On the first of May 2021, I broke my foot while skateboarding with my son. It seems straight forward when you think about it. In my mind was a picture of a few weeks in a cast, difficulty showering, difficulty working and getting around and then it will be back to normal. But my experience has actually been far from that.
So when I arrived at the hospital and was admitted in the emergency unit, I had to have x-rays done. Pretty straight forward stuff. And after a doctor reviewed the pictures, I was told I need to have them done again as it looks like I may have sustained what’s called a LISFRANC injury.
My basic understanding of this, is that when the bones are fractured, it can cause a type of dislocation or spacing of the bones in your foot. If this is a big spacing then surgery is required, for pins to hold the bones in the correct place. BUT……… they can only really try to see this if you stand with pressure on the foot during the x-ray. Sounds fun considering the pain I was in already, was quite bad. But I am a man and I’m tough. Cant show pain and fear. So off we go to x-ray.
Needless to say it was quite difficult to hide my pain, and the desire to help the doctors was short lived as I almost passed out while standing on the hurt foot. I have never really experienced that kind of feeling and luckily the nurse came back in time to help me down. I don’t think it worked well either, as I was later referred back to radiology for an MRI scan of the foot. Couldn’t we have just done that in the first place?
Long story short- they decide the next morning that I didn’t need surgery so they sent me home. YAY!! Meds collected and off we go. Some pain killers and some asprin to help thin the blood, so I don’t get clots due to an inactive leg. I couldn’t wait to shower as I had been at the hospital since 11am on the Saturday, all sweaty from skateboarding, possibly having pee’d myself from shock in the initial stages after the fall and pain I was experiencing, (but it may have been a leaking water bottle on my lap in the car, I’m not sure, but my wife says the bottle was fairly full. I’m neither confirming or denying), to spending the night in the hospital and then eventually arriving home by about 12.30 the next afternoon.
So now that I’m home lets make a list of obstacles to overcome: Bedrooms are upstairs, no baths only showers, a five year old that can be a little clumsy, an adult male(me) that can be a little clumsy, a foot phobic wife, and my inability to sit and do nothing under normal circumstances. This could get interesting.
Four days into having a leg cast things started to feel strange. When I stood up to go to the loo or kitchen, my foot and calf would get a crazy swollen feeling. It feels like a steady build up of pressure but then slowly subsides. But the next day it got worse lasting even longer. By the Saturday morning I couldn’t take it and called a medical helpline and they suggested to go to the doctor. Long story short again, The cast was cut off and I had an ultra sound scan, which confirmed I have DVT , or blood clot in the vein in the leg. Its a very uncomfortable feeling and quite painful. It burns and feels like a cramp is going to set in with an intense pressure that doesn’t go away. So another entire day spent at the clinic with more x-rays and a recast of the leg and eventually being sent home with more meds. This time to thin my blood, as the asprin I was given from the hospital clearly wasn’t doing a good job to assist in thinning the blood.
Two weeks in now and I was back to the hospital for my first follow up with the orthopedic surgeon, and yup, more x-rays. So off comes the cast, x-rays done and a chat with the doctor. But wait, the system is down and he cant see the x-rays, and they also cant access the report from the week before regarding my DVT issue. AWESOME!
The doctor, seeming satisfied with my story of what has been going on and the medication I’m on, orders a new cast for my leg. At least its a light weight one, and coloured, (I chose purple), not the heavy, shitty, white plaster cast. Still, it doesn’t make going for a wee or a poo any easier. I feel like a dog with my leg in the air every time I go to take a leak. But being human and only having one good leg to stand on, its all about BALANCE! Guys and their aim can be questionable at the best of times. This was like level expert stuff.
