10 weeks

It’s been a painful week or so since I checked in, but today I had a follow up with my surgeon. Since I am doing rehab at the same place as my surgery, the doc knew what I had done, but said everything seemed to be ok. He didn’t like the swelling, but said it is fairly common with foot/ankle surgery.

He agreed that I had tendanitis in my “good” ankle. Said that was not too common, but nothing to worry about.

He gave me the option of going back to my boot to help my repaired ankle, but said it probably wasn’t the best for my tendanitis in the other ankle.

We settled on no boot, and for me to continue being careful and icing and elevating them. And he put me on Voltaren. Guess it’s a strong anti-inflammatory. Hopefully it will help as I’m getting tired of calling the medicine cabinet at work my candy jar.

He also prescribed a cream of some sort for my tendanitis. It’s has to go through a mixing pharmacy, so I won’t get it until tomorrow or Monday.

To be honest with myself, while I know I overdid it two weekends ago, I also know my left Achilles was already hurting, and my right one was already swollen. Not justifying my good time, just saying the issues I have now were already happening… So maybe even more evidence that I should have just said “no”.

Live and learn and get better.

Thats it for now, with PT tomorrow, followed by hopefully another weekend of rest.

Two shoes and tendanitis

So I snuck in that I moved to two shoes last week. But it hasn’t been easy since the switch.

Yes, last PT appointment (back on 6/13 - Friday the 13th), I graduated to two shoes. It was nice, and I was excited, but most of all, I was a bit dumb/stupid.

On the 14th, in only my second full day in two shoes in two months, I went to “Parker Days”. It’s a weekend festival with good music, good food, and lots of alcohol. And for someone who is excited to be able to go out with the “normal” folk for the first time in ages, I made some mistakes.

Too much standing.

Too much walking.

Too much drinking.

Too much dancing.

Even while it was happening, I knew it was too much, but I didn’t listen to myself, and I let my friends talk me in to doing too much. Not that they had to try very much. I take the blame.

Sunday was terrible, and Monday was worse. Tuesday wasn’t much better, and Thursday I started feeling (meaning both ankles) bearable.

At PT, Matt wasn’t upset, he knew I was hurting, but he let me know I set myself back more than a bit. He understood what happened and how/why I let it happen.

So before I move forward in recovery, first and foremost (other than no dancing), I have to get my swelling under control.

My repaired ankle swells up daily just doing normal everyday things. My ice pack now goes to work with me, or where ever else I go.

And my “good” ankle has a nasty case of tendanitis. So both ankles are painful to walk on.

On the bright side, even through all this, I gained a degree of flexibility, putting me at 11 degrees, only 4 from not having to limp (except due to pain if it doesn’t get better), and only 9 from “normal”. I just wonder where I’d be if I had used a bit more common sense last weekend.

8 weeks

Wow! I can’t believe it has been 8 weeks since my surgery. Granted while it was happening the time ticked by like Tom Cruise’s final period in school in Risky Business. But now I’m less than 48 hours away from wearing two shoes.

Let’s take a look back at the last 10 days or so.

My business trip went about as well as could be expected, but I was really amazed, I mean appalled, at how rude people are at the airport to a slow moving guy with a cane. From people pretty much cutting me off and jumping in front of me in lines, to playing the let’s see how close we can come to the guy with the cane, to just running/bumping into me.

On one flight, after settling into my seat, I started loosing up the straps on my boot, and some lady almost knocked me out… Not a glancing blow, but a serious shot to the head which rammed my head into the seat in front of me. And she didn’t even say sorry. So I did, and I wasn’t quiet about it… “Sorry for running my head into your hip”. The guy in the seat next to me laughed, but the lady just kept walking. Rude I tell you, rude.

The reason for trip was a success too, but St. Louis is a lot more humid than Denver, and it didn’t help my ankle. I normally don’t mind humid places as it makes my broken down body feel good - like being in a sauna. But not this time. I was sore. Plus had to do a lot of walking at the airports. In fact, my flight home got into gate B90. About as far away from my car as possible. The first (really the last) 10 gates or so are in a semi-circle, and then you get to the actual terminal, and gate B80. And while DIA (Denver’s airport) has moving sidewalks, the last section was not working… Argh. It took about 30 minutes to get from the gate to my car, and other than a few minutes on the train from terminal about to the main terminal, I was walking the whole time.

