Week 0: Surgery + Recovery

Hi everyone!

Sorry about the unintentional hiatus, I’ve been keeping notes together but have neglected writing my full posts until now. Going back to describe surgery that happened Aug. 13.

My surgery was exactly 2 weeks after my ATR due to schedule conflicts (my orthro surgeon said 2 weeks is the longest anyone should wait after the injury) so I got to the hospital around 8:30 that morning. Getting checked in was a smooth process. I was put into pre-op room where I had to repeatedly confirm personal info and details of the surgery, get hooked to an IV drip, and do a COVID test. Around 9:30, the anesthesiologist came in to meet me and go over my health background and the CRNA came in to explain that I’d be going under general anesthesia administered through the IV and I’d be out within 5-10 minutes. Once it was go time, I was wheeled into the OR and the last thing I remember was moving from the bed to the operating table…

I woke up groggily in a general recovery ward before I was moved into my own post-op room (my memory of that move is pretty foggy), I realised that I was back in another splint with much more dressing than the ER one. I was in and out of it for a while in the post-op room before I was finally discharged and wheeled out to be driven home. I wasn’t in too much pain, I just put elevated my leg on pillows and slept for hours. When I woke up that evening, my mum told me that my doctor said the surgery was smooth and complication-free and he administered a nerve block that I would be feeling the effects of for the rest of the day. I was prescribed oxycodone but I didn’t take anything when I got home because I had taken Percocet (Oxycodone + Acetaminophen) in the recovery room. I had dinner in bed but felt nauseous and didn’t eat much (anesthesia side effect). My leg really didn’t feel too bad, I just felt pressure and a dull ache so after dinner, I slept again. I woke up around 1AM with a really strong, aching pain so I took one of my prescribed oxy pills and eventually went back to bed.

The first three days after surgery were definitely the hardest, but still not as bad as I was expecting. I normally avoid taking painkillers unless absolutely necessary so I was really trying to limit my use of the Oxy as much as possible. The night after surgery, I woke up around 6AM with burning, aching leg pain so I took another Oxy. When I woke up, did some googling and found out that I could take Tylenol (Acetaminophen) at the same time as Oxy and when my doctor called later that day to follow up after surgery, he confirmed that I could take Tylenol and Advil (Ibuprofen/NSAID) along with, or instead of, the Oxy. I decided that I’d alternate one Tylenol and Advil pill (with the rare Oxy) during the day as needed and I’d make sure to take Oxy at night to try to help me sleep through the night.

My leg felt heavy and had the dull (but strong) aching pain throughout most of the day. I made sure to wiggle and flex my toes in the splint often to make sure I could. My pinky toe and the outside of my foot had been tingling since the surgery and though it initially felt like I had some gauze or something stuck between my pinky toe and my fourth toe, I looked and realised that there was nothing there. To the touch, there was still that weird feeling of tingling and some numbness, but I was still able to feel everything. I mentioned it to my doctor during the follow up call and he wasn’t concerned and suggested that it might be from the retraction (pulling the skin open) during the surgery which stretched some nerves. He told me to keep an eye on it and said it should get better over time.

I spent the first two days in bed, sleeping and watching tv, only getting up to go to the bathroom. My family brought me everything I needed throughout the day which was super nice. I didn’t feel too much pressure or blood rushing to my foot when I would get up which was lucky. I didn’t succeed in sleeping through the night until the fourth night but by the third day, the pain was largely better and I made the big trip out of my bed to the couch downstairs! I made sure to elevate with all my couch pillows down there too and I had my lunch on the couch. I eventually got tired again and crawled back upstairs to get into bed. I stopped taking any pills by that night.

Thanks,

Vicky

2 Responses to “Week 0: Surgery + Recovery”

  1. Hi Vicky I am one month behind you on recovery. I will definitely be following your story. A quick question how are you able to post? I signed up but am unable to post anything. Wishing you the best on your recovery. You are super young to get an injury like this! The struggle is real when you are used to being on the move constantly. I see people running and biking and think I wish I could do that. One day!

  2. Hi Michelle!
    To start your own blog, I think you need to email achillesblog@gmail.com and include your username in the message to let them know you signed up. Thanks for reading and for the support! Good luck on your journey too!
    Best,
    Vicky

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