Achilles Odyssey

The long road back

Protocols

Posted in Uncategorized on March 10, 2010 by uligan

My surgery sounds very similar to many on this site. I had a very civilized 2PM surgery. I got there about two hours early, and was shown how to use crutches again, and asked about ten times if I was alergic to any medicines. I then clumsily got dressed in the hospital gown, robe, and slippers and made my way to the Pre Op room.

A friend of mine was having surgery on her ACL right before me by the same surgeon.  I was seated in a very comfortable chair next to her and given a warm blanket. We chatted for a while and wished each other luck, Then she was taken out for her surgery. I had a short conversation with the anesthesiologist and assisting surgeon (not sure if that is the correct term) I was asked to confirm which leg they would be operating on and marked it.

Soon after the surgeon popped out to tell me I was up soon. I asked about my friend and he told me she was great.  I got on a gurney and was wheeled into the OR. I was told to climb onto the table and lay on my stomach. An IV was inserted. There were about five people bustling around making preparations. I felt a little exposed with my backside out in the open. My nerves were calmed by the sedatives that shortly followed. The last thing I remember was the anesthesiologist telling me “now you are going to sleep”

From what I hear it took me a while to regain coherence,  but when I did I felt great.  I was ready to climb a mountain.  The surgeon told me the operation went well. I saw my friend in the post op. She was doing great but having so ill effects to percocet.  After a little recoup time and some papework, My Girlfriend took me home.

My ankle was in a splint for a week. I didn’t have much pain. The first few nights I took half a Percocet to ease discomfort at night. One day I might have taken a whole one. I suffered no side effects from the meds.  I was able to do a little work from my desktop, but if the foot was down for too long it would become uncomfortable due to swelling. Mostly I just lay on the couch with it raised.

After a week, the splint was taken off and I was placed in a cast. I had a choice of color,and chose black. In retrospect, I should have chosen a color that stands out more so people could see it and not walk into it.  After two weeks in the cast, I was put in a boot and told I could start Physical Therapy.  At first I hated the boot. It was a cumbersome, ugly  affair, and I didn’t know how I was going to live with it for weeks . I wanted my cast back! I got used to it very quickly, and of course loved being able to wash my foot.  Now I am wondering how I ever had such distaste for it in the beginning. I eagerly awaited my first PT session.

Wrong Diagnosis

Posted in Uncategorized on February 24, 2010 by uligan

On January 23rd I was playing soccer in one of our local league matches. I had just scored a goal,  we were up by two and things were going great. It was a couple of minutes before halftime.  I remember blocking a shot on goal with my ankles and getting a sense that something wasn’t right. I recovered a few seconds later, and got the ball on a break away.  I was running at full speed looking up field when I felt my  left leg snap  followed by an electric jolt and the sensation that my lower leg had detached. The immediate pain was intense and I crumpled to the ground.

The initial pain subsided quickly ,  but my team mates and the ref had me stay on the pitch covered in jackets until an ambulance showed up.  The paramedics cut me out of  my sock and shin guard  and did a preliminary examination.  The swelling wasn’t too bad and I wasn’t in much pain so I declined the offer for morphine. I asked them about the “snap” and the mentioned that sometimes you roll over your ankle and dislocate it. I was dubious.

I was taken to an ER in Manhattan  and rolled into triage.  Eventually a doctor came to see me and asked me if I was the soccer player with the twisted ankle. She was nice, but I got the sense that she wasn’t really taking this seriously.  She  had me wiggle my toes  and tilt my foot. I told her That I specifically felt some pain along the Achilles/calf. she poked me with her fingers in said region, said she didn’t feel anything and told me to wait for the X-rays.

Eventually,  I had my X-Rays taken,  then I waited for them to be read.  The first doctor I saw had gone home, so another doctor came to give me the good news that nothing was fractured, I had just sprained my ankle. I told her that I felt like some thing was up  with my tendon, and asked if she could examine it.

She had me roll over and poked around my calf inconclusively.  She claimed that there was no rupture as she felt no lump. She proceeded to wrap my ankle   in an ace bandage, gave me some crutches and stretches to do, and told me that I would be playing soccer again in two weeks.

This happened on a Saturday, so it was a couple of days  before I could make an appointment with an orthopedist.  The hospital gave me the card for one, but I decided to call a surgeon that came highly recommended by a friend and teammate. His earliest availability was a week later.

The week waiting for my orthopedic visit, was emotional to say the least. I still didn’t really know what was wrong with me. I researched sprained ankles, and surmised that I probably had a “grade 2″ sprain. A season ender, six weeks of no soccer or Muay Thai!   I hoped for the best, but deep inside I knew something was seriously off. I kept telling my girlfriend “something is up with my Achilles” I would stand on my bad leg, as advised by my ER doc and feel a sensation best described as rice crispies.

The much anticipated visit to the orthopedic surgeon arrived. His PA examined me, they took some more X-rays. Then the doctor came in and in thirty seconds flat said “you have ruptured  your Achilles”. He looked to his PA and said “let’s book him for surgery tomorrow.” I could tell by his demeanor that he wanted to operate immediately.  I asked about other options and recovery time and he delivered the final crushing blow.

Dazed, I returned home where I discovered the amazing Achilles Blog.