Tag Archives: Achilles

Recovering well

Last month I revealed that I suffered a basketball injury (i.e. a high rupture of my right Achilles tendon, requiring surgical repair). Yesterday marked the six-week point since surgery. Today I completed my third week of physical therapy and being out of a cast and in a walking boot. This afternoon was my three-week follow-up with my surgeon.

Those professionally helping me in my recovery say that I’m making excellent progress. Given where I am calendar-wise since the injury, my range of motion is great and my strength is good, too. Perhaps next week, I’ll be able to spend time out of my walking boot in a regular shoe assisted by a crutch. This will allow me to work on re-establishing my normal gait.

Already this experience has been rich in life lessons for me:

  • When you listen to your care givers, good things can and do happen! (Wish I’d learned this in my twenties.)
  • I still have a ways to go until I’m a consistently patient person. (Sometimes, I’m not a patient patient!)
  • I value my independence, and I have a hard time asking for help.
  • Handicapping injuries offer a great opportunity to slow down and experience the subtler, finer points of life (e.g. wonderful family moments).
  • When operating on a single crutch, the crutch goes on the strong side, not alongside the injury. (My physical therapist had a good laugh–and said that it’s not uncommon to see patients operate incorrectly.)
  • I thrive on communication (e.g. interacting with colleagues at work). While I’m grateful to be able to work regularly from home–even more so since my injury–there is simply no substitute for face-to-face communication.
  • Be conservative in your recovery goals, allowing more opportunity to be pleasantly surprised. Don’t confuse this with owning your recovery, being confident and taking initiative.
  • The human walk is truly elegant. It seems so simple, but there’s a lot to it when you have to deconstruct and re-learn it. Coordination requires more effort and focus than strength requires.

You may have noticed that I’ve been light on blogging this month, after starting the year off at a better pace (for me, anyway). Needless to say, I’ve been focusing my spare (and non-spare) time on my recovery. Let’s see…post a blog…regain ability to walk…blog…walk…hmmm… :-)

Suffice it to say, for now, that plenty of good things are happening where my professional life is concerned, too (e.g. cool new software features and products forthcoming from EMC). More on that later.

In the meantime, thanks for all the well-wishes and support. Cheers…

Fallen weekend warrior

“What happened to you?”

Since my return to the office this week, it’s pretty obvious that something did, indeed, happen to me.

No, I didn’t work on “Red Dog” (i.e. Windows Azure)–for those of you were attended last year’s PDC and saw the bright red shoes worn proudly by those on the main stage during keynotes.

What you see in the picture above, unfortunately, is a cast–my second cast in a series of casts, too. Red is the color chosen by my son, who I empowered to be my “awkward restraint device” designer. Currently the leading color for my next cast is maroon–although camouflage is a close second. :-)

While playing a league basketball game on Sunday 2/8 I ruptured my Achilles tendon, as per the ER doctor’s opinion. This diagnosis was confirmed when I saw an orthopedic doctor on Tuesday 2/10. I had a successful surgery to repair my tendon on Wednesday 2/11.

By the way, if you have a ruptured Achilles tendon, you don’t want the kind I apparently have. My rupture involves my calf muscle, too (i.e. more where the tendon and muscle connect than just the tendon alone). So, my recovery time will be extended.

Yesterday I had my stitches removed–I look like Frankenstein where my incision exists–and received my second cast. Boy, did it feel good not to have anything touching my skin for that brief period of time!

Basically I’ll be in a series of casts for the next several weeks, being put into a new cast roughly every week. The goal of this process is to stretch the repaired tendon so that my foot is perpendicular to my lower leg (i.e. bent at a 90 degree angle). So, with each new cast, my foot will be positioned with more tension/stretch toward that goal. Yesterday I began at 50 degrees.

Achieving 90 degrees will allow me to proceed into my next phase of recovery: physical therapy. It will also mean the end of casts and the start of a wearing a walking boot instead.

At the outside, it will be about six months until I fully recover (i.e. I can run and play basketball again).

Fun, eh?

But I’m thankful for a very loving and supportive wife and family. My employer, EMC, and my work colleagues are great, too. I’m fortunate to have a job that doesn’t require me to be on my feet or to perform heavy physical labor–especially during these tough economic times.

Besides, this will all pass before you know it. I certainly won’t take my ability to walk unassisted let alone run anytime soon… :-)

P.S. I wasn’t fouled while playing basketball either, although I thought that someone took a bat to my leg right above my heel at the time. I understand through teammates that I was actually alone while making a defensive rebound. Regardless of playing the incident over and over in my mind, I can’t recall if the “POP!” I heard (internally) was before or after landing–just recall landing like a bag of rocks on the hardwood floor.