tg's Cast System

Strike one...

In June, I decided to recapture the glory of my softball days and impetuously jumped at the chance to play on the church softball team (it's only a church league after all, what can happen?) Too cheap to buy new shoes, I used my old spikes that were worn out when I last played...ummm 10 years ago?

Second game, I am limping by the third inning because the back of the shoes are hitting into my Achilles. Oh well, pain is all part of the game right? What am I going to do, sit out? Go shoeless? We pull away and are winning handily. I've gotten two hits and a walk. It's the 6th inning. I hit one to the short stop and all the old instincts take over - RUN LIKE HELL! There's no such thing as an automatic out.

Boy was I wrong.

American Softball Association rule #733: If you are heavily accelerating and your Achilles tendon snaps when you're half way to first and you lose your balance and fall down in the base path 10 feet from the bag It's an automatic out.

Three days later I have it surgically repaired (95% rupture). Six weeks in a cast and on crutches (non-weight bearing after all!), which included such adventures as flying to England and attending a wedding (wore a black "formal cast") and an outdoor music festival. I rented a wheelchair for the trip and allowed myself to be pushed around by a friend. I'm sure she enjoyed that! Actually, she didn't as I turned out to be a rather panicky rider. "Watch OUT! You're too close to that person. A BUMP! CAREFUL!" were all phrases I used judiciously. I think I was in danger of coming home in more than one cast.

I came home, got the cast off, learned to walk again over a couple of weeks. I started physical therapy and pushed myself like any good athlete.

No one warned me about carpet runners.

Strike two

Sept 27, I swung around to turn out the lights. I caught the same carpet runner buckle I'd tripped on two times earlier in the last hour. In slow motion I recall the following: a searing pain shooting through my being, a primal inner scream saying "NOOOOO! I didn't just rupture it again!!!!", me hopping to a chair saying nasty words, the inner voice of denial turning into a plea for a 30 second rewind of my life combining with a large critical voice of "WHY DID'T YOU FIX THAT!?!", and finally landing there and grabbing my foot.

The surgical incision (from the previous injury) runs up and down the length of my leg at the back of the ankle and is about 4 inches long. That did not open up. Instead, a ragged two inch gash ACROSS the incision lay open and bleeding (I know…ICK. At least it wasn't YOU!)

Picture me in the back of my friend's car on the cell phone calling my doctor to find out which hospital to go to. I don't know what the rush hour crowd made of a woman laid out in the back, leg up in the air, phone head set on... What am I saying, it's Detroit after all. I'm sure no one even noticed.

Rupture repair number two scheduled. All I can say is, you know you're having fun when you're surgeon comes in to look at your wound and says, "THAT'S Weird."

The deduction was that during the healing process, the skin must have attached to the tendon (even though they try to prevent this) and that perhaps I did push my therapy too hard (you've been on a trampoline already at 3 months!?) which may have stretched it and when the tendon tore (which it would do crosswise, not lengthwise) well, the skin just went with it. I tore a hole in my foot from the inside out. Yeehah. Can you beat that? My own personalized stigmata on the back of my foot. A cross. What a fanatic!

Surgery, split cast and home to rest. Next week, after more pain then I thought should be, I opened up the split cast to investigate. I pried it open and "AAAAHHHHHH".

There at the intersection of my formerly Holy incisions was a 1-inch diameter hole.

Strike Three..You're OUT!


Off to hospital, it's now Oct 11. Except for those five weeks I've been on one foot since July 2. I am now an expert on crutches. I get compliments wherever I go. This time, my hospital stay is two weeks. A week of IV antibiotics and a plastic surgeon is enlisted to fix the hole by borrowing skin from the other side of the foot and swinging it over the hole. Quite clever really. I have a picture if you're really curious. What's more, 2 inches of tendon had to come out (infected). To prevent skin from adhering to the tendon again, they decided to cover up the hole and leave the tendon separated for now and to put a place holder in the place of the 2 inches. A piece of antibiotic impregnated plastic cement. Cool stuff. I have a sample. I am SO ready for show and tell.

Three weeks bed rest with leg elevated above the heart at all times. Oh -and I have bathroom privileges. Thank Goodness.

This is the time I was meant to be recording. I've heard it said, if you want to make God laugh...make plans. Well, I'm sure God's in hysterics at this point. For most of that time, I was wiped out, so couldn't even do anything productive. Worst part is I'm an Aunt for the first time. Little Spencer was born on Aug 11 and I hadn't seen him for two months. Mommy and baby came to visit me one day so I got a mini baby fix.

People have been so so wonderful. The outpouring of compassion and love has been overwhelming and humbling.

I got lots of help from family and friends from making and serving food and doing laundry and grocery shopping etc. And I tell you I am totally up to date on the latest Johnson and Johnson products!

Do I know how to live or what?

I put off the tendon reconstruction until mid to late February. I had music commitments that would be easier done walking (see the "where" button off the main page).

Unless you've been there, you can't imagine how lovely it is to walk.

And what a blessing it is.

For now.


Had the surgery and all appears to be well. Now lots of healing time. Will be reflecting and writing and planning. Ironically, I have been grateful for this experience. I will, at least for a while, appreciate the beauty in small steps. I am beginning to understand the necessity of enjoying the journey instead of always pushing with eyes on a destination. Goals come and go, but we mostly live our lives in the "in between"…in the "getting there". I am learning to appreciate that a bit more. And this is a good thing.

Here's to learning the real lesson this time around….so as not to have to repeat this or any process again.

Putting my best foot forward.


Back to terry's bio