Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Drooling in my Sleep

Stitches out today -- well, stitch, not stichES -- one long spiral of prolene. On the last foot, the stitches were the worst part of the whole thing, hurt like hell!

This time, much easier. The surgeon took the stitches out a week earlier, and I took a valium before the appointment.

All I can say is, people take this stuff during the DAY? Oy. I fuzzed out half way through my appointment and fell asleep immediately when I got home. I woke up four hours later int he recliner, keyboard in my lap, and drooling. Not doing that again!

I'm supposed to take a wedge out of the boot in a week or so, and wait at least that long before soaking my foot. So far, things have been going well!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Officially in The Boot again

First followup appointment today, 10 days out -- things look great, the surgeon thinks I'm ahead of the curve, and I'm officially in the boot and out of the cast.

He thinks that it's because of the ice-water circulator (a nifty little pad that pumps ice water around my foot instead of using ice packs or bags of frozen peas like we did with the first one).  I've been sitting with my foot up and the ice-thing circulated most of the day. My foot isn't swollen, my toes move easily, the incision looks great. He thinks he'll be able to take the stitches out at three weeks instead of four this time. Which means my Christmas present from my surgeon is A BATH.

This is a good thing, trust me! I desperately want a bath. Mmmmmmmm.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

The Living Room look the Same

Did you know that there is a television show called Knitting Daily?

A television show. About knitting.

And it's just as exciting as you would imagine!

Sunday, December 06, 2015

I've been to the OUT!

I feel pretty bad that it is The Husbands birthday today and I'm pretty much not able to do anything for him -- I planned ahead a little and got him his gift earlier this week, but we can't really go out anyplace nice, etc. He's being really nice about it ("We'll just postpone and do something when you are able to get around"), but I feel awful.

We did get out of the house for dinner (just a local place we love), and it was enhausting for me. He's been hiding in his office for the day, and I feel like a schmuck.

But I CAN get out of the house, which is a plus!  Not quite able to do it by myself, but t least get in the car and be chauffeured around. :)

Happy Birthday, Adorable Husband! I promise to make it up to you when I can actually DO stuff!

Yay, Sports!

So, when people talk about watching "the game" over the weekend, I am always confused. What game? Which sport? Wha?

Is it the one where they do the thing with the ball?

This t-shirt sums up my approach to sports perfectly:

...and the boredom sets in

Well, five days in and I'm bored. Boooo-rrrreed. I have my computer setup in the living room, an endless supply of television shows on Hulu, and I'm still bored. This is going to be a long few months.

But I'm mostly off the pain meds, just relying on the ice-water pump for my foot, and things seem to be going well. I was worried for a bit, since it hurt a lot more than the other foot did initially, but it's settled down.

I've been rather compulsively reading travel books and websites for Iceland (we're going in May), and binge-watching recent tv shows and movies. I'm getting around a bit better -- still slow and a bit tentative, but I haven't had any issues.

So far, so good!!

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Becoming an atomic clock!

Well, the nerve-block wore off completely overnight and when I woke up, my foot was definitely not numb, and definitely hurt. Ow!

For my left foot, the nerve block lasted almost 48 hours (which freaked me out a bit, since I couldn't move my foot at all), and by the time I finally got feeling back in my foot, things really didn't hurt too much. This time? Things hurt a bit sooner -- and I have developed the ability to track time down to the minute:  at four hours, the percoset wears off and I am summoning The Husband for more. He is doling them out, since I forget that I even took one.

The surgeon gave me percoset again, for a day or two and also prescribed Valium for muscle spasms, which is new. I haven't had muscle spasms, but I think it's his response to my normal complain of "it doesn't really hurt, just...can't get comfortable". Apparently that is my presentation of pain and they think that a minor dis-associative will help. I haven't taken it yet, so I don't know.

So I spent the day in the chair, binge-watching BBC documentaries and web-surfing. The ice-water pump thing is working admirably -- wish I'd had it for the other foot, it really is better than a series of ice-packs changed every half-hour or so. 

But so far, so good. Hopefully this one will be as straightforward as the left heel. They took off a bone spur "the size of a nilla wafer", according to my surgeon. My right heel was always the worse of the two, the bump on my heel was much bigger on that one, and I had problems with it earlier than I did the left foot. But it's also my dominant foot (which is one of the reasons we did surgery on the left foot first -- at least the working foot would be the good one!

Off to bed!

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Second Surgery Done!

Dragged ourselves out of the house at 5:30, the same team that did my first surgery wrapped this one up in record time and I was back at home by 10:30. Mark is taking a whole week off to wait on me hand and foot!

This time, they wrapped an ice-water circulating pack around my foot, with a little pump thing to keep water cooling my foot (no ice packs!), so I'm sitting here tethered to the tiny pump and my foot is wrapped up to mimic an elephant's foot. It's huge!

The nerve block didn't "take" as well as the last one and I could move my toes and my foot hurt when I first woke up from anesthesia, but things have settled down. Remember last time? My leg from the knee down was totally, completely numb for two whole days -- freaked me out!

I pretty much slept all day in the chair. Snoring quietly, if my husband is to be believed.  I'm going with "snoring like a rhino", if my waking myself up is any indication, but he was trying to be nice! A bit of a sore throat from the intubation, but that's it. Not nauseous or anything, which is good. I have never had nausea from anesthesia (knock on wood!)

I can, with a bit of work and supervision, make it to the bathroom.  It's a bit more complicated (turn off pump thing -- for which Mark installed an actual SWITCH on The Chair, disconnect hoses, etc), but I can manage. I was worried that having my dominant foot being the "off" foot was going to be a problem but so far I seem to be doing ok.


