Jun 04 2012

First Day Back @ Work Post-Op

Published by marklewis67 at 10:39 PM under Uncategorized

    Today was first day back @ work since surgery and it was a mixed day.   One of the biggest frustrations with this injury has been losing the freedom to do a lot of things on my own and being dependent on others .. so, it was nice on one hand to leave the house and go to work like a “regular” person after a week off being laid up w/ leg elevated, etc .   But, upon returning to my normal schedule this morning, it became painfully clear how much my life has really changed since my achilles ruptured almost 3 weeks ago. 

   I leave for work pretty early, so now w/ leg in a cast, it’s too time consuming to shower in the a.m., so that is now done the night before .. my dressing room is on the 3rd fl, but to avoid dealing w an extra set of stairs @ 5:30am, I laid out my outfit in my office on the 2nd fl the night before & got dressed in there .. instead of wearing 2 dress shoes, nice dress slacks & a button down shirt, I wear ~ one running shoe on my left foot, casual pants that can fit over my cast & a golf shirt .. because after a few sets of stairs & 5 mins on the crutches .. I start sweating like a fat kid @ a bake sale.  And finally, instead of making a coffee to go & walking outside my house, getting in my car & driving to work ~ I grabbed a Vitamin Water Zero, put it in the backpack I wore out my back door, crutched myself down the deck stairs & out the driveway to the street to catch my ride & get driven to work …. Between the casual outfit, backpack, sneakers & the inability to drive myself .. I felt like an eighth grader on his first day of school .. instead of a self-sufficient, 41yr old financial professional going to work after a summer weekend  .. and the difference btw those two feelings is vast .. all thanks to my right achilles tendon that chose to explode for some reason on 5/19

 As you can prob tell from the last paragraph .. you can prob see where I’m going with this.  It’s one thing to be in the hospital for 2 days, then be laid up in your house for 9 days .. and everything that went along w that was frustrating, etc … but, when you go into Manhattan on a Monday a.m. @ 6am w  a large cast on your leg & crutches .. spend all day in an office .. around people who have no mobility/pain issues … your level of frustration & irritation goes to another level.  I know this is all part of the process .. but, going back to work today really illustrates what a sucky injury this is … and, I’m sure everyone who reads this who is or who has gone through it can attest to what I just wrote. 

So, other than the adverse mental aspect of returning to work .. physically it was not great either … I really did a good job of keeping the leg elevated while I was at home .. and, even though my facilities guys brought me a stool to put my leg on @ work .. it just wasnt the same … I really didnt have too much of an issue w swelling while I was at home, but today was a diff story  .. I didnt keep it elevated enough today bc I was busy after being out for so long .. and, by the afternoon, I was def in pain.  I did take a couple percocets during the day .. but, it didnt really help.  All afternoon I couldnt get comfortable .. foot was either numb, in pain, or giving me needles .. and, physically, by 2pm ish, I hit a wall and was exhausted.  Really was a harder day than I thought it would be, and I’m glad it’s over … my colleagues however were great, and they did a great job of looking after me, getting my coffee, breakfast, lunch, water, etc … really tough when you cant carry anything on your own w the crutches, etc … Anyway, I’m glad the day is over .. Rainy, frustrating, painful Monday … I don’t know of any other worse way you could describe a day @ your job.

So, it is what it is .. it’s over .. and hopefully it will get better .. hoping the swelling improves as the week goes on & my stamina improves also … Also, my mind, emotions & expectations .. hard to realize how much your life changes in a few weeks because of something like this .. but, reading about a lot of the people on this site who are many weeks ahead of me in recovery def helps me to deal, etc .. Knowing it will get better w time, etc ..  

That’s it for tonight .. Up on the 3rd fl in the Man Cave w leg elevated watching another episode of “Game of Thrones” …  enjoying the brief diversion into fantasy land … before returing to the bleak landscape of reality tomorrow.

