I wasn’t able to sleep much and every time the nurse came in to give me the Lortab I took two, but only over night hoping it would help me sleep. It didn’t. I wasn’t in pain with my feet elevated except when my calves would spasm. It was about 0700 and I decided I was up for the day. I was relieved to be able to sleep past 0500 since I didn’t need another blood draw.
As I’m laying in bed I played on my phone and watched the sun rise out of the windows to my right. It was an awesome view but one that I hoped I had seen for the last time, at least from this angle. It was judgement day for me and I wanted to go home. My fiance showed up early in the morning so she could be present for the different departments that would come in to see if I was ready. As we wait out phones continued to blow up as people were asking and praying for me and my recovery. Thank you again to everyone that has been supportive!
The first visit was from the Physical Therapy Department and they were very surprised to see the injury as well. They haven’t had to deal with this injury before so they started with just asking questions such as how comfortable are you with getting from a bed to a wheel chair, how comfortable are you with using a wheel chair, and how do you think you would handle such and such situation. I answered the best way I knew how and they had more confidence in me than most patients, mostly because of my age and my fitness level. So now it was time to show them what I could do. I hoped into the wheel chair no problem. I wheeled myself around no problem, and we went down the hall to a door that was a physical therapy room. The two ladies went in and it was filled with many contraptions to help injured patients. Walkers, crutches, wheel chairs, scooters. Just inside the door to the right was a set of stairs, a stool and at the top of the 4 stairs was a chair. I had to get down out of the wheel chair, which I did on my own, and had to show them how I would maneuver the stairs. I had to do this because my house had stairs to get in and out. Since we were moving it didn’t make sense to have a ramp so I had to figure out how to get up and down the stairs. So I basically backed up to the first stair, put my hands on it and pushed myself up like doing a tricep dip. Then I would lift my feet and bring them closer to my body and do it again for the next stair until I was all the way up. Then I had to show them how I would get down and then up into a regular chair and then back into my wheel chair. It was much easier to get into a chair with the stool so I asked my fiance if she could get one later to help me get on things such as the couch, toilet and bed. The PT ladies said I passed with flying colors. On to the next department.
So we are back in my room now waiting for OT or Occupational Therapy. This department will ask me my situation at home/work and see if I need assistance doing the various things one does at home or work. This time it was just one lady that came in and she asked us a bunch of questions that either myself or my fiance had to answer. It didn’t take long and since I was a stay at home dad and we had people willing to help with our daughter, we were pretty covered. So it didn’t take long and the lady said I passed that part.
Now another lady came in about 10 mins later and told me about different places such as churches that would help us out with equipment if we decided to get certain things such as a shower bench. We took the flier with the info and she left.
Now a few hours have passed since my PT visit. They had ordered me a wheel chair to rent. It came in and I had to take it for a spin. This wheel chair was nice. It had arm rests that came off for me to easily transfer in and out of. It had “wheelie bars” in the back so the wheel chair doesn’t tip to far backwards. It also had movable leg rests that would elevate my feet so they’re horizontal to the floor. It was very nice and very clean. I signed my papers saying I’m taking the wheel chair and it was mine for the time being. This wheel chair is going to be my new legs for a while.
After another hour I got some more paperwork and this time is was for my discharge! I was headed home soon and was going to begin this crazy journey in the real world!
It took an entire cart to get all my gifts down to the car. Then my fiance came back and got me. One last double check around the room and we were off. Good bye 5th floor hallway. Good bye elevator. Good bye hospital and away we went. It was interesting to get into the car but I got it just fine. We had to go pickup our daughter before we headed home. I stayed in the car and asked my fiance to try to hurry with getting her because with my legs down, they were starting to hurt from all the blood and pressure building up.
We made it home and I now had to get myself onto the ground and scoot my way to the stairs, up the stairs, and into the house. My fiance had moved a few things so I could get around but I went straight to the couch and elevated my feet. I think this is when it hit my fiance that she was going to have to step up the responsibilities because I wasn’t going to be able to do much of anything again for a while. We get settled in and we take it easy for the rest of the day.
