ATR Timeline

  • Name: szaitz
    Location: New York City
    Injured during: Touch Football
    Which Leg: L
    Status: 2-Shoes

    211 wks  3 days Post-ATR
    210 wks  5 days
       Since start of treatment

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Getting Ready for ACTION

May 15th, 2014 by szaitz and

Ok guys - I’m 5 1/2 months post-op and after a troubling but minor bout of Peroneal Tendonitis, I think I’ve turned the corner and I’m ready to start resuming my normal array of athletics. Basketball, Softball, Tennis, Roller Hockey to name a few. I was wondering if anyone has suggestions on Achilles Preventive braces, socks or support systems that will fit into athletic shoes/cleats/skates. I intend to wear them on both feet and if it slows me down by 5%, I’m cool with that, as long I have a little more piece of mind that I won’t re-tear the repaired AT and newly tear the good one. Thanks in advance for the knowledge…SZ

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Tales from Plateaus-ville

March 13th, 2014 by szaitz and

I know I started out like a house afire blogging a lot immediately after surgery, making inroads to Norm of the North’s inner circle and thinking I was gonna be break recovery speed records - all the while scoffing at the notion that this Achilles issue would be as troubling and unpredictable as it turned out to be.

That was a very long way of saying I’m growing inpatient. Three months since the surgery and I’ve been in two shoes for a while, but the notion of walking without a limp, let alone running, seems very, very far away.

My doctor and PT said everything was roses. I had increased my rubberband and balancing exercises workload a lot from say six weeks post-op. No more boot, no more padded Achilles sleeve pad, very little swelling if any at all. But then two weeks ago, swelling reappeared and fatigue set in after only a few city blocks.

In fact, last week I tried to beat a traffic light. It was freezing and I wanted to get inside, so I tried to ‘run’ for a few steps. No good. A few blocks later, my upper calf started to ache. Yeeeesh. A new county heard from. Upper calf pain? What the hell is that about? I had to re-introduce myself to the ice pack and I now, like a bad girlfriend, we are back together for the foreseeable future. Worse yet, I no longer do step-up or balancing exercises and essentially spend my PT time getting the fluid that encases my entire foot pushed and redistributed up my leg. I’ve gone backwards.

So I deserve all the ‘I told you so’s’ that you veterans might be saying to yourself. All the posts I’ve always read on here have emphasizes patience - the six month to a year kind of patience, which is frustrating - but quite the reality I suppose.

We have a new member of our community, as I am watching the New York Ranger Hockey game and I have learned that the regular commentator, Joe Michiletti, is not there. He has ruptured his achilles playing basketball. Perhaps we will see blogs from him in the near future.

So all of you newbies out there, including you Joe, I have one piece of advice - don’t get over-exuberant and over confident in the very beginning and then try to foolishly beat the clock. The clock will always win.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Too Fast, Too soon?

January 6th, 2014 by szaitz and

Hey Guys,

My achilles history has been: Surgery Dec 3, cast for 10 Days until Dec 13 and told to wear boot. Started PT on Dec 13 and have gone there every Mon, Wed, Fri since, probably about 10 sessions in total. He massages the scar tissue, does ultra-sound and today told me to bring my left shoe, which had been on holiday for the past 6 weeks.

So I walked up and down the hall in his office and it felt pretty good, no boot, no cane, no crutches. I can’t bend the foot past 90 degrees, so it wasn’t great form as a walking step, but a great step to recovery. He says that I don’t really even need the boot, but just to be safe, wear it outside until my OS appointment a week from today. It still feels like there is a barrier reef around the back of my foot that prevents a lot of dorsiflexion, so I’m far from normal, but we’re both very happy with the progress.

I’ve read a lot of your blogs, and I would say that the numbers I have reported above seem to way too accelerated and I fear I’m doing stuff too soon. But I don’t have swelling or pain the next day when he asks me to something. I’ll see tomorrow if this was too ambitious.

For whoever missed it, Michael Crabtree who had ATR surgery in May, had a really great game yesterday for the 49ers. He was cutting, jumping and running hard in freezing cold conditions. He clearly has conquered this thing physically AND mentally.

