The reason for this blog

Many times this summer as I've traveled down the path of my Achilles journey, I've taken to the internet to find firsthand accounts...

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Day 17: Post-op Appointment

My long-awaited post-op appointment involved x-rays (everything looked great), inspection of my incision (I had a hematoma that bled pretty bad), and re-wrapping the whole thing back up in the plaster splint/cast.

The doctor said everything was on schedule. I needed to return in two weeks for another check-in.

We hit rush hour on the way home, so I was miserable by the time I got back in my recliner. So. Much. Pain.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Day 9: More pain meds

The next day I called the doctor about the pain.  Just to be sure my cast wasn't too tight, they wanted me to come in to get checked out.  They unwrapped the whole cast contraption, said the stiches looked great, then wrapped me up with more padding this time.

The doctor attributed my extreme pain to how extensive the injury and its repair were and prescribed a second pain reliever to be taken in conjunction with the first. That did the trick, and I was finally able to sleep a little at night.

I still wasn't ready to go back to work that day or the next.  It ended up I was off work three days total: the day of surgery and then two more days recovering. Because I work from home, I was able to return to work on the third day after my surgery by simply pulling my recliner over to my desk so I could work with my foot elevated. Ice is my best friend. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Day 8: The Surgery

Monday, May 22, I arrived bright and EARLY for my surgery. There were the usual Kastner debacles: check-in was MESSED up, they couldn’t verify my doctor’s privileges at this hospital… You know, the kinda stuff that ALWAYS seems to happen to John and Jami. However, after a few delays, I was on my way to the OR. I remember being wheeled in, my doctor greeting me just outside the OR, and then nothing until I woke up. After the surgery I through, this was a piece of cake! I don’t feel ANYTHING at all. This is gonna be NO problem.  (The anesthesia just hadn’t worn off.)


When he came to talk to John in the waiting area, my doctor told John that this was “the worst damage” he had ever seen. He even pulled out his cell phone and TOOK PICTURES to share with his doctor buddies. (Avert you eyes if you get easily queasy.)

My Achilles was basically shredded, non-existent, barely even there. He also said that he “had to shave a lot more” off my heel bone than he thought he would have to. Basically, in true Jami fashion, I made my doctor’s leader board for AWFUL injuries.

I got home, crawled up the stairs, and got myself situated in the recliner I would basically live in for the next three months. Still I wasn’t in much pain. My worst complaint was the itchy, sore throat from the intubation, until bedtime. 

The view from my recliner

A little before bedtime, the anesthesia wore off. I was using my pain meds as instructed yet STILL I did not sleep ONE wink that night.  I would literally take a pill and about 30 minutes later get a bit of relief. I would just start to doze off and then 45 minutes later I would jolt awake in INTENSE pain and sit there waiting for the next 2 hours and 45 minutes to pass before I could take a pain pill. It was MISERABLE.

As instructed,  I kept my leg elevated most of the day. I also lived and died by an ice pack on the back of my knee. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Day 2:  The BEST doctor in the world!

Not wanting to waste any time, I got on the phone the NEXT day. I started by calling the orthopedic surgeon I see at Aurora for my knee arthritis; however, he does not handle feet. This little bit of serendipity led me to the BEST doctor in the whole world, Dr. Brian Fischer of Aspen Orthopedics . With mind-numbing speed and efficiency, he had me scheduled for an Achilles repair at the hospital of my choice (of course I picked WA Memorial because it is just blocks from my house).

It was Tuesday afternoon when I saw Dr. Fischer. During his examination of my Achilles, he moved my foot, prodded a little, and then placed my foot into a new air cast. (He also gave me a prescription for one of these fabulous little knee scooters.)

That evening and night I was in EXCRUCIATING pain. (I theorize it was from all the action my Achilles got in the doctor’s office.) I literally just laid on the ground with my foot up on the seat of a chair and CRIED.  Please note:  I have had 4 children. I am no stranger to pain. But this pain just would NOT stop. This injury has been the most painful I have ever endured.

At this point, I was still non-weight bearing, BUT my doctor had jokingly told me I could mess up this foot as much as I wanted BEFORE he repaired my Achilles. I was in a Bledsoe Achilles Boot which I could remove to take a shower.

Bledsoe Achilles Boot

 I was mostly using the knee scooter

because I was too weak to crutch around (Note to those who are healthy but getting older:  do NOT ever stop doing pushups!  They are IMPORTANT!)

There was nothing left to do but wait for Monday.... and my surgery.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Day 1: The Rupture

How did you do this?  It’s a question I’ve heard frequently this summer as I’ve been laid up with a ruptured Achilles tendon. I did it saving a baby. It’s true! My nephew was toddling toward the basement stairs. I jumped off the couch and bounded toward him. As I landed from my leap, my left foot came up under the piano bench. My heel hit the edge and with blinding pain, RUPTURED Achilles tendon.

John rushed me to the West Allis Memorial Hospital ER. They squeezed my calf muscle. When my foot did not flex, this told them my Achilles had ruptured. However, they pulled out an ultrasound machine just to confirm the diagnosis. Sure enough, I ruptured it.

When the actual act of rupturing happened, I felt INTENSE and sudden pain. After I kicked that bench, it hardly hurt at all except when I tried to put weight on it to walk. I left the hospital on crutches, in a fiberglass cast/splint with instructions to bear NO weight on my left foot. Believe you me, they did NOT have to tell me that twice. I didn’t want ANY weight on that foot.

Day 1: Splint from the ER