Right footed driving?

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I wanted to take a poll to see how long it was before most right footed ATR’s were driving (with permission)? I’ve been on crutches since the beginning of January and am 5 wks post-op from my second surgery. I’m PWB, with one crutch, the boot, and my foot turned to the side. Does anyone know of a more flexible brace or boot that can be used for support while driving, but won’t get in the way? I have 3 kids that would be in the car with me (9, 8, and 8 months) so I really can’t take any chances - not to mention what might happen to the “other guy”! Being stuck in the house and relying on my hubby and friends for every errand is getting old again. Is there hope on the horizon?

Back to the Boot!

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Nothing too exciting to report around here. I got the Boot again and have been patiently waiting out round 2.

So I had my first post-op appointment of round 2 on March 18 (13 days in the cast). I had the cast and staples removed. My incision does not look quite as good as last time.

Got the boot again with a slight wedge. My boot is the CAM air cast walker, not the Bledsoe boot. I asked about the adjustable boot, and my doc said that most people he puts them in think they are uncomfortable and end up switching to the CAM. He then pointed to the trash can, with the Bledsoe boot in it from the previous patient. What timing!

My doctor said he wants to take it even more slowly this time. Ironically, we weren’t taking it “fast” last time, I just fell without the boot on. I talked with him about alot of the things I have been reading on this site, early weight bearing, early rom, massage. He said early rom was fine. He said he’s been doing achilles recovery with the 6 weeks of mostly nwb and pwb with great success for many years. He said he did not want me to do any massage yet (I’ll ask again next visit). He predicted I should be 2 shoes 10 - 12 weeks from surgery, which will be June. He cleared me for the rom exercises at home, and said I could start the PT at 6 weeks and some electro stimulation sooner if my insurance covers it. He also said I should be touching my foot down with the crutches and slowly increasing the amount of pressure I put on my foot.

He did let me know that they were surprised that my achilles didn’t look more healed on the inside. The doctor thought the tissue looked more like it had been operated on 1 week prior, not 6 weeks. My husband pointed out that they don’t usually get to see what’s going on inside the repair, so maybe its not that big a deal. Doc thinks maybe I’m just a “slow healer”. I’ve never had that issue before, and have not other health issues.

So I’ve had the cast off for 2 weeks now, wearing the boot almost 24/7. I had a big talk with the doctor about exactly when I’m supposed to have it on, and he said I could take it off for sleeping, and when I’m sitting on the couch, so I am. I put a pillow at the foot of the bed to prop the blankets up to keep the pressure off my foot and have been sleeping with the 4 foot “body pillow” to keep my entire leg elevated. Other than that, the boot is on all the time. I no longer reach for anything with the boot on. I’m used to it now, and am well aware of the danger, so its not so bad.

The area around my incision looks completely different now. The first time the skin was very tight and almost rippled or bunchy looking. Its much smoother this time. I think its because I really wasn’t wearing the boot much at all last time, and I think the boot helps to stretch the skin and achilles. My scar is not healing nearly as quickly this time. I still have some scabs and I’m almost 4 weeks post op. No signs of infection, though.

I’ve been doing the ROM exercises (tracing the alphabet in the air with my foot). I went to the gym for the first time yesterday. I did the recumbent bike for a little while, and another machine that was like an arm bike (don’t know the name). Got my heart rate going a little bit, and I definitely slept better last night. The doctor said I could try the bike with the boot on as long as it didn’t hurt. I got some pretty strange looks crutching around, but it was so good to go.

I’m PWB now, increasing a little more each day. The arch of my foot is a little sore today (maybe from the bike?), so I’m going to back off the pwb a little today, and do a little more icing.

Two more weeks to PT!

Surgery & Post-Op, Round 2

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I repurtured on February 26 (5 weeks, 2 days post-op; 6 wks, 5 days post ATR). I had just found this site the night before my rerup. I commented and Dennis directed me to daveleft, who was so helpful in sharing insight, information and giving warnings. I definitely plan to be much more careful this time around (I didn’t really think I was risking it last time, but that clearly was not the case.) If I had found this site sooner, and learned that people were sleeping with the boot on, I might have been less inclined to go hopping around without it!

My second surgery was scheduled for March 5. Having had a horrible experience with the Anesth. and pain meds the first time, we prepared the kids for the possibility that mommy might stay over at the hospital this time. We also decided to leave our 6 month old daughter with friends this time, so my husband definitely got less attention from the nurses & staff.

