Finding an Ortho -- 11/16/00

The next day, I called my family doctor for a recommendation on who to see. I got a couple of references, but unfortunately they were unavailable that day. I was bummed because I knew that getting the right doctor was critical in what approach would be taken towards the road to recovery.

Fortunately for me, my daughter had a special event happening at her school. The school had an open house for all parents and I was intending to go, injury or not.

Of course, I felt stupid hobbling about with my crutches, getting all these very sincere, "What happened to you?" and "You poor thing!" Guess I'll have to just get used to these kinds of statements.

But the good thing was that with the empathy came referrals. The school has a very strong network between the students, parents and alumni. In no time flat, I had the names of three orthopedic specialists that came highly recommended.

I eventually picked Dr. Jay Marumoto because he specializes in sports injuries and helps out various high schools and the University of Hawaii's athletic departments. He was able to squeeze me into his schedule that afternoon. I was stoked.

Dr. Marumoto turned out to be great doctor. Just a couple years older than me, I knew right off the bat that I could trust his judgment. He also did the calf-squeeze test and confirmed the diagnosis.

Jay said that there are two approaches: a full leg cast letting the tendon heal on its own and surgery to splice it together. The first approach meant a long time (4-6 months) in a cast, and typically had a 30% chance of rerupture. The second meant going under the knife. However, it would mean a shorter recovery time, and a higher success rate (97-99%).

Of course, I opted for operation, and told him I wanted it done as soon as possible. "How about tonight?" he asked. I enthusiastically said yes.

So my wife picked me up, we did a quick sponge bath and gathered up some reading material, and were off to the OR.

I never really got a chance to think about the possibilities of what could go wrong. Nerve damage, infection, operating on the wrong foot (nah!). I think it was much better that way.

At the hospital, I found out that I wasn't going under general anesthesia, but rather would be getting a local in the okole. That was cool. I always like to talk story with doctors and grab glimpses of the procedure.

Had to put on that skimpy operating room outfit. Was a bit bashful about it all at first, but after a while, it was like no big deal.

The operation itself was pretty quick, lasting about an hour. Because of the sedative, I drifted in and out of consciousness. There was no pain, only the realization that I was on my way to making things right.

I spent an extra long time in the recovery room, just waiting for an available hospital room. I was just cruising, relieved that the operation was over, and only worried about my wife who insisted on waiting at the hospital for me.

After over an hour of grogginess, I was finally wheeled up and into my room, where my wife was patiently waiting. I quickly got settled in, ate a sandwich, and relaxed for the evening.

I shared my room with an elderly man (I guess old is relative now) who had a serious snoring problem. I ended up lulling myself to sleep with the Florida election count in limbo.