I cannot get into our bed with my right foot out of commission. I sleep on the right side of the bed, and our bed is very tall -- getting in is a bit of a gymastic leap and I can only do it from my right foot. I tried getting in the same way on Mark's go. Definitely not graceful. I may have to sleep in the other room until I'm a bit more agile. I practiced a bunch before surgery and while I might be able to struggle into the bed, it is not easy. Hmph. Mark is building a step that might help me boost my way up into the bed. Maybe. Although today I am a bit too uncoordinated to try it, I think.

Mashed potatoes for dinner (yeah! for Thanksgiving leftovers!) and napping in the chair. At least I got a free month of Hulu to watch All The Shows while I sit here, bored.

Monday, November 30, 2015

....and the other one!

Just popping back in that I'm up on the surgeried foot (still hobbling a bit, but walking!) and my second surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, December 1.



Can you just FEEL the enthusiasm?  I've been waffling between "yup, do it as soon as possible" and "never, never again".  Obviously, "do it now" won. Ugh.

The previous surgery went really well, I have stiffness and muscle atrophy, but no real pain my fixed foot, and I want to be back working out and walking in a few months. This sitting on my butt unable to do anything got very, very old.

So! Off to surgery tomorrow. I'll try to post updates as I can!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Six weeks post-surgery

Had my six week follow-up appointment today and things look really good. Incision is healed well, swelling is down, everything feels well-attached and proper.  The doc moved my foot all over and now it aches a bit, but otherwise I have permission to start putting my toe down and doing a teensy bit of weight-bearing. I'm allowed to put my booted foot on the floor for balance, and can touch it down if I'm using the walker, but no real pressure yet.

I also have removed one of the wedges from the boot, so my foot is a tiny bit more flexed and I'm starting to stretch out the tendon just a bit. I can do range-of-motion exercises now, too. Those are pretty self-limiting --- move my foot up and down, side-to-side, around in circles and if it pinches or hurts, back off. That's a relief, actually; lately, the urge to twitch and move my foot have been almost irresistible. I've been trying so hard to do exactly what the surgeon ordered (do not move foot! do not flex ankle! elevate! No weight bearing!) and it was starting to be an all-consuming obsession.

I know I move my foot at night when I sleep, but now I can do it purposefully and not worry about it. Weird when that sort of thing makes you happy, isn't it?

And I have the OK to switch over to ibuprofen (Advil) instead of Tylenol. Initially, they don't want you taking an anti-inflammatory while the tendon is starting to re-attach; it can cause issues with healing, I guess, since there is so little blood flow to the tendon and the heel. But Tylenol doesn't do squat for me except give me a sour stomach. It doesn't even kick a headache. So if it was taking the edge off the ache in my heel, it didn't seem to be doing it very well. I'm allowed to go back to ibuprofen regularly for a week to see if it helps. I'm hoping that it does, and that it lets me sleep better. I've just been sort of twitchy and restless at night, and not sleeping very well. Mark thinks it's because it does hurt more than I'm recognizing and that sort of achy-can't-get-comfortable feeling is how I register pain. Go figure. I wouldn't say that things hurt, but if I think about it, I'm acutely aware of my heel and that it aches and twinges. Getting rid of that distraction will hopefully let me sleep better. Here's hoping!

Four weeks until my next followup, when I should be able to remove the rest of the wedges in the boot and start weight bearing a bit more. The estimate is that it will be 6 weeks until I'm walking in the boot vs hobbling, and then another month or more before I'm bootless. Definitely a conservative plan, but we'll see how it progresses once I start PT and strength exercises after the next review. I'm figuring I should be walking in about five months or so -- which matches up with the estimates I saw online, and what my surgeon discussed with me.

And then I get to do the OTHER foot!  The criteria is that I have to be able to hop and stand on my toes with the left foot before I can have surgery on the other one. I'm having a hard time with that sometimes now, with achilles tendonosis in my right heel causing problem sometimes. There are days when I can't raise myself up on my toes, which makes everything harder.

Mark is installing a grab bar on the garage so that I have an easier time getting down the two steps from the porch to the garage door. That will help now that I can maneuver myself out to the car and drive (his car only -- mine is a stick shift!). It's a hassle, and I'm very slow, but it's good to be able to do it myself.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Can I come into the Out Now?

Lazy weekend, spent most of it watching TV and doing crossword puzzles -- I can't seem to sleep in, for the last few weeks I've had a hard time sleeping. It's not so much a problem with falling asleep, but I think I'm just uncomfortable enough that when I get through a sleep cycle (about 90-100 minutes for me), I actually wake up enough to be, well, awake.

Instead of just rolling over and falling back to sleep immediately, I have to wake up enough to roll over without bashing or bending my foot. Or I try it without fully waking up and something zaps me in my heel or ankle and I am Awake Right Now. It's annoying. It's particularly annoying because once I wake up enough to do that, I wake up enough to have to pee. Seriously. Never in my life have I been able to roll back over and go back to sleep if I even have the barest hint of  a thought that I need to go to the bathroom. So, foot twinges, I wake up to roll over and then...well, crud. Sit up, find and put on the boot, maneuver the scooter to the bathroom and voila! I am up and can't quite fall back to sleep. So I lie there for a half hour or more, staring at the wall and trying to get comfortable.

I mean, I love sleeping without the boot -- SO much easier than trying to flop the giant plastic and foam cast around -- but I am just not sleeping well. Benadryl at night seems to help, a little. Well, the vicodin does, too, but I don't want to take that unless things hurt and they don't really. They are just...uncomfortable. I toss and turn a bit and end up sleeping in the same position, which makes me stiff and sore in the morning.

But my foot is feeling better --after soaking yesterday and scrubbing all the dry skin of my foot and leg, I was sitting in the chair and my foot just felt like it was tight, like the skin was too tight. I really think that it was just so dry and "new" that it hurt to move. Which is why it's surprising that it took a few hours to think "oh! Lotion!" and slather the stuff on like it was going out of style. Seemed to help a bit, although my toes are swollen enough that touching them is uncomfortable. Wiggling them a lot helped, too.

