The experts, whether self-declared or real, often like to talk about how society gets itself back to a state of normalcy after some significant event. Little things start to return that signal that life is returning to the way we expect it to be. For me, life isn’t yet back to the way it’s supposed to be yet, but some things are coming back like those sprouts of green after the forest fire.
A couple of days ago marked two weeks since the Big Slice, and I celebrated the event by paying a visit to Dr. Foot Doctor to have him remove the sutures from the point of insult. Someday I’ll have to audit a course on surgical suturing, because clearly there are some neat tricks to be learned. I hadn’t seen the back of my heel since Dr. Doctor autographed it a half-hour before surgery – literally, it’s one of those, “Let’s not cut the wrong spot” procedures, as in, “It’s this one, right? Great, I’ll sign it!” which he proceeded to do, complete with some amusing artwork, I’d learn two weeks later when it was finally unveiled… But I digress… Point being, I expected to see an Igor-like collection of stitches crossing and re-crossing the wound, as he’d done the last time around five years back. This time, somehow, he’d artistically managed to make one thread tie the whole thing together, and with one long pull, he slid it out like the trick of yanking a tablecloth from underneath a completely set table. Before I’d had a chance to get a good look at just how he’d woven that seam, it was out, with a tiny pinch that was, truly, the first sensation I’ve felt of the suture itself since the deed was done. Now that’s artwork.
Sadly, I’m still confined to crutches for another week before beginning the slow transition to the Dreaded Boot, but gladly, and this is a huge gladly, once that suture was removed, the spigots were opened, literally. No more requirement to keep it dry, which means, well, if you’ve never had to live with washing your hair under the tub spout and waddling on one leg clumsily into the tub keeping your leg hanging out, you simply can’t appreciate the joy of the return of the little thing known as a shower. On a stool, generally sitting down save brief one-legged risings, of course, but the relief of the return of this little thing signals that this too will pass, normalcy will return.
With the easy of getting clean restored, it was time for more little things, so Saturday morning it was donuts with the local club, even if I didn’t put in the miles beforehand to burn it off. Put it on my account, we’ll deal with it later. And after that, back to the gym for the first time in weeks to stumble around (getting onto those machines on one leg is harder than you might think!) and pump some small amounts of iron. I often think that the upper body work doesn’t have much effect, but I am now assured that it must be doing something. Those workouts generally don’t cause duress, but today, a day and a half after the first one in weeks, well, ouch. I hurt, a lot. Good pain. I saw this coming when I realized that I usually walk out of there with wobbly arms, but this time, being on crutches, I needed those wobbly arms to walk out. It wasn’t easy.
Another week on these stilts and I’ll get my arms back, a huge plus, and start to heal up the abuse to the remaining good leg which has carried an inordinate amount of lifts, twists, and other slightly unnatural motions. Normalcy will return.
But enough of that, I know that long-time readers of this series have one and only one question on their mind: where are the pictures? What’s taking so long? And so I issue my now usual SQEAMISH ALERT, warning you that reading further will bring either a treat to your curious eyes or revulsion if you are so inclined and/or just ate lunch. Seriously, there is absolutely no blood in these pictures. The tourniquet worked wonders!
The good news, as already related, is that the procedure was routine, quick, and at least at the time, successful, though true success won’t be known for weeks. Dr. Doctor reported that unlike many of these, where he finds the tendons with significant amounts of gray or yellow degraded and unhealthy tissue, with mine he found only solid, white, and strong stuff. Healthy, save that concealed slit inside.
The bad news is that his photographer wasn’t terribly prolific this time, and the result was a mere two pictures, neither of terribly high resolution. To stretch the plot a bit, I’m including both the pictures as delivered – setting the overall scene, you might say – and some cropped close-ups of the action. Here we go…
First, having performed a high-scoring face-plant on the table so that my heel was nicely facing upward (because working on ceilings is difficult and tiring), Dr. Foot Doctor has already made the incision, and a three-handed person has applied the traditional salad forks to expose the beast.
The beast, being my wondrous and pesky Achilles, is, I must say, much
larger than I’d imagined it. To be fair, this is the spot where it is
enlarged a bit from the internal tear, but still, I was surprised at the
solid meatiness of the thing. I guess when you consider what it has to
do, it makes sense. This next shot is really the same as the last one,
but blown up just to focus on that significant sinew.
Once open to the world, out comes the famous Topaz wand, the
micro-debriding wonder which comprises half of my hope from this
procedure. This shot shows that the secret is out, the gig is up.
There wasn’t really a three-handed person in that last one.
Dr. Doctor proceeds to attack Sir Achilles with his saber, piercing it a
total of nine times, with the intent of getting blood to flow into the
tendon where none would otherwise, and stimulate healing. As before,
this shot is a cropped and zoomed version of the previous one, focusing
on the Topaz penetration.
And sadly, that is all I have for pictures. Following the Topaz, Dr. Doctor made what he described as a lateral stitch, which I believe basically means he wrapped a stitch around the tendon to hold it together while the internal tear heals. That internal stitch dissolves on its own, unlike the “seal ‘em up” external one that he pulled out the other day.
My job has been, and continues to be, not to flex that tendon. Considering how much it has NOT hurt, this has been especially hard, because you’re simply not thinking of it when you go to get yourself off the sofa. Nevertheless, so far, so good, and I’ve got my fingers crossed that this will work!!