Weeks 1 and 2 - Living with the cast

I’ll start numbering my posts with the weeks post-surgery.

The next couple of weeks post-surgery I was in a fixed cast, with strict instructions not to touch the cast down under any circumstances - not even to lightly balance myself.

Further instructions were to keep the leg elevated “23 hours a day” for the first 5 days, and then “as much as possible” until the first checkup. My first checkup was scheduled for 2 weeks post-surgery.

As far as hygiene was concerned they recommended sponge-baths, or showers, but only if the cast was completely sealed with a plastic bag, and held outside the shower.

I ended up buying a shower bench similar to this one: http://www.amazon.com/Moen-DN7025-Adjustable-Shower-White/dp/B000VYK87U/ to help in the shower. We have a detachable shower head, so I managed to figure out a way for me to sit in the tub, with one foot hanging out while still managing to shower the rest of my body pretty well.

Other adjustments were keeping a chair next to the toilet so I could elevate my leg while “taking care of business.”, and using a rolling office chair to move around the kitchen while preparing my coffee, etc., while propping up my foot on a bar stool at every opportunity.

I’m fortunate to have a job that lets me work from home (I’m a computer programmer), so I set myself up with a laptop in a recliner and spent most of my days happily reclined :)

For the first week or so, I would get fairly severe discomfort/pain in my ankle/foot if I stayed upright for more than 20 seconds or so. I’d brush my teeth while lying on the floor with my foot raised, and just generally avoid being on my “feet” (well, one foot and two crutches) as much as possible. I’d describe the sensation as an initial swelling feeling as the blood filled the area, followed by a feeling of pressure and pain. I believe the foot and leg was actually swelling, because I’d also start feeling various pressure points inside the cast (note that the cast was not solid - it had a slit down the back, presumably to allow for some swelling and to keep pressure off the incision - It also was open over my instep and the top of my shin - the only solid part was a sort of “stirrup” around my upper foot)

After the first week, the discomfort lessened a little - I could keep the foot down while in a seated position indefinitely - and when standing, it would get uncomfortable, but I could easily last a couple of minutes before wanting to elevate again.

The second week I was getting pretty tired of the cast - it was starting to get a little grungy, and I was starting to feel itchy - I was looking forward to my two-week appointment when I hoped to be transitioned to my boot.

As a catch-up, here are some pictures…

This is my Achilles on Day 3 in the podiatrist’s office:

Here’s a view that shows the comparison of the good leg with the bed.

Notice the shape of the calf and also the position of the foot (I was trying to be relaxed on both sides):

4 Responses to “Weeks 1 and 2 - Living with the cast”

  1. If you install the ATR Timeline Widget, you won’t have to remind us of which week it is all the time.

    I put a padded stool in front of the bathroom sink and kneeled (knelt?) on it while brushing teeth.

    Why can’t I see any trace of a big ugly healing incision in your photo?

  2. These views are actually from prior to my surgery (I had just already posted the other posts before figuring out how to get the pictures embedded).

  3. Got it! (And nice Widget, too! :-) )

  4. I remember my NWB days. The shower chair, stool in the kitchen. After 3 weeks of help, I opt to get a knee scooter for my house to make it easier to cook and clean for my kids and my sanity. I also remember the rush of the blood and swelling that occurred whenever I lowered my leg. I spent my early days on the couch watching TV and reading a history book about the Moonshining trade in Franklin Co. Virginia :) I also sent this time reorganize my drawers, closet, and desk. Happy healing Ulrich

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