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.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

20. The case of the shriveled leg

OK, NOW I am alarmed.

You know, I just can't figure this out, but for some reason I am obsessed with this leg and this cast.  Call me crazy.  I can't get my mind off of it.  Maybe subconsciously I'm getting subliminal messages that say, "Pssst - your leg hurts.  Hey, guess what - you can't walk.  Hey - you may not have noticed this, but your heel feels like it's on fire, and your ankle is throbbing.  Pssst - get a load of this:  You have huge wads of gauze and plaster, and bandages all over your left leg and the cast weighs about 40 pounds.  Hey - did you know that to get up and go to the bathroom means that you'll have to balance on one leg while you pull down your pants and underwear?"

Yeah - I'm a bit fixated.

So anyway, last night as I was in that purgatory also known as the master bathroom, trying to manuever a fairly large scooter in a fairly small space, which requires the same level of skill as it takes to back a trailer into a small parking space, I got to thinking,

"Dang it, my leg is hotter than Hades.  I think I need to let things air out a little and maybe loosen up the bandages a bit."

So I sat down and propped my leg, the bane of my existance, up on the counter and began to unwrap the Ace bandage.  Now - I'm not completely crazy.  I had no plans to unwrap anything else, or to mess with the ankle area whatsoever.  No, just the Ace bandages.

Well, I got all that off, and of COURSE my curiosity got the better of me.  For starters, as any other girl would wonder, I wanted to see how long the hair was on my leg.  I had a mental image of long, curly, coarse black hairs sprouting everywhere.  After peeking down into the gauze, I am pleased to announce that the hair growth is minimal. 

But - I was alarmed by the loose, papery skin over the calf.  I looked at my other calf, which was relaxed.  Hmmm, the skin on THAT calf was nice and smooth and supple.  I tensed up my "good" calf, and everything firmed up nicely.

So I tried to tense up my other calf.  Hey.  I couldn't get it to work.  I mean, NOT AT ALL.  WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?  So, balancing precariously on my stool from WalMart (not a good combination of elements), I heaved both legs up onto the counter in front of the mirror, for comparison. 

This is AMAZING - in a surreal, alarming way.  My left leg is CONSIDERABLY smaller than my right leg.  It's also kind of sunken in where my formerly firm, rounded calf muscle was.  Now - my surgery was only ten days ago.  Granted, I was in a boot cast before that off and on (mostly on) for several months, and I've been limping for a year, so maybe there was already some shrinkage I hadn't noticed. 

But DAMN - this is NOTICEABLE.  The other weird thing was that, try as I might, I simply could not tense up that calf, not for anything.  It's not that it hurt, or that it was stiff - it just simply doesn't work.  Like it's not connected to anything.

I think this must be why:

Look at where the Achilles tendon attaches to the calf muscles.  I guess if the tendon is very weak and fragile, or traumatized, it stands to reason that it just doesn't work well, including doing whatever it needs to do to support the calf muscles.

Note to self - ask doctor about this at the Wednesday appointment!  Meanwhile, surf net like crazy between now and then. 

Physical therapy cannot begin a moment too soon.

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