6 Week Post Op Appt

Had my 6 week followup appointment with the surgeon. He says everything looks good and is healing well. I asked him about the numbness and pain along the side of my foot to my ankle. He says that it’s probably a nerve and that it will get better over time. Nothing that is unexpected at this stage of the recovery. I’m to take Tylenol and ibuprofen regularly at the same time and that should help the pain at night. I’m still not sleeping well and it is wearing on me emotionally. Felt really low this past weekend. But he did remove one of the two wedges and it seemed to help with the pain. I am to remove the last wedge in three weeks and I can finally get out of the boot on Dec 28. It’s nice to have an end date for this part of the journey. He still doesn’t want me to start PT until after I’m out of the boot. I’m not sure how much PT I’ll need.

I told him I was walking bootless around the house, and he did not seem too pleased. At the previous appointment, he seemed really sure with the super strong sutures. This time, he emphasized that if I fall without the boot, the sutures will tear apart as I rerupture. So I agreed to back off of the walking (kind of) and I’ll be more careful. The boot is easier to wear now without that second wedge anyway, so I’ll just deal. It took a lot longer for the soreness to kick in. But I’m very anxious to wean myself off the boot, so I’m still going to walk to the bathroom and such.

Some of the pain came from driving last week. Last Tuesday, two tractor trailers collided and caught on fire. The highway was shut down and all traffic was being diverted to a side road…the one I take to work. A 40 minute commute turned into 2 and 1/2 hours of pure hell. It really did a number on my tendon. Today is the first day that it doesn’t feel sore. Doc says it’s fine and there’s no damage. But wow, it was terrible! Driving at this stage is a blessing, but it does come with a price.

Thanksgiving is coming and I’m traveling to a warmer place with family who will drive me around. So at least my tendon will get a bit of a rest, provided I can manage the airport. I might pop a hydrocodone to deal with the pain during the flight.

5 weeks Post Op: Baby Steps

Tomorrow makes five weeks since surgery. And I figured out how to add pictures.

The steri-strips were still on after all this time, so I finally peeled them off.

The first picture is three days after surgery, before she put the steri-strips on.
Three Days After Surgery

This one is almost five weeks later. I’m really happy with how it’s healing! Still some flaking at the bottom.
Five Weeks After Surgery

I’ve started walking around my house in bare feet. Very small steps, but it’s nice to be able to go to the bathroom without needing to put the boot on. Standing in the shower is wonderful! I still use the shower chair, but I’m standing more and more. The more I do it, the easier it gets. I’m hoping to redevelop that padding on the heel that has disappeared so that when I’m clear to retire the boot, I’m ready. I’m not using the stairs or anything crazy, but as each day passes, I’m walking without the boot more and more. Just this morning, I was able to get up, shower, get dressed, and only put the boot on after I got dressed. No pain.

ROM is improving. The alphabet is easy and so is toe crunching. Dorsiflexion is pretty much neutral with no effort, as in I’m not forcing it. I don’t pay attention to degrees and such. I work on pointing my toe and pushing down and on moving my foot side to side. I started using a resistance band (not flexing past neutral) a couple of days ago.

Velcro is getting on my last nerve!

I’m sleeping a bit better. I took the wrap on the ice therapy cooler and secured it flat on the elevation pillow. Whenever the pain starts to bother me, I put lay my foot on top and it cools it off. I’m starting to need it less and less as each day passes.

My pinkie toe is still numb and the top of my foot is still tender. I still get swelling around the ankle bone(probably still sprained a bit). Being up and out of the house for long periods of time is still exhausting and I pay dearly for it the next day. Driving still feels like PT and it wipes me out. I’m still elevating and icing more often than I’d like, but that’s the price I’m paying for all of the early weightbearing, I guess.

But I’m really happy overall with how I’m progressing. It gets better each week.

4 Weeks Post Op: To Sleep, Perchance to Dream?

It’s been four weeks since surgery. Each week gets a little better.

–Second week of driving. It’s getting easier, less tiring, with my injured foot. I’m still braking with my left foot most of the time, but by choice. I can generate enough pressure to brake fully, but my tendon doesn’t like the back and forth movement between pedals. But each day is a bit better.

–I’m grateful to be driving at this stage, but the Boot On/Boot Off/Boot On gets tiresome. I’m forced to slow down. Ain’t rushing anywhere these days. I had a scare last week when going to work in the morning. I accidentally left the recycle bin at the top of the driveway the night before, intending to push it down to the curb in the morning. I forgot. I get in the car, take off the boot, put on my “driving shoe” and pull out of the garage. I spot the bin. I stop the car and jump out to get it. I realized, “Oh, sh**! as I step on my right foot. I jump back in the car, take off the shoe, put on the boot, take the bin down to the curb, get back in the car, take off the boot, put on the “driving shoe” and leave. Whew!

