Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Day 25, Post Op #2, Gettin' the Boot!

I've been in the splint/cast for 25 days and joyfully headed to the doc's office today to get my second cast.

Once there, the ortho tech removed my cast with this crazy saw that cuts fiberglass but not your skin. I anxiously awaited to see what was underneath. The former raised stitched lines had flattened out and the skin had hardened under with scar tissue. My foot/achilles wasn't as stiff as I had expected since I had been moving it quite a bit in my cast.

Dr. Khan-Farooqi took a look and basically said it was in good shape and healing nicely. In the next few weeks, the focus was on allowing the collagen fibers to align correctly and form/bind and this would be achieved by adjusting the tension on the foot - a bit less flexed.

To my surprise and delight, Dr. KF gave me a few options. Either be in another cast for 2 weeks, go into a boot, or get into a regular shoe with some heel lifts. The latter being the most aggressive and the first being the most conservative.

He actually recommended the boot for me, as long as I was extremely careful when I was out of the boot (e.g. taking a shower or changing clothes).

Freedom at last!

Being able to walk now opens up doors - literally. My first stop was going to Starbucks for a grande black iced tea with half sugar and being able to walk out of the store with it in my hand. No more crutches.

So the plan now ... 4 more weeks in the boot (gladly) and then 4 in a shoe with lifts and then P.T.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Vegas Bachelor Weekend : Vegas baby

Ian's bachelor party was met with great enthusiasm from all and a tinge of anxiety from the bachelor himself. A British stag party, as they call it, adheres to a very different set of rules from the American version - goals are to humiliate and accost the "man of the hour" as much as possible. And that certainly happened this weekend.

While the photos were scarce (on purpose), I will say that the partcipants took Vegas to a level I was proud to be a part of. I think it was the fact that some flew 5,000 miles from the UK to celebrate and honor Sir Ian while others just needed a party weekend away from the "mundacities" of jobs, spouses/partners, pets, et al.

So one "highlight" of the weekend.

We stayed at the new tower at the Palms and spent Saturday day recovering from an all nighter at Drai's. We were poolside in our cabana pounding $10 bottles of water mixed in with brewskis and daiquiris.

The pool is a scene/experience in itself - a voyeur's dream. It's a melting pot of greased up gym metros (who lube each other up), female porn stars, pasty Asian rich kids, body builder types, overweight middle Americans seeking the Vegas experience and the rest of us.

So anyway, at one point we see a strawberry haired white guy (extremely white) wearing a neon green thonged one piece suit just like Borat's emerge from the depths of the dark and tanned crowd. A sight to be seen it was!

In an instant, he became the focal point of the entire pool. People were taking pictures with their camaras and holding their gaping mouths, in horror/laughter.

I managed to snap a quick shot off as Borat was walking into the pool.

The New Borat at the Palms

Pic from the weekend.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Day 11, Post Op - 1st Doctor's Visit

Today I anxiously returned to my doctor to have my splint removed and my stitches taken out. The length of the incision turned out to be longer than I expected and very Frankenstein-like.

My surgeon, Waqqar Khan-Farooqi explained that there was more damage than a typical tear which required the incision to go higher up on the leg. He had to remove 2.5 centimeters of the frayed/damaged fibers to stitch it back together, where the norm is 1 centimeter.

In this 1st visit post surgery, I got the plan of attack which is what I was most excited about.

It's ... 2 weeks in Cast 1, 2 weeks in Cast 2, a few weeks in a walking boot and then physical therapy. So it's about six weeks till I can walk without the use of crutches. Unfortunately, I won't be returning to sports like basketball for 9 months.

In the visit, I also learned that the tendon actually weakens after surgery as your body is still in recovery phase. While the sutures that keep the tendon in place are essentially as strong as kevlar it's the weakened tendon that must be protected (i.e. cast and no weight bearing) and be given enough time to heal and strengthen.

