Travel Question

November 17th, 2018

Hey all! Since we’re coming up on the travel season and plans need to be made and tickets bought, I have a question for anyone that cares to chime in. After reading ZRobs post about traveling/flying at 5 weeks I was feeling pretty confident that I’d be able to fly cross country in week 10, but now I’m not so sure. I have no idea if I’ll be out of the boot or not and I most definitely will have to catch a connecting flight so I’ll be hustling between gates. So. Anyone out there travelled during this time frame and if so, how was it? Or if you’re coming up on week 10 or already passed that milestone, what do you think? Thanks in advance.

First PT Appointment

November 15th, 2018

Had my first PT appointment today. Well, it was more of an evaluation. She took some measurements and tested my foot strength in different directions, which she said was good. I’m about where she thought I should be at the 6 week mark. She also showed me a few ROM exercises to do at home….you all are familiar with them. Heel pumps, alphabet, circles, towel scrunches. Just a few reps, three times a day. She said lower reps but more often are preferable at this point. She also said I should still be icing for the swelling, which I have not been doing. The swelling hasn’t been horrible, but yes I have a significant cankle going on, so I will add icing into my routine now. She said to expect some swelling in that ankle well into the 6 to 10 month range. Ugh.

I also got to take a wedge out of the boot so now I’m down to two wedges and PWB with the crutches. Boy I definitely notice a difference in that one wedge! My little achilles is not super happy with the added stretch. But I suppose that’s the purpose of this and will get better with time. I find using one crutch on the opposite side a little easier than the two crutches. I have set aside my iWalk for now in the hopes that I will never have to use it again (at least with this foot). It was invaluable for getting around those first 5 weeks, but I hate it. I might consider strapping it on in the morning just because I am so tight in the morning before the tendon warms up a bit.

I searched through the blogs for people who have had the Haglund’s procedure done with the detachment and reattachment of the tendon and shaving the heel bone down. It did not set my mind at ease! A lot of those people seemed to have a much harder time recovering from this then the standard ATR. A large number of the posts I read seemed to say that even a year later they were not at a 80-90% or so recovery level. My only consolation is that I know cserpent has had it done twice! and she seems to be cruising along in her recovery. My inspiration!

I am grateful that at least I am at PWB status now (so much easier to get around the kitchen). I try to remember that everything is in baby steps and already I have come so far. Those first 5 weeks were some of the most difficult of my life.

Question for all the gimpers out there…when did you transition from PWB to FWB? I forgot to ask my PT and the doc didn’t really give me a timeline for that. I’m not trying to push my limits, just curious. Was it after all the wedges were out or before?

Happy healing everyone and don’t overdo it on the Thanksgiving festivities!

1st Post Op

November 2nd, 2018

Today I had my first post op appointment at 3 weeks and 1 day. I was so excited, like Christmas Day excited, to go to this appointment. Since my husband is out of town, I had to Uber it there and I didn’t want to miss it. So I ended up getting there like an hour early. That’s okay. I had my ipad and coffee.

They took me in and cut of the cast and cleaned me up. My doctor’s PA came in and went over the protocol for the next couple months. I got a boot today (yay!) with heel lifts. 2 weeks and 3 wedges NWB. Take a wedge out. 2 more weeks and slowly start putting a little weight on it. Take a wedge out. 2 more weeks increasing the weight. She wanted me to start physical therapy next week but explained it will really only be toe exercises and light flexing. Second week of December I got back to see the doc.

I got the sutures out and after 3 days I can shower without the plastic cover and let the water run over the incision. She said I don’t need to wear the boot to sleep but if I get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night (which I always do) I must put the boot on and use the crutches. Fine by me.

Even if I wanted to put weight on it now, I couldn’t. That achilles is so darn tight…it feels like a steel cable in there. I can’t even flex it to neutral position at this point. I know I’m over reacting but I have my serious doubts that I’ll ever walk normal again. But I know all of you have been through the same thing so it must be doable. I keep telling myself I just have to be patient. It’s going to take a long time.

