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Frankenfoot and the fantastically shrinking leg

December 17, 2013

The good news: I’m out of the cast!  The not-so-good news: the “use it or lose it” thing is real, at least as it pertains to muscles.  Today I got to have my first look at my ankle since the surgery.  Now 19 days since the injury, it’s all starting to feel like I’m inching towards recovering and despite some discomfort greater than I’ve had in about a week, I’m feeling like progress is being made.

Alison and Sagan helped create this masterpiece, bringing joy to literally tens of people.

Alison and Sagan helped create this masterpiece, bringing joy to literally tens of people.  (Rain deer smile on underside not pictured.)

Anyone who has had the misfortune of an extended stretch in a hard cast knows the experience is something of a lateral move from the injury itself.  They are bulky, itchy, and they stink.  And with a foot casted up to the calf, by design, there’s no ability to rotate the ankle, which causes intermittent cramping and chaffing issues.  So, cast removal day is something to celebrate.

We started with the not-so-precise hacking off of the outer shell, which eventually necessitated a saw that could have just as easily removed my tibia…

After many minutes of saw-aided deconstruction of the cast, I could again see my wilted, mostly hairless monstrosity of a leg.

After many minutes of saw-aided deconstruction of the cast, I could again see my wilted, mostly hairless monstrosity of a leg.

Next, the big reveal!  The fantastic Dr. Jonathan Bravman unwittingly complisulted me by commenting “you look as good as you possibly could.”  (For an atrophying, scraggly-bearded, poorly dressed, rapidly aging wannabe athlete?)  He didn’t laugh or cringe when I brought up Western States and he thinks it is a worthy goal…for a guy with this…

Part man, part centipede.  The two ends of the snapped achilles were sewn back together right under that mess.

Part man, part centipede. The two ends of the snapped achilles were sewn back together right under that mess.

While the incision site is a bit gruesome, the really alarming part was seeing the level of atrophy in my right leg.  I knew it would happen at some point to some degree but it is shocking how quickly and significantly muscle is lost.  Since I’ve been getting around the last few weeks primarily by hopping on my left foot, my left calf has gained a bit of size (though not as much as has been lost on the right) so the comparison is all the more striking…

It seems I now have three equally pathetic forearms.  Or perhaps I'm not-so-slowly transforming into a flamingo.

It seems I now have three equally pathetic forearms. Or perhaps I’m not-so-slowly transforming into a flamingo.

First PT session is tomorrow morning.  I gave the hand cycle a shot yesterday, logging 80 minutes of various 20-minute programs.  The upper body muscle fatigue on the machine kicks in long before much real cardio but it is better than nothing.  I’d say that it was the cardio equivalent of a lengthy walk with a few hills thrown in.  I’ll hit that again tomorrow and with any luck I’ll hold onto a bit of fitness while working towards an Iggy Pop-like physique.

 

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2 Comments
  1. Very Kenyan right leg you have there. Must be that you are barefoot on that side.

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