Day 3.  Finding out what’s next at the hospital.

I had my check up at the hospital this morning.  Didn’t need a scan in the end.  The guy heard how it happened, took 1 poke at it and said yup, total rupture.  It seems it has snapped a bit higher than usual.  He said it normally goes down close to where the tendon attaches to the heel (as seen in the picture below).  But mine has gone a bit higher, closer to where it attaches to the calf muscle.

Achilles tendon rupture location

I had the first look at my foot since Monday night today.  It was a bit bruised around the ankle, and really quite swollen.  But luckily still no pain!  I’m really quite happy about that, because it’s hard work getting about without letting that foot touch the ground, but I reckon it would be much worse if I was in agony too.

One thing I am conscious of though, because it doesn’t hurt, am I going to get reckless and not protect it properly?  I managed my first couple of proper training sessions today.  Trying to keep up with Chris, then afterwards with Anna, really takes it out of me.  But I’m starting to be aware that “good” leg is working twice as hard as normal all day every day.  So maybe I need to be a bit sensible about what I do….hmm, what are the odds of that??

Anyway.  Apparently there are 2 main medical options for the total rupture.

  1. Stick it in a pot for 6-8 weeks and let it heal itself.
  2. Surgery to align the ends together, then stick it in a pot for 6-8 weeks.

Seems the success rates for both options is very similar.  But I opted for surgery.

We chatted about the pros and cons for both.  And while the success rates seem to be similar, the surgery route is usually chosen for sporty/active people.  It seems the more accurately and neatly the tendon heals, the better “performance” it is likely to have afterwards.  And by “performance”, I mean its ability to withstand and produce more force during work/sports/exercise etc.

Given my career and hobbies, I would like to have the best chance to continue as good as I can for as long as I can.

   

While talking about all this, I was fine.  I had the feeling these would be my options and possible outcomes, so I knew what I wanted.  But then they told me the horrible bit…

How the tendon will heal.

But first a bit of background.  The way the tendon will heal is basically by giving it time to knit itself back together.  Any excessive force will simply break it before it has had a chance to get strong enough.  So keeping all the forces off the tendon means keeping the ankle totally immobile and preventing the calf muscle from pulling the tendon apart again.

A long time ago I learned how the muscles in our lower body actively help pump blood back up against gravity, back into the body.  They help this pumping when they move.  As the muscles contracts and relaxes, they act like sponges…soaking up blood and squeezing it along up the body.

(Interesting tangent – I’ve have heard stories of soldiers on guard duty passing out simply because they have had to stand still, and their blood just pools in the legs.  Apparently they are taught to continuously contract and relax their leg muscles while on guard, to keep these pumps going!)

Anyway, my calf muscle is going to be deliberately switched off for the next couple of months, to make sure it doesn’t rip apart the tendon before it is healed.  This resulting pooling of blood in my leg raises the risk of blood clots and DVT.  Not a big problem, they have a solution for that.  Blood thinners!  Thinning the blood will reduce the risk of blood clots.

So this means I have to bloody inject myself with this blood thinner drug every day while I’m in a pot!  For about 8 weeks!  Argh!  I bloody hate needles!  I had no problem agreeing to surgery, but the second they mentioned needles, I started to sweat!

Luckily, Anna was there who was more than happy to stab me for my first go.  I guess this is when you find out who your friends and enemies are!

Surgery.

So at some point next week, I will get a surgery appointment and in I go.  If the appointment is early in the day, I should be home the same day, so fingers crossed.  

So this means that once again I’m going to have to rely on the amazing patience of awesome clients.  I know that soon I will be ringing someone up and saying sorry, I’m going to have to cancel them at short notice while I go under the knife.  I’m sorry in advance, but hopefully after this, it should be pain sailing.

Thank you.

But finally, I want to say such a huge thank you to everyone.

Thank you to my clients for being so understanding and rearranging at such short notice.

Thank you to everyone online who has left me such lovely messages of support.  I genuinely wasn’t expecting anything like it…it has been such a lovely surprise.

And thank you to my friends who have rallied around me and offered so many ways to help me out.  You have kept me stocked up with food, kept me smiling and sane, taxied me around when I needed.

And a special thank you to Anna who has got me to hospital and back, gone so out of her way to make sure I’m OK and for taking such pleasure in stabbing me with that bloody needle! 🙂

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