I asked about exercise and they said anything upper body is fine but nothing else. No recumbent bike or rowing machine, which I was kind of hoping for. *sigh*. Well more chair aerobics it is.

I must say, ignoring the scar, I love my new smooth heel…no golf ball size deformity there anymore!

Incision
Incision2

Quick Rant

October 30th, 2018

Okay. I ordered the iWalk and a knee scooter the day before I had surgery because I knew I would need it. I had to be able to do stuff around the house or I would lose my frickin’ mind.

Now, let me start by saying I could NOT get along without that iWalk. I use it a lot. More than the knee scooter. Actually, that knee scooter was probably a waste of money, I think I’ve used it once and it was outside (tried to take the dog around the neighborhood). I find the knee scooter to be kind of tipsy and unstable. If you hit even the tiniest pebble or twig it threatens to dump you on your ass. And it has a large turning radius, which is not great in my house. The iWalk let’s you use your hands! Yay! I can cook dinner, I can do some cleaning, I can feed the animals. Awesome.

But. The iWalk, while great!, is not the most comfortable. I’ve tried foam cushioning, extra padding…tons of stuff. But it just hits me above my cast in a weird way (right where the cast ends and my leg begins) and it’s a little painfully and annoying. And if worn for long periods of time, sweaty. But I’m going to call utter bullshit on some of those testimonials on their website. HIKING? Hiking. Some guy went hiking. And some girl climbed up a mountain of rocky terrain to get to the summit. Some guy said he walked around some european town for like 8 hours. Oh hell no. Granted, these were younger folk, maybe 20ish. But COME ON. I spend an hour in that thing trying to throw the ball for my poor neglected dog and I have to come in and rip it off.

Maybe it’s just me. It must be, because they are really popular with gimpers like us. Also, I think there is a lot of user error involved on my part. I keep tripping on my pirate leg a bit…hmmm….perhaps I need to lower it.

End Rant

(If the iWalk company is a sponsor of this site in any way, I apologize, and will remove this post)

Day 1: A World of Hurt

October 30th, 2018

I was great in the morning. No pain, had slept through the night with my foot elevated. So I got up. I was use to the crutches by now as I had had 4 days prior to the surgery to adjust to the god awful misery of them.

I felt a little like a had been run over with, not a truck, but maybe a scooter? Not too bad and the nerve block was still in effect. They sent me home with hydrocodone, two different laxatives (because, you know that condone really stops you up) and a blood thinner for blood clots. I didn’t actually end up picking up the thinner from the pharmacist since it was way too expensive (like $450.00 after insurance!) but used aspirin on a daily basis instead, which my doctor said was fine.

Husband said he needs to run to the office, just for an hour and then he’d be back home. Sure, hon…go, go. I’m aces! The nerve block starts to wear off around 11:00. Not too bad yet. Maybe I can get by on just Tylenol. Ooooo…okay, now it’s a little worse. Oh boy. I better pop a hydrocodone. Why is it not working? Oh god. My pain is at a 9 out of 10. Can I take two? I better not.

For the better part of the first day I was at a pain level of either 8 or 9 until the evening hours. Every 4 hours I popped another hydrocodone to no avail. It didn’t really touch the pain. Occasionally I would be at a level 6 or 7 but then it would ramp back up. It seems like I didn’t really get a constant level of pain management until it built up in my system.

I took the pain meds the rest of that evening and maybe one or two in the morning of the second day, but from then on I was okay on just Tylenol.

Other people have said it on here, so I will just reiterate. Do not wait until the nerve block wears off to start taking the pain medication. Just don’t. Don’t do it, You’ll regret it.

Also, elevate. Toes above nose people.

Surgery Day

October 30th, 2018

I’m doing some of these posts more for me to remember than for anything else. I want to be able to look back at these a year from now, fully healed (hopefully) and remember how far I’ve come.

Surgery day was Wednesday October 10th. It was scheduled for 2:00 but I don’t think I actually got into the OR until 4:00pm or so.

I’ve never had surgery (except for wisdom teeth out) of any kind or have even been in a hospital for anything, so it was a new experience for me. I was really scared, like stupid scared, and I was lucky to have my husband there with me talking me down the whole time. Someone else’s blog (I think Dennis) mentioned that he went through surgery day alone and if he had to do it again, would have someone with him. Totally agree. I can’t imagine managing this day alone.

