Tag Archives: surgery

Oct 23 – Achilles Surgery

The time has finally come for my Achilles surgery. I was so anxious to get the surgery done that I didn’t think much about the pain or have time to be scared. I suppose one can worry about issues and risks associated with surgery. I don’t remember the last time I was under general anesthesia. Maybe when I was in college for a colonoscopy. I digress. I just wanted to hurry and get the surgery done and start the recovery and get back on my feet.

The day started at 4:30am. We already dropped off the kids last night at the in laws who agreed to help drop off the kiddos at their schools. Hindsight, it was good the surgery was this early as I didn’t have to worry about any traffic or fasting throughout the day. It took about 45 min to arrive at the surgery center near LAX. We parked our car at the empty lot and got to the registration window a bit before and spent another 30-40 min doing paperwork. I was led into the prep room and gave my wife a kiss. She went to the car to take a nap lol.

In the prep room, I had to strip to my underwear and wear a patient gown. The one where only your front is covered. There were about 3 nurses who prepped me and 2 other patients in neighboring beds who were getting operated at the same time as well. IV was put in and several checks to ensure the right foot get operated. My ID band was to be worn on my wrist opposite of my injury. I was also asked to put an arrow using a washable marker where the injury was on my calf. Another nurse shaved my leg with a disposable razor without any soap. That didn’t go well at all. The nurses did a great job ensuring I was comfortable and chatted among themselves most of the time. The anesthesiologist came in to introduce himself. Asked about my surgery and if I had any allergies. He mentioned that he will put a mild dose of anesthesia into my IV and I should start getting sleepy soon. He explained the nerve block that will be put on my entire leg and that it should last up to 12-48 hours.

Shortly after I was wheeled into the surgical room. I took a quick glance and it was typical, sterile environment. Just a few seconds later, I blacked out.

Next thing I noticed I was in the recovery room with a huge cast on my left foot. I was extremely drowsy from the drugs and my head was spinning. It was just passed 10am and my surgery was a success. Just in time, I see my wife walk in. It was a bit of an odd feeling as I felt almost half asleep but can hear the other two patients in the room seem to have less side effects and ready to check out to go home. I took in some water and spent about 45 min in the recovery room. My bladder was also really full and had to get wheeled to the restroom. As I slowly recovered, the nurse tried to small talk asking about our kids and where we lived. She reminded us to make sure I take my pain meds.

Once I felt ok to be upright, I was wheeled to my car.

Dr. J. Surgery confirmed for Tuesday Oct 23

Oct. 21 (Tuesday) – I wasn’t thinking much when I went to visit Dr. J as I was fully expecting to be operated by Dr. L but the fact that I still have yet to receive the surgery date from his office gave me a great deal of concern. It was unsettling to not receive a callback as I wanted to be operated that week Friday the latest. The good thing about Dr. J was that he was very close to where I lived in Pasadena. I really just wanted a 2nd opinion even though my mind was set to go through surgery no later than this week.

It took no more than 10 min from my house which was very convenient. Parking was a different story. There is paid parking garage and the doctor’s office didn’t validate. There were street parking available but limited. With just one foot, it wasn’t the most ideal situation. After waiting about 45 min. (which I later found out to be unusual), I was led in after filling in the typical medical history forms. This visit is a bit different as I had my wife accompanying me and I had a digital copy of the MRI.

Dr. J. came in and after cordial exchanges, we went right into my injury and jokes about how he has seen several basketball related Achilles ruptures from men in their mid-30’s to 40’s. He came off as very knowledgeable and went into detailed about how he does the surgery and how he makes an incision on the edge of the ankle and not right over the Achilles. He believe that it sped up healing as it is less irritated. The more he explained the more my interest piqued as to having Dr. J. perform my surgery.

Then he said two things that pushed me to spurn my choice for surgery. First, he was in network for my insurance. It is an unfortunate reality that we need to make medical decisions based on our medical insurance. I do realize that I am very fortunate that I do have the choice of going to the doctor of my choosing but Dr. L would’ve been out of network. He did indicate that he would charge me in network price but how much out of pocket I would need to pay is unknown. However, Dr. J’s assistant did their homework and they were in network which would mean my deductible would be $3,000. If I do with Dr. L., although in network price, my deductible would be a whopping $10,000. Secondly, Dr. J. said he could fit me for surgery for Thursday! Yes, the DAY AFTER TOMORROW! I was so excited, I turned to my wife on her thoughts and she left it up to me to decide and would support me. They tentatively said 1pm which would conflict with our sons getting off school but we could manage. We gave them the go ahead to schedule us in with the surgery center.

It was still late morning so my wife and I went to lunch at nearby cafe in Pasadena. We sat down and let the information sink in. In 48 hours I would finally go through surgery and I can be on my way to recovery. I didn’t realize how nervous I was about getting surgery done in the recommended 2 weeks time frame. I mean, I am sure it would’ve been fine had it gone 3 weeks but I would’ve really been fidgety if I had to go through another weekend to wait for surgery. During brunch, I got a phone call from the surgery center. The surgery was scheduled for 7:30am and I had to be at the surgery center by 5:30am.

“Say that again?”, I responded.

This completely threw us off as we already made arrangements for our sons to get picked up. Now, not only do we need to worry about dropping them off school but the night before! We probably had to leave the house by 4:45am to make it to the surgery center. Thank God for our in laws and brother in law.

One last thing I had to do was to pick up my prescription. With only two days advance, I HAD to pick up my prescription medication for the pain post surgery. I was given a pre-operation packet which outlined everything that I had to do prior to surgery including the cessation of any pain medication which may thin my blood a week in advance. Oh well. I went to the CVS I frequent and they didn’t have one of the pain meds I needed. I anxiously went to another 24 hour CVS which they had both meds in stock.

Everything was set.