New Blog: Scott Armstrong

I found this website while sitting home on disability. I read a lot of great stories (and some scary ones as well!), and decided to participate. So, here’s my story:
This past year I coached my daughters basketball team. In this particular league, the girls division plays with 2 grades together, in her case 5th and 6th. My daughter, much like her father (me)  is on the shorter side of the spectrum. in addition, she’s also in the younger of the two grades. All season long she had been complaining that things were difficult due to her height. I continued to preach to her to be quick, get open, pick your spots and take your shot if you have one. She scored her fair share of baskets, but was still upset about being one of the shorter kids. At the culmination of the season, the league has a "coaches game". Being the fiercely competitive person I am, there was no way I was NOT going to play! I also wanted to show my daughter I could "walk the walk" not just "talk the talk"
March 13th, 2016, after scoring 2 baskets on successive possessions while being covered by someone who was about 6′2", "it" happened. I was on defense and shifted my weight and BAM!. the sensation was none like I had ever felt before and one that echo’s throughout this webiste. My brain interpreted it as someone passed the basketball and it hit me in the back of the leg, but when I turned around to jump on what I thought would be a loose ball, there was nothing there. for a moment I was confused, and then I tried to take a step, and that’s when the pain hit me like a ton of bricks. I thought to myself "oh man, I just did something REALLY bad". I called for time out and limped off the court. I stuck around until the game was over and got in the car.  I reached down just above my heel where my Achilles tendon would normally protrude, and there was nothing there.  At this point im pretty much freaking out.  I got home and parked myself on the couch, scared to death.  My body started shivering as if I were outside on a winters day with no jacket on.  My gut told me something was terribly wrong.

March 14, 2016:  I went to an orthopedists office local to where I work.  I had visited this group before when I had broken a bone in my hand and was very happy with the treatment I had received.  The group consists of about 8 or so orthopedists each with their own specialty.  The two Sports Medicine Dr.’s were in surgery that particular day, so I saw a knee specialist.  After doing the "Thompson test" the Dr. advised me what I already had suspected;  that I had ruptured my Achilles.  A million thoughts racing through my head.  I’m only 43, and while I would never classify myself as an "athlete" I would definitely call myself active and athletic.  I play all kinds of different sports, I weightlift, and I snowboard.  Everything I do I go all out, all the time.  Having sustained this type of injury was devastating.  How would this change me?  would I ever be the same?  I’m not ashamed to admit that I broke down right there in front of the Dr.  He was very robotic and did not react.  Maybe he was surprised that a grown man would just start crying out of nowhere, I really don’t know.  The Dr. explained my options, surgery vs non surgery and the risks associated with both.  He ordered an MRI, gave me a boot, and I left the office.  I went back to my car, and cryed my eyes out while talking to my wife on the phone.  Ive never been more scared in my life.

March 17, 2016:  Had my MRI

March 18,2016:  Happy 7th birthday to my youngest daughter, today I got the official confirmation of the Dr.’s diagnosis, a complete rupture of my right Achilles tendon.  Freak-out mode in full effect.  I point blank asked the Dr. "I know you’re a knee guy, but please, level with me, who’s "the guy" in your office?  who’s the one that does the most Achilles surgeries".  His response was less than confidence inspiring; "I don’t know, I couldn’t really tell you, but ive done like 3 or 4 in the last few months".  I decided that this particular Dr. is not the right one for me right then and there.  While I was waiting for the results of my MRI I "drove hard to the hoop" to get myself into another Dr.’s office for a second opinion.  This Dr. came highly recommended and worked out of the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.

March 21, 2016.  8:30 AM.  My wife and I met with the Dr. who told me what I already knew, and we ran through the details of how he performs the procedure, what his protocol is, the success rate etc.  I showed him a picture of me snowboarding that my daughter took 3 weeks prior and I said "I need to be able to do THIS, just like THIS when I’m healed".  He looked at me and said "you will".  My wife and I talked through it and we decided this was the right Dr.

1:00, all prepped and ready for surgery (yes this all happened in the same day), they wheel me in to the OR. with tears streaming down my face I kissed my wife one last time, and told her I loved her.  The operating room was freezing!!  They asked me if I could roll onto the operating table, I obliged.  The anesthesiologist put something in my IV, and it was lights out.  I never saw the Dr. in the OR, for all I know the maintenance man did the surgery LOL.

4:00, I awake from surgery and I feel great!  I have no idea what they put in my IV, but I felt like I could get up and do the electric slide right then and there.  I was advised that when I woke up I would not be able to feel anything from the waist down for a while.  As a man this is particularly disconcerning!  Sure enough that was the case.  Being the class clown that I am, I announced to the recovery room nurse that I could not "feel my man parts".  she was not amused, but after like the 5th or 6th time I repeated it, she eventually laughed realizing that I was just being a smarty pants.

In summary, I saw the Dr. at 8:30, was in the operating room at 1:00 and was home in my house at 7:45 that night.

The next couple of weeks were not fun.  Who am I kidding, NONE of this has been fun.  I was in a soft cast/split with what I thought might be about 60 ace bandages wrapped around it.  Completely NWB.  It was harder to get around than I thought it would be. At day 10 post op I had the obligatory fall on my way up the stairs.  Thankfully nothing happened, but I was definitely scared that it did.

The Dr. Saw me 2 weeks after surgery removed the stitches, and fit me in a VACO boot, still non weight bearing.  At week 4 he wants me to be 25% weight bearing, week 5 at 50% and week 6 and on 100%.  Oddly once I got to 50% and beyond, after sitting or laying down for a while for the first few steps my heel is very sensitive, almost like pins and needles, and then it goes away.  The Dr. wants me to take my foot out of the boot 3-5 times a day and gently flex my foot up and down for approximately 15 reps.

May 6th, 2016, saw the Dr. he seemed very happy with what he saw.  My boot has been adjusted from 30° to 15° and boy can I feel THAT.  it doesn’t hurt, but the pulling sensation is weird.

May 12, 2016, we are now up to date.  The dr. wants me to adjust my own boot down to 0° this Friday and walk for a week, and then get me into a pair of dansko clog type shoes.  I will wear those for 3 weeks, then into a sneaker, then into regular shoes.

The dr. used a minimally invasive repair technique.  the incision is barely an inch long.  its quite amazing if you ask me.  I am a bit scared with every boot adjustment/milestone as im only 7.5 weeks post op, but I am following his directions to the letter, and hoping for the best.  my foot is still slightly swollen at the end of the day, but its definitely been improving.  Tonight I see the physical therapist for my evaluation and PT will start next week.  So far, so good.

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