One thing that made the time go quickly was that I texted my daughter when I landed saying I made it back to Denver. She just replied “ok”, which made me a bit upset. She’s 17, so I don’t always get much from her while traveling, maybe just a few minutes each night, but usually it’s different when I return home from trips. But then she made my night when she called while I was walking. And she kept talking. It wasn’t until I was in my car that I said bye to her. :)

My first day back I had my PT appointment and my therapist said my ankle was definitely inflamed.

Massage, stretching, riding the bike (with my boot on), and balancing on my “bad” foot. All went okay, and I’m still on schedule for moving to two shoes this Friday… 6/13. Just noticed the date… I had better be careful.

I was feeling good enough on Saturday that I thought about opening up my online dating profile (I basically shut it down when I hurt my ankle). I didn’t, but I thought about it. Maybe this weekend, but given it is Father’s Day, probably not. But at least I was thinking about the fairer sex. ;)

On Sunday I broke the rehab/recovery rules a bit, and put on a heavy duty ankle brace, strapped on my mowing shoes and mowed the jungle that was growing in my back yard. Two months of growth, and I had lost one of my dogs at least a few times. I took it slow, and was careful. And while it was a bit sore, and I was definitely tired, I felt pretty good. And the yard looked decent too. Plus I found the dog, a few chew toys, a sock, and at least 4 gartner snakes. Don’t worry, none of them found the blades of the mower. I forgot to take a picture of me in two shoes, but I was too tired afterwards to care.

On Monday night, I climbed into bed without my boot, and came so close to going to sleep without putting on my boot, but I was too nervous about it; too worried it would hurt too much in the morning, so I climbed out of bed and put the boot on.

But last night, after doing the same thing, I just rolled over bootless and went to sleep. And guess what? No problems in the morning. And I’m going to do the same tonight.

I almost wore two shows to work today, but decided against it. I wasn’t worried about hurting my ankle, I was more worried that if I got tired later in the day, I’d be too stubborn to suck it up and put the boot on, so two shoes will have to wait until Friday after PT. I’d also feel guilty about using my handicapped placard for parking if I was wearing both shoes.

My bag, along with my two shoes are already packed.

As always, good luck everyone out there. Hang in there. It might be bad, ok terrible, but it will get better.

6 weeks and 4 days

Another week has flown by, a week the included my first PT visit.

Before detailing that, I have to say that wearing the old work boot has been great. It almost perfectly matches the height of the boot on my “bad” foot, and has made FWB walking a lot easier. I still get sore, and am still tired after a day of work, but my knees, hips, and back all can tell the difference.

So tip number one in FWB… Find a way to match the height of the boot, on your good leg. And be prepared to do it ASAP once your cast is removed and you go to PWB. I waited a week, and may still be paying the price.

Before wearing the old work boot, I had joked about duct-taping a 2×4 to my good foot to help. Hey, yet another use for duct tape.

I also washed my legging, you know the white toeless sock under your boot. In all I have four ( I asked for extras). I can now switch it out every other day or so.

And last night I washed the fabric part of my boot. I’m lucky that I have a second boot laying around the house, so I wore it last night while my real boot was drying. Or maybe the fact that I had another boot isn’t so lucky…

Okay, about PT.

The therapist felt that everything looked real good for where I was time-wise. He gave my calf a good massage. When I asked about my skinny calf, he said it would probably get smaller before it started to get bigger. Wonderful..

He did ask me if my goal was to get back to playing softball. I’m not sure what my goal is. This recovery gas been the worst of any of my previous injuries, and I’ve had a bunch. From four scopes of my left knee with an ACL reconstruction mixed in (they say the next time they go in, it will be to replace the knee), to rotator cuff (both shoulders), to ruptured disc (L4/L5). Yes, I play life hard.

That may be my goal for the week… Deciding what my recovery goal is. I’ve played sports my whole life, but this injury may have been the “stick a fork in me, I’m done”.

