of my system which means the wine cellar is open for business once again.

Don’t look if you cringe easily but here are 2 pictures of the bruising & swelling 1 week after the injury … you can also see the indentation where the tendon is missing.

 http://achillesblog.com/drahcir61/files/2008/07/achilles-rupture-bruising-1.jpg

 http://achillesblog.com/drahcir61/files/2008/07/achilles-rupture-bruising-2.jpg

In the beginning …

After rupturing my left achilles tendon 3 weeks ago & having surgery 1 week ago I was Googling for info about healing timelines, a waterproof cast bag, stronger drugs (just kidding) so I was thrilled when I found this site!  I’m not much of a blogger but let’s face it, I have some spare time over the next few months … plus I can’t spend all my time watching my beloved Boston Red Sox.  lol

Unfortunately I’ve had a long history of grade 1 & 2 ankle sprains over the years having played everything from ice hockey & college soccer to basketball & competitive tennis.  I’m not sure there’s anything more painful than rolling an ankle & having a severe sprain … I’ve had more than my share.  I was diagnosed with achilles tendinitis on both ankles about 4 years ago which forced me to stop playing tennis.  During that layoff I learned a lot about the achilles tendon & ironically the sensation or “pop” that occurs from a rupture.  As most of you know, it’s one thing to read the description of how it happens (the “pop” sound & the whack in the back of the leg) compared with experiencing it first hand.  Despite the immediate pain, I remember an almost surreal feeling like, “oh THAT’S what it feels like“.  It never occurred to me that I had just been initiated into the ATR club!

So the saga begins, I had been itching to get back into tennis for awhile.  My ankles & achilles had been feeling great for over a year plus I own a Lobster tennis ball machine which allows me to control my level of activity so I had no hesitation getting back onto the court … if only just to work on my stroke.  I made sure I did a lot of stretching & light jogging before my first workout.

I had 2 great sessions (1.5 hours each) over a 2 week period but it was my 3rd session that put me out of commission.  What’s funny is that I had the ball machine set to just pump balls down the middle of the court so I wasn’t doing side to side drills.  It was a pretty conservative approach to getting back into tennis … alternating forehand & backhand drills without much lateral movement.  Eventually I’d ramp up to a full side to side workout but for now I was focused on my hitting technique.  I have a tendency to “jump into” my forehand shots to get more pace & recover more quickly.  Basically I’m leaving the ground but also swinging thru the ball at the same time.  All was going great for about 30 minutes until I hit one forehand, landed on the left foot & heard/felt the “pop”.  I remember yelling out & as I was falling to the ground I heard a guy outside the court say, “that didn’t sound good”.  Pretty wild considering he was 40 to 50 feet from me & he still heard my achilles rupture.  I never got to thank him for walking onto the court & turning the ball machine off for me.  lol  I didn’t get off the ground for 10 minutes so the motor could have burned out.  Eventually I picked my sorry ass off the court, limped around gathering the loose balls, & made it to the bench where I was able to call my wife for help.  I knew the achilles was shot & there was no way I could get all my gear including the ball machine in the car.  So that was 3 weeks ago … surgery was 1 week ago & based on the other blogs I’ve read, I have a long ways to go!

 

  

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