My Achilles Tendon – The Surgery · 30 January 2009

Modern medicine is amazing. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men may not have been able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, but doctors can put lots of other folks back together. In my case, the surgeon put my right Achilles tendon back together. It hurts a little now, but I am looking forward to the day when I can walk again without crutches.

I must say it again lest somebody think that I am making light of serious injury and illness. I am very fortunate. I have great health and I am very thankful that I just ruptured my Achilles tendon. I know that I have been blessed in this area of my life and I would never want to downplay other people’s serious illnesses and injuries. There are some things that doctors just can not cure or repair.

I was totally amazed with my own surgery.

I was a bit nervous when I had the initial consultation and even more so, of course, on the day of the surgery. When we went in, I felt calm but had a few butterflies flittering around in my stomach. My heart rate was normal but my blood pressure was a bit elevated which confirmed both the calm and trepidation.

I had to sign lots of papers. Warnings about surgery. Warnings about anesthetics. Warnings about warnings. Those warnings did nothing to allay my slight fears. If anything, they may have been the reason for my elevated blood pressure. After all, one of the first warnings that I got is that surgery is serious and unforeseen complications could arise that could cause death! Death by surgery was not my idea of fun. Certainly not when the surgery was on my injured leg. But I did sign the forms.

After the signing of the papers came the meetings with doctors and nurses. That was when I got my blood pressure and pulse taken. I met with the anesthesiologist who made sure I was nervous about the anesthesia. I met with my surgeon who came to ease my fears and put his initials on my leg where he was going to operate. I got to talk to talk to nurses who helped me put my mind at ease and unrest. It seemed that all of them were a tag team getting me worried and calmed in turn. But they all really just wanted me to be relaxed and ready for the operation.

After all the little meetings with doctors and nurses, I got to wait around in the hospital gown and bathrobe. My wife, the Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi, said that now I knew what it was like to wear a dress. The worst parts of that were making sure I did not show everybody my underwear and having a draft between my legs. The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi made fun of me and told me about cupcakes and crepes to keep me calm. I guess that she was part of that tag team too.

When it was finally time, I was wheeled down to the operating room. I leaped out of the wheel chair when the nurse reached out to me. She was a bit surprised because she was just going to check something before she was going to help me out. But she also said that all of the people with operations that day did the same thing. I guess we were all just ready to get it over with. They operating room staff got me all situated and laying down on the table.

Now in our initial consultation, I asked the doctor if I could be awake to watch the whole thing, but he told me that I had to be face down. This meant that I had to have a general anesthetic. I got to go to sleep. On the day of the operation, I laid down face up on the table. My wife asked me what the table looked like and I did not know. She thought that there would be some cool contraption to turn me face down. Being the engineering type that I am (pronounced NERD), I normally would have looked around curious at all the stuff. But all I saw were these nifty lights and the people who were there to help operate on me.

The anesthesiologist told me that I was going to feel a little sting in my left wrist for a local anesthetic and then a larger sting from the IV. A nurse told me that my eyes would go a little buggy and almost immediately, they did. She said, “Don’t fight it. Just close your eyes.” She put a mask over my nose and mouth and told me to breath normally. I opened my eyes because I felt like I could not breathe very well. I saw the mask and decided that I did not need to fight it. I would place my trust in these people. I breathed deeply. The nurse said, “That’s good.”

The next thing I knew, I was waking up in a bed that sunk in the middle so that I was sitting up with my leg elevated a bit. A nurse gave me some water and said that when I was ready, I could get dressed and go to a different recovery room where my wife was waiting. I blinked my eyes a few times and was ready to go after a drink of water. Or it seemed that way. I got my clothes on and went to the second recovery room.

A nurse told me about my medication and bathing and gave condolences to my wife about the ordeal she was facing in the coming days, weeks, and months. Actually, thinking back, it was the anesthesiologist who gave the condolences in our meeting before the surgery. His wife had gone through a similar surgery and he was the caregiver during her recovery.

When it was all over, the Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi drove us home and we did not even get caught in traffic. It was about four or five hours at the surgery center to fix something that has been breaking for who knows how long. Of course, the easy part is over. Breaking and fixing Humpty Dumpty are done pretty quickly. Getting better is the hard part. Modern medicine is truly amazing, but I know that I will need to work hard and listen to the doctor. I am not afraid of the work. I just hope that I listen well.

© 2009 Michael T. Miyoshi

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