Went under the general anest. again. The anestesiologist had given me a little round patch to wear behind my ear, which was supposed to help with the naseau, but didn’t. I think I was out before we made it into the surgery room this time.

The surgery was about an hour and a half this time (only 30 minutes the first time). I awoke with naseau and alot of pain. Had the morphine drip and decided to stay the night. This was a good decision for us. Called my family around 8pm and had to hang up on my 9 year old daughter to throw-up. After that, they gave me a shot of something in my arm for the naseau, which finally worked. The bruise lasted about a week. But, I did get a good-night’s drug-induced sleep.

The doctor filled my husband and I in on the surgery, but I didn’t remember it at all the next day. So, the PA came to visit and said that the tear the 2nd time was actually below the initial tear and repair. I asked if it tore where the stitches went in to anchor the initial repair, but he said no. I’ll have to ask more about that at first post-op appt, as it doesn’t make sense to me. Why would it tear in a completely new spot? He said they were not able to get me back to neutral this time, but to Position One. He didn’t mention a percentage like everyone else mentions, but my toes are not that much pointed down.

I also had an annoying visit from the hospital PT. She came to visit me to show me how to use my crutches. I asked her if she knew this was a rerupture, and that I had had the first surgery just 5 weeks ago, and had been on crutches for 7 weeks. She said she knew but still made me get up to show her that I could use them. I asked her about the knee-walker, she had never heard of it. I asked her about the I walk free hands-free crutch, never heard of it. I asked her if she knew of any sort of sit-on scooter, so I could get around the floor with my baby. Nope. Any catalogs in her office she could look through? Nope. Thanks for the help.

The after-surgery pain was much more intense this time and I was taking the percocets for 4 days all day, and then just at night til about the first week was over.

I’m 12 days post-op and am still taking advil for the swelling, and for the knee pain at night. I have quite a bit of stiffness and pressure in my knee by the end of the day, even though I really am keeping my butt on the couch for most of the day. Not even coming to the table for dinner this time. We’ve gotten very used to eating at the coffee table.

My friends and family have responded unbelievably again, as has my husband. See my post under “It Takes a Village”.

I have my first post-op appointment tomorrow and am keeping my fingers crossed for the boot. I’ll be wearing it 24/7 this time. Wish me luck…

“It Takes a Village”

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My friends and family have responded unbelievably again, as has my husband. Our “care calendar” has been so helpful. I’ve mentioned it on a previous entry, but it seems worth mentioning in its own post. It has helped us beyond belief.

This is an online calendar that you or a friend can set up at carecalendar.org. You enter things you need, like rides to the doctor, groceries, errands, help with the kids, the lawn, laundry, even just a daily visitor, whatever. Then you send an email to everyone that has offered and asked you “let me know what I can do”. They log on and just click and sign-up for things that work for their schedule. The program sends them automatic reminders to their email or cell phone. We had home cooked meals for 5 weeks after my first surgery, and now I have friends signed up to take my 7 month old everyday for 4 weeks following my second surgery. You don’t have to make 20 phone calls, or keep track of it yourself. Its great.

Knowing how many people are out there willing to help you, also helps in your recovery. I had friends, teammates, mothers of my kids friends, acquaintances, PTA members, you name it helping us out. Its been unbelievable.

It has made planting it on the couch a much better reality for me this time. I had people helping with the baby last time, but was feeling like “I’m not even her mother”. After the repurture, I’ve learned to get over that this time - but its still hard. I guess I’m still working on that ;)

Post-op & Surgery Round 1

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While waiting for my surgery day to come, my friends jumped into action. For those of you who are new to this, and have kids, or need a lot of help with your recovery, the best thing we found was carecalendar.org. You can log on and create your own calendar, inputting things you need, like meal, rides to the doctor, rides for your kids, housework, whatever! Its been a lifesaver and I can’t recommend it enough. You give your friends the calendar number and password, and they log on and just sign up for whatever they can do, without you having to ask them. The site even sends them reminders to their email or phone! We couldn’t have survived without it and had meals for 5 weeks.

The other big help for me was the office chair my husband brought home. It enabled me to wheel around and get our baby from her crib, something I couldn’t do with crutches.

