For several days I mourned the loss of my hard-earned summer. One of the benefits of being a teacher is getting a long summer vacation. I spent the past year or so building up my rock climbing skills, fitness and confidence to lead trad climbs at the crags and in the alpine. Now, I felt, all that progress had come to a grinding halt. I reflected on the miserable summer I had 2 years ago after blowing out my ACL and getting surgery right before summer vacation. This would be different, though, because I would need to be completely non-weight bearing on the injured side for about 3 months!
I had to miss the last week of classes with my students to care for my foot and schedule doctor’s appointments. I got a CT scan of my foot and followed up with an orthopedic PA, who basically said “take a look, it’s shattered and I have no idea what to do with you.” He told me the joint surfaces appeared to be intact and it would be up to an orthopedic surgeon to decide if I needed surgery or not. He put a cast on me and rushed me out of his office as quickly as he could. He made it very clear he had more important patients to get to. Here I was, feeling just as shattered as my heel was, and it seemed like no one wanted to help me. And later I found out the crap he told me about the joint was false.
Tired of dealing with clowns, I got on the phone with my trusted chiropractor and asked for her advice. She referred me to the foot clinic at OHSU. I got in to see a podiatrist pretty quickly. He said I would need surgery to restore the integrity of the subtalar joint (between the calcaneus and talus), which the injury had knocked out of alignment. He proposed pinning the two major chunks of bone together and clean out the tiny bits that would just act like sandpaper in my foot. My cast came off, and there would be another week of waiting before going under the knife.
Fortunately, I was in no pain and I so I never had to take the meds that the doctor had prescribed. I spent most of the day laying on the couch RICE’ing my foot and watching movies online. It was horribly boring. I couldn’t put my summer plans out of my mind and I was feeling pretty sad. I did have some great friends who stopped by to bring food, entertainment and comfort. This was immensely helpful for my sanity.