Opening Day

Well, my eyes opened fairly wide on September 12, 2012, when I "exploded" from the batter’s box after making contact with the ball in our weekly baseball league.  That’s baseball, not softball (some are sensitive; not me, at least not about that).  Anyway, pushed off with the right foot towards first base, stepped with the left foot, and down she goes, just like the Titantic.  Only my body went like a submarine.

Yep, heard and felt the pop and knew it was an Achilles.  Two months earlier, on July11, I did the same thing; except that time I felt the pop in the calf.   Could stand on my toes, no problem.  Two months later, I should have seen it coming.  The rehab was not enough.

I’m calling this Opening Day, because it is indeed a mixed metaphor.  There’s the baseball connection, sure.  But it means more to me as opening my eyes to the fact that I’m injured, must have surgery, and have to deal with all of the good things my comrades have been writing about in this great blog.

A bit more about me.  I’m in very good shape, work out regularly with a trainer, stretch, do yoga (taught at one time), pilates, bicycle (road), etc.  So I’ve always been fairly confident that I could push my body to excess and recover.  After all, I’m not an out of shape week-end warrior.  My body has always bounced back from minor injuries.

So it was against this background that I had a rude awakening, an epiphany of sorts, when I injured my Achilles.  Why me (?) was the first thought.  After the initial shock, I realized that it was time I started preparing for the inevitable surgery, etc.

Timing is everything as I was set to go out of town for a week, beginning today, September 21.   So my calendar wasn’t too crazy to move things around.  In the real world, I’m an attorney (wait, don’t boo too loudly yet), with specialty in tax controversy, meaning I help businesses and folks who have problems with the IRS, and State taxing agencies.  I do it all — audit, court, civil and criminal tax defense.

Why musicman?  Its the other career, the other side of me as a performing musician.  The real me.  My teenage son said it best when he commented that I should look at the bright side of things since I’ll become a better guitarist by staying home.

Anyway, the surgery is this Thursday.  I’ve been wearing a walking boot since I met with the orthopod.  Got my crutches yesterday, been practicing, and walked around the house.  Lot tougher than it looks.  My wife made it look easy; her knee injury was over 10 years ago but she handles crutches like a pro.  Tomorrow is the dry run, i.e., on crutches everywhere in the house, use the shower with the air-tight shower bag, etc.  I know this cannot substitute for the real thing, but it is giving me confidence.

One thing I noted from the various bloggers is that the first week or so post surgery seems to be really key.  Rest and elevation (above the heart), and changing position frequently.  I saw the blog about laying on one’s side, putting pillows under the foot and that’s a great idea.

I can’t quite picture or figure out how one can lay on their stomach and elevate their leg without fear of  the leg violently falling to one side putting stress or worse on the Achilles.  If anybody can explain it to me, I’d appreciate it.

I’ll report post op.  Thanks to everyone for their great and insightful posts.  Really helps.


4 Responses to “Opening Day”

  1. Did you actually tear your AT near the calf in July, or was that “pop” just a muscle pull? Was this ATR also high up, near the calf? Many of us started out “blaming” our ATR on various prior events or conditions, though most of them seem to come out of the blue — pretty randomly, except for the high-stress activity.

    Get surgery if you choose to, but don’t do it because it’s inevitable, because it’s not. Four new studies (all post-2007) have shown non-op results that are virtually indistinguishable from post-op results, in strength, range of motion, and re-rupture rates, with fast rehab for all patients. They’re linked to the Wikipedia article on ATRs, references 4-7, if you have any interest in seeing evidence at this busy, trying, and stressful time. A few bloggers here have canceled their surgery “at the 11th hour” based on the evidence (and are doing fine), and several others have reviewed it and gone through with the surgery (and I think they’re all doing fine, too). Most people do pretty well either way.

    When I had my first ATR operated on 8 years ago, I mostly stayed in bed on my back the first week with pillows and bolsters under my cast. Sometimes I rolled over on my side. If you’re on your stomach and your cast or splint falls off a pillow, it will probably land on the bed anyway. Even if it fell a long way to the floor, you’d probably be in more danger of stubbing your toe than re-injuring your AT.

    Slipping on crutches and landing on your cast or splint — or just “catching yourself” with lots of muscles clenching — is much scarier for the AT. So practice up! If your rehab protocol is much slower than the one at (from the biggest and newest of those 4 new studies), that will keep you on crutches, and at risk of falling, for an extra period of time. And there’s no evidence that the extra time helps, since that “UWO” study got excellent results, with and without surgery, so I’d avoid it if possible

  2. I mostly stayed in bed on my back the first week with pillows and bolsters under my cast. Sometimes I rolled over on my side. If you’re on your stomach and your cast or splint falls off a pillow, it will probably land on the bed anyway.

  3. I’m about 50 days and went non-surgical

    i cant believe how well it is healing

    either way, get a “knee scooter” infinitely better than crutches, plus you bring a seat with you with the scooter

    mine was covered by Insurance by way of Rx from the ortho;if not you might be able to rent on

    good luck

  4. July 11th you might have torn your achilles…partial tears are rare, but sounds just like what I did. I had a similar event playing softball. After a few days I was walking fine..and went about my business. A month or two later whammy, down goes the achilles. Both felt like a kick in the calf.

    My doc told me to elevate for comfort reasons. It’s not gonna affect how your achilles recovers, but it’s a whole lot more comfortable if you elevate. If you don’t, and you’re in a cast/splint like I was, you’ll notice the swelling cause that cast just seems like it gets smaller and smaller.

    Best of luck

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