I really, really like the nurse practitioner that is my primary care provider. She really knows a lot. She really knows me too.
For more than two years I have complained to her off and on about the same ankle injury. She listens, recommends a conservative course of treatment and tells me to get back with her in six to eight weeks if there is no improvement. For awhile this fall, there was improvement, which I think is why she was surprised to see me this morning.
My achilles tendon had by then swollen to twice the size of the healthy one on the other leg just by running errands the day before. Fortunately, the tendon is still attached to my “calf muscle,” so it’s not severed. But the huge knot and chronic pain point to a significant tear. Maybe even a “recreational-ending” one.
For those that are interested, the course of action for now begins with prerequisite x-rays of my foot and ankle, which are required for me to get an MRI. The MRI will settle once and for all the extent of damage and maybe shed some light on what biomechanics are behind this chronic injury. From there I will limp over to the orthopedics wing to consult with an ankle specialist. Options at the moment range from surgery to physical therapy.
In the meantime, I am taking prescription-strength anti-inflammatory medication and continue to rest, ice, bandage and elevate the ankle. I also have to wear my running shoes during all waking hours.
All this is SOP. What came next was her advice, runner to runner. She said she knows I’m not “the 24-Hour Fitness kind of runner” and that I need to soak in the outdoors and not just log miles on the treadmill. She asked some pointed yet seemingly random questions and I suddenly saw where she was going. I’ve been on the verge of tears since.
I’m going to hold off saying more until the ankle specialist has issued a diagnosis and prognosis. Forget a turkey trot. Forget taking on my peers in the 2010 SDTC Grand Prix. My new goal is to be fit enough in a week for the family’s annual walk/hike, which just got a whole lot shorter and more level.