Friday, November 14, 2014

An update on M

Took M to the sports medicine doctor yesterday. The doctor was recommended by another doctor friend of ours, whose daughter plays soccer and volleyball with Zoe. We got there early and filled out all the paperwork (why is there always so much paperwork?!) and the nurse called us promptly at M's appointment time. M crutched back to the exam room, where the nurse checked his blood pressure and asked more specific questions than those on the forms. She laughed at us, because M would answer her questions, and then I would fill in the missing pieces. He said, "I'm not lying!" and I said, "It's called the sin of omission, dude." And he cracked up which made the nurse bust out laughing. After a few minutes she left and the doctor came in. I liked him immediately, because he took one look at the crutches leaning up against the wall and said, "Are you on those? Yeah, we're getting you off those. Today." I almost hugged him right there. The crutches have been so hard on M, because he's so dependent on others with them. He can't carry things with them unless he messes with a backpack, and who wants to do that all the time? And there are some things that just can't go in a backpack. Like a cup of coffee.

The doctor examined M's leg, checking for strength and range of motion. It was very clear that M doesn't have much of either on that leg. He can't even get his foot to what would normally be a neutral position because of the pain. Within just a few minutes the doctor was able to determine that it's only the gastroc that's affected, not other calf muscles and not the achilles. He had M flip over on the table and the nurse wheeled an ultrasound machine to the side. The doctor positioned the screen so M could also see it, and then invited me to come around and look. I had watched M's doppler ultrasound when he was checked for blood clots, but the tech said nothing while she performed the procedure so I didn't have a clue what I was seeing on the screen. He started the procedure, and walked us through. We could see M's muscles and layers of fat, and a huge black area. "That's the tear," he said. I had seen that on the first ultrasound, but since the tech was silent and imparted a "shut up and don't ask questions" personality, I had no idea.

He measured the tear and talked about how large it is. "Yep, you pulled that right off," he said. Great. He told us that the tear is full of blood and debris (bits of muscle and other body stuff…gross) and that he could drain it. M looked pale. "How?" I started laughing because I already knew the answer, and I already knew that he wasn't going to react well. "Why, with a needle, of course!" M's eyes went wide and he just stared at the doctor. I couldn't help but laugh, but only because needles are not a big deal to me at all. The doc took pity on my husband, though, and said, "Well, because of all the debris I'd probably only get 5 cc's or so, which isn't a lot. I mean, it'd help relieve the pressure in there, but given your reaction I don't think it's worth it." This killed me, but only because I don't mind needles. I'd have jumped at the opportunity in a heartbeat. Get whatever you can out…anything to help. M was not of my opinion, so he was able to stay safely away from needles during the entire appointment.

The doc also explained that M would have to go to physical therapy two to three times per week to get everything back to normal. The therapy will help him build strength and regain range of motion, while helping the gastroc to heal. No volleyball, which is a bummer as M is scheduled to start a new league with friends in January. He then put him in a walking boot, which because of the size of M's foot looks like a huge NASA moon boot. We were both elated, as his will have much more mobility with the boot. I gladly broke down the crutches while the tech fitted the boot onto M's leg. She placed three pieces of foam in the heal of the boot, which lifted M's foot into a position where it didn't fire the gastroc as much when he walks. He hopped off the table and tried walking, with great uncertainty and caution. He explained, "I haven't walked on it in almost two weeks. I'm kinda afraid to put any pressure on it." I could understand his hesitancy.

They got the boot adjusted to M's foot and leg, and off we went. M headed out the door empty-handed, while I picked up my bag and purse, the plastic bag with his boot stuff (a pump, more foam pieces, instructions and paperwork, etc.) and the crutches. "Hey," I called. "You've got free hands now." He laughed, "Sorry. I'm not used to carrying anything any more." He took the crutches and hobbled out. We picked up the paperwork for therapy from the check-out desk and headed towards the elevator.

I drove him straight to the retreat house, where he was arriving hours late but in a much better position to help than if he were on crutches. I did most of the heavy lifting as he was still learning how to navigate with the boot. I worry that it throws of his gait so much, but hope that he'll get used to walking in it and will also do better as the tear heals. He changed his clothes and I got him situated in his room, and we headed back downstairs. I was leaving and he was joining his team. I hit the button on the elevator and he hesitated a moment and then hit the stairs. Oh boy. He put a hand on each railing and used his good foot to skip down the stairs five or six at a time. I couldn't keep up. When he made it to the ground floor, he took off. Well, I guess he's figured out walking in the boot!

He has a long, hard road of recovery ahead; the doc said normal wouldn't happen for four to six months. He'll get better, and things are already improved due to the walking boot. He'll start therapy next week, and goes back to the sports medicine guy in a month. I'm asking for prayers and good juju for him. Whatever you got, throw it out there to the universe.


Post a Comment

<< Home