Posted in Uncategorized | 19 Comments »

Macaroons and Matzoh Balls

December 25th, 2013 by szaitz and

Merry Christmas to all my AT-challenged brethren.  In my original post, I alluded to some silver linings, but was being pretty facetious.  One true silver lining about ATR is that you really learn who your true friends are.

At the risk of being self-indulgent, I would like to take a moment, on this holiday of brotherhood and goodwill to man, by acknowledging them.

I will start of with my parents who have been here on consecutive Sundays, with armfuls of groceries and cleaning supplies.  My mother does most of the work while my father supplies the jokes.  It’s amazing how messy my 600 sq ft apartment gets.  Coffee spills all over the kitchen.  Poorly-aimed urine blasts all over the bathroom.  Trails of food stuffs from hopping all over the place.  This ATR is a messy business!

My father drove into work from Long Island during a snowstorm to take me to a job interview. Unfortunately I didn’t get the job.

My friend Carolyn, who traveled 100 miles to stay with me for a few days.  She cooked up a storm, brought a variety spices in little cups, made Matzoh Ball Soup and baked coconut-choco macaroons that I dubbed ‘Spock backs’.

She helped me pick a water proof cast shower protector and made sure I didn’t tip over in the streets of New York when I was getting used to the motorized scooter.  A new soft blanket, flavored coffees and boiled chicken were some of the other treats she brought.  Shout out to her husband Steve for driving her.  They are coming back again next week.

Anna, who lives in Jersey, took a few shifts, shopping, cleaning and telling funny stories, as is her wont. Anna also picked me up and drove me home from unsuccessful interview in more intense snow. She texts me a few hundred times a day to see how I’m doing. Carolyn does too and my Aunt Normy in Connecticut calls frequently.

Mike O picked me up from the hospital after the surgery and has driven me to Doctors appointments and watched a lot of football with me. Having company when I can’t travel makes the apartment a little less prison-like. His g/f Ashley made a delicious lemon chicken feast. All these contributions transformed my fridge from a barren wasteland to a bustling cornucopia.

My brother has done his brotherly duties staying at the hospital for the whole day during surgery as well as getting my painkillers early in the morning, the day after my surgery. That day, incidentally, was the most painful event of this whole experience. I was awakened at 3:00 am by a constant, intense and relentless pain in my heel. I started texting him at 6:00 and tried to tough it out. (see texts below)

Yes, my brother’s nickname is Czar, but that’s a another discussion for another blog. He finally delivered the goods at about 8:00. Five hours of terrifying agony. . But, hey my sister did send me over a very lovely edible fruit basket.

That’s about it…thanks for allowing me some latitude on the subject matter as I realize this is only vaguely Achilles-realted. Next time, I’ll be more medical.

Oh, and a big thank you to the USA network and the cast of Modern Family, as the MOFY marathons have helped me pass the time, quite hilariously.

Merry Xmas - Steve

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

You say Hello world! I say Goodbye

December 22nd, 2013 by szaitz and

Woohoo…got the go-ahead from Dennis to start my Achilles Blog.  I’m unemployed and immobilized, so now I have a reason to get up in the morning.

before injury - obviously, but i was doing this exact activity

I’ll get the compulsory stuff out of the way.  On Thanksgiving (ironically enough) I was playing football - the brown and white kind of football, as I know there are a lot of Brits on this site - and felt The Kick in the back of my left leg.  My very first thought was that I was gonna be in major trouble from my mother for ruining Thanksgiving dinner.  I’m 46 years old, btw.  It was only at that point did I crash to the ground, screaming in pain.

I should amend that to say that after the initial snapping, which felt more like a hot cannonball than a kick, it really didn’t hurt that much.  I think I was screaming and spinning around on my ass, holding my foot, more because of the realization of what just happened.  As the Lennon/McCartney-esque title of this post references, my athletic career will never be the same - I must say goodbye to it.  Even if I’m physically recovered, I don’t think I will ever be without the fear of this happening again.  And I hate golf.  So what the hell am I supposed to do?

I have been around this blog for the past few weeks and I do appreciate the positivity generated by everyone.  However, I’m negative by nature - so to quote another musical genius - Justin Timberlake - I hope nobody minds if I bring a little ‘misery’ back.  But I’ll try to to it in a humorous way.

