I’ve never been much of a blogger. In the past, I have attempted to start a blog several times, but it would never really come to fruition. I would begin, post a couple times and then eventually fall of the wagon. Call it a slight case of ADD, if you will ;).
Anyway, after my doctor had concluded that I had a full rupture of the achilles, I decided to search the internets to gain some insight into the injury and idea of the recovery time. That’s when I came across AchilleBlog.com, and found a wealth of information. I also noticed that there were many on this site that shared their experiences through blogging. I read through countless entries and learned a great amount, But most importantly, I was inspired by other people stories. I wanted to do the same, as well as chronicle my experiences as I recover from this injury. I felt that that this would be a form of catharsis for me.
And so, this blog was born.
My name is Brian, and I am recovering from a full rupture of my right Achilles. I consider myself a very active individual. I love to get out there and do stuff. I love biking, running, snowboarding, airsofting, going to the beach and taking trips. I just finished a round of P90x (a fitness program) as well as enduring my second round of Insanity (another cardio fitness regimen). I worked out 6 days a week and was always on my feet. The injury occurred on 10/02/11, exactly one week after I turned 29. I was playing basketball at the local park with some family. I recall doing some stretching prior to playing. In retrospect, I probably should have stretched a bit more thoroughly. This is me preinjury
It happened maybe 30 minutes into the game. The basketball bounced off the rim, I lunged to get the rebound, when suddenly it felt like I was kicked in the back of the right ankle, really, REALLY hard. I immediately collapsed to the ground due to the pain. I didn’t hear a snap, just felt pain. I was able to flex my foot up and down, however the pain persisted. I sat the rest of the game, thinking that I had suffered a pretty bad sprain as a result of the kick to the ankle. I limped back home from the park, which was about 1/2 mile. It was painful, but I made it. When I got home, I laid in bed, raised my foot, and played some Call of Duty. My girlfriend made sure I was comfortable and taken care of. I took some ibuprofen and iced my ankle. Two days went by, and my ankle remained swollen, and I was still having difficulty walking normally. Luckily, I work from home, so I never had to walk or drive long distances. Some bruising was forming on either side of my right heel, which was weird to me. I thought I would have had bruising around my ankle, of all places. I mean, that’s where I was kicked after all.
The First of many trips to the Doctor
At the behest of my girlfriend, I went to urgent care at Kaiser Permanente on Wednesday, 10/05/11. The urgent care doctor performed the Thompson test, which was this:
The doc said that my calf was still barely moving, so it was likely I had a partial tear. He advised that I make an appointment to see the podiatrist on Friday. I asked if it was still OK to walk around with my injury, or if I should use crutches. He stated that I would be OK without. That night, I went to Dave and Buster’s with the girlfriend for a friend’s birthday celebration, all the while limping on my affected leg.
I received a call on Thursday morning, asking if I wanted to come and see the podiatrist that day. I said sure, the sooner the better. I drove to Kaiser Permanente again that day. I explained to the podiatrist what had happened, and what the urgent care doctor had told me. She performed the Thompson test again, and confirmed that there was no movement of my right foot whatsoever. She diagnosed me with a full rupture of the right Achilles. She urged to no longer put any weight on my right foot from here on out. I decided not to tell her that I had been walking and driving for the past week :P. She laid out the treatment plan, explained to me that surgery would be the best option in my case due to my age and activity level. Never before having major surgery, I hesitantly opted to go the surgical route. I asked when. She said tomorrow would be best. The sooner the better. After coming to terms with the shock of my potential surgery, I told my self “Let’s get this done.” Being an avid snowboarder, I asked her if I would be able to snowboard this season. According to her, if everything went well, I would possibly be able to hit the slopes by January 2012. Here’s hoping. They put me in a splint that day to immobilize my foot. I was given crutches. From that point on, I knew that thing would be different for a long while. I had my pre-op appointment with a physician’s assistant that day as well, who was very helpful at explaining what was to expect with the surgery.
Since I had driven to my appointment, I contact my girlfriend to pick me up. I told her about what the doctor said, the suddenly upcoming surgery from nowhere, and the estimated recovery time. She was just as taken aback as I was. So that night was spent hobbling around at home, and me speculating how my surgery would go the following day.