Be well everyone .. heal fast



15 Responses to “First Day Back @ Work Post-Op”

  1. Kimon 05 Jun 2012 at 12:52 PM

    Hey Mark,

    Once you can start resting it on the floor the swelling and pain will improve. Maybe even a little pressure resting while elevated would help? My doc said I could have done this earlier than the 3 weeks when I started. I really feel for all of you folks headed back to work so soon - that’s tough. You’ll get your office set up like your man cave soon and figure out a new way of doing things! I can put my leg down now for extended periods when I keep pressure on it and I’m at 5 weeks. Hang in there!! You’re better than I was at that point! Prayers headed your way. Kim

  2. joanon 05 Jun 2012 at 7:19 PM


    I can so relate to everything that you wrote. It is crazy that just crutching down the hall makes me break out in a sweat.
    I felt so proud of myself yesterday (second day at work) that I stopped by a drug store bought all those little things that I needed and didn’t want to send my husband out for.
    Huge Mistake - my good ankle and knee are throbbing today because I hopped around the store holding on to the shopping cart.
    Not a good idea to risk hurting my good leg.
    I really must learn to slow down and let other people help me. But, it is so hard…

  3. Michaelon 06 Jun 2012 at 12:39 AM


    I can say that it does get better. Early on, all I had to do was crutch from one end of the house to the other and I was sweating. The first couple days home were the hardest and I had to get out of the house and needed a break from my in-laws. We went to Costco and did some shopping. I had to stop and sit in the deck furniture three times before we were done shopping. By the next week I only neede to stop once. The hardest steps are the first ones in the morning. My hands hurt, shoulders ache, and hips cringe. Once I get moving, it all gets easier.

    It is a real challenge going to work. I’m in a boot now and my pant legs won’t fit over it. So, I wear shorts. I think most of my co-workers are jealous of the shorts, and to be honest I’m not really looking forward to pants.

    Good luck, and know it gets better.

  4. marklewis67on 06 Jun 2012 at 8:29 AM

    hey Joan .. I had same experience yest .. had to go to bank (3 blocks away from office) & cash a check & that was a big mistake … It was like the Bataan Death March .. I went w a colleague & had to rest on way there & back .. felt bad that I dragged her along & was slowing her up .. but, felt better on the NYC streets w someone I knew in case I fell or something .. Day 3 today .. hopefully each day gets a little better … M

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  5. mrsheaon 07 Jun 2012 at 2:18 AM

    Hi Mark,

    It is a tough battle but it will make you a better person in the end.

    I went into 2 shoes today and I have had a great out come thus far. The typically atrophy is 1 - 1.5 inches and mine is only 1 centimeter to date. I am on an aggressive athletic protocol and it is paying off.

    I also made a facebook page with news articles about athletes and protocols.


    Fight on my fellow gimp.


  6. normofthenorthon 07 Jun 2012 at 2:59 PM

    Great post. I got some mesh bags with strong loops at the top — a plastic shopping bag would do — and kept one in my pocket. With the loop over my thumb or little finger, I could carry lots of things on crutches. Some travel mugs now have screw-down lids that seal 100%, so you can even carry a cuppa. Stay on a fast protocol like UWO’s and you’ll be FWB by the time you perfect the tricks! :-)

  7. marklewis67on 07 Jun 2012 at 3:18 PM

    thanks ~ what’s the fast protocol like UWO’s ?

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  8. marklewis67on 07 Jun 2012 at 3:21 PM

    hey Chris ~

    yes, it def has been tough .. was out last night in NYC and it was so frustrating .. tired of the looks from people (pity) … Congrats on the 2 shoes ! you have any sort of limp ? Atrophy on what? your calf or the achilles tendon ? I will check out the facebook page ~ take it easy bro ~ your faithful gimp :)


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  9. Margon 09 Jun 2012 at 9:46 PM

    I can so identify with all of it. I thought I was in shape until using crutches. sweat: unbelievable! Well, I see the surgeon on Monday so I will post any news or ideas for you. Keep going Mark. It is great to have someone with surgery on the same date. Talk soon. Have a great weekend. Cheers.

