Sick Again

I’m baaaaaack!

I’m the 1-in-50 you talk about below, normofthenorth. I ruptured my other Achilles today playing basketball.

This is great news, by the way. I ruptured my left Achilles in January of this year, and I blew through the high deductible of my High Deductible Health Plan. I have ruptured my right Achilles in December, with hopefully plenty of time to get the surgery before New Years Day. You can’t beat those savings!

It is interesting to note that I was doing the exact same thing. Playing basketball, accelerating toward a rebound. And I knew what I did one second after it happened, no doubt whatsoever.

Although I’m not looking forward to another 6-month recovery, I know what to expect. It’s not as scary as the first time.

The biggest bummer is that I’ll never play basketball again, ever.

Celebration Day

This will be my final post on AchillesBlog. I’m in two shoes, I’m done all my physical therapy, had my final checkup with the surgeon, and I’ll be back on the basketball court in July. In fact, I just won my first game of tetherball since the injury.

From my standpoint, I had zero problems with the recovery. The surgery went well, the drugs were wonderful, the boot I was given allowed me to be mobile and functional very soon after, and the physical therapy seemed to accelerate everything.

Thanks to everyone on this blog for their words of wisdom and support, it is much appreciated. I’ll see you all again when I rupture the other one!

Stairway to Heaven

I visited my surgeon after three weeks in the highly inclined boot. Apparently everything looks great, so he lowered the inclination in the boot from a 3 to a 2. Next week I can lower it to a 1, and the week after I can lower it to a 0. After three weeks at 0, I can get rid of it!

I am pleased to report that I can go up and down stairways without crutches and without sweating bullets. I can walk about two blocks in my boot before I’m exhausted. I can drink seven Manhattans before I black out.

I rented a FlexLeg after reading some of the comments on my last post. Unfortunately, it did not agree with me… it was easier to walk with the boot than the FlexLeg. I returned it after 5 days and got my money back (minus the $35 for shipping) no problem.

Achilles Last Stand

I went back to the surgeon today, 8 days after surgery. He removed the cast and the sutures. According to him, my repair is holding fine. He put me in an AirWalk boot. Is it just me or do all of these medical device names remind you of 6th grade footwear that your mom told you was ‘too expensive’ and ‘you don’t need them to be cool’?

I’m now able to stand and put weight on my leg. The boot is highly inclined at the ankle. The boot will be inclined to stay at this inclination for three weeks, after which the surgeon will lower it slightly. I still use the crutches for walking around, it just doesn’t feel right without them.

Here are some interesting things that I still can’t do:
1. Unload the dishwasher.
2. Travel two blocks without armpit exhaustion from crutches.
3. Load the dishwasher.
4. Make the bed.
5. Carry things around the house.
6. Give my wife a break.

I am contemplating getting a peg-leg contraption so I can at least carry things around the house. Has anyone else gone this route?

Good Times, Bad Times

The nerve block wore off at about 3pm yesterday, and my pain level steadily rose over the course of 3 hours. It ended up at about a 7 out of 10.

On top of the Percocet, I took some Ibuprofen and, amazingly, within about another 3 hours (9pm) I was back down to almost ZERO. Slept well… and today my pain level has been hovering around 1 or 2. Pretty awesome!

From the Too Much Information Department:
1. Peeing into a bottle is extremely convenient and may be an excellent option even after full recovery.
2. I haven’t had a bowel movement since surgery.

Whole Lotta Love

I came home last night from the OR feeling great. Lots of well-wishing from Facebook, and several nice comments on this blog too… thanks everyone!

From my standpoint, the surgery took 500 milliseconds. I remember looking at the anesthesiologist and then he transformed into my wife and I was in the recovery room. It would be so great if that would happen at DMV… You walk in, sit down, and suddenly a renewed driver’s license appears in your hand. No pain.

They gave me a nerve block behind the knee and I still can’t feel my calf or toes… Can’t move them either, which is a little freaky. For all I know they just amputated the leg below the knee and strapped on a cast with extremely realistic Madame Tussauds wax toes pointing out.

I slept well last night. My wife woke me up every four hours to administer the Percocet. I am rested and alert… a welcome surprise. We’ll see what happens when the nerve block wears off.

I’ve got an appointment one week from today to get the cast off and the stitches out. My doctor (Dr. Kou from Muir Orthopedics in Walnut Creek, CA) said he is somewhat ‘aggressive’ in post-op. I will be given a boot with a high heel, which I’ve always wanted an excuse to wear. Over the ensuing weeks he will lower the heel gradually.

Overall… I’m feeling very positive and supported. Can’t ask for much more!

Nobody’s Fault But Mine

Last Tuesday, I was playing pick-up basketball with a group of guys that I had not played with in three years. They all looked exactly the same, so I had no reason to think that anything would be different. At 38, I was almost the youngest guy there.

It was a really cold night. I arrived late and I was the 10th man for a 5-on-5 game. They told me I couldn’t warm up. Not wanting to look weak, I went right in without touching a ball. (We usually touch balls to warm up.)

Five minutes in, I went up for a rebound and tapped it away from the guy that was boxing me out, whose name is Larry. His name implies clumsiness. When I came down, I accelerated toward the ball as it was going out of bounds. I felt a pull on my heel, Larry must have caught the back of it when he came down and stumbled toward me. Suddenly a sharp pain, and I knew what it meant: I was probably going to start a blog.

I went down hard. When I explained where the pain was, my fellow players made a face that was a cross between "I’m so glad I’m not that guy that’s on the floor" and "I wish I hadn’t eaten that cheeseburger".

On Thursday I saw a doctor, who did a Thompson’s test. She made a different face, one of dread and sorrow. "You may have ruptured your Achilles." I said, "Ah. OK." She gave me a big inflatable boot that reminded me of my old Reebok Pumps, except for one massive improvement: velcro!

She ordered an MRI, which ended up being super loud. It showed a full rupture.

This whole time, I was away from home. Which meant I had to fly back to California and go through the airport in a wheelchair for the first time. I highly recommend it… You get to cut all the lines, and people make faces like "I wish I was that guy in the wheelchair" and "I wonder if that guy wants or needs my cheeseburger".

I saw an orthopedic surgeon the next Monday. He walked in and immediately said "Felt like someone stepped on your heel, didn’t it?" I called Larry to apologize.

Which brings us to the present: Surgery at 2pm today, 8 days after the injury. The anesthesiologist said no eating or drinking after 7:30am, so I had a cheeseburger and a bottle of Scotch as soon as I woke up (7:28am).

Wish me luck…