July 10th, 2013
Is there anybody out there who would be interested in a vacocast? I have one that I would let go much cheaper than they regularly cost!
Is there anybody out there who would be interested in a vacocast? I have one that I would let go much cheaper than they regularly cost!
It has been awhile since I have added a post, so here we go…
At the 6 week mark, my wife and I took our long awaited trip to Antigua, within the beautiful caribbean islands. It was AMAZING! I strongly recommend it to anyone. More specifically, we stayed at a Sandals resort. We have been hooked on Sandals ever since we got married 6 years ago…
I had a few concerns about the trip. I was very worried about the long flight(s) and the whole blot clot issue. I realized that I am in a low risk group for something like this to happen, but I am one to be overly concerned sometimes. So I took all the necessary precautions. I wore compression socks, took some aspirin, drank a ton of water, and called the airline to reserve the front bulk head seat for more leg room. Luckily, the flights to and fro went fine, and we even got some great treatment at the airports. (wheelchair service, first to go through security and to board the planes)
When we got to the resort I was worried about how I was going to get around, since it is such an enormous place. I did have a wheelchair reserved, but only used it once or twice. The rest of the time, I sucked it up on the crutches. Needless to say, I got a great upper body workout out of the deal. The only thing I was unable to do (at first), was to carry my plates and drinks…unless I did the ever so familiar armpit crutching. (The food is AMAZING at any Sandals resorts, by the way!)
Another concern I had was getting into the water, both ocean and pools. I ended up just hopping and crawling into the ocean (haha). The ocean water was fabulous and I actually walked in chest deep water, as well as some flutter kicking. How amazing! So, this was no problem at all. What a big relief. Later in our trip we actually went snorkeling and it was great!
Near the end of the trip I decided to go to one crutch, so now I was able to carry my own plates and drinks. That was a huge step! I started to feel somewhat normal at this point.
All in all, this trip was obviously the highlight of our summer and it was great for my wife, who definitely deserved it after all she has done for me the past few weeks.
At about the 7 1/2 week mark I had a PT appt. and was advised to start some strengthening with therabands, along with some light passive stretching. I also experimented with some FWB in the boot. Another huge step in my recovery. By the 8 week mark, with school starting back up and all, I decided to ditch the crutches for the most part and FWB for most of the day. What a great feeling to get back some independence again. The Vacocast has made the transition to FWB so much easier. I recommend it if you can get one.
So, I have been doing my daily therapy each morning and night. Currently I am at the 9 week mark. I am very excited to share that I have progressed to walking around the house WITHOUT THE BOOT! I watch every step I take and focus on walking without a limp, but it just isn’t happening at this point. Thank god for crocs! I have noticed that with the FWB, my heal is crazy sore at the end of the day. There has also been a little irritation on the incision from the boot rubbing on it. I don’t think there is much that can be done about that. My calf is such a weakling, my wife laughs at me. Now I think it is just a matter of the injured leg waking up again, the joints getting used to doing their thing and slowly gaining some strength. I see the light at the end of the long tunnel now…
Thank you to all of you on the blog for sharing your progress! Particularly to Norm and Stuart for their great advice, support and firm motivation.
Keep up the good work everyone and watch your step!
Wow, time flies! It has already been a month since ATR surgery. So far I feel that things are moving along very smoothly. My ROM is getting better each day, although I still can’t naturally bring my foot to the neutral position. I did adjust the boot to 15 degrees now and my achilles has accepted it quite well. The only discouragement I have is that the atrophy in the injured calf and thigh is so noticeable now. I plan on working very hard to get that back, as well as an achilles that is as near to to 100% as possible. I know it will take a ton of hard work. I also need to mention that I ordered a Vaco Cast! I have heard a lot of positive feedback about that particular boot, so I am looking forward to giving it a shot! I am hoping that it helps make the transition to weight bearing and walking much easier. I also plan on getting into the pool, which is fine with that particular boot because it is waterproof! My insurance covers it so that is a bonus!