It was Tuesday the 31st and I realized that I needed to grab the digital copy of the TKD calendar to update on the website. So we make a trip to the TKD school and I got to see all the students there that night. It was nice to be there and surreal at the same time. I felt a little emotional knowing I would not be able to be out on the mats kicking and punching like I used to. I glossed over it and went into the office, copied the file and we were off. The fact that I wasn’t going to be training for a long while was on my mind the whole way home. I was still able to update the website though and it was my responsibility to do it. It’s an honor to be able to serve the school still.
We get home again and it was now time to do nothing all night. I was up on the couch icing my tendons and in and out of sleep since I finally had no interruptions. I was sent home with Percocet instead of the Lortab I was taking at the hospital and I had to start daily blood thinner shots to the belly.
I slept really well that night even with the one wake up from spams again. I had a two-step step stool that helped me get up and down from higher places like the toilet and the bed. I was satisfied for now with resting and my body was tired too. This journey is just beginning and was about to get even more interesting!
Thanks for reading!
Tagged: achilles, arts, bilateral, gymnastics, martial, ortho, orthopedics, rupture, taekwondo, tendon, tkd April 21, 2015
Day 2: After visitors-
I remember there being so much pressure in my feet. If I moved them below my waste it was like my feet were being pricked by a thousand needles. I had to keep my feet elevated, and the higher the better. I only had to drop my feet to go pee in a urinal or to pop over into a wheel chair and the wheel chair had leg supporters that held my legs horizontal to the floor. I was still hooked up to the IV and was told to drink lots of water, which I’ve always been good at. I was put on a pain killer and every 6 hours I could take it again. It didn’t help much with pain but I’m sure it helped with swelling. I ended up with so many visitors during the day. People came and went and I received numerous gifts from friends and family that are priceless to me. I am forever grateful for their support.
The night time came and the last visitors left, I said goodnight and good bye to my fiancee and my baby daughter (thank you for those that watched her during this time!) and I was alone to think and collect my thoughts. I ate my food, browsed around on social media and contemplated how life was going to be outside of the hospital, for I was about to be released the next day. I wondered about how I would take care of my daughter, (I’m a stay at home dad) how I would go to the bathroom and how I would get food, all the essentials. I knew I was going to be in a wheel chair and I wondered how I would get around in the house or in the apartment we were getting ready to move into. How would I get up the steps at the house or apartment? How would I be able to help our demo team and help the students at the TKD school? How was I going to be me still?
These questions and a million others flooded my head as I sat in the quiet hospital room, I started crying again. The first time was when Master told me it could be torn and I knew I had to leave the performance part of the team, I was devastated. This time I realized how I, the one that does all the helping to anyone in need, the one that did all the house work and drove, would not be doing those things anymore. I wasn’t even sure how I was going to take care of myself. This lasted about 2 mins, a small breakdown. I wiped the tears away and took deep breaths just remembering that I have been in worse situations, like being to war and back twice along with being almost killed when I got jumped by 5 people. It wasn’t that bad and I needed to suck it up before a nurse came in and possibly set me up with counselling. That was the last thing I needed.
As I regained my breath and focused on what I could still do, I was back to being me again. I hoped into my wheel chair and roamed the hospital smiling as I pass by all the nurses. I wasn’t faking it, I was just adjusting my own attitude. I was up on the 5th floor so I got on the elevator after a couple back and forth rides through the hall way. It was a great workout and it got me thinking that this will not stop me, it will only make me stronger and I can make sure of it. I get to the first floor where there is more room to roam. It was about 2300 so most of the cut-off doors were shut. Quiet hours and all. I found myself in a hospital coffee shop/gift shop area and there was a waterfall back in the corner. It was an awesome sound. Nothing else was around to make any sound, it was just water flowing down and hitting rocks. Very calming, which gave me a focus for any other time I needed to just be calm, I just think of the waterfall.