This is what makes this injury frustrating, relative to an ACL replacement. You can't influence the pace or quality of recovery by working hard in rehab. Recovery is simply left to time and your God-given genetics, which one has no control over. How unfortunate. :)

Here are a few pics from the visit.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

ESPN Article on Achilles Rupture

After spending many hours online OCD'ing over this injury, I found one article that actually sated me and potentially answered my question of how and why it happened.

The doctor in the ESPN article describes a common cause as the combination of a concentric and eccentric load on the tendon. The stopping and starting movements in athletes.

Eccentric means applying a load when it's already stretched (e.g. running backwards) and concentric means applying a load when it's already shortened (e.g. doing toe raises).

So injuries occur commonly when eccentric loads are quickly followed by concentric loads and vice versa. Perfect example, a quarterback dropping back to pass and moving forward or a tennis player running to the net for a volley and then backwards for the lob.

And to boot, "there seems to be a direct correlation to aging where the aging athlete, in general has less blood flow to the region."

Ah ha! 2 strikes against me. Eccentric/concentric load and the "aging athlete."

Not sure how I feel about that or how one defines aging .... aren't we all aging and does early thirties count as aging?

Link to article

Spiderman III Caught In a Web

Hit the big screen last night with Ian, Manon and Yannis to see the third entree of the Spiderman franchise. It was pretty bad - terrible acting, extremely campy and way too literal in its messaging. While I do support the virtues of humility, friendship, truth and service. I don't need them to be spelled out in crayola in each scene by emotionless characters.

The best part of the evening was hitting the Fox Grill for some sangria, mini-burgs, lettuce wraps and BBQ chicken nachos. That was a great way to recover from the ten bucks I threw away at the box office.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Day 6, Post Op - Achilles Surgery

Day 6 could come no faster. The intense pain has more or less gone away. It's more about stiffness, tightness in the lower leg and that is especially acute in the mornings getting out of bed. Like a nasty [insert here], it flares up.

Yah, the main inconvenience now is my mobility and the lack of my hands when I move around. Imagine trying to carry a sandwich and drink without the use of your hands. Impossible.

Monday, April 30, 2007

NFL Stars with Achilles Ruptures

  • LaVar Arrington, LB, Giants, 10/23/06
  • Ronald Curry, WR, Raiders, 10/19/05
  • Brandon Stokley, WR, Colts, 12/10/06
  • Rien Long, DT, Titans, 7/30/06
  • Todd Pinkston, WR, Eagles, 8/5/05
  • Greg Ellis, LB, Cowboys, 11/14/06
  • Trace Armstrong, DE, Raiders, 10/1/01
  • Takeo Spikes, LB, Bills, 10/05
  • Reggie Hayward, DL, Jaguars, 9/06
  • Dan Marino, QB, Dolphins, 1993
  • Vinny Testaverde, QB, Jets, 1999

Day 3, Post Op - Achilles Surgery

Today was a better day... didn't have to resort to the meds since the pain was way less intense than yesterday. The Motrin kept things in check.

I'm also getting more efficient with the crutches - moving around about the house with more ease. Going up and downstairs, though, is quite the work out and trying to balance on one leg while going to the bathroom ...

Tomorrow I return to the office. We'll see how that goes.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Night of and Day After Achilles Tendon Surgery

I must say that I'll take a tendon rupture over an ACL tear any day. (am I speaking too soon?)

I was actually able to catch some decent z's the night post op. This, however, only happened after I so aptly regurgitated my Red Mill burger and fries heading up the stairs (fyi, Red Mill was voted one of best burgers in the U.S. by the Wall Street Journal). Between the anesthesia stupor, greasy burg & fries, and vomit, I was able to make peace with some rest.

So the following morning was nice - very little discomfort in the leg. This was too good to be true.

With my laptop and remote control in hand, I sat on the couch surfing to my heart's content while watching in horror as Brady Quinn dropped past the ninth pick in the NFL draft. Had to feel sorry for a guy who was supposed to be a #3-5 pick and gets dissed by a Miami team who was destined to make him the next Dan Marino. Oh, I digress.

