Mike half-carried me into our house as I hopped on my left foot, trying not to jostle my floppy right ankle. I eased onto the couch and stared at the divot at the back of my heel where my Achilles’ tendon was supposed to be. After surfing the waves of guilt and dread the whole ride home, Mike’s presence calmed the waters.
“Here’s what we’re going to do.”
I got home around 10 in the evening, so the next morning I was going to call around and find a place that could put a cast on my foot. I had my first Achilles’ tendon rupture surgically repaired and was then in a cast for about 6 weeks. I was not going to get surgery with this one, so I figured I’d just be in a cast for a bit longer than that since the recovery time without surgery is generally a bit longer.
Once that was settled, I called my mom. Mike works full-time so I was going to need a boatload of extra help for the next several weeks. We have a 3 year old named Micah and I also watch a few other children at my home. Mom’s a teacher and, as luck would have it, the school year just ended. “I’ll help with whatever you need.” My mom is wonderful.
A quick aside: this whole ordeal has certainly made me appreciate my mom and Mike. They are stepping up and doing all sorts of extra work these days. Likewise, it’s made me appreciate myself. Watching the amount of work they’re both doing has made me realize the amount of work I normally do on a regular basis.
I couldn’t handle doing any sort of Achille’s research that evening, so I spent the night on the couch watching Star Wars and trying not to move my foot. Mike stayed out on the couch with me just like I did with Micah when he was barfing a few months back. I used to resist this sort of help for fear of becoming too dependent on something outside of myself. There’s still a part of me that resists, but now I understand the value in a symbiotic relationship. I even managed to doze off a bit here and there.
In the morning, I just sort of waited anxiously around for normal business hours. I skimmed the orthopedists in the area and found one that looked fairly small but quite legitimate. I feel guilty typing this, but we don’t currently have insurance. I feel silly that I feel guilty typing that. Mike and I are both self-employed, so decent insurance cost us 12 grand last year. Decent meaning about a $4000 deductible. Which basically means that we would have to pay 16 thousand dollars before the insurance would really cover anything other than making Dr. visits and prescriptions cheaper. After weighing those odds, paying for insurance seemed to be more of a gamble than not. We’ve just been putting that money into a savings account instead.
I called the small/legit-looking orthopedist as soon as they opened and they said if I came right away, they could squeeze me in. My mom walked in the door just as I finished that conversation, so we wrangled Micah and swooped out the door.
I knew I’d have to make sure we didn’t end up paying a crapton of money just to get a cast on and I was terrified. Advocating for myself is not one of my strongpoints. I’m a bit of a people-pleaser (see also: praise junky) so I tend to go with the flow even when the flow wants to drown me.
I went in with the intention of paying for everything outright so I wouldn’t end up with some crazy bill, but between the fear of moving my right foot, the lack of sleep the night before, trying to remember how not to fall down the stairs on crutches, making sure my credit card had been activated because the sticker was still on it, and trying to get information out of a Dr. who seemed to be in a rather large hurry—I managed to walk out of the door after only paying the $150 visit fee. (Now I don’t mean to put the good doctor down. I’m super grateful that they were able to squeeze me in right away. It’s just tricky sometimes to get all of the information you need without annoying the person who’s going to be manipulating your super-injured foot.) I didn’t even realize my mistake until about halfway home. Wups. I figured I’d probably end up with a bill for around $500 to put on a cast which seemed fairly reasonable. More on that later.
The Dr. told me that I’d be in a cast for 2 weeks and would then switch to a boot and begin “aggressive physical therapy.” [As I write this, I’m 6 weeks post-injury and the therapy has been anything but aggressive.] Since I was thinking I’d be in a cast for a good 8 weeks or so, the idea of aggressive physical therapy at 2 weeks sounded terrifying. But I just let that simmer on the back burner for later processing.
Once my foot was safely secured in a snazzy purple cast, I felt much better. If you’re ever hungry for a big old chunk of vulnerability, try letting a majorly injured body part flop in the breeze for a while.
We headed home and I settled into the couch to let the healing begin.