–Trying to ditch the scooter at work this week. Walking in the boot is getting easier as my muscles grow back. I can actually feel a calf muscle! So I’m walking around the school most of the time. I reserve the scooter when I have to race to the bathroom between classes, lol! #teacherlife

But I did overdo it on Monday as I logged 7500 steps. I paid for it dearly on Tuesday. So, I’m pulling it back a bit and sitting more often.

–After reading some blogs, I remembered that my doctor said not to fall without the boot. He didn’t say I couldn’t stand on my foot. So I started with just putting my foot down while sitting, then tried just standing. Felt fine. I then grabbed the crutches and took a few steps. So, now I can go to the bathroom n the middle of the night without having to put the boot on to do it. I can slowly walk with my foot on the ground when using a crutch or two. The downside is that I feel more pain in my heel later, so I’m going to gradually ease into trying to walk.

–I still can’t get a good night’s sleep. My foot swells and random aches shoot through. I’m still having pain from the ankle sprain and I’m positive that I’m having some aftereffects from the nerve block. Still a bit numb in my pinkie toe and along the outside. Compression sock makes me hot and I wake up (if I fall asleep in the first place). I can’t take the hydrocodone because it builds up after a few days and makes me moody, irritable, and weepy. It’s terrible. I tried taking half a pill a couple of days this week and slept fine. But the second day at work was awful! It feels better when I use the electric cooler wrap thing, but the hose attachment wakes me up when I turn over. Tonight I’m going to try lowering the temperature and rearranging the bedding to keep myself cooler, but not too cold to sleep. It feels like when my body heats up under the covers, my foot goes into overdrive. I’m hoping this helps. I’m not sure what else to do.

Almost 3 Weeks Post-Op and Driving!

Just last Sunday, I was feeling sorry for myself for being NWB and solely dependent on others. What a difference a week makes!

The doctor told me last Monday when he took out the staples that I could drive when I felt ready. However, I was still having quite a bit of pain and swelling, especially on the outside of my ankle where it might be sprained. I was hoping I could drive in a couple of weeks.

By Friday, I had ditched the crutches completely and was FWB. I had also changed to using compression socks, which managed the swelling and gave me some support. I also think I just got stronger throughout the week as I gradually started to weight bear. Ordering the Even-up contraption for my good foot was a game changer!

On Friday, I needed to deposit a check and the mobile app was rejecting it. So I thought I’d try to drive to the bank. Walked to the car in the boot, changed into a soft shoe in the car, and went for it!

Tendon felt tight, but no pain. Soft acceleration, but that doesn’t take much pressure. I found it easier to brake with my left foot (automatic transmission). After a few jerky full stops, I got the hang of it and it became intuitive. I just went out again today to practice.  The tendon is tired and my atrophied calf is like “WTH”? I will reach Expert level for cruise control, which gives the tendon a needed break.

Not sure if I’m ready to drive to work again. It’s a 40 minute drive and I teach all day. I am on restricted duty, so I’m allowed to sit and elevate as much as I want. Plus, I still have the knee scooter at school to use if I need a break. I just don’t want to overdo it. I’m afraid I’m pushing my luck as it is.

But I feel so much closer to getting some of my life back.

Still not able to manage the pain from swelling at night without sleeping with the cooler wrap running around my foot. I had to drop the hydrocodone at night because after a few days, my mood started to change during the day. But it seems like I overcome a  milestone every week, so maybe that swelling will be the next thing to go.

2 Weeks Post Op

Sunday, Oct 21

Staples come out tomorrow and I hope he allows me to PWB. I’ve been sleeping on the couch since surgery since my bedroom is upstairs and it’s just too hard to make that journey more than once a day to get clothes. I’ve showered a couple of times using a cast cover (I only take the boot off to ice or at night), but it’s easier to sponge bath in the first floor half bath. The whole thing is starting to affect my mood. I have so much to be thankful for, especially the aggressive protocol that my surgeon is following. But I’m having quite a bit of pain on the outside of my ankle. I stopped taking the hydrocodone early last week as I hated the way it made me feel. But the Aleve/Tylenol Arthritis protocol doesn’t seem to help at all. Icing helps some. I’m also frustrated in that I normally active: Crossfit, hiking. Missed two hikes this week during my favorite time of the year. Missed a 5K last week. Just missing my life as I knew it. Hoping that the staple removal and the ability to go upstairs and sleep in my bed will help my mood.