Spent more time today with my foot unwrapped and airing out. Mark is a bit worried that I might have a pressure sore on the top of my foot, but it seems to look better today. Not being able to move my foot much is beginning to be a problem--I want to roll my foot around, and I'd really like to confirm that the flaccid calf muscle will still work. Even a twitch right now makes my heel hurt, so I am trying to ignore the urge to move my foot around when it's not in the boot. I'm really looking forward to the surgeon's ok to start to try to move it a bit. (Although I'm also dreading it -- I don't know if it will hurt or not, and I'm a bit terrified of having pain like I did when I fell).

We watched the animated movie "Home" --quite cute, and the main character (and alien named Oh) has a scene where he's locked in a freezer, and asked, "Can I come into the Out now?" That's how I feel every day...I'm getting heartily sick of the view from my recliner. I want to be OUT of the house, even to just drive to the gas station. I don't care! OUT!

Yup, cabin fever has set in. Argh!

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Everything can be solved with Hot Water

I was finally allowed, after FOUR weeks and finally getting the stitches removed, to get the incision wet and actually soak in the bathtub. This feels like the first real hygiene I've had since surgery. (It's not, but it sure feels like it!)

Not a sit-on-the-shower-chair affair with my foot in the giant baggie, trying to wash while sitting and holding the shower sprayer, not a washcloth-and-towel sort-of wash, but a full-on, soak in the bathtub until I was pruney BATH!


I had to drain and refill the tub twice, but I am scrubbed and exfoliated (which was a wee bit gross, what with my foot in the bandages and boot for the last month) and clean! We have a bit soaker tub in our bathroom, so I had a pretty easy time getting into the bathtub. Mark supervised.

Getting out was a bit harder, but I can still manage it if I'm very careful. I'm just so paranoid of doing anything without the boot on, that it's hard to maneuver without the boot and not bash or twist or press on my foot. My poor leg is all skinny and atrophied (no movement at all for a month, I hope it remembers what to do in two weeks when I can start moving my ankle!) but it is at least hairless now.

Mark says the incision looks good, and I'm sitting in the chair letting my foot air out and dry. But I get queasy looking at the incision, so he has helpfully draped it with a washcloth so I don't have to see it.

It's pretty funny, actually. I am just a wuss.

I will need to replace the ace bandage to help with swelling, but at the moment, I have a big bruise on the top of my foot where the bandage was apparently a little too tight. I don't think it was the boot -- it's not in a place where the velcro straps cut across my foot, but I'm going to keep both the bandage off and the boot for as long as I can bear sitting here in the chair. My toes are a bit swollen and feel sort of sausage-y, but otherwise look pretty good
And now for those who like watching the surgery channel, the actual incision:
It doesn't actually look too bad (and for some reason, looking at the pictures doesn't make me want to hurl, just the live foot does that.

I don't see the surgeon again for another week and half (at full six weeks after surgery) and hopefully the next step will be to start doing some weight-bearing and starting to stretch the tendon back so I can stand flat-footed. Right now, my foot is pointed at a "neutral angle" and I am not supposed to pull on the heel at all. That process will take 4-6 weeks as well. He's being very conservative, but I'd rather be slow and sure than risk damaging something or having a ton of pain.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

4 Weeks Post Surgery

Woot! A Month out -- things are going well. I went in this afternoon to have the stitches taken out (finally!)

OW OW OW OW OW! Seriously, that HURT. I wasn't expecting it to; the only other time I've had stitches that needed to be removed, they were old-fashioned, single-stitch silk. Taking those out was simple: clip the stitch and tug the 1/4" or so of thread out.

Not so much with my heel. I hadn't taken a really good look at it (since stitches in general make me a bit queasy), but it was stitched subcutaneously with one long length of prolene (a sort of non-absorbable polypropolene thread). So, pulling out the stitches was really pulling out this really long length of fishing line that was spiralled into the incision. Hurt like hell and lit up all the nerve endings in my foot.  I only cried a little bit.

But everything looks good (although my left calf is skinny and atrophied because I'm 100% non-weight-bearing. It's going to be funny looking when I finally take off the boot. I have another follow-up in two weeks -- and still no walking on my left foot. Hopefully I'll get the go-ahead to start toe-touching and putting a bit of weight on the foot and starting the process to work my way down from the four wedges in the boot (to keep my foot at a neutral, to-pointing angle) to a normal flat-footed step.

Slow progress, but progress! That is good!

I am really getting tired of the view of my living room from the recliner. Poor Mark is met at the door with "where are we going OUT OUT OUT tonight? Get me OUT of the house!"

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Three Week post-op

Follow-up appointment today, ostensibly to remove the stitches (which, I must admit, are beginning to itch a little bit --worse now that I had the initial thought "ooh, that itches just a little..." now it's all I can think about).  But my surgeon decided to leave them in place for another week. Heels (and feet in general) don't have a ton of blood-flow to the skin and so any incisions are very slow to heal and need much babying and care.  Everything looks good -- incision is clean, heel is pink, not too much swelling.

So, Mark got to review the MRI from last week (which is pretty cool, I must say), and we both got to look at the "after" xrays and see just how much bone he removed from my heel to get the bone spurs and Haglund's deformity removed.  I should have copies of them soon, I'll post them when we get the CDs.

But -- and here's the fabulous news! -- after much begging and reassuring him that I promise to wear The Boot every other moment of the day, I have been cleared to sleep without the boot! He figures that if my fall didn't do any damage, what could I possibly do while sleeping? If I try to move it in a way that is not good, it will wake me up.

Slightly less gruesome pictures this week -- things are less purple-y and freaky. I still have strings of stitches (which I must admit make me very queasy and barfy. I hate stitches. And my foot is still vaguely orange-ish from the betadine, since I haven't been able to get my foot wet at all. I'm  just a little bruised.

