So I think this means I have my own “space” here now? I definitely want to track my progress (none so far) and offer any support I can to new rupturees. I found this site extremely helpful to me in the 8 days between my injury and surgery.
My story is like most. I was once a fairly accomplished athlete. Some 15 years ago, in fact, I was an international level rugby player (not as impressive as it sounds since I am in the US, but you get the idea). After my active playing career was over, I certainly let myself go a bit and got to some 35-40lbs above playing weight. Sadly, I recently had lost some 20lbs or so and was getting back in decent shape. I was even considering an “old boys” return to the pitch. Then, a week ago this past Thursday, I was playing a mellow game of pickup basketball, in fact the second of the session, and felt the dreaded whack to the back of the leg. Like most, I looked around for someone to blame, and while there were people nearby, to a man everyone said that I hadn’t been touched. Nor was I doing anything particularly athletic or sudden. I think I was just moving to stay in defense of my man. I don’t recall hearing a popping sound, but I knew exactly what had happened anyhow, having had a guy I used to play basketball with experience the same injury. It definitely hurt at the time, but the pain subsided pretty quickly and I was able to drive home since the left leg was hurt, despite some light-headedness.
When I got home I got online and started reading as much as I could on this site and others. I read studies and stories for hours. I held out hope that because I wasn’t in that much pain and I could kind of shuffle around with full weight on the bad foot, I might be able to avoid surgery. In fact, from the body of literature I read, it seemed very promising that I might be able to avoid surgery and still fully recover.
I saw a general ortho guy the next day (1/8) and his Thompson test confirmed a rupture. I was not, however, impressed in any way by the general ortho’s knowledge, nor did it seem like he had a plan or methodology for dealing with the injury. I asked for an MRI, so that I could see “how bad” the rupture was, having convinced myself that if it was a partial tear, or if the gap was less than 1cm, I would go non-surgical.
At the MRI place, I spoke with a technician re: my reservations about the general ortho guy I saw and she recommended a foot and ankle specialist. It sounded good to me, so I booked an appointment for first thing Monday morning and took my MRI CD with me. As if I needed a reminder that I am getting old, I turned 38 over the weekend. Great birthday present this was.
On Monday, the specialist also Thompson confirmed my rupture and I got to see the MRI pics for the first time. Unfortunately, the specialist didn’t take much time to go over the picture or give me the “degree” of injury stats I was looking for, but it was clear even to the untrained eye that there was a substantial gap. No surprise, the specialist recommended surgery and I agreed, scheduling it for this past Friday 1/15, 8 days after the injury. Further confirming that I had made the right choice, the general ortho called with the official MRI reading on Tuesday and the gap was 2-5cm in various places.
I HATE hospitals and all things medical and so the idea of surgery freaked me out. I knew I had to do it, but I needed to know about every variable to get myself to the point where I could go through with it. Again, this site was an invaluable resource. From people who have gone through the surgery (some multiple times, unfortunately) to an actual anesthesiologist, I really got excellent information here. I wanted to be completely out for the surgery, but had heard that one would have to have a tube stuck down one’s throat with general anesthesia, given that one would be on one’s stomach for the procedure. The alternative is a potpourri of local options, most of which involve needles near spines…not for me either. In my head, I came to a point where general was the way to go, if I had the assurance that I would never, ever know or sense that there was a tube in my throat.
The 4 days between surgery scheduling and the acutal surgery went somewhat slowly but in reality all too fast. Part of me wished I had done the surgery on Tuesday that week, but that was too soon to arrange child care, etc… (I have 3 kids ages 5, 3 and 1). I also had a hard time reconciling the fact that I would have to get worse again before I got better. I was icing and elevating, but I could still shuffle around bearing weight on the foot, so things weren’t that bad.
D-day came, and off to the hospital I went. The whole experience was surreal for me, fighting my every instinct to get the hell out of there. I put the anesthesiologist through the ringer of questions when he came it…hope I didn’t piss him off to the point where he clubbed me while I was out. He didn’t really give me an option, having sort of pre-decided on general. That was fine with me since it was the way I had to go. He assured me I wouldn’t know the tube was ever there, though he did acknowledge that in strange 1 in 1000 type cases, people remembered odd things. He also said that I would be on my side during surgery, and not my back. That was the first I’d heard of that. I wish it had registered in my brain that the side would put me on is the side I can’t even sleep on due to a lingering injury, but it didn’t until I was back home and my shoulder was killing me. It was then time to go…they slipped me some happy juice to “calm” me while they were wheeling me into the operating room. I don’t recall being very happy or calm. Next, they were going to put me out with something strong and then do their intubation anesthesia stuff. Well, I remember being in the operating room chatting with the staff and even moving from one bed to another (maybe on to the table) and then all goes blank. I had hoped they would tell me before IV whacking me, but they didn’t…just as well. I woke up in some recovery staging area under the care of a nurse, who eventually gave me some ice chips and crackers. I say staging area because my wife wasn’t allowed where I initially woke up, and I still don’t know why. I also heard that when I first woke up, I was quite “agitated” but I have no recolleciton of this, nor did anyone ever tell me what form that agitation took. I was eventually reunited with my wife and got to go home. I arrived at the hospital at 11:45am and hopped back into my house at 6pm.
I was sent home with Oxycodone (5mg) and told to take 1-3 pills every 4 hours as needed. It simply wasn’t enough that first night. I didn’t get a minute of sleep as I couldn’t get the leg into a comfortable position. I wish I had known that night that I could supplement the narcotics with Advil…that really helped the second night after I had called the doc the morning after my bad first night.
But here I am on full day 3 after surgery, and I am totally off all painkillers. I actually took my last Oxy at 10am on Sunday and I think I felt terrible because of it later that day(coming down?) - not the leg, just me. I took my last Advil at 2am this morning and it is now 2pm.
Post surgery life sucks in every way except for the fact that the surgery is behind me. I pee in a bucket from bed, and getting to a restroom for #2 is a giant pain in the ass, literally requiring acrobatics to keep from putting pressure on the bad foot (in a splint). I have been out of my bed fewer than 5 times since getting home on Friday…it just hurts to take the leg from an elevated position to down…a lot. I am hoping this will get better with time…will let you know the next time I post. My wife and kids have been great throughout this young ordeal. I am depressed for sure about my lack of mobility but having them around really helps. I can’t imagine going through this without them. And I can’t imagine going through this without the help of all on this site. Thanks again.
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