He then started me on ROM exercises. I had already been doing them at night when I took my boot off, so they were pretty easy. The basic write the alphabet with my big toe. He added in windshield wipers, moving the toes side to side while holding my knee in place. Three sets of thirty. Again, fairly easy.

He then put me on a stationary bike (with the boot on) for ten minutes. It was nice to exercise, even it the goal wasn’t to sweat. The hardest part of the bike was keeping my booted foot (and my butt) in place. Not sure why my butt kept slipping on the seat, but my boot did because the foot strap on the pedal was removed to let me put my boot on the pedal. Maybe next time I bring some duct tape. ;)

That was about it. I did some stretching on my good Achilles as it has been sore for a week or so, plus it doesn’t have the “normal” ROM they want. I’m hoping it’s just because my left leg has been doing so much.

And then it was over. I’ll see Matt once a week for the first few weeks and then it may be increased. He is going to talk to the surgeon (both the surgeon and the therapist work in the same facility - Steadman - Hawkins) and get a more in depth review of how the surgery went.

If everything progresses as planned/ hoped, in two weeks we will look at retiring the boot. Yes, maybe only two more weeks of this boot.

I do have a business trip scheduled this week, so I’ll get to experience traveling by plane with a boot. Matt said to just loosen up the straps on the boot, plus do ROM exercises while sitting on the plane. It will be interesting.

Thats it for this week, although it realized while writing this that the acronym (ok abbreviation) for Full Weight Bearing has a different meaning these days.

Good luck to everyone out there.

5 weeks and 5 days

Another week has passed, and the crutches have been put away. In fact I put them away last Monday (a week ago), and started using a cane a friend of mine is letting me use.

Friday my daughter (a junior in high school) had a band performance/competition at Elitches-Six Flags, the local amusement park. I had volunteered to chaperone the trip months ago, and while I could have gotten out of it, I didn’t even ask… I wanted to go.

I’ve done it before, but knew this time would be different, as I wouldn’t be able to keep up with her and her friends, let alone ride the rides. Or so I thought.

I didn’t ride many of the rides, but did ride three I think. Actually only two now that I think about it. I rode a new ride called the “Brain Drain”. A circular roller coaster, that just goes around in a circle, upside down. No shaking or back and forth… Just one big loop, seven stories tall. You go back and forth until you have enough power to go upside down, then after a few “loops”, you do it again, but in the other direction. No pain at all.

The other ride was one of their extreme rides (meaning they charge you extra). I had purchased tickets for my daughter and her best friend, but then the ride was temporarily closed due to weather, and her friend had to leave before the ride reopened. I took it as a sign that I should ride it.

It’s called the “Sling-Shot”, and it’s a two-seat ride with the seats pulled back like a sling shot and you are launched skyward. No idea how high, but I’ve been on it before and felt that the amount of movement and shaking would be ok. And it was. Again no pain.

The biggest pain was the amount of walking. I survived though, but couldn’t wait to get home and relax.

At home, I removed one full wedge in my boot, and stopped using the cane.

On Saturday morning, after really not feeling any difference with the first wedge removed, I removed the second (and final) wedge without any issues.

On both Saturday and Sunday I carefully walked around the house barefooted, without any real issues. In fact it felt nice to be walking on level ground again.

My plan for the week is to go with no wedges, and no cane or crutches.

I start PT on Thursday, and am interested in what the next step to recovery is, as I can’t believe how skinny my right calf is.

4 weeks & 4 days

The majority of the pain of switching from cast to boot and from NWB to PWB went away after the 1st night of sleep. I woke up and could tell that the boot continues to stretch the tendon while I sleep.

It really was a huge difference.

Friday at work was fairly uneventful. Saturday at home was a different story.

Saturday was the night of my daughter’s high school prom. She’s only a junior, but we had a number of errands to run.

At lunch, we sat around and talked, and then as we were leaving, I decided to try to walk to the truck FWB. I had taken a few steps during the day, so these weren’t my first steps, but it would be the first time I tried a distance this far.

I was able to do it fairly easy, but I was not rolling up to my toes. I was stopping flat-footed and then bringing my good leg forward. Putting the pressure onto my toes was the painful part.