There have been some major changes in the workload around our household! I’d like to say I am doing my part now, but not yet! Our niece came to stay with us. (Mackenzie, 10 yrs old) She has been great in helping with dog duty, getting me what I need, and just being available. Thank you Mackenzie! We also have recruited some neighbor boys to help out with yard stuff…watering plants/grass, mowing and stuff like that. I am trying to take the burden off of my wife. Even though we have the summers off, she still has her own business (hence, the free Mustang Convertable mentioned in an earlier post). I thank the boys for their help so much!
The next few weeks should be very interesting.
Week 5 - meet with surgeon and 1st physical therapy appt.!
Week 6 - beginning weight bearing?/trip to Antigua!
Week 7-8 working on ditching the crutches?
I will take it one week at a time and hopefully things keep progressing smoothly!
Thanks for all the great information you are all putting out there…
It has actually been 3 weeks since my injury, and just under 2 weeks since ATR surgery. How do any of you get through this without a special somebody at your side? When this is all said and done, my wife will deserve a medal of honor. She brings me meals, water, ice, pillows, arranges the shower/bath, and basically whatever I request. Not to mention, she has taken over the manly things around here. (yard work, garbage day, etc.) So not only has this injury temporarily changed my life, it has changed OUR lives. Regretfully, we have the summers off (we are teachers) and now our summer has to be dedicated to this injury. There will be more summers to come, I guess. On the bright side, we still have an amazing trip to Antigua coming up this August. No better way to recover than in the tropics!
Since the surgery it has been quite bearable as far as pain. I only needed to take meds through day 2, and after that, I’d had enough! This blog has been amazing for advice and very helpful in terms of seeing where many of you were at during the weeks to come. Crutches are starting to get old and I have started to ponder getting a knee scooter. I have talked to several people I know personally who have gone through this injury, so their reassurance helps a lot…knowing that there is light at the end of this dark tunnel, or, an end to this marathon.
I met with the surgeon on day 10, and it was a surprisingly fast appt. He really never even came in the room to take a look at much. The sutures are dissolvable, so no need for removal. The incision is healing up very nicely, according to the nurse. We just talked about maybe adjusting the boot to 30 degrees at around week 3, and perhaps starting some very light stretching. Other than that, we scheduled an appt. for the 5 week mark, on August 5th. It will be interesting to see what he has to say at that point.
Thinking ahead, I also scheduled an appt. with a PT on the same day. The 5 week mark seems to be when most people get started with therapy, so I am looking forward to that.
I know that this race is still just beginning…but I have the best partner to be “running” with. Thanks a million to my wife!
After placing tons of calls to various orthopedic departments in our area, I set an appt. with the surgeon I decided to go with. Thanks to the achilles blog, I had a set of questions ready to go for him in my head. He seemed confident in the procedure, as he has been repairing AT’s for over 20 years. His experience put me at ease. Originally, he said he could get me in after the 4th of July, on Wednesday July 6th, which actually was my birthday. We begged and pleaded with him to try to get me in the week before that. I wanted to get to recovering ASAP, as my wife and I have a trip planned for August 9th to Antigua. I also read in some research that the sooner the surgery happens, the more successful the recovery in most cases. Every day counts!
He left the room to discuss it with his nurses and arranged it with the staff in the operating room to get me in on Thursday, June 30th! What a relief! So, that only gave me a few days to mentally and physically prepare for the surgery. It would have been tough to wait any longer. I read about some of the bloggers who have to wait for weeks to get the surgery. Thankfully I didn’t have to do that.
The morning of the surgery came quickly. I drank a ton of water the day before and fasted as directed. I showered up with the cleansing solution as directed and drove off to the hospital in the back seat of our 2011 Ford Mustang Convertable. (a free car, mind you!) At least that was a pleasant part of the process! We arrived and checked in, as I anxiously awaited my name to be called.
Once the nurse called my name it was off to the pre-op room. The nurses were great and really kept the atmosphere calm and relaxed. When things were set, I was wheeled to the “staging room” to talk with the anethesiologist to talk about the options. She was a very nice indian lady, who suggested the general anesthesia. I asked her about the nerve block, and she said that often times it may not work and when that happens, they have to adminster general anesthesia anyways. She said with my health and basically zero risk factors, that general anesthesia was the way to go. That made me somewhat nervous, but I have been put under before with no problems.