And, three weeks in the cast and boot and my left leg is all skinny and atrophied. But I don't have a lot of swelling in my foot, which is good. Back into the elastic bandage and into the boot we go!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Good New for a Change!

Good news!  My MRI results look good -- evidence of healing, and NO TEARS in the achilles. When I fell, I apparently did not step down on the foot (or if I did, nothing bad happened except pain).

No second surgery to repair things and I'm on track. Woot!!

Next appointment is on Wednesday, 3 weeks post-surgery. I'm still no-weight-bearing (and assume I will be for another week or two at least). But things are ok! Yeah!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

No incidents today!

I managed to successfully take a shower without falling, slipping, banging, or otherwise damaging myself. Yeah!!

Of course, the Adorable Husband was there the whole time and it took 45 minutes, but I feel. so much better! Whoever tells you that 'bathing' with a washcloth and washing your hair in the sink is good enough---lies. It's not. After a few days you feel awful and grimy and disgusting.

I cannot wait until I have the stitches out (Wednesday this week) and I can take a shower without the waterproof baggie thing, or even soak in the bathtub. The problem with a bath is that I don't think I can lever myself out of the's one of those huge soaker affairs and it's hard enough to get out of on a good day!

Friday, July 17, 2015

OK, Universe, enough!

I surrender. The universe obviously has it in for me. No more.

I'm doing ok, still waiting for results from my MRI, but otherwise same-old, same-old. Things hurt a bit, I'm annoyed an uncomfortable, but all is going ok.

The Adorable Husband, however, called me at three o'clock yesterday to tell me that he was on the way to the ER because he was in A-Fib (Atrial Fibrilliation) and needed to be cardioverted. This is the first time he's had an issue in almost 9 years, and the fourth time he's had to be shocked back into a normal rhythm.  Aaargh! Seriously? We need another thing wrong this week?

He's fine -- they do it under general anesthesia and he was home by seven and looking and feeling fine. My nerves are shot, but other than being a bit tired, he is ok and back to work this morning.

So, that's it. Nothing else can happen. One person having issues is enough!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Day 14 - Insurance Annoyance

I've been icing and elevating, and my heel is feeling ok -- no more painful than it was before, mostly.A twinge now and then, but doing ok. I'm hoping that this is a good sign; that this means I didn't rupture or tear anything off my heel.

At any rate, when we called the surgeon on Saturday night, he said he wanted an MRI. So, the order went in on Monday and the lovely dance with the insurance company starts. The scheduler at the office calls to tell me that insurance denied the MRI and would not give pre-approval for it. Ookay. Apparently it went to them, then to their physician review process, andtheir physician decided that it wasn't necessary and an xray would do.

Um. no. We know I have bones in my foot, but an xray will not show the surgeon if the reconnected tendon is still attached. It won't tell anyone anything except to reconfirm that my foot isn't broken. We know that. So, reconsideration after trying, again, to explain that I'm 10 days post-op and had an accident and stepped on the foot and possibly ripped loose all the tendon attachment points. I talked to them, Mark talked to them, and the scheduler talked to them. Nope! Not medically necessary, an xray shoudl be just fine for diagnosing issues with a sprain/strain.

Wait, what? No, not a strain, you idiots. A post-op accident where I may have torn the freaking tendon loose from the repair. We're trying to determine the patency of the Achilles re-fastening. Back to the drawing board with the insurance company and the medical review group. Seriously, it was like a bad game of Telephone. How the ICD-9 code for 'achilles rupture' became 'strain/sprain' is not quite clear. Well, obviously, the insurance company doesn't want to pay for an MRI if they don't have to. SO they come back with "needs to have a physician evaluation and xray first".

Sure, now I have an appointment for an xray and time for the surgeon to look at me, unwrap my foot, and then note "needs MRI" in the chart. Oh, taht was useful! Dr Leonard dutifully prodded my ankle, noted that the tendon seemed to have the same tension in both heels, and didn't have any obvious injury. And then laughed and said, "But I can't tell anything at all until I see the MRI".

This time, the scheduler called and walked down the hallway with her headphone on to grab the doc when she got the review company on the phone. "Here! I have my physicians, get yours on the phone". It took a total of three minutes for my surgeon to explain just why the other guy was wrong and this was required. Voila, MRI scheduled for that afternoon. Seriously, that was way to complicated for a necessary test (with a pretty hard time limit).

I will say that of course, even if the insurance had denied it yet again, I woudl have had the MRI today. It's not something I"m going to skip just because they want to be pissy. It's necessary and I don't want to repeat this all in six months if we discover that the tendon attached improperly or healed badly.

THe doc said he had a patient last year who did the same thing and never told him. ONce you rupture the tendon, there isn't any actual pain -- like cutting a phone cord: sound one second, then nothing. So the repair shifted, healed badly and too high on the heel and took several hours to fix later on. I really don't want that. I really don't want ANY re-op, and I'm hoping that this doesn't need it. But I am going to do everything to be sure before we write this off as "Robin is a Klutz, please note that in her chart."

The MRI was uneventful. Took longer than I thought it would, with my foot in a very awkward position. You have to be utterly still, so they pretty much strap whichever part of you they need to scan into a brace with foam and velcro.  They have a standard foot/heel brace; nope - can't actually flex my foot far enough to get it into the brace and still scan it all. He tried a round frame that they use for whole foot or knee or hand; nope -- my foot doesn't quite fit without bending it down, can't do that either. It's neutral position or nothing. One last try, a big foam envelope thing that he could pout my foot in  on its side and then fasten it down with another layer and velcro. Felt like putting it in a waffle maker.  The scan of my heel/ankle took about 25 minutes once we got things  velcroed in and me slid halfway into the MRI machine. I had though it was faster, but Mark said that I must have been thinking of the CAT scan machine, which is super fast. This is slow and loud, but turns out pretty 3d images. We notified the radiologist and the surgeon and headed off to  have a burger.