There were lots of questions and going over medical history. They started an IV line. I met with the anesthesiaologist and he covered what he was going to do. I would be given a nerve block which would wear off in the vicinity of 12 hours. They would also put me under general anesthesia so I would be unconscious for the procedure. This is the part I was most nervous about. I don’t know why, but it freaked me out.

They gave me some kind of drug in my IV line to help me relax…which it really did. Then they wheeled me over to the nerve block room, did an ultrasound to find the right nerves and administered the block. Yep. That worked. Can’t feel my lower leg, but that’s okay because I was on sleepy/mellow IV drug. My doctor stopped by for a chat to go over the procedure.

Doctor: “I didn’t think I’d see you so soon. I thought you were going to think some more about having the procedure done”.

*chuckle*

Me: “I was. I literally just saw you two days ago”

Doctor: “Well I meant to tell you that there is a small chance of rupturing your Achilles with the haglund’s deformity. Guess you were one of the lucky ones.”

Me: “I’m honored”

After a bit, they wheeled me into the OR where I saw the anesthesiaologist and my doctor…..and that is the last I remember.

I woke up about 2 hours later in the recovery area. My leg was in a cast and I was a little groggy, but I didn’t have any pain. That comes later. I waited about an hour and they released me to go home. I got to sleep in my own bed and sleep soundly through the night without pain.

Overall, except the nerve wracking-ness of the whole day everything went smoothly and it was an easier ordeal than I though it would be.

But the next day….

Trail Running With the Dog

October 29th, 2018

So to begin with, my achilles tendon has been giving me grief for about three years. I’ve had achilles tendonitis for that whole time and eventually a Haglund’s deformity appeared on the back of my heel. It was huge, like golfball size huge. Maybe not quite that big but it seemed like it. Anyway, I did all the usual treatments you do for tendonitis: ice, rest, anti-inflammatory medication, exercises, physical therapy, needling, cupping. Anything and everything in multiple combinations. Even some crackpot home treatments. For the most part, I just did my usual workouts (running, hiking, yoga, gym) and muscled through the pain, ignoring it the best I could. Until the past 6 months.

For the past six months it started to become unbearable, to the point where I was limping everywhere. I became a chore just to walk through the grocery store or across a parking lot. I knew eventually I would have to have the dreaded surgery but I kept putting it off. I was trying to find a convenient time of the year where it would have the least impact on everyone.

I made an appointment with the orthopedist on October 3rd to discuss the options. We met and chatted and he said yes, based on the xray you have a Haglund’s deformity that needs to be shaved down. It will eventually need to be done. He said we can try and postpone it a little longer by doing some more physical therapy and wearing a boot for a couple of weeks, but he didn’t have high hopes. So I left, knowing I’d have to schedule the surgery sooner rather than latter.

Friday, October 5th was still kind of hot here in the South, but it was starting to get that edge of fall feeling to it. Perfect day to take the dog Penny for a trail run. And that was it. Halfway through the run I came down wrong on a rock or a tree root and SNAP! The most excruciating pain ever. I knew immediately what had happened. I writhed in pain on the trail for a good 15 minutes before I even began to figure out how the hell I was going to get back to my car. I was in the middle of nowhere. So I fashioned a makeshift crutch from a big tree branch and slowly, with the dog, limped to the nearest trailhead. From there, I called my husband.

We went to the ER. Doctor examined me and deduced what I already kind of knew…ruptured achilles. So he gave me a set of crutches, a boot and set me up for an MRI on Sunday. Results of the MRI were that my achilles was hanging on by the thinest of threads. Let’s schedule surgery for Wednsday the 10th! And so we did.

    About
    I’m a 48 year old gal that loves to run, hike with my dog and do yoga. I am constantly on the go and have a hard time sitting still. This injury is slowly killing me.
    • junebug has completed
      2.94 out of 26.2 miles to full recovery.
      Goal: 365 days from the surgery date.
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