My name is Dan and I found this blog some time after suffered a full rupture 23 May. I thought it would be a good idea to chronicle my recovery just to add to the posts here for future reference for others. I have read some, but hardly all of the other cases and mine may or may not be different from most. But here it is.
My rupture was caused by a simple accident. I slipped jumping onto log down by the creek and my toe landed on the top of the log, my heel went down and it was ruptured in an instant. I did the usual things after hurting my ankle. Ice, compression, elevation. It kept the swelling down and it didn’t hurt or bruise. But I could tell after a day this wasn’t just an ankle sprain, so I went to the ER. They confirmed the rupture I had self-diagnosed with the Thompson test, etc. They put me in a splint and made an appt. with an ortho, altho not for 7 days. I am not a frequent visitor to hospitals and don’t hve a personal physician, so I went with what they arranged for me.
I should mention at this point I do not have insurance. I know I will be getting a discount equivalant to about half the bill, but more on that later.
So I walked around on crutches (some) for the week until I saw the ortho Dr. In the menatime I found plenty of info regarding treatment and surgical vs. non-surgical. As alot of people here know recent studies show very little difference between the two. So when I went into the Dr. he looked at it for about 1 minute, said I had a total rupture and wanted to know when I wanted surgery. I said that surgery wasn’t as common these days, which he took exception to and said he hadn’t treated anyone non-surgically in 15 yerars. I asked what the cost of that vs. non-surgical tretment was. He had absolutely no idea but said he’d get a nurse to try and figure that out for me. She said $11k - $12k for surgery and $6k - 7k for non-surgical. (Iinterestingly, my Dr. had no idea what he charges, but was able to tell me what his knee surgery cost).
After hearing those figures we discussed it a bit and I said I wanted to go with no surgery. He was not thrilled. He said I would have to have a hard cast past my knee for at least 4 weeks. I begged off that and at this point he said maybe I’d be happier with another Dr. In the meantime he had an intern look up some info online and did agree to let me have a lower leg only cast. So that is what I left there with.
That 4 weeks went by very slowly. I am self-employed and work at home, so that part of my life was more or less the same. I live alone, so things have to be done and I have to do them. I walked around as best I could with crutches and without when I had to. I had no idea what was going on in there, but it felt ok. I have not taken one thing for the pain since this happened, including the day it happened. It doesn’t hurt, it just doesn’t work.
During those 4 weeks I did plenty of research on recovery and the best way to go about it. I emailed my Dr. a couple times to see what his take was on an aggressive approach after those 4 wekks were up. I never heard back. I found out about the Vacocast on here and thought that looked like just what I needed. I wrote asking his opinion of that. No response. So I ordered one anyway. I took it to my appt. 28 June.
They took the cast off and it looked OK, but incredibly weak from non-use and no movement. He looked at it for about 30 seconds and said I should have a hard cast put on at 20 degrees for 2 weeks and then down 5 degrees every 2 weeks, making 8 more weeks in a hard cast. I told him I had brought a cast with me and it was totally adjustable and sounded perfect instead of the hard cast. He did not think that was a good idea and did not look at the Vacocast. He again said I might be happier with another Dr. and said he couldn’t make sure I was doing it his way if I didn’t have a hard cast on. I said he couldn’t do that anyway. I asked if my 2 week visits were just going to be the cast coming off, him saying its fine, moving it 5 degrees and sending me on my way (costing me $$ each time). He said it was very likely to happen that way and I said I was not going go guarantee I was going to do that. He said that was up to me and he left.
So… I won’t be seeing him anymore. He was just too busy and uninterested in me as a person. The ‘I don’t have time for this, just do as I say’ feeling was palpable each time I saw him. Sorry, but I am not a ‘I’m putting myself in your hands, Doc’ kinda guy. In the end I am responsible for my treatment. I am not sure what path I will take as far as formal medicine goes, but as of now I am on my own.
In the week since I put the Vacocast on it has been working out great. I can walk on it with the heel lift and my crutches are feeling lonely right now. Too bad. I only take it off each day to bathe, but the progress is evident each time I do. It feels noticeably stronger every day, which id good because I have a long way to go. Just because I’m not taking my Drs. advice does not mean I am not going to take care of it. It will be a very long recovery, but having it in a hard cast for 12 weeks (minimum) just did not seem like the way to go after all the research I have done about recovery.
That is my story so far.
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