Fun day with the orthopedist

September 27th, 2008

I was so bummed that I had to wait to call an orthopedist on Monday because I just wanted to have the surgery now and get it over with.  We’re lucky that my husband’s cousin is an orthpedic resident in Philly because he was able to make some phone calls (THANK YOU JOHN!!) and get me in with a fantastic foot & ankle specialist at the University of Pennsylvania on Tuesday morning.   

We got there for a 9AM appointment and the triage nurse saw the splint on my leg and immediately brought me back to the casting room (they assumed that I was already post-op).  The casting room was an experience.  It was a big open room and there were 4 older guys in there who had just had their casts cut off and were waiting to see the ortho.  Since the practice is foot and ankle, I think a lot of what they do is diabetic amputations (based on what we saw in the cast room)  I thought my husband was going to pass out at first because several of the guys were missing all/most of their toes and big chunks of their foot - at least it made me feel a lot better about my injury.  It was pretty entertaining though - these guys were all bantering back and forth with each other and teasing the doctors.  The one guy asked me about what happened to me and then told me to be careful because he’d come in with an earache and woke up with half his foot gone - at least he made everyone laugh…I think my husband wants to write a sit-com based on it….uck

Anyway, since my husband’s cousin called ahead I got to see a resident and a fellow before I saw the doctor - they were all really nice to me and really interested in the antibiotics that I was taking.  Apparently it’s a really hot topic of discussion in the orthopedic community.  When each of them examined me all three of them did the Thompson test and confirmed that I had a complete rupture of the right AT.  They didn’t feel the need to do an MRI or any additional test.  My appt was on Tuesday and they scheduled me for surgery on Monday.  I pushed to have it earlier, but the ortho pushed back and explained that she didn’t want to do it until more of the swelling had gone down.  I’d already done my homework and I knew that the most common complication of surgery was infection at the incision site due to the fact that it is a relatively avascular area.   She said that when the heel/ankle is swollen like that it’s like cutting into a sausage casing (eeeww) and it puts more tension on the skin when the try to pull it back and increases the risk of infection (the fact that I’m diabetic doesn’t help either.)  

She said that they would do surgery as out-patient and gave me the option of general anesthesia or a spinal block.  She said that the downside of a spinal is that you have a longer wait in the recovery room since you’re legs are numb and they can’t release you until you can walk/crutch safely.  (I opted for general since I had a spinal once that didn’t work so well and I felt more than I should have…)  She said that they would put me in a post-op splint that I would be in for 2 weeks and then they would put me in a non-weight bearing hard cast for 6 weeks and then they’d move me to a boot that I’d progressively be able to walk on over the next 4-8 weeks - sweet jesus!  They said that after 1 year I should be good as new (provided my husband doesn’t bury me out back first :)

So they gave me a boot and the orthotist adjusted it so that my toes are pointing to the floor and told me to keep my leg elevated until Monday.  Can’t wait!!

3 Responses to “Fun day with the orthopedist”

  1. MarilynRD on September 27, 2008 3:55 pm

    Hi ?
    Best of luck with your achilles surgery. I had mine on Aug 19th, and just finished my first week of PT. On Tues, I will be celebrating 6 weeks post op, with an acqua water biking class :). It is amazing how fast the time flys! Your post made me chuckle, so thanks for that. Since I have been moving a LOT this week (FWB)I have had my share of aches and pains and tingling. I come here to this blog (read every single post of the day, including many older ones) which is a huge help.

    I can understand how you can’t wait for the surgery to be over! I hope it goes well and you get some great pain meds. Don’t let anyone tell you that you will get addicted in the two weeks post op! HA HA! (Unless of course you are prone to such things) Sleep is so important for the work ahead. I too got “general” per my choice. Philly is a GREAT place for medical care with the most Med Schools in the Country so close together and everyone getting the most up to date protocols. May God Bless You and Keep you in the next week….keep us “posted” :)
    Marilyn in Md. :)
    ….now HOW ABOUT THOSE HEELS? Did anyone see the Tarheels today? Amazing kids! Go UNC :)

  2. alfia on September 28, 2008 7:22 pm

    Welcome to the team, Heather! I just had my surgery last week, and everyone here is full of amazing advice and encouragement, which I have needed! Don’t be freaked by the surgery, it will be completely fine, and you’ll start healing quickly. The first couple days were the hardest for me, but it sounds like your husband will be a huge help, and you’ll need it! Lots of luck, my thoughts are with you!

  3. heather on September 28, 2008 8:31 pm

    Thanks Alfia - god, I LOVED your blog. The pygmy gnawing trolls and Han Solo got me laughing hard - and laughter is the best medicine (or at least ranks somewhere between benadryl and percocet)

    Keep up the blogging and I hope that your recovery keeps up its speedy pace!


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