  10. marklewis67on 10 Jun 2012 at 1:18 PM

    hi Marg ~ yes, esp frustrating when you take a shower & start sweating immediately after getting dressed ~ ughh … Anyway ~ let me know how Dr. goes … hope it goes well … have a good rest of wkd too … I’m just laying low w leg elevated … Cheers ~ Mark

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  11. Margon 11 Jun 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Hey Mark:
    I just returned from my surgeon so thought I would update you on my progress. He removed the plaster cast and put me in an airboot. Unfortunately, I still have so much swelling, they couldn’t put any air into it. I thought, he would remove stitches, but he said the swelling means they get left for two more weeks. I go back on June 25. It also means that I wear the green garbage bag in the shower for two more weeks…

    I have two incisions. The first on from my heel up the back of my leg and the second is on my calf. He said that the upper incision was the place that he lengthened the tendon.

    The doctor said that I can start putting weight on my foot while wearing the airboot. I tried and it hurt, but I will continue daily. Also, need to elevate when the pain is bad.

    So, progress is slow, but continuing. I hope you are doing well. How is work going? I am off for now. I don’t know how you are working. Between sweating and exhaustion, you are a real trooper.

    I spoke to someone who had their achilles done in December. They went to a therapeutic pool and put a life jacket on and ran. It not only strengthened their leg, it wore of the energy. Worth a try in the months ahead.

    Have a great week.

  12. starshepon 11 Jun 2012 at 1:29 PM

    If you haven’t already done so, get a compression sock. I had significant swelling too and once I put the compression sock on, it went away in 3 days.

  13. marklewis67on 11 Jun 2012 at 6:32 PM

    hey Marg .. thanks for the update .. Glad u got the cast off, but I can identify w the swelling .. been really bad for me the last 3 days & I’m hoping it goes down before next week when I get cast off (6/18) .. 2 incisions? interesting .. I think I only have one, but I’m not sure .. wow, putting weight on it after only 3 weeks, etc > ? I ‘m sure it does hurt .. esp w no air in your airboot .. things up & down w me (swelling) & work isnt easy .. prob the reason for swelling as it’s tough to elevate @ work .. crutches stink & my whole upper body sore .. entire body tired in general .. Pool therapy sounds cool .. good louck this week .. Be well ~ Mark

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  14. Socrateson 11 Jun 2012 at 6:37 PM

    I am in the same shoe or should I have said boot ? Live in NJ work in downtown .. After my injury, had been working from home but had to come to office for some important meetings and had people driven me back and forth.. First week, I worked every other day until 2pm. I strongly recommend this for people like myself, who hasnt been out of the bed and have not put any pressure on their feet. (I was 4 weeks after surgery when I came in and was able to step on my feet with 2/3rd of my body weight)

    In order to be independent at the office using crutches, I was packing my drinks and food in my backpack and eating at my desk.. Used my desktop as my footstool with a big pillow on top . My biggest problem was going into public restroom in a boot that I am taking to bed at night. So I have refused using it so far.

    I really became a humble person after the injury and created a ton of sympathy for people with real disabilities and envy their attachment to life, as there were times I had refused to go out with friends just to avoid the explaining the same stories over and over or being dependent on others..

    Now this is my 3rd week in the office, wish everyone a fast recovery…

  15. marklewis67on 11 Jun 2012 at 9:15 PM

    hey Socrates ~ thx for reply .. part of me thinks I was back in office too soon after surgery ~ 10 days .. and after my most recent post, U can prob tell it wasnt a great week .. but, I think you’re so right in how humbling it is .. Ive gone from feeling like an invalid, to a 2yr old, to a 90yr old .. but, yes .. people w/ permanent disabilities have def become people I respect even more than I did before … the mental challenges they must face daily, knowing it’s a permanent injury/disability must be so daunting .. I know my injury is only 6-12 mos? .. And I am having a hard time .. makes me feel guilty about being frutrated or complaining .. And, as u do .. I use my CPU of my desk top as a foot stool .. had leg on my desk today b/c it was so swollen .. so, it’s a challenge every day .. Hadnt thought about the boot / restroom / bed angle yet .. my cast hasnt touched the floor anywhere in public yet (except for desk/CPU :) ) .. so, It hasnt been an issue yet .. will be next week when I get boot on or when I go PWB in boot .. just another challenge I guess .. thx again for reply .. ~ Recover fast ! Mark

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