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…

8 Responses to “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”

  1. Love the “last meal” menu! Good luck with the surgery. Let us know how everything goes!

  2. Love the style! Keep posting, we can all use the smiles! :-)

  3. BTW, LOTS of us tore our ATs after fully warming up and/or late in a long sports session, so don’t be too hard on yourself or your pushy pals. {}##€£¥ happens — including ATRs!

  4. Re: normofthenorth: Warming up —
    My surgeon said the same thing. He said the only correlation he’s seen in his many years is weather… he sees more tears when it’s cold.

  5. Good luck today! Sorry that you are in the ATR club. Happens to the best of us :)

  6. Seasonal variation in ATR frequency would be pretty easy to check for on this site’s database. Tuning out the Aussies and NZers would be the only tricky part, and we NH types so outnumber them that it might not be necessary.

    I tore both of mine around Dec. 1, but I think that’s got more to do with my volleyball season than the weather. (INDOOR vball, too, so I was toasty.) In the Summer I bike and sail/race — all pretty ATR-boring. In the Winter I ski and play competitive vball. Now it’s almost 100% indoor beach, but back then there was lots of court ball, which is definitely NOT ATR-boring.
    Fitness and strength probably aren’t good predictors either, since it’s the rel between the muscle strength and the AT strength that probably matters, and that can probably be off-kilter at high or low levels. We do see lots of ATRs among those who throw some intense ATR-risky sports into a recently-sedate lifestyle, but there are also lots of us like me, who stayed consistently active and ATR-risky.

  7. Welcome to the club and great attitude! I hope surgery went well and you’re recovering comfortably. I’m with Norm on this one…warming up likely wouldn’t have prevented it. My ATR was within the first 15 minutes of hoops as well, after having stretched and warmed up on the other end as the other guys already started playing.
    I’m 38 as well in San Francisco. Where in CA are you? Old age and a bit of bad luck catching up to us. At least in CA we have a warm and dry winter…it was 72 degrees today. I’m 7 weeks in and just started PT. You’ll get there soon too. Hang in there!

  8. SittingintheStands–
    Thanks for the welcome. I’m in Oakland… I agree, nice to be in the warm dry weather, and I’m thankful that the recovery is happening in the winter. Hopefully will be able to kiteboard come summertime!

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