Archers of Troy

Aias_body_Akhilleus_Staatliche_Antikensammlungen_1884

I fully ruptured Achilles tendon while falling badly doing 180 jump on a snowboard. I was lucky to be taken to a great clinic in Sankt Moritz for the surgery. Apart from the food being amazing (check this out), the attitude of people and doctors was supportive and caring. Can you imagine a doctor greeting you, reaching out his hand to you, presenting himself and asking your name? I couldn’t until now. It is really easier to get better and stay positive when people taking care of you are so nice and friendly.

After 1.5 month I’m able to slowly walk on my own. Thanks to doctors in Switzerland and effort from amazing physiotherapists here in Wrocław the leg is very slowly regaining its strength and range of motion. Contrary to popular opinion I came to believe that Achilles tendon rupture is not as bad as breaking a leg. For sure the recovery is quicker and it is easier to avoid muscular dystrophy. Here are some lessons learned regarding health that I have found out the hard way (free for you to take away!):

  • Being able to carry your tee around is one of the greatest underestimated things we experience daily – with crutches you can’t take things with you. Wearing backpack helps but still doesn’t allow you to enjoy tee outside of kitchen.
  • Follow your friends advice when you are in bad shape – after the injury I wanted to go back to Poland for surgery but friends convinced me to try to get the surgery done on place. From what I know now it would be likely for me to get the leg fully covered in plaster and I wouldn’t even have seen a physiotherapist by now. Also supposedly the stitching is neglected and done very poorly in Poland resulting in ugly scars for the rest of your life.
  • Human is able to accustom to pain – the injury hurt so bad that I only was really troubled by pain when I fell by accident on that leg some time later. Doing anti-thrombosis shots daily in my belly for over a month also made me more a bystander to my pain and not the receiver.
  • Walking with crutches sucks – it really does. First two weeks my palms and hands were aching and swollen.
  • Strange observation: while walking with crutches in a not crowded bus/tramway people respond to you very kindly and try to help you. When it gets crowded and you really would appreciate if somebody would empty a seat for you or move away then suddenly – you are invisible. Some kind of crowd-behavior. It does confirm that you are more likely to receive help from an individual than from a group of people.
  • Having health care does not guarantee you a sensible treatment. You need to fight for your health, do research and visit multiple doctors when in doubt. I visited four different doctors in Poland for prescriptions and check-ups:
    1. First doctor I visited after surgery said that I shouldn’t be starting physiotherapy for a month and when I expressed my doubts he gave me a lecture on how in the USA rupture of Achilles tendon is operated only when the person is a sportsman or wealthy as normal people don’t need full range of motion of their leg anyway…
    2. Two weeks after that another doctor was angry at me that I didn’t start physiotherapy yet. So I started it next day and I’m very happy that I did.
    3. Third doctor said that he was not the one who operated so he can’t help me or judge the state of my leg. (Like I could fly back to Switzerland for a check-up).
    4. Fourth doctor was nice but also didn’t pay too much attention to the leg itself.

And that brings us to the major life knowledge to be taken from this whole affair:

For skiing and snowboarding go to countries with premium health care! – the European health insurance guarantees that you will get service on the level of the country you are currently in.

To sum up thanks to being cured in Switzerland I got:

  • super-friendly people taking care of me.
  • restaurant-level food, selectable from menu day earlier – deserts, chocolates, etc.
  • crutches with ice grip attachments.
  • high quality adjustable orthosis for the leg instead of plaster.
  • perfectly straight, well stitched scar.
  • Chance to talk to 83-year old American skier who lives in Greece and was laying in next bed.

PS. while researching Achilles rupture I stumbled upon this great image showing the Heel of Achilles.

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