Oct 28 2008

6 Wks Post-Op, 3 PTs, a Marriage & no sticks!

Published by gw0508 under Week 6

I went thru the whole day yesterday & today without the sticks & didn’t miss them!  Not one bit.  In fact each day brings me closer to chucking them in the closet.  I walk around the house most of the time without the boot or crutches.  Still crabbing down the stairs.  Too much strain trying to go down the old normal way.  Gotta listen to the  body.   Today, my daughter & I went into the mall & I didn’t even think to grab those crutches!  Not once!  In fact, it wasn’t till we were coming out that I realized, stick free!  Whoooohoooo!  I’ve been making more & more short trips without them and actually got around the block without them, though yes, I was limping.  When I come home, I see them leaning against the sofa, looking so lonely!  Haha

I’ve had 3 trips to the PT and yesterday she massaged the heck out of that Achilles & I got that hurts good feeling, if you know what I mean.  She really mashed on it but said it had good integrity.   Also got some more laser & a bit of ultrasound.  Can’t quite do the whole thing as I still have one area, the one on top, that’s still open a bit.  (See my last entry with pix) I asked with some hope when I could drive again.  She said if it was up to her, she’d drive but I’d better check with my doc tomorrow.  I will, I will.  I did something like a leg press and then over to the slant board.  The weirdest exercise was standing on a dome & balancing on that.  Puts a mild stretch on the Achilles and as I looked down, it was evident how much more weight I was putting on my left leg rather than my right.  Can’t quite even it out without the ouch factor coming out so, I don’t push too far.  The constant rerupturephobia crops up and keeps me from doing something stupid (I hope). Also got to ride 10 minutes on the stationary bike, two shoes!  Kind of strange putting 2 shoes on even though I just rode on the bike.

My dear daughter has been my chief chauffeur & bottle washer this last week & a half & I’m deeply grateful for her help.  She helped me find my dress and shoes for my eldest daughter’s wedding.  (I know that was cutting it close but after surgery, I couldn’t get out!  You know how it is!)   We saw some really hideous things that she took phone camera shots of just to prove to friends they were really some truly awful designers out there.  She also “helped” pick out shoes.  I kept telling her I only needed one.  :-)   We tried flats. Ha! Can you say Quasimodo limp?  Then we tried heels, except she brought me some stilts.  Now I was limping the other way.   I asked if she was going for my other Achilles.  Heels and I aren’t usually mentioned in the same sentence.  Finally found some.   Unfortunately, my dd is headed back to Hawaii soon.  I’d love to go with her but ah well, obligations.    It’s been great to have her over & not just for her help.

My eldest is off on her honeymoon-nobody knows where.  Her husband kept it all a secret.  She didn’t even know.  Can’t believe she’s married! It was a nice but non-traditional wedding.  They did all the planning.  I  made it thru with one heel on my good side and actually ended up limping less!  Height equalizer.  Try it sometimes.  You’d almost feel normal.   Though, by the end of the night, I was pretty tired and foot weary, both sides.

Now after the wedding, my son has gone back up to WY to go back to school & work, #2dd is back to Hawaii for work. (Her job is to help out on a scuba diving boat. Tough job.  Somebody’s gotta do it.)  My eldest is off with her new husband.  Whew!

Tomorrow I see my doc.  The burning question of the day will be, “When can I drive?”  I got a copy of the drs report to the PT and noted this week, I am supposed to start wearing cowboy boots.  Great!–except I don’t have any.  Not everybody in Colorado owns a pair. We’ll see what he says tomorrow.   I think I’m done with the sticks though and am NOT planning to go to the doc with them tomorrow!  Will I give my boot the boot tomorrow?

4 responses so far

Oct 22 2008

Start PT- 5 weeks Post-op & Scar

Published by gw0508 under Week 5

I had my first session of PT today. I’ll be going twice a week. My “homework” is to draw the alphabet with my foot, do foot circles, eversion (push outward, sideways) /inversion (push foot inward toward midline) isometrics-hold ten seconds (done while sitting) , dorsiflex (toe toward shin), plantar flex (toe point), eversion and inversion range of motion (done on my stomach to stabilize the knee so it doesn’t turn the foot!) , 2 exercises for core stability - since wearing that boot has thrown my alignment out of whack. I do the core stability exercises twice a day, 10 reps each, holding for 10 seconds. The rest I do as often as I can but not straining. The therapist did some massage and laser therapy to help break up scar tissue (even on the bump I have on my “good” left Achilles). She wasn’t able to go the length of my scar since I have 2 small areas still weeping. She was worried they might try to get infected so told me to clean with hydrogen peroxide then add an antibiotic to it twice a day. Said we had to watch out for staph infections in the wound.  You can see the 2 reddish wet spots I’ve got left.  The one on the top of the incision and the other about 3 stitch marks up from the bottom.