Then the surgeon came to meet with me before I went into the OR. He said that he was going to try a “new” procedure that he hasn’t tried before, called a percutaneous, or minimally invasive approach. He would use an instrument that would assist in bringing the damaged ends of the AT together to be sutured up. This would leave little scarring and chance for any complications like infections, etc. I was thrown off guard by that, but hey, I let the guy do his thing. I was wheeled into the OR, gas mask put on, and I was out within seconds.
I woke up in the same pre-op room being monitored by the same nurses. Things were fine, no pain at the surgical site. Although I did have a few times where my heartbeat was erratic. That could have been a side effect of the anesthesia, but it was actually pretty scary. The nurses actually brought in an EKG machine to check things out, but things were fine apparantly. I was not casted…but put right back into the same boot I was given in the ER. Happy about that! After some time, I was allowed to leave with my wife at my side. I was hungry to wanted to get something to eat quick. With food in front of me I actually became nauseous so ate very little. We decided to make the one hour trek home so I could get some rest. Let the recovery begin…
For a bit of a background scoop, I’d like to let you all know about a passion that I have developed within these short 34 years that I have been living. Growing up I was quite the speedster…thank you Dad for giving me that genetic trait! (although speed can be “trained”, contrary to popular belief…) However, in high school I was brainwashed by my hurdle coach to “give it a try, you might like it!”. So I did…and the rest is history. Needless to say, after a very successful high school and collegiate career, the passion for the hurdles has not dwindled. I currently teach Physical Education and Health, and am the Head Boys Track and Field Coach at my high school. Yes, the hurdles are my “favorite” event to coach, although, I need to be well-rounded of course. I just finished my 9th year of coaching, and every year I think to myself, “Gosh, I’d like to give the hurdles a shot ONE more time.” Well, after 9 years of pondering it, I finally gave in. In May, I started to train again for the hurldes. I have been in great shape all along, finishing a round of P90x, and just staying active. So, I still had a nice base of conditioning so I knew that it wouldn’t be an issue of getting into shape. I just focused on getting back into “hurdle shape” and started with some light hurdling sessions. I felt great after every practice! Of course I was a little sore in those areas I haven’t used for so long, but no negative indications otherwise.
So, I registered for a track meet on June 26th, known as the Badger State Games. It is a big week of events here in Wisconsin, you name the sport, they have the competition for it…all age groups. I signed up for the 30-34 age group for the hurdles race and it became official. I was set to complete my first hurdle race in over 10 years! I was excited, yet hesitant at the same time, but it was now or never, as I wasn’t getting any younger.
June 26th rolled around and I felt ready to do this. My wife has never watched me hurdle, so I was excited to show her that piece of my past. My brother also came to the meet to watch, so he was all pumped up to see me blow the field away, as I was so used to doing. I got to the track early and got a great warm-up in. I felt like a million bucks…no pain, energized and focused. I was eyeing up the other competitors and knew that I was the best hurdler there that day.
It was time…standing in front of my starting blocks, for a short moment I thought to myself that I am crazy for doing this. But there was no turning back now. This is what I have been anticipating for nearly 10 years. “Runners take your marks!” I engaged in my usual pre-block entry routine. A few jumps, visualization, and foot placement. “Get Set!” Took a deep breath in…”BANG!!!” I get a great start out of the blocks and attacked hurdle #1. Off to the lead, I sprint to hurdle #2 extending my lead even more. AND………..next thing I know it, I am on the ground, hitting it like a sack of potatoes. I try to recoup and figure out what just happenened. I felt the pop. I felt the mushiness of my achilles. I never thought this would ever happen to me. I got carried off the track and what hurt the worst was the road rash that I had on my other leg. The ruptured achilles didn’t even hurt! I suppose my adrenaline covered up the pain.
The trainers at the meet assisted me and got me on ice immediately. My next stop was the local ER and the Dr. there had actually sustained an achilles rupture as well, so he knew what to look for. So, he performed the good ol’ Thompson test and I passed it. It was confirmed that I had ruptured. I was devastated, my wife was devastated and my brother still could not believe what happened. Just like that, my life changed. But only for a long moment….I was introduced to my new best friends, the crutch and boot. This could be one of the most difficult hurdles in this race called life.