I should hear about the results in the next day or so, and have a default follow up set for next week (it can take 3-5 days to get things read normally, but my surgeon is pretty antsy to figure this out, since if it needs to be re-done, doing it sooner rather than later is a big deal.) If I do need the repair re-done, I assume we'll schedule it for next Tuesday. Oh, fun. Start from square one. I sincerely hope not.

So, think good thoughts that my MRI is clear and that I aggravated this, not damaged it. Every time I slightly twist, or slip and tense my foot, or accidentally touch my foot down, it hurts, so I'm ready for this to be resolved!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Not the worst news

Well,  my wrist isn't broken, or at least nothing obvious is - there are so many little bones taht something could be bashed, but it was proclaimed a significant sprain and they sent me home from the ER with a splint and more pain meds.

It still feels broken, so I apparently did a really good job bashing it when I fell.  My foot still hurts a lot, we're just waiting for the MRI appointment tomorrow to see if I did any real damage. Slept most of the day, after a really awful night.

I am Queen of the Klutzes! All Hail!


I finally got situated to take a shower tonight -- can take off the boot, have a waterproof leg thing to keep my foot dry, shower chair, etc. Great! Clean!

I was done, half-dressed, and leaned to open the door to call Mark to help me get the boot back on...and slipped and fell. I don't know if I stepped flat, just hit my foot, or what happened. I don't really remember what happened. I just remember that it just might be the most pain I've ever been in.

I didn't rupture the tendon -- it's still attached, at least partially and it's not rolled up into my calf, I may have torn something loose, I'm not sure. Mark got me on ice, in the chair, and calmed down enough take pain meds and then called the on-call for the orthopedist. My own surgeon called back -- there isn't much to to immediately, so he wants an MRI on Monday morning to see if I've effed up everything in my heel. I hope not. I'm on two Vicodin (twice as much as I have had to take at all, even right after surgery) and it still hurts like hell. Even the slightest movement is bad.

I am NOT happy. Freaked out, more like it. I hope things are ok, probably a set back, not something taht requires surgery again, but @%^^!@.

And, I may have broken something in my wrist. Mark thinks it's just jammed/sprained, but if it doesn't feel better in the morning, we're heading in for xrays. I can't grab/push anything, which makes it very freaking hard to use the bathroom or do anything other than sit here. I'm typing one-handed. And it's one in the morning and things hurts enough that I can't even lie down and try to sleep.

Well, even if I had planned on going to work on Monday, I think I will be off for a bit more time, it seems. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

My constant companion

This is how I have spent my day -- in the recliner (complaining about the stupid boot), with Rowan camped out as close as possible and periodically staring up at me expectantly.

Amazed...or scared

We finally bought a Dyson vacuum, after years of being told that we needed to have the "Animal" version, what with the dogs and all.

It arrived today, The Adorable Husband immediately unboxed it, put it together, and gleefully went into my office to vacuum. My office is where the dogs spend a lot of their time, I spend most of my time there, and it's vacuumed a lot less than the rest of the house since I'm almost always home when the cleaning people come, and I hate to vacuum.

Well, enough mitigation.

He was in there for less than two minutes and started laughing -- and then emerged with the bin from the vacuum cleaner...looking like this:

Ninety seconds. Seriously.

I swear, the carpet looked a bit dingy, but it wasn't awful. There weren't drifts of dog hair all over. It was even cleaned not that long ago!

So I'm sort of terrified to use it on the rest of the carpet. I don't think I want to know just how much fluff and dirt is in the carpet that looks perfectly clean to me! 

I totally understand why my sister called me up in tears when she bought one years ago -- she vacuumed every day, and this still happened to her. I sympathize!

Friday, July 10, 2015

10 days and I hate the freaking boot

First followup appointment today -- the doc removed the splint and about forty yards of fluffy cotton batting and peeled off the steri-strips and pronounced things "looking good".  Not quite ready to remove the stitches yet (that will be next week).

Of course, now I have The Boot. I hate The Boot. It is heavy, unwieldy, uncomfortable, and I'm pretty much turning into a whiny monster now that I'm home. I can't fine a position that's comfortable and no matter what I do my foot is squished. Frankly, things hurt more now that they have all week. Waaaah!  I'm half-tempted to go back and ask for a splint again for the next few weeks. I can't put it down anyway -- not even toe-touching --  this is going to make my cranky.

Otherwise, though, things look good. He's not going to take out the stitches until next week. My foot looks gruesome (well, at least to me), but I'm told that it's just fine.

Me, in the ginormous boot with four wedges in it so I don't flex my foot:

Even the pillow isn't helping.

My mom sent me a care-package yesterday with four glittery pins that say "Queen", "Princess", "Bitch" and OhShit!"...and a tiara. My sister Jenna sent a light-up sparkly Princess Fairy wand. I'm set. I'm going to pick the Princess pin today, wave the Princess wand, and sulk.

I should be far enough down to post the icky pictures, for anyone who is remotely interested. Otherwise, scroll now!

First, the less-gross picture -- bruised, but not terribly swollen, really. That was surprising.

And now for those who like watching the Surgery Channel -- here's the back of my heel:

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Day 8: Tylenol is my friend

Well, things have fallen into a pattern here at Chez Phouka -- get up, slither down the stairs to sit in the chair, and get waited on hand and foot. I feel like royalty.

Oh, wait -- not quite. The Adorable Husband had to go back to work yesterday and I've been whining about how hard this is by myself. I didn't realize how much he was doing for me -- just the random fetching of ice, tylenol, diet coke and the rest is a big deal. I have to plan head more and make one trip. Luckily my fabulous scooter has a basket!

I'm not really in much pain any more -- just random zrrrps! along the back of my heel and a dull ache. It's more annoying/uncomfortable than actually painful as long as I don't put any pressure on it. I was taking only a half a pain pill every four to six hours and that seemed fine, and now tylenol seems to be handling things well enough. I get a bit uncomfortable, sort of twitchy and achy, but nothing bad at all. I still keep my foot elevated as much as possible. Having the recliner and a pillow are just the trick!

