jenks80’s AchillesBlog

Recovering from an Achilles Tear

The Third Week

Posted in ATR Posts on December 15, 2010 by jenks80

On December 12, I was scheduled to fly out of Birmingham to Peoria, IL.  Thanks to the Blizzard in the Mid-West, things didn’t go as planned.  My flight was cancelled, and “crutching” along, mean that I got beat to the ticket counter to reschedule my flight.  All the good flights were booked by the time it was my turn.  Eventually, I decided to drive.  I had been at the airport since 9:30AM, and it was around 1:30PM when I decided to give up.  My flight had been scheduled for 11:10AM.

I was worried that having my foot pointed down for the scheduled 10+ hour drive would be painful.  Turns out it wasn’t that bad.  However, I didn’t quite make it to my destination.  Driving in TN with snow on the ground was an experience.  I lost count of the number of cars stuck in the snow on the side of the interstate.  By some miracle, I made it to Kentucky…about 2 hours behind schedule.

The state of KY should be commended for their ability to keep their interstates clean of snow and ice.  I managed to drive around 60mph the entire time I was in Kentucky.  I thought things were going to continue to go well into Illinois, but I was mistaken.  After having my heart leap through my chest from sliding all over the place, I gave up and got a hotel in Mt. Vernon, IL.  I didn’t want to be one the of the people stuck on the side of the interstate waiting for a tow as I slowly ran of of gas.

It was a good decision, and I was able to continue the drive the following morning.  Four more hours on the road and I made it to Peoria.  I was only 3 hours late for the class that I drove up for.  The 10 hour scheduled trip, took me 12 hours of actual road time…not to bad considering I drove 30mph for the majority of my time in TN.

My foot did well the entire time.  I did go a little stir crazy, and I think my foot became claustrophobic, but I made it without any pain.   The worst part of the entire experience was trying to lug my carry-on luggage through the airport.  I had rigged up a connection to my crutch to pull the luggage.  It worked, but my arm was dead tired.  I am sure that I didn’t look very smooth walking through the airport.

I get to make the return trip on Friday, and so far the forecast isn’t showing any snow.  Keeping my fingers crossed it stays that way.

Second Week Follow up

Posted in ATR Posts on December 15, 2010 by jenks80

I left off a day before my return to the doctor for my 2 week follow-up.

I returned to the doctor on 12/9/2010 to have my soft cast removed, and have it replaced with a hard cast.  It felt good to have the soft cast removed, and my leg cleaned…BUT I did not enjoy having my foot exposed.  I had to wait for the doctor after the cast was removed, and I was terrified that someone was going to bump into it.  Here is a picture of the repair site.

The doctor was happy with it seeing that there was no redness and my foot went to 15deg easily.  He said this is a boring time, and for me to get the hard cast .  That was pretty much it.

2 weeks post surgery today

Posted in ATR Posts on December 6, 2010 by jenks80

Well I tore my left Achilles playing basketball on 11/23/2010 at the ripe old age of 30.  I had hoped my Achilles would have lasted longer.   I did the one legged hop to my car, and drove home (thank God I drive an automatic). After talking to my wife, she wanted me to go to the ER.  I didn’t think a trip to the ER was necessary, but I went anyhow.  The ER staff was helpful, and I was fitted in a walking boot, and discharged with instructions to follow-up with an Ortho.  The boot was to prevent further damage.

I am lucky in that I live near Birmingham, AL (home of the famous Ortho, Dr. James Andrews).  I called his practice, Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center, the following morning.  I was referred to the foot specialist, Dr. McBride.  I got in touch with his nurse.  She told me to come in immediately, and that the sooner I had surgery the better.  They happened to have one slot open, so I was scheduled for surgery the same day.

I arrived to the hospital around 10:30am.  I met with Dr. McBride in between his surgeries.  He confirmed the tear doing the “squeeze the calf muscle” test.  A few hours later I was in for surgery.  In an ironic twist, my anesthesiologist had torn his Achilles 2 years prior, and Dr. McBride has performed the same surgery.  He assured me that Dr. McBride was good.

Surgery prep went fine, and next thing I know I am joking with the surgical team to keep my bits covered up when they flip me to perform the surgery.  A few seconds after that I am waking up in recovery to a nice nurse controlling the Morphine.  My pain level of 8/10, was immediately lowered to about a 3/10.  It is worth mentioning that I woke up from the surgery without being nauseous , which was a first for me.  I was glad that I told the anesthesiologist that I am usually nauseous after anesthesia, and he said he would take care of it.  Luckily, he made good on his promise.

I did have the unpleasant surprise of finding my throat sore after the surgery.  I wasn’t aware that I was going to be tubed.  It wasn’t unbearable, but it was definately noticeable.

I was discharged about an hour later, and I was on the way home.  My pregnant wife did the honors of driving me home and sticking with me throughout the day.  Did I mention I have a pregnant wife who isn’t very positive about my injury due to her pregnancy and the extra childcare she will be providing to our 23 month old daughter while I am gimp. She has always cautioned me against playing b-ball in a league, and always feared I would get injured.

Eventually we get home after picking up my daughter. I immediately make my new resting place the couch in our basement. I was prescribed a range of medicines; an antibiotic, an anti-nausea med, Demerol and Loratab. The Demerol was there in case I thought I was dying, and the Loratabs was for moderate pain. I ended up only needing the Loratabs and the necessary antibiotic. I didn’t leave the couch unless I had to use the restroom, which for some reason required a great effort on my part.

I took the Loratabs for the next 3 days, Ibuprofen for the next 5, and as today, 12/6, I haven’t taken anything for the past 4 days. The pain was never severe, but I was told to stay ahead of the pain. The reason I stopped taking the Loratabs is because they made me sluggish, and I wanted to get back to driving. I drove for the first time the following Monday, and the only discomfort was from leaving my foot in the floor of my car. It was bearable. I went back to work on Tuesday, Nov 30th.

I have been on crutches before, 15 years ago, so I vaguely remember how to use them. First lesson on stairs: Going up->Good leg goes up first, then the crutches; Going down-> Crutches first. It only takes one time hanging yourself to remember that rule. Getting my strength up hasn’t been as difficult as I thought, but I’m not walking a marathon either.

My 23 month old daughter has been helpful with her dad’s “big boo-boo”. She tries to help me walk on the crutches. She is really interested in reading books, and that seems to be my number one job when I am around. Not a bad way to wait out my time.

The only problem I am having is that my toes keep getting cold and going numb. Is this normal? It doesn’t stay that way, but it is aggravating. It doesn’t help that the temperature is around 20deg F today.

I go back to the doctor for my two week follow up tomorrow, 12/9. I will try to update again following that visit, including pictures of the cut. I am praying that I can get in a walking boot by Christmas, but I am skeptic. I need to start preparing a nursery for our newest family addition that will be here mid March. I need to do something to win some points back with the wife. ;)