I’ve tweeted a few times about the condition of my leg — how it’s healing, how painful it’s been, difficulty walking and sleeping — and though I’ve mentioned once or twice what happened some people still don’t know. So here it is….
On Sunday, May 22nd I was in Moorpark to watch the cyclists during Stage 8 of the Amgen Tour of California as they came off Balcom Canyon onto Stockton Rd. After the riders all went past I turned to run (literally) back to the car to jump in and head back to the finish line area in Thousand Oaks to watch the circuit portion of the race. As I went to propel myself with the first step off my left leg I felt (and perhaps heard) a “pop” in my left calf, immediately dropping me to the ground in intense pain.
After a minute of composing myself, I was able to make it to the car. Although it still hurt a lot, I felt up to going into Thousand Oaks for the circuit. I ended walking around the finish line area, bumping into several friends, seeing the end of the race, and probably not doing much to help my leg heal.
In the past I would have gone to the doctor/urgent care no later than the next day, but I’m still without insurance and no significant income so self-doctoring was my first option. For the next few days I did what experience and training told me was best; PRICE, Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate. After 5 days noticed a bruise had started to form and I decided I needed to get it seen by an actual MD and headed to urgent care.
When the doctor came in to see me I told her everything that occurred, including the walking around at the ATOC. Her immediate reaction was to start writing up an order to have me get an MRI, but when I told her I don’t have insurance she crossed that out and began to examine my leg. She believed that there is definitely a tear in the muscle — as evident by the bruise which indicated deep internal bleeding — but without an MRI she couldn’t tell how severe it was. Her recommendation: PRICE, but if couldn’t walk heel-to-toe by Tuesday the 31st then I should call an orthopedic doctor and have it looked at. If it needed surgery the ortho would want to do it within about 10 days. (I can’t afford an MRI, but I could afford surgery?)
Although I couldn’t fully walk heel-to-toe last Tuesday I was much better than I had been. Today, I’m still nowhere near 100% though. My bruising is fading and most of it is a lovely yellow or golden-brown now. The swelling has significantly gone down, but I still don’t have full range of motion. I can’t walk normally and my calf muscle feels more cramped up now more than anything else, so I’m on a slow road to stretching it and getting back my range of motion. I’m still spending most of my day reclining on the couch with my leg elevated.
This is actually a repeat injury, but much worse this time. Around 1-1/2 year ago I injured this same calf, but not nearly as bad. I don’t fully remember how it originally happened, nor how long it took to heal, but I do remember clearly being at the beach feeling it pull and I went to jump over a wave. Since that occurrence a year and half ago I’ve been more than idle on the leg; refereeing soccer, running, hiking…walking. This injury occurring from something ass simply as taking a step to just start to run back to the car is more than frustrating, it’s confusing, and I hate it.
I feel it getting better, but I fear it will not fully heal, that there will be significant scar tissue, and that I won’t be able to do some of the things I’ve enjoyed doing before this happened. Getting old sucks, and I don’t like being afraid.