I wheel myself to the elevator and I’m back on my own floor. I hop into the bed and elevate my feet higher than my heart and play around on my phone until I get tired and fall asleep. I’m sure when I was under during my surgery my body relaxed and it was the best nap ever, I just don’t remember it. Ha!
Now I had my feet up on pillows as well as the foot of the bed moved up. It was the most comfortable I could get and I fell asleep. I woke up to painful twitches from my calves. They aren’t used to not being stretched and used all day. The twitches cause intense pain and it pulled on my sewn up tendon. I was in and out of sleep all night. Now tomorrow was a big day for me as I got to find out for sure if I would be heading home. I got to meet with the physical therapy manager and the occupational therapy manager. They were going to test me to see if I’m ready for the discharge.
Stay tuned for the Day 3 and even how I was going to get around!
Thanks for reading.
Tagged: achilles, arts, bilateral, gymnastics, martial, ortho, orthopedics, rupture, taekwondo April 17, 2015
Hey everyone, Ken here to explain what got me here to this blog and why I’ve decided to write.
We start with a little background of myself. I served as a US Marine from October 2005- 2013. After getting off active status in 2010 I started going to school (which didn’t last very long) and in early 2011 I started training in Taekwondo (TKD). I was struggling with my marriage and ended up getting divorced which pulled me away from TKD for a few years and then finally I was able to get back to training again in 2014.
I am currently 30 years old and have been an active person my whole life. I enjoy sports and the outdoors as well as gaming and a good book. So doing TKD was a way for me to get out of the house and keep me away from the bars. I’ve always had a passion for martial arts in general so I knew it was a great thing for me to spend my money and time on. I train constantly at home and at the school, always leaving my training session in a sweat! I haven’t competed in to many tournaments but I have gained a lot of skill and have even been selected to help train and assist with classes. I’m hoping to become an instructor someday!
Before my incident with my achilles I had become selected to join our national competitive demonstration team. Our school has competed in the past few years and we have consistently gotten 5th place. This year was going to be different, we weren’t going to settle with 5th place again so we took it up a notch. I hadn’t been around during previous demo team competitions so when I was selected I knew I was doing something right. I have a ton of technical skill as well as choreography ideas to incorporate in our routine. Everyone on the team was hand selected by our Master. He chose only 14 students with skills and potential to be on the team just so we don’t get 5th place again, we are going for gold. In order for this to happen we have taken things to the next level and even collaborated with a gymnastics coach to work with us on adding that to our tricks and routine.
Ok so enough about the demo team, (obviously I’m passionate) and now on to what happened. During our gymnastics training I had shown great skills to be able to do hand stands, cart wheels, and round offs. So the coach started working on back flips, or back tucks, with me. We worked very hard and after two 2 hour sessions he told me I was ready without assistance for a round off back tuck combo. First time I tried it I landed it even without being very confident, I just did what the coach taught me and told me. I continued to do them and gained more confidence. Obviously I was warmed up while doing these. The floor at the gymnastics school is pretty bouncy so it was a little easier on my feet and legs.
So now I incorporate this round off back tuck into our routine and it looks awesome! The mats we have at the TKD school aren’t as absorbent as at gymnastics but I was able to still nail the trick just fine. I wasn’t feeling any pain and I was definitely warmed up and stretched out again while performing this. So I’ve done the trick a good 25 times at least and was fairly confident about having it in the routine. At the end of our demo training of 2+ hours we always record the performance to see where we are and what needs improving. This is when it happened….
I get to my place during the routine, I’m pumped from the music, and getting ready for my trick. I run towards the front of the school, place my hands down for the round off, flip over onto my feet and SNAP, there went my tendons, BOTH OF THEM. My body naturally went for the back flip after the snap and I ended up landing on my neck. As soon as I landed I rolled over and grabbed my right ankle knowing something was majorly wrong.
If felt as if someone took a metal bar or a tree branch and smacked me on the back of my tendons. I got up on my knees and crawled to the side of the room and I remember feeling so much pressure in my ankles. Our Master works at the ER at a local hospital so he checked me out and said that the left one felt completely gone but couldn’t quite tell on the right. I had a feeling they were both shot but I’ve also never known anyone that has experienced this. My Master was telling me that he hopes that he is wrong but helped me into my friend’s SUV and off I went to the ER.
