Monthly Archives: October 2014

Day 1 Emergency Room – Achilles

emergencyI wasn’t sure what to do exactly. Someone suggested that I call the ambulance but I thought that was an overkill. I thought back at my only other reference of an Achilles injury and that was Kobe Bryant. I remember quite vividly watching the game on TV when he ruptured his Achilles. Despite having a full rupture, he used crutches and answered questions from reporters. The following day he had surgery. It’s not necessarily apples and apples comparison but I also had left Achilles injured while playing basketball. But I knew I didn’t need an ambulance as my foot was not swelling and I didn’t see any major life threatening condition that would warrant an ambulance.

I had one friend drive my car and another friend drive me back to my house. My wife greeted me at the door with a concerned face. I sat down and called a friend who was a practicing physician’s assistant. He told me the best way to tell if I had an Achilles rupture was to perform the Thompson test. I laid down prone while my friends and wife tried to squeeze my calf. The result was inconclusive. It looked like my plantar didn’t flex but couldn’t tell if it was because of the rupture or because it was stiff from the injury. He suggested I go to the ER which I hesitantly obliged.

Before heading to the ER, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen to me so I took a shower. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be admitted, undergo emergency surgery, or be put into a cast. I also wasn’t sure how long I was going to be there. I didn’t want to further trouble my friends so I arranged my mother in law to watch our kids so my wife could pick me up when I was done.

By the time I arrived at the ER, it was just after 10pm. Luckily, it wasn’t a busy evening and there was maybe two people ahead of me. I actually brought a survival pack with my work mobile, some water, and an energy bar. I really wasn’t sure if I would be there for hours and hours considering I was probably a low priority on their list. To my surprise, just 15 min of waiting, an ER doctor personally called me in. Apparently, the x-ray technician was about to leave for the evening and he wanted to get me in beforehand. He took a look at me and did the Thompson test and told me that he was pretty certain it was a partial rupture. This gave me a bit of relief. (I found out the following day through an MRI that it was actually a full rupture.)

Shortly after, a nurse put me in a soft splint which molded to the shape of my foot. I was checked for blood pressure, temperature and given some pain medication. I was in and out in a record 20 min! As I thanked my friends for driving me, I silently looked out the night lights and thought what my next plan was going to be.

The only thing I can do to help my injury is R.I.C.E – rest, ice, compression, and elevation. I was recommended to keep my foot elevated when I went to sleep.

The Rupture

ad9c12243ddb11e2968922000a1fbe74_7I hesitated a bit before I left to play basketball at an open gym hosted by my friends every Monday evening. The day before, I ran pretty hard at my son’s parent and child game time. My feet and legs were a tiny bit sore because I didn’t do much stretch or warm up as we did relay races around a game circle. Some of the relays I had to carry my 50lb son and run around the circuit twice. Hindsight, this may have contributed to the rupture the following day.

After dinner, I looked at the clock and had the typical, “dont’ want to work out” thought that often creeps into your mind. I squeezed every bit of motivation out of myself and started to put on my contacts and find my gear for basketball.

“Don’t get hurt!”, yelled my 5 year old. I always ache of pain when I play basketball and a few months ago I flipped my toe nail and was out of commission for a while. Little did I know I was going to suffer a more serious injury just an hour later.

I drove to the nearby private school where we rent the indoor gym. I enter with not much fanfare. We all know each other with the exception of a few friends or visitor. I proceed to fist bump people who are sitting on the side waiting for the next game while a game was ongoing. I put on my indoor game shoes and proceed to warm up and stretch. Growing up playing varsity basketball, volleyball, and soccer, I knew how important it was to warm up and stretch before exercising. I don’t think any amount of stretching would’ve prevented my injury. It was bound to happen.

I started off with a few games where I couldn’t contribute much. At this age and my shape, I don’t go all out competing as I just want to get some exercise playing the game that I love. In the 3rd game, I started feeling it and made a few layups. On the next possession, I got the ball on the right wing and I dribbled to my left and launched a left hand hook shot. Everything happened so fast. The defender didn’t jump to block the shot and as I elevated and released the shot, I watch the ball bounce off the glass and went in. I landed on my right foot and the moment I planted my left foot, I felt a hard POP-SNAP on my left foot. It was nothing like I’ve felt before. It felt like someone kicked my left foot and my entire body ricochet through my neck with a flash. I fell hard and grimaced as I held onto my foot. I was trying to find a culprit as I wrapped both hands around ankle waiting for it to swell. However, no one came to apologize. Then someone confirmed that no one was near me when I fell.

“I swear someone kicked me!”, I protested.

“You must’ve torn your Achilles dude…”, jokedĀ  another as people started to gather to see if I was ok.

As I waited and hoped for my ankle to swell, it didn’t happen. Then the sudden realization that I may have an Achilles rupture crept into my mind. My ankle didn’t swell. The pain wasn’t great. Something wasn’t right.

I couldn’t move my foot.

Thoughts of long recovery and how inconvenient things were going to be sunk into my mind. I thought about my family and my business trip I was supposed to go on the following month. No more playing catch or playing soccer with my son for months. I gave a big sigh as I was helped off the court and proceeded to call my wife.