First Blog

I’m starting this blog a little late, because I just discovered the blog site while searching around the internet. Here are the particulars.

I’m a 62 year old man, and I try to stay pretty active. I’ve had heel spurs for years, and they had been bothering me recently. The story starts on Sunday, Nov. 8, when nothing happened. On that day I played in a touch football game (I’ve been playing in that pickup game for 30 years - I’ve lost speed but not enthusiasm), and then went to the gym where I spent some time on the elliptical machine.
I was very proud of myself and went home happy.

The next day at lunchtime, I went to the same gym for an exercise class (Body Pump). I parked the car, stepped up on the curb, and suddenly went tumbling. I was lucky not to hit my head on the sidewalk. In retrospect, I’m not really sure if the tendon snapped when I stepped on the curb, causing the fall, or if I tripped, and the tendon snapped as a result of the fall. When I got up, I felt some pain in the upper part of my left calf, and had trouble putting weight on my left foot. I actually tried to go to the class, but that didn’t work out well at all (surprised?). I noticed that I couldn’t stand on my toes, or balance on my left foot. I tried a little golf swing, and almost toppled over when my weight shifted to the left side.

Thinking I had torn a calf muscle, I managed to get an appointment with an orthopedist the next day. I had seen him years ago, when my one attempt at surfing didn’t go as planned. The doctor took x-rays, and administered the Thompson Test, which I flunked with flying colors. I had some calcification on the tendon, and I could see in the x-ray that it moved up a couple of inches as the torn tendon retracted. The doctor wanted to operate two days later, but I needed some time to think about it and to make preparations. He put me in a big boot to use until the operation.

I went and got three second opinions. A sports medicine doctor who doesn’t do surgery said I should go without surgery. A podiatrist said I should probably have the surgery, but they should do an MRI first. A friend who is an ER doctor said do the surgery and do it now - he has seen a lot of cases like mine and felt surgery is almost always the best answer. Since he is a friend, and had no "dog in the race" (he wouldn’t get any business from me regardless of my decision), I valued his opinion the most.

I decided on the surgery, and made an appointment for the next week (Nov. 19). I made an appointment for an MRI, and then asked the surgeon if I should go for it. He was quite adamant that it was not necessary. He said that mine was an open-and-shut case. If I were sedentary, he would consider alternatives. But if I want to get back to golf, football, softball, the gym, and skiing, surgery was really the only answer. He said that an MRI would give him no additional information that he could use during the surgery. I canceled the MRI appointment, and spent the next few days stocking up on supplies and watching youtube videos about using crutches.

Unfortunately, all of the doctors I consulted agreed on one thing - I would have to cancel my planned ski trip to Jackson Hole in February. My luck, the snow will be great this year.

I was told that after surgery I would be on crutches for two weeks, followed by a long stint in the boot. He did promise that I’ll be playing golf in May. I plan to hold him to that.

Let me stop here, and get to the surgery in the next entry.

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