I had my Haglund’s deformity surgery/achilles tendon repair on March 6th, 2013. As I wrote previously, the achilles/foot was so sore before surgery that after surgery, I felt like a whole new person. At my 2 week post-op check up, I felt so good, I was sure that the PA would remove the stitches, write me a prescription to begin PT, and tell me to ditch the crutches and get back to work. W R O N G
The PA that I saw was, of course, one of my former 4th grade students. Yes, it was strange for him to have to gawk at my ankle/incision, but I had to get over that a long time ago and just go with it. He did remove the stitches, did a little pokey/pokey asking if it was numb, tingley, etc, and had me put my boot back on. I was sent home from the surgery in the boot, and never did have a cast. The PA says, “Everything looks really good-four to five more weeks.” Four to five more week of WHAT? What could he possibly mean? It felt so good, I was ready to go back to my elementary teaching job. Granted, being on crutches wasn’t real easy, but as good as my achilles felt, I was sure that the crutches would be gone in a couple of days, and back to work it would be.
NOPE- no such luck. The PA informed me he wanted 4-5 more weeks of rest/elevation/icing, and crutching around. He did tell me that I could put a little weight on the injured foot, but, very little. I was crushed-four to five more weeks at home? Really? I had already been house bound/ laying flat with my foot elevated for two weeks and two days. So, back home it was. The doctor’s appointment at the two week mark was the only the second time I’d been out of the house. Even though I had the surgery on my left foot, I still hadn’t driven.
Within the next week, I began to see why he wanted 4-5 more weeks of rest.
Around the 3 1/2 week mark post surgery, I started having sharp, jabby pains in the area of the heel spur/Haglund’s deformity and up the back of my calf. The pain wasn’t as intense as before surgery, but it was getting there. I iced, elevated, and took Extra Strength Tylenol. The pain was bad enough, that I called the doctor to inquire about things. He prescribed some type of muscle relaxer because “your calf muscle was pretty ugly too!” The muscle relaxer didn’t really seem to help much, but at least it did make it sleepy at night. Since surgery I’d had a tough time trying to sleep.
After the muscle relaxers ran out, the pain was still pretty persistant. I called the nurse, and she told me the doctor wanted to see me. So, I met with the surgeon at about the five week mark post op. Again, he did some pokey/pokey, removed the rest of the gross scab, and told me that he thought things were progressing fine. He still wanted me to lay off work for another 2-3 weeks, and then begin both work and physical therapy. (He told me that when I DID go back to work, I was only to have 5-10 minutes up on my feet, followed by 40 minutes of elevation and icing!! What? That was going to be pretty difficult to do as an elementary teacher !!!)
In the meantime, my mom had some pretty major surgery, and spent 3 weeks in ICU at a hospital 4 hours away (and is currently in a rehab program to regain strength). I was trying to drive up to see her, and crutch across half the earth to get into her hospital room. (In our family, we do things up right. Not much goes wrong, but when it rains, it pours!!!)
I started physical therapy about 7 weeks post-op. I was scheduled to return to work, and finish out the school year, about 8 weeks post-op. I started back to work on Monday, May 6th, 2013. I still had the sharp, jabby pain in the heel area, up toward the calf, but both the surgeon and the PT said that the “nerves are regenerating and getting hooked up again.” Damned nerves. They need to quit that!!
My school kids were so glad to see me, and I was glad to be back. I’ll have to admit though, I tire very easily, and lunch duty and bathroom breaks are a bit difficult (I haven’t had recess duty yet!!). My co-workers and the kids are great, and they all help out.
As of right now, I only have about 6 days of school left. I can make it. I think I can, I think I can. I have my PT sessions 3 days a week after school. I am still trying to go see my mom on the weekends. I can just about get rid of the crutches, and then I have a lot of pain during the day and have to use them again. The PT says that things aren’t going to get much better until I am finished with school and not up and moving around so much.
For all those just starting the AT recovery - HANG IN THERE. There will be down days, when you feel like giving up, but hang in there. I’ve had a couple of mental meltdowns, but I just had to suck it up and get on with it !!!!
I’ll have to admit, that this is the hardest things I’ve ever done. It is hard to be by yourself for so many days at a time, hard to figure out how to do the laundry, tote it to the utility room, and back to the bedroom, hard to fix something good to eat. It is also hard to go shopping. I still haven’t done any grocery shopping by myself. I’ve had 2 good friends, that would bring me a few supplies as I needed them. That’s another hard thing - ASKING FOR HELP. I am NOT very good at asking anybody for help. I would gladly help out anyone/anytime, but asking for help really sucks. I have abused these two friends beyond what is reasonable !!!! HA. There is no way I can ever re-pay them for all that they have done.
So my advice for everyone is - HANG IN THERE. Things will get better. Even though I am in a slump right now and I feel that I’m not getting any better, I just have to wait my time out until school is over, and hope for the miraculous recovery (which will probably take a few more months!!)
Until next time - the roller coaster rolls on.
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