I think this has really gone a lot better than I thought it was going to. A lot less pain. The annoyance factor of not being able to put my foot down at all is pretty high, though. Another 3-4 weeks of that, I think. Hopefully at my appointment on Friday they will take off the cast/splint and put me in the boot. That is more secure and I'll feel less worried about whacking things -- although, I will also probably feel less paranoid about resting my foot on the floor, which will still be a no-no.

The hardest part is really just doing the normal daily stuff -- getting up and going to the bathroom, getting more diet coke, answering the door, all of those things take a long time and are tiring. I sort of took for granted that I could just go up and down stairs..not at the moment. Up = crawling, and down = scooting. I could try using crutches, but I'm such a remarkable klutz I'd probably kill myself. I've never been good at crutches.

I did buy an iWalk crutch on the recommendation of another achilles-surgery blogger -- it's sort of a pirate peg-leg affair that is supposed to replace a pair of crutches and be more stable/easier to walk on. I've tried it out a few times, but the scooter is way easier, to be honest. The girl in the promo picture makes it look so easy, right? Not quite.  I did practice with it a bit before surgery,and I think once I'm in a boot isntead of just this splint thing, I may try it for longer distances. If I can stomp upstairs in the thing instead of crawling up on my knees, that will be a big win! Plus, I get to practive my pirate 'yaaaaaar!'. I might even have an eyepatch around her somewhere.

So, not much to report. More --probably including gruesome stitch pictures - -after my appointment on Friday!

Sunday, July 05, 2015

A bit optimistic

Oy. I got a bit too enthusiastic about not taking the narcs last night, figuring that tylenol would be fine and I was past the worst of it.

Nope. Feels like my foot is on fire this morning, and the barest movement makes my whole leg hurt. 

I must have overdone it yesterday, but today is back in the recliner with ICE and lots of whining and tenseness and bags of frozen peas. Ow! I'm afraid to move. Serves me right for being cocky.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Day 4: We're Rollin', rollin', rollin'

Both yesterday and today have been pretty quiet -- same schedule as before: get up, shimmy down the stairs on my butt, and trundle over to the recliner, where I spend most of the day. I've been trying to make sure to get up every two hours or so and move around, but mostly my days have been spent in the chair napping or watching movies.

I've been weaning back from the Percoset during the day, and it's been mostly ok. I have prickles of nerve pain taht shoot through my foot when I move things, but it's minor, and at least I can move my toes now. There was a period on Thursday where I was absolutely obsessed with the thought that I couldn't move my toes -- couldn't move any of my foot, even if I tried. Nothing happened. It's a really strange sensation and it freaked me out a little. I was really grateful when I started having little zaps of feeling in my toes and my foot, even if it hurt.

Mark would walk by every few hours and touch my toes -- to check that they were warm and not too swollen, and to see if I felt anything. I had to tell him to stop (or at least let me cover my eyes first) because it was very disturbing to having him poke at my toes and not feel a thing. It was creepy. And then came the time when he ran his fingers under my toes and it felt like he'd lit them on fire. Ouch.

Well, my toes and the rest of my foot seem to be doing fine -- occasionally there is a numb spot or a weird tingling but I'm attributing taht to swelling and the bandages, really. Nothing too strange. Mostly what I'm feeling now is pressure and heat, and a deep, dull ache in the hell and along my tendon from where he sawed off bone.  It's actually quite tolerable when I'm awake -- an ice pack usually does the trick to keep things from feeling creepy-crawly.  I can tell my foot is pretty swollen just by the pressure of the splint on my foot and the pressure on the ball of my foot.

As far as I can tell, my foot didn't swell up too terribly much -- no sausage toes or throbbing and too-tight bandages. I had it elevated from the moment I got home for at last 48 hours, and I'm still putting it up on a pillow or two when I'm in the recliner. At night, I just prop my whole leg up on a thick pillow. That has really helped -- ice and elevation are recommended for 48 hours and I can't stress enough how important that is. It's hard to find a comfortable position sometimes, since I shouldn't set my foot down so it rests all on the incision, but with the thick splint, I haven't worried too much. I imagine it's a rather kaleidescopic range of blues and purples, though. I tend to bruise really spectacularly. But we aren't supposed to pull off any of the dressing or wrappings until we see the doc next Friday. It's making Mark a bit crazy -- I mean, he's a nurse, why can't he change the dressing and make sure it's ok? But the argument is that it was sterile when they wrapped it, and should remain that way.

I'm down to Tylenol during the day, as I noted. It is enough to take the edge off and is just fine as long as I don't spend too much time with my foot down.  I seem to be ok on the scooter for a while -- we went on a short walk outside today! -- but it's particularly aggravated by trying to sit on the toilet. Go ahead, try it -- try to sit there without resting your foot on the floor! It's hard. One thing that really helps is keeping the walker in the bathroom to help stand up and rest your foot on.

I made the mistake of putting just a teensy bit of pressure on my foot (while sitting) and it  made me yelp. It's definitely very painful and it a good deterrent to even trying that again. I'm noticing a bunch of little twinges today that I'm sure will be showing up with more frequency as I start moving around more. Leaning down without bending my knee is a no-no -- feels like someone is pulling all the skin up over my heel, a very strange prickling sort of thing. Twisting isn't really possible with the splint, but I can feel things shifting about a little. I woke myself up this morning with one of those midde-of-the-night spasms, you know the sort? Where you dream you miss a step or fall or something and your whole body jerks? Yeah, that woke me right up!