I got up at 5:3o am on 10/07/11 and arrived at the hospital by 6:00 am. I was checked in and immediately sent to the pre-op ward. Here is a picture of me in pre-op, ready to bring it!
The surgeon and anesthetist met with me and explained the details of the surgery. The anesthetist stated that I would be put under, and a breathing tube would be used to keep my airway patent while in surgery. I also opted to have a peroneal nerve block inserted post op, to help control the post op pain. I must have been rolled into surgery around 10:00 am. The last thing I remember is breathing in the fumes from the breathing mask, and I was out cold. I woke up to them inserting the peroneal nerve block behind my knee. It was weird feeling, although pain free. I could feel my right foot twitching if they made contact with the nerve. My girlfriend was eventually brought in, and I was beginning to fully wake up. My foot was in a splint again. It almost seemed like I had simply taken a nap. My foot was little numb due to the peroneal nerve block constantly infusing Ripovicaine. Here is a picture of the continues infusion:
I could still however, move my toes. The good thing was was that no pain was felt at all. According to my girlfriend, I was in surgery for almost 2 hours, and in post op for another 2. So a total 4 hours! I felt bad for her, but also grateful that she stuck it out and waited for me. So after about an hour, I was ready to go home. My girlfriend drove me home, and slept most of the day away.
Post op day 1 and onward
The first post op day was fine. My foot was completely numb from the Ripovicaine. It was a peculiar feeling, not being able to feel my foot. But at least it kept the pain at bay. By the second day, the Ripovicaine wore off. I could tell, as I was slowly regaining feeling in my foot, and was starting to be able to move my toes. Within an hour, the post op pain settled in, and man oh man, it HURT. I wondered how long I could hold out without pain meds, but it just became unbearable. I took one percocet, and then another 10 minutes after. The pain eventually subsided after 30 minutes, and boy was I relieved. Fortunately, I only had to take the percocet on 3 different occasions. After the 3rd day, the severe post op pain was gone. The pain would only rear it’s ugly whenever I got up from a lying or sitting position. I experience a throbbing pain in my lower leg as the blood would rush in. Thankfully, it was bearable.
I am now 9 days post surgery, and everything seems to be going well. I am trying to positive each day. I have had days where I feel a little down. I have taken a lot of advice from others’ blogs on this forum and have discovered that getting out once in awhile can help deal with mental aspect of the injury. Staying cooped at home will definitely drive me insane. I’ve begun to take some supplements, such as whey protein, glutamine, fish oils and vitamin C. Eating healthy is also a priority. Getting around in crutches is starting to become easier by the day. I’ve been complemented by random people when I am out, saying that I move pretty fast in crutches without tiring out. I owe that to the rigorous p90x and Insanity program for keeping me fit! I’ve also been able to get around on one crutch, although I only do this when I need to hold something in my other hand, as it is a little taxing on the body. I miss driving a great deal, but my girlfriend has been quite the chauffeur, taking me places running errands if need be.
Helping with the groceries!
And speaking of my girlfriend, she is savior! I would not know what to do if she was there to help me out on a daily basis, especially during the first days of my post op. Here is a pic of my girlfriend Christiana and I:
Because of this site, I have also been able to procure some items that definitely help me with day to day activities. So far, I have purchased a shower bench, as well as the Xerosox water proof cast. Both have worked phenomenally and have made life a whole lot easier. Here are the links to products on Amazon that I found on Achillesblog.com.
Xerosox Waterproof Cast
I look forward to swimming as soon as I get the OK from the doctor, so the cast cover should prove useful when that time comes.
I think this post is long enough. Sorry if I’ve bored anyone out there. I want to be able to look back at this a year from now, and be able to recollect my experiences. Tomorrow is my first post op appointment with my doctor. According to what she said, I will be getting a cast put on (oh joy :/). If she gives me the OK, I will also start working out again. Of course, only focusing on my upper body and core. I am looking to stay active while recovering from this injury. I feel it will help me stay positive and provide some normalcy in my life. I have also read a lot about the VasoCast on the AchillesBlog site as well as the main Vasocast site. I will be bringing this up to my podiatrist tomorrow and see how she feels about it. It seems that people have had good results with the Vasocast, and it’s economical to boot! (see what I did there :D)
I will post more after my post op visit tomorrow. Good luck to everyone and their recovery!