My first surgery was January 20th. Surgery went very well and they were able to get my foot back to neutral. I got very sick from the pain meds and anesthesia. They had me on vicodin and percocet. Got sick in the recovery room, in the car on the way home and at home until the next day. Once I stopped taking the vicodin, I was okay. Pain wasn’t actually that bad after the 2nd day. I had the hard cast for about 10 days, and then went to the boot, NWB.

I had been crawling around on the floor with my baby, without the boot on, as it always caught on the carpet, and the weight of it hurt my knee. I got overconfident and starting going around the house with my crutches and without the boot, and only wearing it when I went out. My doctor was really not very specific on when and how long I should wear the boot.

I found this blog site on a wednesday night, a week before PT, when I was searching to find out what PT might be like.

The next morning, after 5 weeks NWB, 1 week away from starting PT, I fell in my kitchen reaching for my crutches. I was not wearing the boot and repuptured my achilles. This time, it felt more like a tear on both sides of my ankles. My 7 year old son says I said “F@$”. Nice. I think it hurt more the second time around, but maybe some of that was mental.

A visit back to the ortho and an MRI confirmed a new rupture, slightly lower than the first time around. Surgery was scheduled again for March 5. More on that next post.

Starting the Year off with a BANG!

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Okay, I admit, this is a lot longer than it needs to be, but it makes me feel better to get it out, so here it goes.

New Year’s Day always brings many resolutions in our family. Our kids pledge to limit their TV watching, clean their rooms or eat healthy snacks. My husband resolves to meet new people, spend more time outside, and visit with our friends more. My goals have varied from year to year - sometimes they’re noble as in the year I resolved to only do things that were good for me (body and soul). Another year, I vowed to continue my newly found love for running. And when our first 2 kids were small, and our life seemed hectic, it was to do more housework! Many years, it’s been to eat healthier, lose weight and stay fit. This year it was to lose the last of the baby weight for our 3rd child, born in August last year.

So the first week of January, I set myself up with a trainer at the Y, worked out 3 days, and played soccer with my “old ladies league” indoor team. I stretched out for it all.

On Saturday night, my husband and I were going to meet a bunch of other parents to play dodge ball. A friend had put the night together just for fun, and everyone got babysitters and headed out. There were a few bad omens, which I should have heeded. My sister was going to watch the kids, but my nephew had strep throat, so that was canceled late in the day. There was a bad snowstorm predicted, so we weren’t sure people would even show up. We luckily (we thought) got our neighbors to sit the kids, and headed out for a fun night.

This was one of the only activities we’ve been on time for in the last few years. There was a great group there to start off the night. One couple came in costume with matching terry cloth sweat suits, headbands, and mouth guards. We lined-up like grade-schoolers and picked teams. Noboby stretched out. The game started off pretty good for our team. I caught a couple of balls and even picked off one or two guys. Then I took a step back and felt someone land on the back of my calf. I covered my head and ducked, thinking that a couple of big guys were about to land on me. Then I looked around and no one was there. I don’t recall hearing the “bang”, I probably just thought it was another dodge ball hitting the floor. I took a step back and that’s when I stepped in the hole. I took another step and stepped in it again. I actually starting looking around for the hole in the gym floor thinking “that’s funny, there wasn’t a hole in the floor when we were warming up”.

Then I realized I couldn’t support my weight, and I thought my ankle was broken. My husband saw the panic on my face and started toward me. Someone pegged me with a dodge ball. The referee declared me “not out” and called time out. I really didn’t care. Then the lady with the headband came over to help. She started asking me medical questions and taking off my shoe. I had to ask, “Is this part of your act, or are you a nurse?” She was a nurse. A quick evaluation and we headed to the ER. We don’t get out much these days, so I tried to convince my husband to stay and play a few rounds and I would watch from the bar, but he couldn’t be swayed. There were other couples arriving as I was being carried out to the car. I heard later that some of them went straight to the bar, just to be on the safe side.

After a few hours wait in the flu-infested ER, a painful Thompson test and a quick x-ray (looking for bone fragments), I was fitted with a soft cast and pair of crutches. The snow started to fall as we pulled away from the hospital.

I had a follow-up appointment with the ortho doctor on Tuesday, who confirmed the full rupture and scheduled the surgery for a week later. Gave me the walking boot, and said I could be full weight bearing when necessary (as in picking up my baby) until the surgery, but that I should use the crutches the rest of the time.

My husband and I started strategizing on how this was all going to work out, with a 9 year old, a 7 year old, and a 6 month old.

Hello world!

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Welcome to Achillesblog.com.

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