A few of the blogs referenced charley-horses and muscles spasms as being pretty common. You can't move from a toe-pointed position, and that tends to cause things to seize up randomly.  My surgeon mentioned it, and they can give me Valium or something to make it less likely, but we decided to wait and see. I haven't had any real issues, other than some random crawling in my calf, so I hope that's it.  I'm sure I'll feel that way until I get the first one and then it'll be all 'bring on the drugs!'.

The one thing that I wish I had thought more about is the rather well-known tendency of narcotic pain killers to stop you up like Hoover Dam. Oh, yeah. Not fun. Definitely take the doc up on the Colace or whatever other options they offer. And take them religiously. And get up and move around more.

I'm still napping at odd intervals -- just dozing off for an hour or so in the chair. I originally told work and the FMLA coordinator that I thought I'd be back after a week, but I think I was being far too optimistic about my ability to concentrate and actually work. Sure, I can sit here, but I get spurts of a few hours being "on", and then I'm exhausted. I'm going to call them and tell them that I'll plan on coming back after my first followup appointment -which is July 10.

The Adorable Husband just went out to get Dairy Queen. He's been so patient and nice about all of this. I've been trying to limit the whinging, but I'm sure I've been demanding and cranky. 

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Day 2...and the nerve block has ended

Ow ow ow! The nerve block wore off some time in the middle of the night (well, mostly, my toes still feel a little electrified and stiff), but my heel has definitely started to throb and hurt. There's no real comfortable way to sit and I've morphed into a crabby whiny person.

Mark stayed home again today. He was going to go to work, but he said he realized this morning just how much he's been doing for me and that I'd be stuck if he wasn't here. He would have been home by noon, but they had enough people in the lab that he could stay home. He's been up in his office playing computer games and checking in on me every hour or so. 

Definitely taking the lovely little pain pills, although I have to rely on Mark to dole them out because I can't remember when I took the last one. I made it downstairs, in time to nap in the chair all afternoon. My life is so exciting, I tell you.

I accidentally touched my heel down on the floor -- I won't be doing that again if I can help it. Right now I'm in a hard splint wrapped up to my knee. The doc doesn't want us to mess with it until we see him on the 10th, which is my first scheduled followup. At that point, he should remove the stitches and put me in a boot.

Ok, back to sleep. That's about all I'm managing today.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Day 1: Still Numb

Slept like a rock last night -- no pain whatsoever, mostly just awkward with the splint and wrapping, so once I got settled, I was out for the count. Mark strongly suggested taking the pain pills, just on the of chance that things might start hurting overnight, but things were still totally numb this morning when I got up (at the lovely early hour of 10am!).

Getting up and down the stairs is a bit of a trial -- scoot up on my butt is the only real option. I haven't really used the crutches much, and since I'm not very good at them, I really don't want to try them on stairs while I'm still so wobbly. Mark carries the scooter up the stairs for me.

The knee scooter has been a lifesaver; even at this early date, it means I can get around the house and I'm not worried about putting my foot down or slipping or anything. I've got just about every assistive device we could think of (wheelchair, crutches, on-legged-peg-leg crutch, walker, scooter) and I'm whizzing about on the scooter with ease. I have to be careful backing up, since I can't feel if my foot gets whapped on things.

Fabulous scooter, though, isn't it? Unfortunately, I couldn't find a red one. The basket comes in handy, though. And it has a handbrake.

So, I spent the day in the recliner watching movies and reading (and napping), and thinking that this isn't really too bad, I'm beginning to get a few twitches in my foot and leg, but my toes are still numb and swollen, I'm figuring that things will be better tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Surgery day 0

Following the instructions for no food or water from midnight on wasn't too bad-- especially since we discovered that Dairy Queen is open until 11pm.  We spent last night getting everything set up in the
Icing room, charging all the various electronic devices I have, and letting me just freak out a bit.

Getting up at 4:30 so I can shower and scrub my leg and get to the surgery enter by 6 was less fun, but after a few more bits of paperwork to sign I was whisked back to change into the lovely backless gown, get an IV and get scrubbed yet again with chlorhexadine.  The anesthesiologist gave me a nerve block from the knee down, versed and fentanyl, and after three breaths in the mask and whatever else they pushed in the IV, I was asking Mark when they were going to start and he laughed and said it was over.  I remember nothing-- including most of the ride home.

Surgery took about two hours.  There were a few areas of calcification in the tendon itself that he had to reduce, and he cut off the bone spur and removed the Haglunds bone bump, and bolted everything back together.  I'm in a splint and wrapped with about two inches of gauze and bandaging, but everything is still totally numb.

The nerve block should last for 12-36 hours (although it could take up to 48) and while it's working, I  feel nothing, and can't move my toes.  It's the not being able to move my toes that's freaking me out a bit--if I think about it, I get all squicked out and anxious.  By the lack of any pain is good.

Im supposed to ice and elevate for the next 48 hours, and pretty much do nothing.  Slept the rest of the day, mostly.

Watched a bit of tv while ensconced in the Throne, and shimmed up the stairs on my butt at nine to sleep.  My leg is still numb, so once I got comfortable in bed, I was out like a light. Mark had me start on the pain meds just in case things wore off In the middle of the night.  So far, so good!

Monday, June 29, 2015

They're going to do what?

The surgery has been described to me as "detach the tendon, shave everything down, and bolt it back on".  Sounds fun, eh? Since orthopedic surgery can entail power tools and hammers, I'm a bit anxious.

I've got a good-sized bone spur and excess bone growth on the top of my heel, to go along with the calcification/damage to the tendon itself. So - shave all of that off (or chisel it, who knows what they do) and reattach everything.

While my surgeon isn't going to use this product, here is a rough idea of what they are going to do (don't worry, nothing really squeamish in the video, it's all animated).  A lot depends on how much of the tendon is damaged, so they may have to de-attach more or less of it).

