A Roach and near re-rupture

I am not making this up:  we’ve lived in our home 18 years and rarely find a bug.  This morning, a week after the pest guy was here, hubby woke up to a monster roach crawling on his leg.  He jumped out of bed, and it crossed my mind that if I’d done that without my boot, it could have been trouble.  One hour later, sitting downstairs in a chair with boot off, a ROACH crawls up my leg!  I swished it away, and the dang thing crawled up my shorts!! I freaked out, jumped out of the chair and landed on one barefoot - the injured one.  Hubby saw it happening, jumped out of his chair with his coffee, which promptly flew all over my laptop keyboard.  The roach then jumped out of my shorts and hubby killed it.  I just stood there trying to figure out if I had re-ruptured my tendon or not - it all happened so fast and it was just pure reaction…

I didn’t feel much pain when I did this the first time - so it was very scary.  The Thompson test never works for me - so I just moved it up and down and it looks like everything is working and still tight. sigh.

Doc called later today and said no getting out of the boot till 10 weeks and I’m not arguing.  Who would have thought such a stupid thing could have put me back to square one - I was so mad at myself!  On another note, I guess the AT is doing ok since I jumped onto it and it held…(I hope!)

Doc also said that I couldn’t do 10 degrees DF until 10 weeks - my PT has already forced it to 14 - whoops.  At least I won’t have any more forced pushing on my foot (which they promise won’t break the AT)  I can only get about 3 up on my own. He did say I could do 0-10 ROM on the hinge, so I’ll try that this evening.

24 Responses to “A Roach and near re-rupture”

  1. Yikes!! I had a similar scare at 3 weeks post op. I had just gotten out of the bath and had already removed my cast cover when a huge spider came running across the floor straight for my cast. I was able to hop out of the way on my good foot, grab my crutch and kill it, but I remember thinking how lucky I was that I didn’t trip and fall. Oh, and how lucky I was that I looked down when I did. Otherwise I would have had a spider in my cast (shudder). Life sure is an adventure! Especially when you have a ruptured Achilles. Glad to hear you’re ok!

  2. Jennifer - you made me laugh out loud at that one! A spider in the cast is DEFINITELY the stuff of nightmares, lol.

  3. I hate bugs.

  4. Ugh…as if an ATR wasn’t miserable enough, you had to deal with roaches crawling up your shorts. Good thing you did not get hurt!

  5. Kimjax:
    There is no doubt that you have to maintain self control through all of this. I’m a passionate White Sox fan and there were a few times I had to keep myself from stomping my foot when they did something stupid.

    As far a bugs go, last week I was about to get into the shower when I noticed an earwig in there. Don’t know what I would have done if I saw the thing crawling around once I got all soaped up.

  6. Yikes! Browsing around & reading the escapades of fellow ATRs is amusing. Yours & Jennifer’s adventures had me laughing at the visual images! Close calls for the both of you & I’m sure we can all understand that almost instinctual jumping onto our bad legs! Glad you guys were ok!

  7. Kim,
    I have just really chuckled at this but I have a phobia of roached and would have done the same!

  8. I’ll share a non ATR story. I was riding a motorcycle on the highway at around 60mph. I saw a large flying bug approaching- had just enough time to instinctively duck my head. I was wearing a half-shell helmet with leather sides (you can google images of a “Davida Classic” if you want a picture).

    The bug turned out to be a BIG dragonfly. It grazed the side of my head, and the leather side of the helmet cut it in half. The long tail sailed off into the distance. The head, legs, oozing body, and what was left of the battered wings went into my helmet and lodged in my ear. It was still alive, and quite angry. It was frantically flapping it’s partial wings, furiously scratching it’s legs, digging away trying to escape my ear.

    It took *everything* I had to maintain composure and stop the bike in a controlled manner. I tried to remain calm, removing my gloves, and then fumbling with the cinched down helmet strap. Finally I got the helmet off (resisting the urge to throw it violently on the ground) and dug/dumped the critter out of my ear.

