So at my wife’s urging, we joined the local swim and tennis club last summer. It’s been a great place for the kids (ages 7 and 4), but in order to justify the cost, I want to take advantage of as much as it has to offer as possible. I had never really played tennis before, but I figured since we now had easy access, it could be a great sport to learn, especiallysince there seem to be a lot of older folks enjoying it. Besides, just going to a gym to get my exercise has never held my interest for very long.
So about six weeks ago I learned that the club had regular Wednesday night clinics for its 3.0 (adult beginner) players as well as a team that plays weekly matchs. Gerat fun! I’ve been picking the game up pretty quickly, and two weeks ago I played myfirst doubles match… and won! Last Saturday was my first “away” match. I had served up 40-15 in the third game, having lost the first two, when a the opponents return came back about 10 feet to my right. I turned and took couple fast steps setting up for a forehand when a sound like a gun went off and I felt like I had been shot in the back of my right leg. just below the calf. Down I went.
At first my toes were numb, and one of the guys on the other team, who turned out to be an ER doc, had me push my toes against his hand, which I was soon able to do. I was helped to my feet, and given a beer. Although I immediately thought I may have an ATR, the ER doc for whatever reason didn’t seem to think so. He was the same guy who was also speculated that I may have hit back of my leg with my racquet as I was going for the shot.
I was hoping I just had a pulled or torn the calf muscle. I could “walk” by putting my right foot in front and the following behind with the left. But there was no way I could roll any wight onto the front of my right foot or push off it.
A teammate who I had carpooled with drive me home and I took up residence on the TV room couch. I called the advice line for my HMO. The first nurse I spoke to suggested R.I.C.E (Rest, Ibuprophen, Compression, Elevation). By the evening, it was apparent that that helpd the pain, but I wasn’t about to walk it off anytime soon. I called the advice line again and was able to make an appointment for a telephone consulation with a doctor the following morning.
The next day was Father’s Day, and my condition hadn’t changed. The M.D. I spoke with wanted me to come in for an exam. Rather than taking the immediatelyavailable appointment, I elected to wait until the afternoon, so that I could have a Father’s Day brunch with the my children. The whole family drove me to the appointment (Kaiser Permanante San Rafael), but I had them drop me off rather having to wait around with me. I thought they would be picking me up in an hour or so.
The moment of truth came quickly. The doctor did the Thompson’s Test. (I guess I should not be surprised that the ER doc on the tennis court didn’t think to do it). She squeezed my left calf, and my foot immediately pointed downwards. Then she showed my how my right foot didn’t move at all when she squeezed the very sore calf on that side. She stepped out to telephone the orthopedic surgeon on call. When she came back into the exam room with him onthe line and asked “When was the last time you had anything to eat?” I knew it couldn’t be a good situation.
About 45 minutess later, the surgeon arrived from San Francisco. Due to the large brunch, I really hadn’t eaten much of anything, and the O.R. was open. I had a spinal anesthetic and he stiched the tendon back together. Meanwhile, I began trying to figure out how I was going to manage without being able to drive for the next six weeks as the full implications of what an ordeal this is going to be come to light. I’m sure I don’t need to tell this audience about that.
So it’s now been one week since the tear and six days since the surgery. I have barely left the TV den. Hurray for the internet, beacuse I have this net book which I can use to access my work computer files, and a phone which is a clone of the phone that sits on my desk in myoffice in San Francisco. Hip, hip hurray for the World Cup and Wimbleton, the past week’s entertainment. I guess if you are 25, it’s more lile;y that you play an eleven hour match without hurting yourself.
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