Monday, Oct 22

Doc took the staples out and said the incision was healing nicely. He gave me permission to walk in the boot as much as I want and I can ditch the crutches when I’m able. He also said I could drive (with the boot off) whenever I felt comfortable doing so, as long as I put the boot on to get in and out of the car.  He said that the sutures are non-dissolvable and are permanent, so the only way I can rerupture is falling with the boot off. He seemed pretty confident, even though this seems really soon based on what I’ve read. The pain on the outside of the ankle seems to be from a slight sprain and he said that being in the boot will help. I did take a hydrocodone to sleep through the pain.

1st Post Op: Only Three Days Later

Friday, Oct 12

Doctor’s appointment, Splint removed only three days after surgery. He put me right back in the boot with a couple of heel risers. NWB for 10-14 days until the staples come out. He’s still saying I can drive when I start walking. We’ll see. He also says I can take the boot off to sleep. This differs from most of the reports I’ve seen on this site. I’m really happy he is so aggressive with the protocol, but it makes me nervous as well.

A friend brings out a knee scooter that a colleague is loaning to me. Another brought over an iWalk. I had a slip on the crutches walking into the doctor’s office. Missed the yellow Wet Floor sign.

The nerve block finally wore off on Thursday. However, I still have numbness in that foot.

Sunday, Oct 14

Had concert tickets to the Fox that I had purchased in May (4U Symphonic Celebration of Prince). Friends chauffeured me and Fox employees transported me in a wheelchair to and from my seat. No regrets, but the pain and swelling that night were intense.

Monday Oct 15

I’m cleared to return to work, restricted to only standing 15 minutes at a time. A colleague is driving me to work everyday and loading the knee scooter in her trunk. I sit at my desk with my foot elevated on top of it. The kids have been pretty well behaved considering I can’t move around the classroom. I use the knee scooter to get around at school and my first floor at home.

Surgery: 10/9/2018

Tuesday, Oct 9

Outpatient surgery, resulting in a splint over an incision with 14 staples. Was given a nerve block prior to surgery and prescribed hydrocodone-acetaminophen. I was also given one of those electric coolers for continuous icing.

I’m divorced with no kids, so I live alone. The outpouring of help from my friends and family has been overwhelming. A friend took me to her house for the 24 hours after surgery and loaned me her walker when she took me home. Another set up a meal train website so I haven’t had to cook. Other friends have taken me to doctor’s appointments, offered to send cleaners to my house. It’s been quite wonderful, a blessing in disguise.

Dancing in the Homecoming Pep Assembly

Friday, Sept 28, 2018

I’m a 47-year-old high school teacher and it’s homecoming week. A group of teachers participates in the Teacher Dance at the pep assembly in front of the entire school. Our motto this year was “Old School is the Best School”, so when I fell to the ground after my Achilles popped, a lot of kids (and teachers) laughed because they thought I was acting “old” and that it was part of a skit. I had just hit the ending pose and I hopped a little to run off the floor. As I hopped up,  it felt like someone had kicked me in the back of my foot. I knew as soon as I tried to walk, that something was terribly wrong. I could put no weight on my right foot at all. Fortunately, the school’s athletic trainer grabbed a wheelchair, took me back to her office, and secured transportation to an ortho urgent care, where the rupture was confirmed. I was put in a walking boot and told I could weight bear as tolerated.

What we didn’t realize was that my injury was considered Work Comp, so I had gone to the wrong office. So I had to cancel the MRI scheduled for Monday to instead see the district-approved Work Comp doctor, who then scheduled a new MRI for that Friday. He also referred me to a new Ortho surgeon within their network.

Filling out all of the injury paperwork with “dancing at the pep assembly” still seems surreal.


Wednesday, Oct 3

Met with the surgeon, who scheduled surgery for the next week. He said I could go back into the boot rather soon after surgery and would be walking and driving soon after. I was skeptical as everything I had read indicated a long 4-6 in a NWB cast. He seemed pretty confident that I would FWB quite early.

Friday, Oct 5

MRI that only Work Comp needed, as the surgeon had already scheduled surgery from the Thompson test.

Aggressive Protocol=Why I’m Blogging

Hi!

I wasn’t planning on blogging. But after reading so many stories on this site, I soon realized that my doctor’s protocol was super aggressive and I had difficulty finding a lot of examples that resembled mine. I started journaling before I got approved to blog, so the entries for the last month will come fast and furious. Kind like my progress, as I am already FWB two weeks after surgery.