    Recalling that story, I’m sitting here almost feeling/hearing it all over again ;-)

  9. Kimjax– glad you’re ok. Sorry about the extra time back in the boot.
    These bug stories are pretty funny, but I’m glad they aren’t happening to me! Ryanb– glad you made it off the bike safely!
    I have a non- AT related bee story. I was riding a Century (100 mile road bike ride) on a really hot day about 4 summers ago. About 85 miles into the ride, a bee flew into my helmet through one of the vents. I stopped (probably NOT in a controlled manner as RyanB described, I seem to remember a fair amount of panic!) I took my helmet off as fast as I could and ran my fingers through my hair when that darn bee stung me in the finger. I guess that was better than on the top of the head, but it made breaking and shifting “interesting” for the rest of the ride. And my Hubby thought it was hilarious.

  10. I may or may not still be able to find the scar from my bee (or hornet?) story. Bicycling, drop handlebars, sports-jacket. A bee got between the back of my collar and the back of my neck and nailed me. All sense of proportion and priorities vanished with the pain. I ejected the bug, while bike ejected me over the front wheel. The unnecessarily long axle bolt nailed me near the shin. The sting went away in a few days. In a couple of weeks the gash turned into a decades-long scar. Hmmm.

  11. Yikes- I got off easily!! Seems like everyone on this board lives rather dangerously, lol. Being sequestered to an armchair is a big change of pace (minus the bugs). :)

  12. Hi Housemusic (sorry for hijacking your page).
    Thank you for your earlier message and also thanks to Ryan b. and Starshep for their previous help and concerns.
    I am now at about week 26 following a full ATR non-op recovery.
    At 9 weeks when full weight bearing I thought that I would be up and running in no time! How wrong I was.
    Progress at week 9 appeared rapid but it has been very slow from week 12.
    In 2 shoes at about 12 weeks but walking with an obvious limp.
    Physio was very basic and I have struggled to regain much strength in my foot and calf although I continue with a serious exercise routine of my own.
    The leg and ankle swelling is still apparent but a tight surgical sock has reduced it a lot.
    I am unable to raise myself on my damaged side. If I try to stand on my toes it is just impossible.
    If I start on my toes (with the help of my good side) my foot just collapses when I transfer the weight across.
    On the positive side I can walk 4 miles in about 1hr 10 minutes. I was previously able to complete this same walk in 1 hr.
    Until last week every step was accompanied by pain in the recovering achilles! Only this week I am finally (at last) experiencing a pain free ankle.
    I continue to have no spring in my step and it is still impossible to try walk swiftly or suddenly, such as when crossing the road. when a vehicle unexpectedly appears!!
    Has anyone else experienced this weakness and did you mange to overcome it?
    However, I am grateful to be walking again and my advise to anyone suffering from an ATR is do not try to try too much too soon. It can be a long haul so be prepared.
    My consultant has informed me that it may be 10 to 12 months from time of injury before everything is back to normal.
    My main concern is this annoying and frustrating limp. I will keep all informed how I progress with trying to eliminate it in the hope that it re-assures and helps others.
    Good luck to all and I wish you well with your recoveries.

  13. Harry. H
    My therapist told me that if you are incapacitated, your calf muscle is the first to go. It is also one of the hardest to get back. I’m at 18 weeks after my ATR and I’m shocked by how much strength I’ve lost the calf muscle. I’m estimating that it’s 1/3 of the strength of my good calf or less. I do believe that it is slowly coming back even though I only started working it a couple of weeks ago. I just bought a seated calf raise machine today and I’m expecting it will be a great help. I have a picture of it in my latest blog entry achillesblog.com/starshep/2012/06/29/pt-session-20-forward-on-the-treadmill/

  14. HarryH, like you, many of us have experienced a “frustrating plateau” (Doug53’s term, AFAIK), after the initial fast blur of milestones passes, and we start waiting — and waiting — to gain enough strength to be close to 100%. Did you wait until 12 weeks “post-non-op” to get into 2 shoes? If so, that’s way slow by 21st-century standards, and slow rehab has probably contributed significantly to the length of your plateau.

    The fact that your ankle has stabilized and stopped hurting when you walk is obviously positive, and suggests that you’re still making progress and may well get to 100% with more work and patience. When your ankle swelling is under control, have you noticed how the DF ROM in your recovering ankle compares to your uninjured ankle? If it’s greater — i.e., if you can lift those toes higher, or press your knee farther forward over your toes, than on the uninjured side, that suggests that you may have “healed long”. Since there are two different AT attachments to the two “heads” of the calf muscle (gastroc and soleus), it’s probably also possible for one of the two to heal long, without necessarily causing excess DF ROM.