I’m not new to the blogging world.  I used to write about my misadventures in New York City.  The blog was called What Pissed me off in The City and was a collection of anecdotes of my various misadventures living and dating in NYC.  It sometimes bled into R-rated territory, but my friends enjoyed it.  I’ll endeavor to do the same for this community which I’m pretty sure can use some cheering up.  In this case, I’ll do my best to keep it G rated or PG-13.

Back to my heel.  So Thanksgiving is on a Thursday in the U.S.  I had the surgery the following Tuesday.  Dec 3, I believe. I’m three weeks post-op and have been out of my cast for one week.  The morning I had the cast removed was the same day I started PT.  I’m trying to set the record for quickest return to normalcy in the history of the Achilles.  Of course, that very day, that stupid movie Troy was on.  That film is 45 minutes too long as it is and with commercial breaks, it’s insufferable, but of course I had to wait until the end to see Brad Pitt get nailed in his Achilles. (left foot, just like me). Now Brad Pitt and I have something in common. Yeay!

Speaking of insufferable - back to this rupture. btw, does anyone else hate that word, ‘rupture’?  It’s so violent and explosive-sounding. It makes me nauseous.

My surgeon, while very gruff and impatient, I think is a surgical genius.  My scar is very small compared to the others I have seen.  My Physical Therapist remarked on this at once.  When I figure out how to post pictures on here, I will show you.  The surgeon used a blue plastic device that enabled him to reach up the calf and grab the top torn piece, thus shortening the incision to maybe two inches. This will facilitate better healing, not to mention look a lot less freightening.  My friend Noah, who is on this site and was injured playing football with me in Sept, 2012, has a much longer scar. He was misdiagnosed at first and had surgery 3 month after injury.  I know a malpractice attorney and gave him the number, as the first doctor he saw didn’t do the Thompson test???!!! I spoke to him last week (texted back and forth, but in 2013, that’s the the same as spoke to) and he said he’s almost back to normal. Almost!!!  That’s 15 months.  That really distresses me.

I am in a DonJoy boot and on crutches.  I have been using a motorized scooter for the last two weeks and have been getting used it, but alas, the rental contract ends today.  On the crutches, I am allowed to put my bad foot down a little, which I do mostly for balance.  This alleviates the pressure on my arm.

This arm thing was very bad actually and was very mysterious, because it started when I was using the scooter pretty much exclusively.  A sharp, pinching pain in my right triceps muscle if I moved my arm  at a certain angle, away from my body.  I had to T-REX myself for a week, which is especially annoying when having to reach for things from the scooter.  When he took my cast off, I asked for cortizone in my arm.  He laughed at me.  He also laughed at me when I handed him the list of questions I found somewhere on this site.  One thing I have learned - doctors hate questions.

I did reach a little bit of a milestone yesterday.  I was able to get out of the shower without the aid of the spinning bar stool I have set up in there.  I also don’t have to lean against the wall while showering and can put my foot down.  The atrophy in my thigh and calf is sickening, but my PT says we will get it back.  My good leg looks like Superman’s leg, sort of.

The angle of the cast forced my foot to plantarflexation  (check out all these new latin words I know) so I think the first order of business is bringing dorsi/sexy back.  The swelling comes and goes, so I take Aleve and Ice twice a day for fifteen minutes.  I also have to put a hot pack on my triceps, so when I’m doing both these things, I feel like a real invalid.  Sucks.  I will take a selfie next time I’m in this state of affairs. I have started to work out upper body and core after 3 weeks, which seems quick compared to some of the stories I’ve read on here.

Some other silver linings:

  • People are coming over with tons of food
  • I’ve sharpened my parallel parking skills, as negotiating the scooter in my little NYC apartment takes work
  • Sympathy and attention
  • A very tiny bit of perspective on having health and mobility.  It’s very hard to scooter in the city.  People don’t care or get out of the way on the sidewalk.  The cuts in the curbs are inconsistent and…oops these were silver linings
  • Better utilization of my Netflix account.

I’m a little upset that Kobe Bryant is hurt again.  But Terrell Suggs and Michael Crabtree seem to be doing well.

OK, my fellow Dorsiflexors.  I’ll see you later.  By next time I will figure out how to post pictures and come up with a better name for our Achilles Brotherhood.  Maybe we should have a contest for coming up with a name for our exclusive community.  Make T-shirts.  I know a T-shirt guy  :)

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments »