You will be in an altered state for many moons...

If your Achilles tendon is ruptured, torn, or even simply inflamed with tendonitis, your life is about to change. Mine sure has - so I decided to chronicle these events, and create a place for others to share their experiences, advice, resources and emotions during our journey toward recovery.

Nothing in this blog is meant to take the place of the medical advice of your physician. Follow the instructions of your medical professionals, not me.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

19. Euphoria and consequences

Well, yesterday marked one week out from surgery, and I woke up feeling like this:

I hadn't taken a pain pill for about 15 hours, and I'd slept thru the night, and woke up so refreshed that I nearly forgot I had a leg which weighs about 140 pounds and is basically useless.  I was quickly reminded of this fact when I tried to swing my legs over the side of the bed - but nothing could dampen my mood!  The coffee was fresh, the October sky was brilliant, and my knee scooter was waiting. 

Michael had errands to run, so out the door he went - glad to escape into the beautiful fall day.

After a couple of cups of coffee, I decided I would brave the bath again.  I was full of confidence.  I scooted right on into the master bath, and as I was undressing, I had an idea - I would try to get on the scales.


Now - this news will inspire any girl - but especially a fluffy 48 year old girl, with six different sizes of jeans hanging in the closet.  I decided to try on some jeans and see just how low I could go.  The cast proved to be a challenge - but not impossible to work around.

I could get into my smallest jeans!  Now - I didn't say I could get into them ATTRACTIVELY - and the blood flow from the waist down would definitely be impeded - but I can always hang onto them in case I have to have surgery on my other Achilles tendon, because they would be a very effective tourniquet (and that word looks so weird typed out that I had to spell check it - but apparently it's write).

OK, I was feeling fine fo sho now.  So good in fact, that I rolled back over to the bathtub and squirted in some bubble bath and filled that bathtub to the very rim with steaming hot water and bubbles.  Then I heaved myself over the bow again and sunk into bliss.

This was when I made my first mistake.  I didn't realize that bubbles are so wet.  And I also couldn't really judge the depth of the water.  Long story short - I got my cast wet.

Man, bandages and plaster really soak up water in a hurry.

As soon as I realized what I had done (which was instantly), all my joy was taken from me.  So...I just got back out (as gracelessly as I had gotten in) and sat there nekkid on my scooter, trying to assess the situation.  I finally got out my blowdryer and sat there for the longest time, holding it till my arm hurt, and then decided I had done the best I could.  The plaster seemed to be holding.

It takes a lot to knock me down when I'm in a fine mood, so as soon as I got bored with worrying about this (about 3 minutes), I scooted back into the closet and got out REAL CLOTHES - real pants, not workout pants, and a real shirt, not a T shirt, and a REAL BRA and even cute panties - and got dressed.  I put on makeup -even mascara, which I had been avoiding for days - and even spent extra time on my hair!  Yes, life was mighty fine.

I felt so good, I even did what housework I could on a scooter - which isn't much, and that in itself is a blessing.  Hey, this isn't so bad - feel good, look cute, and capitalize on the inability to actually do much work!

I decided to brave the big outdoors, and I even scooted down my driveway to the mailbox, which was an adventure because the driveway is a pretty pronounced downward slope, and I found out that my rear brakes on the scooter don't work all that well.  Note to self - don't use the scooter outside barefoot.

In the mail was some stuff I had ordered with wild Vicodin-inspired abandon a few days ago.  Honestly, can life get much better?

I opened the blinds in the den wide to enjoy that brilliant Texas sky, settled down on the sofa with my new toys and my Kindle and a cherry flavored Coke Zero and began to entertain myself.  It was then that I noticed something odd about my cast.

It seemed to be getting WETTER.  I don't know any other way to describe it. I had only dipped my cast into the water for a split second - and only the calf part of my leg at that - and now, even my toes were wet.  What the heck?

Here's what I think happens with all that gauze and bandage stuff.  I guess it is just HIGHLY absorbent, and must retain moisture like crazy.  So - I had to put my toys aside and scoot back into the bathroom again - this time to get serious with that blow dryer.

With great trepidation, I unwrapped the Ace bandages.  Yep, all that gauze was wet, wet, wet.  The plaster splint seemed unaffected, which was good, but a leg full of wet bandages cannot possibly be condusive to proper healing.  Damn!

I didn't dare unwrap the gauze under the bandages, because that stuff is fragile, and I could tell there would be no way to rewrap it - and I didn't have any new gauze.  So - I broke out the blow dryer again and this time sat there for, I don't know, a long ass time, thoroughly bored, with my leg in a very uncomfortable position, drying the results of my 2 seconds of inattention.

Come to think of it, 2 seconds of inattention is what put me here in the first place - I think this whole thing started when I fell off that stepladder a freaking YEAR ago...grrrrrrr, my mood was deflating.  "I don't WANT to go back to the doctor - I don't WANT to get a new cast - I just want to have a carefree day!"

Eventually, I got everything pretty dry, though sitting here the next day, I can tell that things are still a little damp.   This is my project for the day.

But - back to yesterday.  Michael came home about the time I got redressed  - whew, I didn't want him walking in on that scene and thinking I was a complete idiot.  I'm quite sure he wouldn't have approved of any of this - from the exuberant bathing to the mad dash down the hill on the scooter.  By the time he got home I was feeling chipper again - and very cute.

'Wow, you look...normal," he stated as he stood in the doorway with his arms full of bounty.  He had been to Lowe's so he was also in a fine mood. 

"I feel fantastic," I announced.  "What did you buy?"

"A jack!  And some..." and then he rattled off a list of manly items that I couldn't possibly repeat, since I have no idea what he was talking about..."and I got a great deal on all of it - you wanna come see?"  So off we went to the garage.

Oh, the day was mighty fine.  Autumn leaves were swirling in the breeze, the sky was a brilliant shade of azure, and I was sitting there in semi-skinny jeans, watching my adorable husband revel in his new man toys.  I decided I wanted him to take me out to eat.
Michael looked delighted.  "Let's go!"  I decided on crutches as my modus operandum and off we went - into the real world. 

And get this - we got to use my handicapped placard and park RIGHT BY THE DOOR.  It was the coolest thing ever.

In the restaurant, everyone treated me extra special because of my crutches.  People held doors open for me, let us get seated first, acted like they really wanted to hear what had happened to me.  I saw a man hobbling about on a walker, and I smiled benevolently at him and said, "I know how you feel."

He looked at me and said with a snarl, "Really?  Did you break your hip a year ago, and go through three months in the hospital, a year of rehab, and come to grips with the reality that you will spend the rest of your life in excruciating pain?"

Startled, I replied, "Well, no...but I tore my Achilles tendon and had to have day surgery..."

He looked at me for a moment in silence and then swung his walker around and stomped off.  His wife patted me on the shoulder and looked over at Michael with eyes filled with compassion.  "I hope your wife recovers quickly."

Well.  I guess I'm not REALLY one of the cool disabled people after all.  I'm obviously a novice.

Suddenly, I felt tired.  And my ankle started throbbing.  And I realized that the meal I had just consumed had probably added three pounds to me - reducing my weight loss to a mere pittance.

When we got home, I broke down and took a pain pill, which immediately hurled me back into that foggy, sickly state, and which also caused the usual 3 am Vicodin wake up call.  I woke up with my heel burning and throbbing, and I realized something profound:

I am not yet recovered.

Melanie - take it easy.  There's a reason why you took two weeks off from work.  You need to rest and let your body heal itself., I will take it easy.  I will find that healthy middle ground somewhere between sitting on the sofa in a daze, wearing a t-shirt with a ramen noodle dried to my breastesses, and hurling myself down the driveway like a NASCAR racer, dressed like I'm going to the club.

My reality is this - I'm healing, but I ain't there yet.

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