The Road to Recovery: Week 2

My MRI. This is what a completely ruptured Achilles looks like.

My MRI. This is what a completely ruptured Achilles looks like.

USA Fencing Personal Injury Insurance: a Hidden Gem

The first thing I’ll mention in this blog post is that if you don’t know about it, USA Fencing has secondary insurance to cover any costs not covered by your primary. It’s a must have if you get injured at any fencing event, and I would like to thank the Shainberg family for bringing this to my attention. I’ve already racked up a ton in medical bills, and this secondary insurance will cover up to $25,000 in injury costs, as well as up to $2,500 in PT visits. Insurance is the ultimate “better to have it and not need it and not have it than to need it and not have it” kind of thing, and I had no idea this existed despite being a USA Fencing member for twenty years.

You can find out more about the insurance policy here.

The Surgery

I went under the knife on Monday. For some reason, my girlfriend and I thought it would be an excellent idea to YouTube what the surgery looks like. Thirty seconds in we were screaming at the top of our lungs in terror. Never again. The anesthesiologist put a neurological block on my leg which kills any feeling in the region for 18 hours. It’s always weird to me with surgery, how the doc will say “okay, we’re injecting the anesthetic now,” and then all of a sudden, you wake up a few hours later and the operation is complete. Better that than waking up mid-surgery, I suppose.

When I came to, I was extremely sleepy and delirious. I returned to my home, I got out of the car and took one step with my crutches before I began to fall asleep on my feet and fall over. I was so dizzy that my father and girlfriend had to literally carry me from the walkway to my door. As I scooted up my stairs, I kept falling asleep on the way to my bed, where I finally passed out.

The next day, the block was still in place, so I couldn’t feel my leg, which made the morning easy. By night time, the block was gone, and I was in excruciating pain that was arguably worse than the tear itself. In college, I got the nickname “Skeletor” in part because of my notorious tolerance for pain, but that nickname was put to the test on Tuesday night. No matter what angle I placed my leg at, there was a constant, pulsating, throbbing pain in my leg that kept me awake for all of Tuesday night. I’m hoping that will be the worst of the road ahead, because I don’t know if I can handle pain worse than that.

Post opp evaluation was on Wednesday, and the doctor took a look at the wound and mobility of the tendon, and the good news is, surgery was successful and we’re on track. Stitches will go out in ~2 weeks and I’ll begin rehab soon after.

Waging War (Or Peace?)

If you read part 1 of my injury post, you may recall me mentioning the story of getting mocked by my opponent’s father as I was wheeled out of the Reno NAC to the hospital. With some sleuthing (and help from Da’Nick BoJohnson) I managed to locate the contact information of the club’s head coach (redacting name here).

She called me this week, and we had a great conversation. To say she was appalled with the parent’s behavior is an understatement. She mentioned that the kid’s father was rarely in the picture, but when he showed up to the club, she was going to sit him down and discuss suspension from fencing events. I appreciated her taking action on this matter, and it further proved to me that 99% of the folks in our sport are truly great people. No coach should tolerate such unsportsmanlike behavior, and she wasn’t about to allow such a thing to happen under her brand.

The father’s name is on my bathroom mirror. It is the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning, it is the last thing I see when I go to bed. I have ten months of rehab ahead. It won’t be easy, it will be painful, and I am being deprived of doing what I love the most: fencing. I want his name in my face every day to remind me of the greatest insult ever delivered to me in my life. What this parent needs to realize is adversity isn’t the finale, it’s opportunity. Perhaps he took pleasure in thinking this was the end of my fencing career. When I return to the piste, I’ll look him in the eye and tell him: “we’re just getting started, motherf*****!”

Next Steps

I plan to get back to work next week. Driving me crazy not being able to do my job, but I just couldn’t function with the meds. Next post-opp session is Wednesday, and the doctor will look at my wound to see that it’s healing on track. Once the stitches are out, I’ll begin rigorous therapy to restrengthen the muscles/tendon.

PT will begin in 2-3 weeks, depending on how I heal. I can’t tell you how eager I am to get off these crutches and back on my feet. I promise you this: I’m going to work harder than I ever have in my life to not only come back to old form, but even stronger. Perhaps I’ve let my fitness take a back seat to my job in the last few years. No longer. I’m not taking my health for granted another day, and I’m planning to reinvent myself in the next 10 months.

Again, thanks to all the support I’ve gotten from friends/readers. It’s been a rough ride so far but the best is ahead!!!!

-D

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