House Arrest

Why you can’t contact me this week.

On Fri 03/02/09, I had surgery on my left foot to repair a pinched nerve in my left foot. I had tarsal tunnel syndrome (TTS), and the surgery was a tarsal tunnel release.

My TTS was caused by the combination of an abnormal muscle anatomy and injury. The soleus muscle on my left leg has always extended lower on than on my right leg. Just above the inside of my left angle, I had a puffiness from this low-lying muscle. I’ve had this all of my adult life, and I’ve asked various doctors about it, all of whom said not to worry about it.

The combination of our 09/30/06 MCats performance (4-5 hours, outside, with me standing/jumping on my left foot the entire time (working the pedal (I’m a keyboard player) with my right foot)) followed by my daily 1.5 mile walks/runs in the field behind my house (sometimes in my Air Force boots) aggravated the tarsal tunnel area. My symptoms were tingling in and twitching of my toes, and pain in the bottom of my foot, which made walking painfully difficult. I was fitted with a walking cast for 6 weeks, but that did not help. An MRI and an EMG confirmed the TTS diagnosis. The EMG was the most unpleasant medical procedure I’ve ever had (including my foot and shoulder surgeries).

For the first week (last week), I was in a heavily bandaged splint, the functional equivalent of a cast. On Thursday (three days ago), I dragged myself out of the house to got to my daughter’s “collection museum” at school. But navigating stairs and walking with crutches is exhausting. Friday (three days ago), I had the splint removed and the wound (a six-inch incision) re-bandaged. It is healing nicely. I am now fitted with a heavy removable walking cast and will have the stitches removed on Thursday (in three days). Until then, I cannot put any weight on my foot and need to keep it elevated 24×7.

Since having the splint removed, the pain has increased considerably, especially when my leg is in a vertical position (e.g. when standing). I hypothesize that this is because the blood is rushing to my foot, which how has more room to swell (now that it is free of the tight splint). Then again, I have strong opinions about many things that I know nothing about. The good news is that the TTS symptoms appear to be gone. The bad news is that I have to recover from pretty extensive surgery.

To make matters worse, I fell down the stairs this morning while trying to navigate them on crutches. I have more bumps and bruises now to take my mind off of my sore left foot but no broken bones. I will not be in the office all week and will not have time to reply to most calls or emails. I’ll continue to work from home as I’m able, enjoying my new MacBook, eating pretzels, and watching American Idol (when I’m not taking a medication-induced nap).

Thanks for you calls and emails. If I’m unresponsive to emails, you’ll know why. As they used to say on M*A*S*H, that is all.

In case you don’t recognize the photo, it’s a still of Chevy Chase as President Gerald Ford in a 1975 episode of Saturday Night Live. Having just put the stat on the Christmas Tree, Chevy Chase takes one of his famous pratfalls onto the tree.

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