Archive for December, 2008

Dec 23 2008

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wilddog

a little dose of reality

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In previous posts I have stated how well I am doing.  Getting around great with the crutches and wheelchair, going back to work, no pain etc.  I decided to take the wheelchair I was using at work home because I was doing so well, I didn’t need it.  So yesterday I worked all day just getting around by my crutches.   Reality hit big time!  By noon my leg was swelled up so bad in the cast I couldn’t move it at all, could barely wiggle my toes!  I was exhausted from all the running back and forth I had to do, and the pain was starting to set in.  I got my leg elevated as quickly as I got home, but it is still swollen today.  The pain is not so much that I can’t stand it, but “the black dog” has come to visit. 

My girlfriends brother is an athletic trainer for a major univerisity and he had just talked to me a couple days ago about realizing that how easy things were for me right now and how I was having no pain, was a bit of a fluke and that most people don’t have it that easy.   He cautioned me to not get overly ambitious and try to do more than I was really able to do.   

Guess he was right.  :-(

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Dec 19 2008

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wilddog

pictures

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I am not sure how these pictures are going to turn out.  I sure can’t figure how to move them.  One is of my incision after the stitches were removed yesterday.  One is of the stand they put my foot on to put on the cast and the other is a picture of my very festive cast!

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Dec 18 2008

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wilddog

Stitches out–New Cast!

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Today was my first post-op visit and they removed the splint and took out my stitches.  I was all prepared for it to hurt, but it tickled more than hurt!  The nurse did say that people cry when they take out staples but usually stitches don’t hurt.

I tried really hard to talk the doctor into letting me go right into a boot since I was doing so well and having no pain.  He just smiled and told me to rest and be patient and said I would need the strength to get through physical therapy. 

When the nurse started putting on my new cast I realized I really didn’t want to be in a boot yet.  I almost passed out!  I can’t say that it was from the pain so much as from fear.  The tendon was so tight all I could think about as she was getting me to the neutral position was that it was going to pop.  She was really patient and went slow allowing it time to stretch.  When she finally had it in a position that the doctor said was ok, she put me on a very festive fiberglass cast.  It is green with red stripes.  It actually looks kind of dorky, but it was an attempt at some Christmas cheer!  If I can ever figure out how to load pictures I will put one up.

We are experiencing “weather conditions” here in Illinois tonight, so to all of my fellow ATR’s–be careful out there as you hobble around on the snow and ice.  As they told us on Kilimanjaro  “pole, pole” (po-lay, po-lay) which in swahilli means slowly slowly.

 

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Dec 15 2008

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wilddog

What difference does a year make?

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One year ago today I started out on one of the biggest adventures of my life,  to climb to the 2nd highest of the seven summits, Aconcagua.  Today I started on another adventure, going back to work after achilles tendon surgery.

Last year the enormity of the task filled me and my fellow climbers with a miriad of emotions and questions as to how we would each hold up.  Climbing mountains is 30% physical strength and 70% emotional strength.  And so it is with this recovery.  

It is so important as you climb in altitude that you go slow as it helps you acclimatize.  It is important with this recovery to go slow so that the recovery is complete and no setbacks are encountered.  It is amazing however, how much ground can be covered going slowly and just putting one foot in front of the other.  As I reminded myself daily on the mountain, ”THIS IS A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT!”

Equally important while climbing are the members of your climbing team.  While there are always personality differences, it is important that you work together, encourage and support one another.  When someone in our group would be down, there would always be someone there who was willing lighten the load by carrying a pack or giving a few suggestions or encouraging words.  This blog has become my climbing team.  The daily posts always have the words I need to answer a question or to pick me up.

One of the tips I was given by a friend of mine before I ever started climbing was that once you started up the mountain, don’t worry about the summit.  Instead focus only on how far you had to make it for the day.  And if that started getting to be too much, then break it down even farther.  Today, going back to work for the first time since surgery, I had to employ that tactic.  The excitement of going back to work quickly faded as my foot began to swell and I became tired from the constant up and down of my job, transferring between crutches and a wheelchair depending on where I needed to be.  I wanted to make an 8 hr day.  Then it was ok, let me get to lunch.  Made it to lunch, ok now let me make it till afternoon break.  Made it!  Great. Now can I make it to the end of the day?  Yeah!  I did it.  (I am writing this now at home with my foot in the air-but at least I made it with no pain- just swelling)

What difference does a year make?  I’m not sure.  The challenge is a little different, but the method of getting to the summit is much the same!

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Dec 11 2008

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wilddog

1wk/1d post surgery + book recommendation

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One week and one day post surgery and I feel fantastic!  As stated in an earlier post, I have no pain.  Unless you want to consider how “painfully bored”  I am!  I shouldn’t complain however, as I have been able to read a book a day.  If you like books about crime scene investgations and the like, may I recommend  the series of novels from Jefferson Bass.

Speaking with my doctors nurse yesterday, I convinced them to allow me to return to work this coming Monday!  I am thrilled at this prospect.  I am not used to being gone from work, feeling this good, unless it is a holiday or I am on vacation. 

thank you to everyone who is blogging.  Keeping up with how everyone is doing has been and will continue to be a part of my daily routine for quite a while.  It definitely helps me keep all things in perspective.

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Dec 06 2008

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wilddog

3 days post surgery

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Surgery was 3 days ago and Doc said the surgery itself went really well although he told my significant other that it was a bit worse than the MRI had shown.  He ended up removing 3/4 of the achilles tendon and replacing it with the tendon that controls the movement of your big toe.   I find myself wiggling my toes quite a bit and then sometimes regretting it when I get too carried away with the wiggles.  I had the pop block and for the first 12 hours post surgery I was unable to move my toes at all so i think that is why I am obsessed with wiggling my toes.  i do recommend to anyone getting ready for this surgery to have the pop block.  It is an extemely simple procedure that makes the pain for the first few hours after surgery non-existant.  Surprisingly enough, I am experiencing very little pain.  The only time it hurts is when I have my foot hanging down as I transfer from place to place via crutches, but once I get laid down and get the foot elevated the pain goes away.  All of people at the hospital I went to said my surgeon was the best around for this surgery and given my lack of pain, I am agreeing so far.   I did find out that because of how he used the tendon for my big toe I have to have some kind of special PT which kind of sucks as I have to drive an hour and a half to get to it.  I had wanted to go back to work this coming Monday but the doc says I can’t return to work until after my first post surgery doctor visit.  I am already bored to tears and it has only been 3 days!  I hope everyone does a lot of blogging so that I have something to look at!!

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