    In any case, healing long can make it difficult or impossible to exert normal strength with the AT and calf (like a 1-legged heel raise), especially at higher flexion, like at the top of the heel raise. I “suffer” from some of that myself after my second (non-op) ATR recovery. I put “suffer” in quotes because I’m not suffering at all, and have returned to competitive volleyball and fast bicycling and everything else I used to do — except 1-leg heel raises! — with no noticeable deficit. It’s all a matter of degrees, of course, and the 1LHR is a very tough test of calf-and-AT strength — much tougher than striding or running or even jumping at a volleyball net, IMO.

    Give it more work and more time and more patience. Chances are, the limp will resolve fairly soon, and even the 1LHR may return. If not, it’s possible you will eventually be faced with a choice between making do with what you’ve recovered, and going under the knife to shorten your AT.

  15. norm - my doc just told me to start weaning from the boot at 10 weeks, out of it at 12. Slow, as you’ve mentioned above. My question is, how do I walk in two shoes safely if my ankle DF is still only at +3 or so? I can’t imagine that I’ll get that much more DF in 2 weeks? Did anyone else walk in shoes with limited ROM? How do you do this safely when the tendon isn’t completely healed and strengthened yet and you’ll likely be pushing past your capable DF?

  16. HarryH-
    My suggestion would be to find exercises you *CAN* do, and work on those. Don’t keep working on the one you can’t do (the single heel raise). I’d get into the gym and find some calf machines that let you work with less than your bodyweight. Find a weight you can work with, and do lots of reps through the full range of motion. Do some 2-leg work too, to help ensure full extension, and to evaluate where the weakness is. But my main point is to find a weight that you can really start exercising the (weak) calf with- put it through lots of reps… probably set of at least 15 or 20 to start out with.

    I think we all hit a frustrating plateau- I seemed to hit mine at about 16 weeks:
    achillesblog.com/ryanb/2011/12/15/16wk-update/
    If you look closely, at 1:20 of that video, I’m doing a 1-leg calf press with *1* little plate on the leg press machine. That was all I could do full reps with back then ;-)

  17. KJ, when we started in 2 shoes, almost all of us were df rom limited, and we were all too weak to walk normally. The solution to both is the same: keep the weak leg out front. Step only as far past it as is comfy or not painful. Each step is both a gentle stretch and a bit of exercise, as your calf and AT try to “pitch in” to help the walking effort. Gradually, we all get to a normal gait, or just as normal as it’s going to get without radical help.

  18. It’s also worth repeating that the first few weeks of 2 shoes are probably the highest for rerupture risk, so Watch Your Step, and keep your exercises and activities incremental. Progressive but incremental.

  19. Thanks a bunch! I’ve unhinged the boot and it feels much more comfortable.

  20. HarryH,
    You did not hijack my page…In any case, I agree with ryanb on his suggestion to get to the gym and find calf machines that let you work with less than your bodyweight. Find a weight you can work with, and do lots of reps through the full range of motion.
    This has worked well for me. I can control the tension, the ROM and increase the weight regularly. The most satisfying aspect is to see measurable progress! I may be biased because I love weight training. The heavier I go, the stronger that puny calf gets!

  21. Amen to that housemusic! I look forward to the day!

  22. Housemusic
    Hi, it is good to hear that you are continuing to make good progress.
    I have just returned from the hospital following my appointment. The Doctor stated that at 26 weeks I should be further on at this stage. He is suggesting that I need more physio but in the meantime also an ultrasound as he feels the tendon may be only partially mended!!!
    When I questioned “what if” he deflected the question and suggested we wait and see what the ultra sound shows before we discuss the options.
    I will get to the gym and do some calf work. If the tendon cannot handle it then thats just bad luck.
    Next appointment is in another 4 weeks so I will keep you informed on any progress.
    Thank you for your concerns and I do hope that you continue with your progress towards a full recovery.

  23. OMG! I have a phobia of roaches. I would have….well…I just don’t know what I would have done, but it wouldn’t have been pretty. Good Luck and I would call that pest man back out and spray some more.

  24. I think I would have broken my neck.

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