That afternoon, Heather and I head out about town to Fremont with my new best friends, Crutches. After hobbling around town for an hour or two, some discomfort.

Was it the drugs wearing off?

Whatever it was, a burning, throbbing sensation began to settle in.

So much for a smooth and painless recovery.

I guess that's to be expected when somebody slices your leg open and sews back the largest and strongest tendon in your body. :)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Day of Achilles Surgery & Decision Factors

A few more hours till my surgery at 1:30 pm PST. I'm going to be super hungry and thirsty post surgery since I was allowed no food or drink since yesterday at midnight.

Some updates from my appointment with my orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Waqqar Khan-Farooqi. Due to complete rupture of my achilles, surgery was pretty much the only option if I wanted to walk normally and return to sports.

Two options for surgery: open surgery and percutaneous surgery. Open is making a 3-4 inch incision on the medial side which allows the surgeon to have full access to the tendon and surrounding "tissues." Percutaneous is making a few tiny incisions instead of one big one.

The difference as described to me was that a percutaneous stitching is not as clean or precise of a procedure - less visibility and inability to clean up any loose ends, strands. Also, rerupture rates tend to be 3-4 percentage points higher (1-2% for open and 4-5% for percutaneous).

One downside to the open surgery is that it tends to have more complications around the wound healing (i.e. infections). However, if you are young, healthy person, you should have no problems.

So ..... open surgery was the clear cut choice.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Achilles Tendon Rupture: The Last Injury from Flag Football

Well, well. It's been quite a year ...

One full of injuries that no man or woman (or animal) should ever have to endure in a lifetime let alone in twelve months. Last year, I broke my left clavicle and then six weeks later, I tore my left ACL in my first flag football game back. It's not like I've been fighting in the UFC, we're talking about flag football. Read: non-contact pass and catch. If I were a Wildebeest, I'd already be a fancy meal for some lions.

It's slightly frustrating .....given that I'm just 9 months out of ACL surgery and had just returned to my former self through a combination of metabolic based lifting, yoga and agility classes. So much for discipline and conditioning. I could have just as well sat on my couch, drink PBRs all day, and pop Ho Ho's into my mouth.

The upside? At least I made it through 4 and quarter games ... before I ruptured my achilles tendon. Woo hoo.

The way it happened is quite ridiculous. Playing QB, I received the ball upon "hut," dropped back three steps, set up, planted and then "clack!" It felt like Bruce Lee had kicked the back of my heel. Luckily, I kept my balance and released the ball on my good left foot and was able to get the pass off. Despite the catch by Johnny, I knew I was done. Done for the year, done with flag football.

I made the call to the boss of the house and we headed to Swedish Medical Center's ER. I was happy to see that they had remodeled the waiting area. I spent the next two hours getting confirmation of my fate and was sent home in a plaster splint.

Next stop ... my visit with Dr. Waqqar Khan-Farooqi, a Foot & Ankle surgeon at the Orthopedic Physicians Associates.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Dog People and Elizabeth Louise

You know you've become dog people when you start addressing your dog like a person and start asking your in-laws if they got Christmas presents for the dog. I think we may well be down that path. I will have to say that my relationship with my dog, Lizzie, (otherwise, known as Lizzie Lou) is quite different than the one I had with my childhood dog. It's much more parental in nature and I will leave it at that for fear of being ridiculed by Heather for analyzing the relationship. :)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Christmas Party 2006

Christmas and New Year's have gone by in the blink of an eye and I am already playing catch-up in 2007 on a number of fronts, including this blog. Heather and I hosted a Christmas party and we think it went quite smoothly: people sated by the apps and quenched by the alcoholic bevies.

Big props go to Yannis and Priscilla for helping us pick up and do the dishes at 3 in the morn.

Here are a couple of pics throughout the evening.

The HBS Crew

Baura, Happy as Can Be!

Levy's Chilling with Ian and Sara

Hello Ladies

Kellogg Boys

Internatioanal Couple of the Year, Priscilla and Yannis

Party it Up with Jenny, Nicole, and Debbie