6 weeks post op…. and I thought this day would never come.  It definitely has seemed like a long time ago since the fateful “pop” but this day is a real milestone.  Fortunately (for me) the weather here in NYC has been pretty bad and, while misery loves company, I was actually thankful for the fact that nobody else would be enjoying the sun basking in Central Park.  Right around the corner from my apartment, crowds did gather for the opening of the High Line (overground Park remade from a disused railroad).  As a certified invalid, I however did not need to wait in line and was allowed special access at the 16th street handicapped elevator entrance!

Other notable perks that I have enjoyed over the last couple of weeks — special seating at a Broadway show and avoiding will-call lines, seats being offered to be at crowded meatpacking district bars (a rare feat indeed in this town), and people even offering me their cabs (an even rarer feat!).  Strangely enough I was at a gallery opening where the artist (photographer) himself  insisted on taking a picture of me for his archive — while somewhat offended, I think he wanted to highlight the “diversity” of his viewership.  Very strange indeed.

So I feel it’s about time I wean off these (very undeserved) perks and get back on my feet.  Unfortunately, my first steps after given my PT prescription and “WBAT” (weight bearing as tolerated) status were highly uneventful.  I saw the doc for a grand minute and was given the prescription and told to start PT…  I began my physical therapy yesterday and was excited to get started.  My amazing physio (who I have used before if anyone needs a midtown Manhattan recommendation) looked at the prescription and told me to start walking.  As I noted before, my left leg basically collapsed on me. 

I wish had been more vigilant doing leg lifts and movement to keep my thigh muscles strong.  Sadly, my whole leg had weakened enough that I could barely hobble along.  This was even stranger as my last injury (when I was 8 years younger), I recall having no issues walking and was immediately up and about again.  With greater age and perhaps a more sedentary lifestyle, I note that my body now doesn’t react quite the same way!

Well, it’s day 2 of physio now and I’m already feeling stronger and gingerly walking around (even if supported by crutches still).  I am doing a stringent PT regime — 4x this week and 3x each week subsequently for the next 4 weeks.  I had a trip to China that was planned for now that I had to cancel, and I have now postponed it to week 10 post-surgery.  The surgeon has ok’d my trip as long as I’m in the boot.  Fair enough!   It’s definitely something to look forward to and a goal to keep the physio on track.

Given my China trip though I succumbed and purchased a Vacoped boot.  My CAM boot, after only 3 weeks of use, has already started falling apart (and honestly doesn’t smell great).  I couldn’t imagine another 6 weeks with the CAM, let alone a trip to China in it.  Anyway, I just got the Vaco so will report later how it’s working.  So far it feels great — solid, safe, and with a bean bag type support system that feels very stable.  Through all my sports injuries, I’ve now sadly used all three types of boot - CAM, Aircast and (starting) the Vacoped.  I’ll report back with my reviews or ping me if you need any advise on comparing them.

To fellow NYC’ers, thanks for the help and camaraderie through all of this.  If you see a guy peddling around town in a strange looking ski-boot, stop me and ask me if I’ve had any new perks lately (maybe a ski pass for Kilington next season?!).

Safe recovery to all.

The joys ... Epsom salt foot bath and "transformer" Vacoped

The joys ... Epsom salt foot bath and "transformer" Vacoped

I’ve sadly avoided updating my blog for a couple of weeks. Like others on this site, the general lack of activity/updates are the primary reason for not writing more. So, instead of boring you with the mundane updates on my recovery, I have found the following (random and by no means comprehensive) list helpful to me psychologically as I get through this recovery:

- A calendar with dates to cross off and dates to look forward to
- A supply of multivitamins, MSM, Glucosamine Chondroitin (all likely placebos!)
- My iWalkFree crutch to allow me to use both hands around the apartment (though so ridiculous looking, I haven’t braved wearing it outside)
- A constant stream of lunch, drinks and dinners with friends (though the five restaurants within my 2 NYC block radius now all know me by name)
- A daily crutch walk round the block, where I wave at my haircutter, my laundry-guy, the doormen, dogwalkers, the car-wash guys, and the guys at the local deli (yes, they all know me by now and still keep asking my “how I did it”?!)
- Occasionally making up new stories as to the injury to make it more interesting (squash is just too simple, especially since most Americans don’t even know what squash is).

So, I’m sure you fellow ATR’s have your own similar list. To update you quickly on my progress, I went to the doctors at the 3-week post-op point, he took my hard cast off and put me into this boot:

boot1

The boot is made by Biomed and has an air pump. I had the choice of the Aircast or this boot and chose this mainly because it is black and less wide at the calf (so my trousers can fit over it). It also doesn’t require heels as it has a built-in gradient for adjusting plantar-flexion. Having had the boot for over a week now, I must admit maybe the aircast was more comfortable — it doesn’t have two metal rods either side for support. I’ve found this boot has been uncomfortably heavy and these metal supports have bruised my ankles when i’m sleeping due to the weight applied on them. In any case, my tendon is firmly locked in place, so as long as it’s immobile I hope it’s recovering ok!

The orthopedist put the boot at roughly 30 degrees plantar flexion, which is a little more dorsi-flexion than my hard cast. Initially it was a little uncomfortable so I inserted a gel insert, but now it seems at peace with only the occasional soreness. I have little pain except for the odd twinge when I move my foot around (in the boot) too aggressively. While the doctor said move my foot very slightly when I take it out of the boot, I have erred on only doing so when I am in the boot. Similarly, I only take the boot off occasionally when I shower as (remembering my last ATR injury) the only time I am susceptible to additional injury is when I slip in the shower. I don’t ever want to do that again!

Finally, I have posted a picture of my scar. I must admit it looks pretty good compared to my first scar from my right ATR injury 8+ years ago (picture on my first blog posting). I learned that my surgeon is actually the assistant physician for the Yankees, and has no doubt done many of these ATR’s before. I suspect (and hope) he well knows what he is doing and hopefully his sugical skills extended both to the tendon as well as the scar!

achilles_scar

Only another two weeks and then starting PWB and some initial physical therapy. It seems like a fairly conservative protocal for a physician to the professional athletes, but since this similar timeframe worked for me last time (yes, my right AT that I ruptured 8+ years ago is stronger post injury), I’m comfortable moving at this pace especially since I’m older now.  I’m hoping I’m walking so I don’t have to crutch around when the heat gets sweltering here in NY!

Safe recovery to all.