She also took measurements as a baseline. She measured against my good leg. I can’t remember all the measurements but it will be interesting to see the progression. I’ll have to ask her for them Wednesday when I see her again. Next time, I get to (stationary) bike ride! Woohoo! I can start progressing towards full weight bearing more quickly! Hopefully by next week I can put those training leg sticks in some closet-far far away!

This Friday my eldest daughter is getting married. I’ll still have to wear the boot but at least I’m pretty sure I can make it thru without the sticks!

What are the rest of you doing for PT?  What exercises did you start out doing?  What was the progression of PT you went thru?

2 responses so far

Oct 18 2008

fat foot 1 month post-op & PT

Published by gw0508 under Week 4

OK, lesson learned yesterday. I didn’t sit much and didn’t ice & elevate.   By the end of the day when I finally took the boot off and looked at my foot, it was looking pretty fat.  Should know better.  My foot was so swollen, my toes looked like little sausages stuck to a puffy foot.  Not good.  I spent the rest of the night doing what I should have during the day, iced & elevated!  Now, a day later, things are almost back to normal. At least I can see spaces between my toes again.  Let that be a lesson!  Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevate!

Monday I start PT.  I’ve been up on two legs limping badly but no more sticks—unless I go anyplace. I walk too slow without the sticks yet.  What am I in for on the PT?  Not fun I’m sure.

Still having heel pain when trying to limp on bare floors barefooted.  What a nuisance!

One response so far

Oct 11 2008

Heel Pain?

Published by gw0508 under Week 3

Why am I having heel pain? I’ve only been in my boot a few days & when I take it off to ice, I’ve stood up to have the pins & needles feeling I expect but not sure what to make of the heel pain.  It feels like a bruised heel.  Anybody have trouble with that?  Wonder why I have that?  I thought maybe I was up on my feet too much so I took more time to ice & elevate.  Do I need more padding in my boot?   Also,does anybody know how long I should be using this compression bandage inside the boot?

5 responses so far

Oct 10 2008

Jabbing Stitches?

Published by gw0508 under Week 3

After reading smish’ reply to dazf, I’m wondering if the jabbing I felt is from internal stitches. I’m going to have to ask the doc for a copy of the operative report. I’d like to know if that jabbing is from the stitches. After much irritation, they removed the cast and didn’t find anything from the cast. Didn’t think to ask about internal stitches. I’ve had external stitches removed and just have the tape across the incision. They said just let those come off on their own. Anybody else have that jabbing? What did you find out?

2 responses so far

Oct 08 2008

3 Wks Post-op- What Is that Jabbing Me? (pix)

Published by gw0508 under Week 3

Ok, I swear I wasn’t faking!  After getting casted, I started feeling something jabbing me in the back of the leg.  It wasn’t over the stitches but it was in the back, on a diagonal right across the Achilles,  lower calf.  At times it would be really sharp and other times it was just an irritation.  I’d stuck  the flat side of a back scratcher down between my leg & the cast and it seemed to alleviate the stabbing.  (Ok, admit it, you’ve done it too!)  I felt it most if I had my foot down on the floor when I was sitting or if I propped my leg up and was doing some foot flexing.  Anybody else feel it or is it “all in my head” (as my DH says)?  It was very real to me!   Anyway, after going between- “live with it” till the 15th when they change the cast, or “I can’t stand this any more” it’s REALLY irritating!, I called the docs office.  They told me to come in and they’d take a look.  Going in, I find my own doc has torn his Achilles too and is scooting around his office on this neat leg caddy thing!  Glad I’m not at the stage he is but feeling bad another has joined our ATR ranks.   Too many stairs to use a leg caddy in our house but I can see he gets along quite well at his office with it.  (Any of you having to go back to work ought to check to see if you can rent a leg caddy or knee walker! Check out frenzy’ s iWalkFree also.  Very cool!)  He’s already admitting he’s a bad patient and doesn’t put his leg up enough.  His wife waxed the floors and didn’t tell him.  He’s had his 1st big spill already as a result.  Anyway, since his ATR, he’s been rethinking the way he treats ATR. Ha! Imagine that!