Off to home again. And after a few days….. I develop a cough and funny heart beat irregularities. Not continuous, just one or two strange beats once or twice a day. I can also taste blood when I wake up and have had red coloured spit. Well great, what is this now. So, off I go to see my GP. She checks me out and contacts the hospital to speak to somebody in hematology. They talk about lung clots. Sounds fun. But after a brief chat, she is advised that even if there is a possible lung clot, the treatment would stay the same, keep taking the blood thinning meds. But if anything gets worse, to go straight to the emergency ward at the hospital. So I struggle on for another week. But by the Friday, the cough has intensified and the irregular beats have become more regular. I have started to get pains, something that feels like a stich, in my chest. Breathing has a tight feeling in my lungs to. The pressure is back in the leg again, and it stays swollen even when elevated well above my heart.
After a phone call to my GP its off to the emergency ward once again. I get admitted and a bunch of tests are carried out: ECG, blood tests, more x-rays this time of the chest and lungs, and then finally they decide to do a CT of the chest.
For the CT, I am advised that a type of dye will be injected into the blood stream and I will get a funny sensation through my body. I will feel like I want to “let myself go”, (pee myself) but not to worry as it wont actually happen. Really? Are you sure? Because thinking back to the accident day, I seem to remember an incident with the pee, or water bottle, its still an unsolved mystery. So I’m a little nervous. But I can gladly say that all went well, and if anybody has to go through this procedure, it doesn’t feel like you gonna wet yourself. Its more just a warm feeling through what I imagine is the bladder. You kind of get a feeling of where blood flows through your body. Its all warm up and then down the one side to the other of your body. Its actually quite interesting.
When the results come back, I’m told there is a mark on the lung, that they believe is a clot. And having reviewed the blood tests, it appears that the thinning medication I was taking hasn’t been working, as certain counters in the blood haven’t changed at all. So what does that mean? Well I’m finally being taken out of the cast and being given a moon boot. My meds are changing, again, YAY! And that I can now go home. Having arrived at just before 3pm and its now 11.25pm, I’m rather happy, seeing as I haven’t eaten since just after 11.30am.
The following Tuesday I get a call from the hospital. The lady on the line is calling to say that they have reviewed my chest CT scan, and that it is in fact not a clot on my lung. Ok great. So what is it? They cant say. Really? That’s comforting. NOT. She tells me it could be traces left from a clot, or just some residue from the dye that went through the blood stream, but its definitely not a clot. Well then why have I been coughing, having tight chest and strange heart beats? What about the taste of blood in my mouth? Another unsolved mystery in my book.
And now to the next follow up with the orthopedic surgeon. Guess what, yup, more x-rays. He seems happy with the bones and their alignment. That means its time to start putting weight on the foot, to help in the bone strengthening process. But it sounds easier that it is. He has encouraged me to start walking on it as much as possible, and as much as the pain allows. So its been a rather strange week for me. Learning , in a sense, how to walk again. The foot is sore with to much weight on it and the ankle is very weak. This has me thinking, what about all the muscles, tendons and ligaments in my foot. Everybody seems so worried about the bones, but surely these other things have been damaged too?
Which is leading me to my next stage of recovery. Going to a physio therapist and podiatrist. I’m just trying to get the most efficient help as possible. Everything that I have gone through in this experience hasn’t left me feeling very confident. Things just keep going wrong. Hopefully I’m reaching the stage where I’m healing with no further complications. One of the problems I face going forward, is having to take the blood thinning meds for nearly another two months still. I hate meds. And I think they are messing with my stomach. I haven’t had so much throttle bottom since the last time I had food poisoning.
Physiotherapy is going to consist of a few stretching and strengthening exercises with the aid of one of those stretching bands. And its has been advised to continue trying to walk on my foot but not to over do it. If it hurts, STOP. I do have a terrible habit of over doing things so that seems like good advice. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!
And hopefully this is it, the road to full recovery. It will still be a while before I can walk unassisted, but it should get easier and, my foot and leg stronger. I’m just looking forward to being able to do the simple things we take for granted, like being able to go for a walk. It has been quite a journey, this injury I thought would be simple and straight forward. Even the small mental affects this has had. It has, in the least part, been a journey, and I have learned quite a lot because of it. But hopefully anybody reading this will not have to experience it.