Once I get to the ER I get put in a wheel chair and I get signed in. There was quite a few people there for a Sunday afternoon so I decided to embrace the wheel chair and practiced getting around, I had a feeling if it was as bad as it felt in both ankle that I wasn’t going to be walking anytime soon. I get my vitals and then wait again to be put in a room and wait again for the doctor. Now the doctor is just the ER doctor for now. He asks what happened and I explain, then he feels around and is extremely surprised and has this grin on his face that led me to believe he was perplexed. He said, “Well it looks like they are both gone.” I’m confused as to what the doctor meant and ask. So does that mean they’re both torn or does that mean I will no longer have tendons again… Ha! I had no idea. He told me that they are both torn completely and that he has never seen or heard of anyone having both tendons torn at the same time. I ended up getting the same thing from the next few rounds of nurses to get me registered.
I get told that I’m going to be admitted and my surgery should be sometime on Monday (the next day). They said if I only had done one that I would be sent home on crutches till they had an appointment but since I had no way of getting around until surgery was done, they just put me in for next day emergency surgery. At this time I had been sent the video of my accident and I’m showing my friend and fiancee, (who were with me the whole time). I’m not feeling bad about the situation but I’m also being flooded with thoughts on what I have going on. I had been pulling myself up and putting myself from the hospital bed to the wheel chair on my own thanks to my upper body strength. Good thing I’ve stayed in good shape! So many thoughts and emotions were flooding my mind and there were a few visitors to my room. I was hooked up to an IV and was able to eat until midnight, then it was all IV fluids till surgery.
I couldn’t sleep very well. I stayed up eating all the food I had at 2330 so I would have food in my stomach at the very last minute. Then it was toss and turn all night. I finally was able to fall asleep only to be rudely woken up by the blood draw nurse at 0500. I tried sleeping after that and it wasn’t much if I did. The sun coming up wasn’t helping either so I sit up in bed and wait for any information about when my surgery was going to be. I get told by the nurse later on that it is scheduled for around 1100 and the doctor was going to come in and talk to me shortly. It wasn’t too much longer that he came in and I finally got to meet the man behind the knife!
I was very excited to see him and he was equally excited to see me as I was an interesting patient whom torn both achilles. Then he told me the proper term for my predicament was “bilateral achilles rupture.” It sounded so fancy. I considered myself a medical unicorn seeing as no one had seen or heard of both tendons tearing at the same time. I keep forgetting to show nurses and the doctor the video so they can see that I did nothing wrong and it was a fluke. It still seems strange to me to this day that it happened.
It’s about 1030 and I get wheeled to the operating rooms and get prepped for surgery. I meet the anesthesiologist (spell checked that word), the nurses shaved my legs and the doctor came in a marked both legs with a marker. I got put on a bed and wheeled into the OR. I breathed deep when I was told and I was OUT!
I finally come to and I realize I’m in the recovery hall. I can see a bunch of others that had just gotten done with surgery and aren’t handling the anesthetic recovery very well. I’m given lots of ice because my throat was scratchy from the breathing tube and I’m directing nurses to the patients trying to unhook themselves from the monitors. It was quite a show. They realize that I’m good to head back to my room and off I go.
I get back to my room and see my fiancee there and I also see my brother and my dad. My dad is in a grumpy mood from work and wasn’t very pleasant to be around but bad days at work can do that. My brother was happy to see me and hung out most of the day. My fiancee was extremely happy to see me because to her, I was dying. Hahaha. Everything went well and I had lot’s of visitors throughout the day. My feet were bandaged up with a splint behind my leg. The splint is cast like material the goes from the bottom of my foot to the middle of my calf and is held tightly in place by bandages. I have had them re-wrapped already but it seems worse than the first wrap.
Thanks for reading.
Tagged: achilles, arts, bilateral, gymnastics, martial, ortho, orthopedics, rupture, taekwondo April 14, 2015