My dog checks out the newest footwear.

Instead of recasting me, he gave me the boot!  Literally!  Wooohooo!  Out of that claustrophobic cast.  (My dog checking out the new footwear)  I do have a compression bandage under the boot.  How about the rest of you booted?  How long have you been in your boot and are you still in your compression bandage?  How long do I keep that on?  Do you sleep with the compression bandage on?  Forgot to ask him.  How long before you finally threw your sticks out?  He’s also given me a referral for PT & OT.  Let’s see how long my insurance guys take to get this referral going!  The doc says I can start weight bearing but to keep my training legs close by and use them as needed!   Whoopee!  Those first few steps of weight bearing were a little scary but wooohooo!  Can’t say that enough!  I’ve limped around the house with one crutch but not confident enough to try it outside yet. One training leg down, the other close behind!   The best part is I can take that boot off and move my foot!  Ah, bliss!  Time to pull out my ice machine though.  After just half a day, serious swelling and achiness.  Now, the other good part, a shower!  (Just no soaking as the incision may soften and gap!) I can take a real shower and scrub (gently) off that betadine and get after that dead skin.  If he had just recasted me for another 2 weeks, I don’t want to think about how much dead skin there would be then.  I have enough now, thank you very much!   As you can see from the pic, stitches, bruising, betadine, dead skin & swelling—it’s not a pretty picture at all but, it’s cast free!  Yes!!

nasty looking

But even in my limping around the house, I’ve felt that pull and that familiar jabbing in the back of my leg.  What the heck IS that?  Anybody else have this phantom jabbing?

Oohh Dennis!  I can click on the pix & make them bigger!  Thanks!

No responses yet

Sep 30 2008

A Crash & a Cast

Published by gw0508 under Week 2

Gimping up the stairs with my DH behind me the other night.  My toe caught the last stair & I ended up barking my shins & forearms on the edge of the floor.  Ouch! That’s gonna leave a few marks!  Knocked the splint/bandage gizmo out of whack a bit.  No damage done, just an out of whack splint I was able to jockey around.  My DH says, “Oh boy.”  So, I never claimed to be graceful, but that was the night before….

Stitches out and now I’m casted.  Wish I’d remembered to bring my camera to take a pic of my leg!  Ah well.  Next time.  It felt really nice to get that splint & bandages off.  Got to do some do some foot circles & mild toe points.  Ahhh. Like an itch scratched.  My gastroc moved!  Wooohoo!  Stood up for a bit without weight on it just to see how far off the floor my heel was.  My DH got nervous and told me that was enough.  Stitches out,  and it looks puckered and still a bit swollen.  Thought I’d been putting it up a lot & taking ibuprofen to help keep the swelling down.  Dr. says it’s fine and normal.  The spot on my ankle that was firing and causing such discomfort turned out to be pressure on the anterior tibialis and with extra padding and more dorsiflexion that feels fine now.  Made my toes feel like they were burning on top and at other times, like they were wet.  Also that pain in the heel just needed additional padding and no problems there either.  The scar is on the medial aspect (inside) of the ankle and is about 4 inches long.  He said it looked like a bomb had gone off inside.  The cast is a bit shorter than the splint/compression bandage.  I can at least wash my toes of the betadine and dead skin!  Now in the cast and he said as long as I didn’t walk on it, I could put maybe 50% weight on it.  He adjusted the plantar flexion so now I’m within 10 degrees of normal flexion.  Could tell when he adjusted the foot there was a bit of a stretch but not uncomfortable and it soon felt fine.  I’ve tried to put some weight on it and it feels good to have my foot back in an almost normal position rather than that toe pointed plantar flexed awkwardness.  I keep tellling myself it’s ok to put a little weight on it.  Gingerly learning to trust the weight while just standing. Ta-da!  I can stand without training wheels- kinda.  He said he hopes to have me back in the boot by the end of next month!  Yeah!  Hopefully just in time for my daughter’s wedding and I’ll just limp instead of crutch around!