This shuffling continued through the remaining errands. At one point, I even left the crutches at home while we went to get her pictures taken. I shuffled around all during pictures, feeling pretty good… There was one point when I was bringing my good leg up that I hit a raised crack in the sidewalk that forced me to put weight/pressure on my toes, and I thought I was going to cry. I shuffled over to a bench and relaxed until the pain went away.

Saturday night I went to bed just feeling a little worse than normal.

Now it’s Sunday morning, and I know I over-did it, and not just by a little bit, but by a lotta-bit. I’m not too happy with myself for not putting myself in check yesterday. I should have realized that I needed to take it in stages.

I have a few errands today, and I think I’m going to, I mean I know I’m taking my crutches. I also want to ice it, but I’m a little nervous about taking the boot off.

Oh well, I guess it’s part of the recovery process. Learning to set boundaries, and being happy with small steps.

1 month - PWB

So here I lie, for the 1st time in about a month, hurting.

I had my 1 month follow up appointment today, and the cast was cut off, and my knee scooter “taken” away. Everything looks great they say and now it’s time for the boot, and I can ditch the crutches as soon as I’m able.

Trumpets sound, cheers are heard all around.

And then reality sets in as they tell me to put my foot in the boot, and make sure my leg is all the way in the back and my heel is all the way down (boot has 2 pull wedges, and each wedge is made up of 3 layers). At that instant I knew the crutches were going to be with me for a bit.

And after getting my foot properly aligned, and the boot strapped up, I got to walk, with crutches… Place down on the heel, and roll to the toe, then do it all over again. The pain was pretty strong, even when I barely did more than rest my foot on the floor. And “worse” yet, even at rest it hurt as the boot did its job and stretched my tendon.

I’m assuming the cast could have been made at a bit more of an angle or maybe I could use more wedges now, but regardless, it hurts.

Keep it at the 2 wedges for a week and then remove one.

PT begins in 2 weeks.

And I get to shower, in a shower chair, but I get to take a shower in the morning.

It hurts, but I’m at the next stage… PWB!

Another week has passed…

And while I know I’m getting closer to a boot and PWB, I really don’t know what that means. I’ve been using a knee scooter for a week, but that gets turned in on Thursday when I get the cast removed and start wearing the boot. Do I use crutches during PWB?

Weekend wrap-up - 2w & 4d

All in all a good weekend. Didn’t do much on Saturday, but watched movies with my daughter at night.

Sunday was a full day of errands, from dog/puppy training, to tuxedo rental, to shopping at Target, to eating lunch, to buying some pants (to fit over my cast), to picking up my older daughter from work, and lastly to grocery shopping.

I did squeeze in an hour nap too.

The knee scooter is awesome! My daughter was a great help getting it out of the back of the truck and putting it away at each stop.

I know I’m no where near ok, and depending on my mood 10 more days in the cast is either an eternity or just a little over a week, but this weekend was good.

I have thought about some of the things that I was planning on doing this summer that are probably not going to happen… Kinda bummed about these…

Sky-diving (for my best friend’s 50th birthday)

White water rafting in Royal Gorge (was supposed to be my daughter’s 1st time)

ATVing, camping, and hiking (although we might take a weekend trip without the ATVs)

Softball (again with my daughter… Instead she’ll be playing with her mom)

Good luck to everyone out there.

2 week follow up

Got my splint off today and upgraded to a real cast. The surgeon says all went as expected.

The incision is quite small, only about an inch or so long, and runs horizontally rather than vertically. One small “bummer” about the small incision / potential scar is something that goes back 20 years to when I blew out my knee. Back then I was going to get a tattoo of a zipper-head at the end of my scar. Well the surgeon did such a good job, the 4″ scar is almost invisible, so I passed on the tattoo. Well again I was primed to get the zipper-head tattoo (which would be my first), but the scar will be fairly small. My daughter, who at 17 already has 3 tattoos, says I should go ahead and get it. I’m not sure, but I guess I have time to decide.

I’d post the pictures, but I don’t know how to…

The stitches were removed, and I was told in 2 weeks I should be able to move to a PWB boot! That would be 4 weeks NWB. So I’m pretty happy tonight.

I also got a knee scooter, so that’s an improvement too.

All in all, a very good day!