lotus10’s AchillesBlog

First visit post-op

Posted in Uncategorized by lotus10 on the July 25, 2010

I saw my ortho 12 days post-op. It was one of those over-90-degrees days. I’ve tried to console myself by thinking, at least the roads aren’t covered in ice and snow (I live in Chicago) but sweaty on crutches can’t be much better.

The nurse practitioner cut open the cast with a pair of scissors, unwound the gauze, and voila, there was my leg. Atrophied. Orange, from the left-over betadine. And on the inside of the foot, a large bruise, black and purple. I was inspecting it when the ortho came in, with 2 residents in tow. He saw my not so subtle look of dismay, I told him it’s because “it looks like an old lady’s leg!” He took a look at the sutures, and I lifted my leg higher so the residents also could see, had me dorsiflex, which I could barely do. He told me to start moving around my toes, some gentle flexion exercises everyday, and come back in 4 weeks, when we’d start talking about physical therapy. I was cleared to start some partial weight-bearing, but mostly rely my weight on the crutches. This concept was completely lost on me, but I didn’t labor the point.

I told him I’m quite worried about the good leg - the Achilles on that side was quite sore - mind you, when I tore the other one, both had been sore from playing a lot of tennis. And all the hopping on the good leg, wasn’t helping. I asked him, “I couldn’t possibly tear the good one, could I?” He thought about it, and said it doesn’t usually happen while the other one’s recovering, he hadn’t seen it happen, but weird things happen to doctors, and you’re a doctor. Everyone in the room chuckled, me not so much.

I asked about the knee-walker, if he was opposed to the idea. I’d been thinking about it for use at work. He thought it’s okay, and the nurse gave me some information on local rental places ($25 a week, before/if insurance pays). Then the doctors left, and the nurse took out my sutures - this didn’t hurt at all, or even prickle - and put steri-strips over the incision. I was also told that I’ll be in a boot now, that I could take it off if I’m just sitting around, or in sleep (a matter of comfort, I was told), but if I’m moving about, wear the boot. I was about to tell them, “but all I do is to sit around these days!!” but I didn’t.

A boot-fitting person came in and got me in an aircast boot. First she put me in a knee-high sock, stuffed 2 heel wedges into the boot and had me insert the leg. My sole could barely touch the bottom of the boot, it was so stiff. She showed me how I could inflate/deflate all 4 sides of the boot to my comfort, but I couldn’t pay any attention because of the new strange sensation of it all.

I’m not sure how I got out of there, because no one really tells you this PWB-but-on-crutches business. I am very literal. I need to be told how much % at what angle and when and where goes what. I know, it’s often an impediment. Yes it was nice not to hop anymore, but the boot was so much higher than the good leg, and until I figured out, later, to even out the good leg’s height, I was all lop-sided and when I got home, my bad-leg-side’s hand had become numb. Great, I thought, now I’m going to lose my HAND.

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