20.Nov.16 - the PoP
So I am really a very active basketball player in the beautiful City of Lusaka, Zambia and I play basketball everyday of the week - well at least before this injury;-) So on on the fateful weekend of 20th Nov 2016 15minutes into a routine game; I grabbed a defensive rebound turned to my left dribbling the ball heading towards the opposite basket - that's when it happened! PoP! My achilles tendon (tendon that connects the heel to the calf muscle) raptured; I fell to the floor and knew from that instant that I had a long challenging road ahead of me. It was depressing and very low moment for me especially that I had just returned to near my best form after a recent injury that had me out for 4.5months. Add to that there was the 'small matter' of not being able to walk!
21.Nov.16 - Surgery
The very next day on Monday I had my surgery scheduled to repair the raptured achilles tendon on my left foot
My surgery started at 3pm and was completed at about 6pm...You will notice my very deliberate effort to avoid going into depth about the surgical procedure and I reckon you will appreciate my reason - I loathed the bloody experience!!
A PoP (Plaster of Paris) cast was put on my foot at gravity equinus to allow the tendon to heal and would not be able to put any weight on the foot.
For those of you still curious see below link to achilles tendon repair procedures:
Week 1 post-op 28.Nov.16
The first week after operation was spent on my back puking and helpless recovering from the side effects of Anesthesia medication. I couldn't move easily or eat and survived on fluids mostly as nothing more could stay in my body. I would reject anything just minutes after consuming, the hallucinations were real and trust me I was no hero in any of them...
Week 2 post-op (5.Dec.16)
A little less of the effects of week one but just more headaches, back ache and dizziness. Remarkably I have never to this day experienced pain on the tendon whatsoever and I sometimes even worried that something wasn't right.
I continued to take in more fluids and anti biotic during this week. I was able to eat too without much food rejection. I was beginning to learn to walk on crutches and get a bit more mobile (as per last article).
Week 3 post-op: Doctor's appointment (12.Dec.16)
I was excited that this week my uncomfortable PoP cast would be removed and doctor would give me insight on my healing. I was even more excited about being able to see my incision and sutures for first time...
Well it was pretty ugly sight and painful when the stitches were removed, healing on the tendon was progressing well and I loved the way my foot was looking (sarcasm).
After stitches were removed a new cast was placed on the foot also at gravity equinus position. The cast was a fiberglass Orthopedic cast and would be removed after 3 weeks.
With that I returned to my crutches and left the clinic.
Week 4 post-op (19.Dec.16)
Nothing much to report here other than I was getting rather good at using the crutches and could drive around since my car is an automatic transmission no issues there.
I did learn a few things though about how much we don't understand the challenges Physically challenged individuals face at everyday places e.g. Malls etc; Man! And I didn't notice this before the injury - The terrain of most places is very difficult to navigate when you are on crutches or that your trip to the mall ends as soon as the lift is not working....such simple things I experienced taught me to be more considerate to others plights in life.
Week 5 post-op (26.Dec.16)
There was little to talk about here too except that I had began my upper body workouts with as little exercise I could afford on the upper left leg muscles too. I was also getting pretty agitated by the fiberglass cast (it looks cool but pretty hard). I could not just place it anywhere as it could tear couch - wifey pointed that out clearly! I was also tired of just sitting around the house so most of what I covered in the last article, yeah impatient me!
Week 6 post-op: Doctor's review (3.Jan.17)
Cast is finally off!! The doctor's appointment was really anti-climatic as I expected a little more from him other than you have to start walking for next 3 weeks and other muttered instructions like ''no exercises''
I did ask lots of questions and among them - how the hell should I walk? My foot was at an equinus angle and standing up straight was nearly and painfully impossible. He explained they would put 1" or 2cm heel lifts in my shoes to help get my foot from Equinus to neutral which is more like standing up straight and then I would start weight bearing partially to full weight bearing through the 3 weeks. The heel lifts would be removed gradually till I can walk comfortably at neutral. I would then start my physio at my next appointment in week 9.
And so with that my first walk since 20th November 2017 began. At first it was extremely painful and I still had to use my crutches, standing up straight was hard and bearing any weight on the foot was not easy. I felt the pain every single step I took, the heel was just excruciatingly difficult to step on and ice treatment after walking was key to reducing swelling. By the 3rd day of this week, I was able to walk without crutches albeit very slow and by Weekend I was able to navigate the stairs in our house. So yeah I am walking, and I'm continue to 'walk on...'