Thank you for everyone’s feedback, so nice to know that there are so many of you walking this journey of recovery with me.
My error, my ankle not cast in neutral position but in correct plantar flexion with toe pointing down. Having spoken to my physio sister-in-law I now realise that neutral is the position foot is in when standing.
So being at home post surgery with instructions to keep my leg elevated and only move for the essentials was challenging. I run my own veterinary clinic so am pretty much used to being busy for most of the day and most days of each week. I also am a one woman practice so one of my big hurdles was to manage my stress over what would happen to my clinic if I wasn’t there and whether the bank account could cope with paying for a locum until I can get back behind the consult table. My husband, stepdaughter, family and friends have been marvellous with looking after me, certainly I don’t know how easy it would be to make this journey without a strong support group.
Time has blurred somewhat over the past few weeks and its hard to believe that it’s been just over 2 weeks since I had surgery done. My low point of each day is taking a shower, what used to be such a refreshing, soothing experience is now a mishmash of sighs, occasional foul language, dropped crutches and the urge to just climb back into bed and pretend the pop never happened. Having to wrap my back slab bandage and now my aircast in a plastic dustbin bag and then anchor it with elastic bands and then shuffle my way under the shower with the help of a garden chair is really soul destroying for me. Having to shower sitting in a chair just takes all the pleasure out of what used to be a revitalising experience.
I know this makes me sound like a spoilt brat as I know some ATR recoverers have to make do with washing their hair in the kitchen sink but this just is the one thing that seems to really make my altered mobility real. I’ve had more than one tearful moment and have to confess to throwing my crutches on the floor in despair. Despite being active at work all day I’m not particularly fit, and am carrying a few extra kilos so having to crutch my way around has been hard. My right hip sometimes feels as if it’s goibg to pop out if I’ve been crutching for any length of time and certainly the weight of the moonboot has aggravated this.
I actually had my first follow up on Thursday 7th November. Surgeon removed the back slab and bandaging and then took wound dressing off. Quite an experience to see my lower leg again. Calf, which was never a great one, us now a sorry looking, piddly floppy structure and ankle is a mottled shade of bruised yellow. I thought the wound looked good, if it was my surgery I would have been chuffed but surgeon wasn’t happy. Stressed that he had told me that wound breakdown was a possible complication due to limited blood supply and minimal subcutaneous fat as well as the skin being very thin here. So applied suture strips and a dressing and said he wanted to see me back in a week, keep leg up in moonboot. No weightbearing but allowed to place boot flat which even with no weight means that tendon is taking 20% strain, wow!
I asked my surgeon how he knew that surgery had worked, was hoping that he wasn’t going to see if he could find a gap in my tendon to poke his finger in as he did at my first consult! In response to my question he just crossed his fingers and smiled at me - not very reassuring. Have realised that my surgeon is not going to be much use with providing info about the way forward and where I might be when, so I am so thankful for the achillesblog.
My moonboot is most unpleasant. It’s very heavy, I’ve pulled a muscle somewhere in my thigh just lifting my leg to put it in an elevated position. Boot is also too big and feels as if it might slip off at any time. Quite hard to get a good night’s sleep in it as the weight of it in conjunction with my 2 cats that have taken to wedging themselves on either side of me means I wake up everytime I want turn over. Am tolerating the cats as the frequency of their purr promotes healing!!!!!
So have been researching the Vacoped/cast and with the help of a bunch of good people from this site and elsewhere, am now seeing an orthotics guy who specialises in them tomorrow morning. Will go armed with a list of questions so that I can present a convincing argument to my surgeon when I see him again on Thursday. The pro-achilles boot is not cheap, I’m expecting to pay at least R4000 and paid R1800 for my current moonboot. My stiletto loving soul shrivels at the thought of paying such money for such unflattering footwear. However, I do feel that this will be the best treatment plan for my tendon. Has anyone got any tips on how to best convince a surgeon that there are other treatment options, that their plan may not be the best anymore?
I have started taking painkillers again, a paracetamol and tramadol combo since I started wearing the moonboot. Does anyone have links to the benefit of longterm anti inflammatories for cases of ATR? I have read articles on longterm use following bone surgeries to minimise arthritic changes in associated joints but not sure if there’s any associated joint change following ATR. I routinely put all my dog orthopaedic cases onto 3 months of anti-inflammatories post surgery.
Will let you know how my session with the orthotics guy goes.
Gentle healing wishes to you all.