Achilles Speedbridge Animation

When I went looking on line for information about the surgery --and here's a note: don't. Dr Google can scare you to death -- I found a bunch about surgery for a ruptured tendon and a bunch relating to removing a Haglund's deformity. I have microtears in the tendon, but nothing ever really ruptured, so it's hard to figure out just what applies.  BTW, a Haglund's deformity is also called a "pump bump", because it's very often caused by high-heeled shoes with stiff backs. In those cases, it's usually off to one side and rubs the tendon. Mine seems to be across the whole heel, but that might just be because of the long time I spent aggravating it. I don't wear high heels, nor do I wear shoes with hard, rubbing backs, so this is all because of internal stress, he told me.

Anyway, the big deal really is the recovery period, and I've seen estimates of anywhere from 6 months to "walking normally" to 12 months to "back to full activity". Some people report much shorter times, others are still struggling after a year. Basically, the general idea seems to be no weight bearing for 4-6 weeks -- none at all, not even toe touches, while you're in either a splint or cast/boot that keeps your toe pointed downward while the tendon re-attaches. Then partial weight bearing as they slowly stretch the achilles back to normal (for another 4-6 weeks) and then PT and walking in the boot to get back to a normal gait.

My surgeon says I may be PWB earlier, depending on how things go, or it may take the full 6 weeks. The risk is that the tendon doesn't reattach well, or gets pulled on while it's trying to grow back into the bone. Tendons don't have much of a blood supply, and neither does the heel, so it's a long time to get things solid again. I've been reading blogs (such as Haglund's Recovery, and a variety of sites devoted to achilles repair surgery and most of the info is pointing to a month being ever-so-careful to not even toe-touch with the foot, then in the boot and gradually working towards more weight-bearing. Sounds like about 3 months + before the boot comes off. There are some people who say they are up and walking in two or three weeks and back to teaching Pilates or Zumba class in two months. I think those people are crazy.
Ok. Enough dwelling. I still have to move my computer out into the Amazing Programming Throne that the Adorable Husband has built for me, mount the monitor and make sure I have everything else within easy reach. I've got a big shelf, a cantilevered bit for the monitor arm, and the whole thing is anchored to a base that goes under the chair so nothing will tip over.

There is approximately half a bottle of wood glue there, and at least ten huge carriage bolts. This thing could go into space and survive re-entry.

Returning after a long absence.....

Ok! I completely stopped posting here several years ago -- just dropped off the face of the earth, so I'm sure this is going to be a bit of a change. If anyone was actually checking for things here, I apologize profusely. (yes, yes, I know it's mostly family, but I suppose it's rather like one person in a conversation just walking away abruptly without a word.)

I'm not much of a facebook poster, really, so I thought I'd document my Achilles tendinitis/tendinosis and Haglund's removal surgery here. It's a bit more flexible.

So, for the last three years I've been struggling with heel pain and stiffness. It started after I took up walking on the treadmill for exercise (and started walking uphill on it), but I just figured it was stiffness or a slight strain and usually "walked through" the initial pain. I know now that is a common pattern for tedinosis -- hurts when you first start out, then as things swell up a bit, the pain goes away. But after a month of mornings where I couldn't do anything but shuffle from the bed, I finally went in to the orthopedist. That was almost two years ago.

An almost immediate diagnosis of insertional tendinitis of the Achilles, bone-spurs, and a decent sized haglund's deformity on both heels -- go home, ice, stretch gently, and cease activity until it feels better. Absolutely no treadmill.  Well, it did for a few weeks while I basically sat on my butt and didn't do anything more strenuous than walking to the kitchen. But even a short walk around the block meant that I was stiff and sore a few hours later, and the next morning, I waddled like a penguin because pushing off with my toes to walk normally hurt like h--ll until I was up and around a bit. Stairs became an issue -- up is fine, but walking down was a bad idea.

Back to the orthopod...and into The Boot. Well, really The BootS. Both feet in what is basically a walking cast, immobilizing my ankle and heel for two months. This helped some, but once again, as soon as I returned to anything remotely resembling 'normal' activity, things hurt.An elliptical machine had been ok'd for exercise, but even that was difficult after awhile. Exercise bike is ok, but I balked at having to spend two or more hours on the damn thing to equal the other exercise options. And, regardless of which option I picked, I felt so much better when I didn't do either. (with the unfortunate side effect of gaining back weight which added to the frustration). The limp was getting worse -- sort of a hop-step-flat-footed gait as I tried to avoid pulling on my Achilles, and I started doing stairs one at a time both up and down. Which one was worse, left or right, changed from week to week. I'd limp on one and it would stress the other heel and then that one would hurt more. Add in arthritis in my left foot and I never knew when a step was going to be painful or not. Mostly it was tolerable, just annoying. Mostly.

The doc suggested surgery back in November last year and I refused. Recovery is 6-12 months, and we had two vacations planned and while I knew it was going to hurt to walk, that at least was a known quantity. But the plan was to schedule when we got back from Germany. In the meantime, I kept activity to a minimum, and just sort of bulled through things. Mostly, it's not painful so much as achy and stiff. But the bone spurs and heel bumps got bigger. I kept telling myself that it would be fine, and I wouldn't need to have surgery. Look! It's fine today! No limp! Hahahaha. Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

Which brings me down to the present. Three weeks stomping about in Germany went okay (although seriously, it's hard to find ICE anywhere in Germany--once the Adorable Husband had to beg ice from the fishmonger in the local market). We walked all over, and tried to avoid stairs and we had a fabulous time. But once we were home, it was time.

Here's a pick of my left heel -- you can see the big bump and swelling around the tendon insertion point. I have calcification of the tendon insertion point and a really good-sized bone spur.

Nice, eh? The other one looks worse, to be honest.  

So, I'm scheduled for surgery on my left heel on Tuesday, June 30.  I've spent the last week collecting everything I can think of that I might need for recovery (crutches, a knee scooter, shower chair, etc) and now I'm just stewing in a low-level panic about having orthopedic surgery. More details on the surgery in the next post.