Stitches to Startline

My long journey back into running shoes

Month: March, 2016

Hospital for Special Surgery, Like a BOSS.

OK, back at it again, albeit without the white Vans.

Daniel? No? Too played out?

Fine.

Anyway, back to the Frankenfoot. After we left Dr. Honkey Clog’s office, I was very uncertain about which direction I should go in. I was resigned to the fact that I needed another procedure, as walking was becoming more and more difficult. The bone spur was digging into the bottom of my achilles, so the farthest I could go was about a mile before that shithead of a tendon would swell up like a balloon. So, naturally, I contacted Rezbollah the Medical Sales Rep™.

Who is Rezbollah the Medical Sales Rep™? I can’t tell you, but just know that he is special.

In many ways. So many ways.

Put it this way – he wears these bad boys…

FlamingoSlippers

…and I still trust his medical opinion and talk to him.

What’s that? Yes, correct – those are men’s dress slippers.

Hmm? Yup, correct again, they have flamingos on them. Let that marinate for a bit before moving on.

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Ok.  Now that you have recovered, Rezbollah the Medical Sales Rep™ pointed me in the direction of a foot and ankle specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Now, I know the place, and know they treat a lot of the top athletes in the world of pro sports, so I was certainly intrigued. Rezbollah tha God™ (Another one of his names. I don’t know what it’s about, ask him) let me know that there might be a considerable wait, but that he would talk with said doc and put in a good word regarding my case. Sure enough, I landed an appointment with *only a three month wait. While that sounds like a lengthy time frame, I was in no rush to be cut open again, so all was good.

On the day of my appointment with Dr. Slim Thug I…

What’s that? You don’t get the reference? Ok, well, step your rap game up as I will only explain it this one time. You see, Slim Thug is the original Boss. If you find that hard to believe, see it for yourself:

Click here like a BOSS

So, as I was saying, on the day of my appointment with Dr. Slim Thug, I gathered my now-enormous medical folder containing all of the pertinent information from my last two surgeries and hopped on the train to Manhattan. I didn’t really know what to expect, so I was a bit nervous. I didn’t know if he was going to tell me that everything was fixable, or that I would walk like Keyser Söze for the rest of my life.

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Now, I am not making fun on Keyser, mostly because he is a bad ass and one of the best movie villains of all time. That and he’s not real. Point being, I was nervous that he was going to tell me I was out of luck and that I should be happy that I was able to walk.

So, there we were, hanging out in the waiting room, one that was decked out with massive framed NBA jerseys, with nice Sharpie notes of thanks regarding one successful procedure or another. Just then, the door opened, and boom, there in all of his shiny baldness, was Michael Bradley, starting central midfielder for the United States men’s national soccer team. Now, anyone who knows me can tell you that I am a massive football fan.

By the way, that’s what it’s called, so shut your mouth with this, “but that’s what Tom Brady plays!” nonsense. Also, you will root for The Arsenal Football Club if you have even a smidgen of taste and self-respect.

Ok, so there is Michael Bradley, who played for Roma in Italy, although I will not hold it against him, because, well, Forza Juve. I am feeling much better about myself at this point because if he trusts Dr. Slim Thug to take care of his money maker feet, then so can I. Naturally, when Michael got up after his name was called and looked over at me, I was super composed and reacted normally.

Nope, not at all, really.

This was about the extent of it…

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You know, minus the Ron Weasley hair cabbage and the Hogwarts backdrop. But, you get the picture.

With my new found confidence, I cruised back to the waiting room after my name was called and took a seat and waited for the doc to come in. The room was covered with famous athlete’s photos, all with personal thank you messages to them. Famous dancers, Olympians, NBA players, etc. I allowed myself to dream a little bit, envisioning what my photo would look like. Probably something like this,

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I am sure he would throw that right up on the wall.

So, after a few minutes of waiting and dreaming, Dr. Slim Thug came in with a few of his residents, and shook our hands. Right off the ba, I could tell he was the man. For one, he had a totally normal personality, which I found was rare for orthopedic surgeons (to all my ortho docs who read this, I’m sorry, but ya’ll are Type-A x 1,000,000). You know, he could carry on conversations that were not 95% about him and his past accomplishments. That, and he swore, literally one or two sentences into our first conversation. Loved it. All of it. Now this is a guy I could get down with. He quickly grabbed my post-op write up from the last procedure and skimmed through a few parts. He was muttering to himself about how long and absurd it was, which I found a) hilarious and b) to be bit of retribution. When he was done, he looked up at me and my father, looked over at his residents, and said,

“Teaching moment – this is why you don’t f**k with an athletes achilles tendon if you don’t have to.”

