This site has been excellent during my most unfortunate past 7 weeks, so I thought I should share my experiences so far.
My situation is not unique here ( canadagoose ) but we are definitely a bit rarer.
On June 8th 2011 I was playing tennis at a work team building thing and playing awesome for someone how hadn’t played in 15 yrs or more. I extended to get a ball left foot back when I felt something "hit" my ankle crazy hard, I heard the pop too. I looked at my partner, as I thought maybe she had hit me with her racket … nope …. maybe a ball? I had my tennis mates looking around for me. I even thought maybe it was a bird attack … my calf felt like it was cramping, I truly had no idea what the hell had happened, but I have had cramps before and often the best way to get rid of a cramp is to run/play it off. So I decided not to let my teammates down and I kept trying to play. Hopping around the court as best I could, essentially on one leg, I lasted another 10 min when I felt and heard the exact same thing from my other ankle … this time it took me about 5 seconds to realize what I had just done. I hobbled back to the club house somehow … ( yoga ) … asked for ice, and tried to figure out what I would do. 10 minutes later a heard " um … how are you", a friend had come to check on me. I told her … " um .. I think I’m screwed", she got me checked at a Sports injury clinic she worked at and all was confirmed… emergency … thank you Els! I can’t tell you how the entire world seemed to be collapsing around me in those first few hours. A visit to the ER confirmed bilateral ATR’s. My summer was done.
Initially I was going to be put in casts and hospitalized while I waited for an OR, however the Ortho resident I saw said that if I thought I could manage with "the now famous" Boots and crutches I could go home and wait … and that is what I did. I ended up waiting 7 days to get a surgery spot and actually met my surgeon for the first time as I waited on a gurney outside the OR. "Hope you know what you are doing" … I said … in my head.
I woke up a few hours later with both boots back on and both feet and lower legs bandaged. Wow .. i still couldn’t believe this was happening to me.
I was sent home with my 68 and 67 year old parents with 75 Percocets and a follow up visit 6 days later.
Day 1 - 15
Frankenstien … riiight?!
Ok I should now mention that with a bilateral tear, you will be pretty much laid up and useless for 2 weeks … and more or less completely immobile for the first few days. Since I had amazing parents willing to take care of their close to 40 year old son and since I had had a week before the surgeries, we were able to prepare a bit, I had rented a wheelchair and my dad had built a ramp so I could get from the car to the house and out again … ( ok the ramp was more of a launch ramp, but hey .. it worked ) , paid a bunch of bills .. packed.
From this site and now my experience the one thing you learn quickly is to appreciate how kind people can be and in my case how much I needed them. I suspect that if I didn’t have that kind support the first 2 weeks I would have had to stay in the hospital.
That first night I wanted to cut my legs off the pain was so bad … the Percocet barely made a dent in the pain. Obviously n0 sleep. By the end of the first 24 hrs the pain had gotten better and in the end I only went through about 16 pills. BTW … Percocet constipates.. so if you need to take them for any length of time … take Metamucil or something similar.
By day 5 the pain was fine as long as my feet were up, which they were 99% of the time, probably 3 pillow heights.
On day 6 I saw the surgeon again … for maybe 4 minutes. He took the bandages off and I got to clean off the blood and iodine from the week before. No infection … yay. I was to see him in another week to get the stitches out.
The next week was pretty much the same … less discomfort and I got out in the wheelchair for 20 to 30 minutes every day. I think it was very important for me to get some exercise. At the very least it got me out of that bed.
2 weeks from my surgery I got the stitches out and my next 3 minutes to bombard the surgeon with questions, many from my readings here. He told me to be careful, but that I could start walking in the boots … and when I was comfortable .. no crutches … I was wide eyed… this was 2 weeks post op !!! He took out a wedge from my boots and told me to take another out every 10 days. He would see me in a month when I was plantigrade in the boot.
I didn’t try walking the first day after the stitches came out .. I was scared… but then I tried. First with crutches. But it was maybe my 4th trip that I was able/willing to ditch the crutches. Note that I was super careful. No chance of tripping … no stairs … no inclines. Oh I had my first shower !!!!! Amazing …. get a shower stool though…
My parents were absolutely amazing ( they really were ) but it was time to go home. I could hobble around and cook and such, so why not.
We set up my office in the living room and I got a huge grocery list filled
My neighbours thought I had disappeared in the last 3 weeks … they were all super friendly and willing to help. Again .. one of the few positives of this injury is the kindness of friends and family (and neighbours) that we all can take for granted sometimes.
Week 3 - 6
Not much excitement in this time. I iced and elevated as much as I could, I hobbled more and more …. always super careful but in the last 3 weeks I’ve definitely felt more and more stable. Less swelling between icing and elevation and generally better. ( the boots will need to be burned at the end of this though, what a unique smell they have developed. :o) )
One thing I was able to do was set up my stationary bike trainer. The first few weeks back home I was doing maybe 30 minutes every 2 days, I was extremely careful in getting on and off the bike and I pedaled with the seat a bit lower than normal the boots as tight as I could stand and the heels on the pedals so as not to engaged the calf … I was able to get my heart rate up way higher than on the wheelchair.
I have now been plantigrade for a week. I definitely feel a stretch going back in the boots after some time icing and such … but over all things feel good. I am seeing my Ortho in 2 days and am hoping he will clear me for PT and out of boots … though I have no idea how that will go.
I can’t wait to do my own groceries ….