No responses yet

Sep 29 2008


Published by gw0508 under Week 2

I go in this afternoon for my 1st checkup post-op and take out stitches.  I’ve felt so claustrophobic in this splint/compression bandage thing and found myself wanting to take it off to take a look.  Today’s the day though.  It’s been 2 weeks!  Hard to believe but on the other hand, walking 2 legged seems a distant memory.  Can’t wait to get back to it!  Reading other blogs, I chuckle as I see others doing the same things, slipping or dropping stuff.  I drop stuff & it feels like I’m staring down an abyss wondering how I’m going to pick it up.  Or  like the other day, just leaning over to water plants and I almost took a header into them. (in my last blog).  It was either into the plants or into the dogs food/water bowls.  I think the toughest thing about being on training legs is being so dependent on others for the simplest things.  We used to think nothing of it before but now, have to rethink how we do everything!  I’m thankful for my DH and 2 boys.  They’ve been terrific trying to help out- though they’re not always overjoyed about the extra duties.  Having my youngest help me make a simple spaghetti dinner shows what a wimp I’ve become.  My good left leg was so tired and aching just standing to cook!  I think I need a bigger kitchen.  2 of us around the stove is crowded.  Pulling up a chair for my bum R leg to kneel on instead of crutching is pretty crowded too.

No responses yet

Sep 27 2008

Wow! Already 1-1/2 weeks

Published by gw0508 under Week 1

It does seem that surgery is almost a distant memory now.  Finally healing!  Crutching around with the training legs is getting more “normal” though having to wait on people for help still is a pain.  Goes to show how we take our 2 legged status for granted.  Everything we do on the training legs seems to be magnified in difficulty.  With older kids around, I rely on them to do the simplest things like going out to our garden to pick veggies or weed the yard.  Things I did before without a thought.  Now I find myself contemplating the risks before I do anything from picking up junk off the floor to going out to the garage pantry to get something to make for dinner.  Dinner prep has to be easy & fast as it’s pretty tiring to make dinner still.  My guys aren’t old enough to drive but they are old enough to help with dinner- thank goodness.   If I drop something,  I have to balance to bend over to pick it up.  I was leaning over to water plants and almost fell over- I ended up taking a hard break check on my bad leg to keep from falling into the plants.   Yipes!  I sat down to do some damage assessment but it seems everything is ok.  Close call.  Since we have lots of stairs in our house, I’m careful about crutch placement to give as much stability and balance as possible.  I’m glad this NWB time is a relatively short 6-8 weeks and not longer.  I’m looking forward to a 2 legged state again.  It brings to mind some people who don’t have even that to look forward to.  I know the day will come when I won’t need the training legs but there are some out there who are in much worse shape than us.  They’re confined to wheel chairs or worse with no chance of being up on their feet ever.  Many of our soldiers have come back without their 2 legs and have to remake their whole lives.  I consider myself fortunate then.  These inconveniences are but for a moment.  How about other ATR people out there?  Any close calls or has your healing been uneventful?  I read about one of our group with bilateral ATR.  That’s really tough!  But we all look forward to our 2 legged status again.

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Sep 22 2008

The 1st week -Pre-op

Published by gw0508 under Uncategorized

Not sure how I got this out of sequence or how to get it rearranged but here it is–

After that not-so-wonderful 1st day in LA, the rest follow in a blur. I painfully hobbled onto the beach with my sister, her family & 2 of my guys. I found flipflops work a lot like snowshoes, keeping the foot from sinking into the sand. Still wasn’t fun to walk but more doable than barefoot! I spent most of that day at the beach sitting with my leg propped up. It was definitely discolored and swollen. It looked like I’d sprained an ankle badly, except for the discoloration starting at the calf. My guys had a grand time boogie boarding and I got some great pictures. The cold water sure felt good on the leg! I also spent a day & a half hobbling around my aunt’s garage, trying to help her clean it up. I know, I know, I should have gotten it checked out. I didn’t want to make my family take me to ER to check out the damage. I figured I could grit my teeth & maybe it wouldn’t be as bad. I’d sprained my ankles so many times in the past, I was hoping this old body would absorb this injury too and go away with time. I had ace wrapped the leg and iced as much as possible. I found I could drive if I used my whole leg but definitely not with just my foot. I also couldn’t walk with the normal heel-toe gait. I had to turn my right leg sideways to walk off the instep and not push off the toes. So, I hobbled around LA with my family, trying to enjoy the time we shared. The leg was looking ghastly. It was bruised from the gastroc down to the instep. The top of my foot looked like two-face with bruising showing from about the middle toe to the pinkie, like a line drawn down my foot. There was a spidery pattern of bruising on the medial side of the gastroc and still, my soleus ached and my gastroc didn’t. I didn’t have an ankle bone on either side- an cankle- I think it’s called. So, with my two young men to help me, I hobbled back on the plane to take us home to CO. Good thing the gate was close to the elevators at the airport!

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