YES. THIS GUY. Even my father, who hates swearing, laughed and nodded. Inside, I was all like,

 giphy (2).gif(for you, Toons)

Finally, a doc who gets it. It may have taken 2 surgeries and a bunch of dollars, but I had finally found my guy. If Nicholas Sparks were to ever write a book about an ankle’s search for it’s orthopedic surgeon soulmate, well, he should just holler at me.

Next time – Surgery is nice, so I’ll say it thrice.

-B

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My foot: The Saga Continues

So, I guess I probably should update this thing every now and then. It’s been a full year since I last wrote, and a whole lot has happened since then. Unfortunately, not much has changed.

A quick recap: I went through a third round of surgery about a year ago, in an attempt to repair what Dr. Edward Scissorhands, the second surgeon, did to my foot. For one reason or another, this guy thought it was prudent to cut several notches in my achilles – even though I have never had an achilles injury – in order to lengthen it. Now, that procedure is usually done to aid in mobility of the foot if things are a bit too tight. The only problem is…my foot wasn’t too tight. I had great range of motion, the achilles was very healthy, with only my lateral ligaments needing work. Unfortunately, I was never prepped about this procedure, I had no idea it was going to happen. Sure enough, after a terrible casting job, part of the achilles popped, creating a 50% tear. I didn’t know it at the time, as it was another 4 weeks until the cast came off. But, I knew something was wrong when I tried walking in the boot and I couldn’t push off on my forefoot. Now, it didn’t hurt, per say – it just didn’t work. Concerned, I contacted Doc S-Hands, and after waiting for a few hours in the office, he finally popped in.

S-Hands, after taking the boot off and looking at a series of dotted scars on the back of my lower leg, said,”Did we do a lengthening?”

Um…what? Pretty sure I was not huffing glue at the time, and that I heard him correctly.

“Well, I was not awake when you were cutting my foot open, so you tell me.”

“Yep, looks like we did. OK, let’s see what it looks like with the ultrasound…I was the lead on this technology at Duke.”

Anger level: Apoplectic

What I wanted to say was, “Cool, I really couldn’t give a whole bunch of shits about your machine. You are also wearing a skull and bones bowtie and clogs and went out in public thinking that was a good look. So, shhhhhhhh, and tell me why I can’t walk, please.”

What I did say was, “What? You cut my achilles? Wait. So…wait… Why?”

I was super pissed, he knew it, but really didn’t seem all that concerned about a) me being upset and b) the state of my foot. He broke out what looked like a Mac 165 OG laptop from 1994 with a wand and lubed up my achilles. After a few minutes of mashing buttons and looking at what seemed like a bad Google Maps picture of the Atlantic Ocean, he pointed to a white streak with a big black sliver and said, “Oh, yeah, that’s a tear, looks about 50% through.”

‘scuse me?

I really didn’t know what to say at the time, as I guess I was a too stunned to react. After a bit more looking at the blob on the screen, I asked him what all of this meant. Again, with all the care of cleaning a fork, he told me that two things could happen. One, my achilles would be fine in the boot, I would just have to be in it a little bit longer and the tear will heal on it’s own. Or two, it could tear completely and that’s no problem, as they can just go in an fix it.

Yep. Just a no big deal, we can fix it attitude from a guy in a skull and bones/clogs combo. No worrrrrrries, Brian, you can just have major surgery again to fix the huge mistake I made on a ligament that was not injured in the first place. You know, the one that is kind of needed for stuff like walking, running, going up steps, playing soccer, dunking on unsuspecting fools, shredding dance floors, spin-kicking dudes wearing pirate bowties who ruin a perfectly good foot, etc.

I left the office in a bit of a state, and immediately called my father, who is a retired physician and known to go HAM on docs that are anything other than professional and competent. Sure enough, he told me to schedule a follow-up appointment so that we could have a nice little group chat.

And/or a coming to Baby Jesus sesh.

Fast forward to the next appointment and homie was over an hour late again, which is a pet peeve of my father’s, so the mood was fun and relaxed.

Nope.

I deferred to the two people speaking in medical terms that might as well have been Vietnamese. If it were up to me, or the hollywood side of my brain, I would have preferred a Jack Nicholson vs Tom Cruise scene from A Few Good Men. Alas, mature people were in the room and hashed out next steps. Unfortunately, Dr. Bow Tie McScissor Clogs didn’t really have any answers. He knew there was a tear and he knew there was a huge bone spur on the calcaneus (during the osteotomy, he cut the bone too high, so when it bled and was healing, it formed a big spur) that was jamming into my achilles causing extra issues.

So, you know, party.

His advice was for us to go and read a scientific paper he just printed out about some shit dealing with jacked up feet and then decide what we wanted to do. Funny, I’m fairly certain that’s what my co-pay was for, to see a doctor who should know a bit more than me about what I should do next.

With that, we left, research paper firmly in the garbage on the way out, never to return again.

Stay tuned for the third surgery details and why my new surgeon is 💯

-B