Monday, August 16, 2010

Post Op Day 191 – stitches out

Energy level: low to grouchy
Pain level: 2.5

It’s only 13 days post hardware removal surgery and the doc says the stitches can come out and I can even go swimming next weekend!

Woo hoo!

More good news – in two days I can wash my foot! A shower would be heaven ~ I’m done with the bubble baths.

He also says I can start walking. The only thing that keeps me from jumping for joy is that dang plantar fasciitis, which is back with a vengeance.

The stitches come out with out a hitch! Okay, there was on stubborn one to which I would say the pain likened a deep pinch – like someone pinching my underarm fat as hard as possible. Not pleasant, but it only lasts a second.

I test standing for a moment and have a strange pins and needles sensation. The nerves are not yet connected. There’s no sensation of cushioning. I never fully appreciated the muscles and tissue that distance my bone from my skin until experiencing this strange flat stabbing sensation.

There’s a low level of soreness in my tender heel for the rest of the day. Two Tylenol help, but let’s just say I’m not the most pleasant person to be around. Perhaps the difference was last time I had the stitches removed I got to go back to bed for the rest of the day, today I immediately hitched a taxi back to work. It puzzles me a bit because I have more than 100 stitches on my body (3 long stories – but let’s just say 2 were due to klutzy incidents and 1 was another surgery.) I never remember being so agitated from stitch removal before. Okay, well… there was an incident more than a decade ago when a drainage tube was removed rather abruptly that I screamed very loud and when I left people in the waiting area gave me funny looks. Again – that was a quick pain like ripping off a band aid. This pain that lasts all day is rather annoying. Perhaps this is my Achilles’ tendon? [pun intended] ;)

It’s been lovely being pain free for nearly two weeks, and I suppose that if I never walked again that would be pain free living. Pain is the price I have to pay to walk. It really sucks to have to pay for every step that I used to be able to take for free.

C'est la vie.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Post Op Day 190 - stitches

Energy level: Low
Pain level: 0

Today I braved a peak at the stitches. Nothing better to do on a lazy Sunday anyhow.

I’m amazed at Dr. D’s fine handiwork! I must say it’s a lot smoother this time around. The first surgery seemed to have had a snag and last I looked, there was a bump in the scar. This new scar is almost perfectly geometric. Here’s my sexy Hollywood glamor shots:


Another bonus: No swelling! Zero! Nadda! Zip! I swear that my body never liked those pesky screws. Some people can live the rest of their lives with pins and screws in their bodies, but not me.  My particular picky body wants to be 100% natural!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Post Op Day 181 - recovery

Energy level: low, low, low
Pain level: 0

Another day of sleep.

It’s amazing how tired I am in the aftermath of doing nothing for two days. I have to remind myself that my body has ordered all resources to my foot to fill in the bone and begin to close the incision. The doctor had told me that he was making the same incision that he originally made to fix the bone and that seemed a little overkill to me- but what do I know?

Here’s a photo of those three gnarly screws:


I am so glad to have these out of my body. I can’t explain it, but feel lighter without them.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Post Op Day 180 - no screws

Energy level: I can sleep all day!
Pain level: 0-3
Post hardware removal day 1

An unpleasant level 3 pain wakes me up at 3:30 am – about 3 hours since my last 7.5-325 mg of Oxycodone – the take one every 3-4 hours for pain. I just want to sleep so I take one 10-650 mg Oxycodone (prescribed after surgery #1) and I wake up at noon.

I naturally wake up, which is so welcomed after sleep interrupted by pain. I find it strange that I have zero pain today. Welcomed, but suspicious… this is not what I had expected and dreaded.

There is no burning sensation when I put my foot down and there doesn’t seem to be any swelling. I haven’t needed any ice and I have been comfortable sleeping with my foot stacked on high on pillows to be well above my heart level.

I am trilled that I can make it to the bathroom with crutches. The office chair was placed in close reach incase I needed to “wheel” myself around, but that isn’t necessary due to the wonderful lack of extreme pain and burning. I’m a little baffled by the lack of pain- there is only a mild soreness.

I take the low dose Oxycodone as a precaution. I had agreed to a conference call at 4:00, so it is important that most of the downiness effects wear off in a few hours.

In retrospect, it wasn’t the most brilliant idea to agree to participate in a meeting that required a fully functional brain the day after general anesthesia. My note from the doctor says not to operate any machinery for 24 hours after general anesthesia. Technically, the meeting is 26 hours after general anesthesia so I figure that I’m fine to operate a simple telephone.

I chit chat with the first participate just fine. However, when the fourth person joins the conversation I start to feel a little dizzy. I hear all the words, but my brain processes them in slow motion. I feel like I’m on drugs. Oh, wait… I am on drugs! It’s so interesting that I didn’t know that my brain would have trouble keeping up with complex functions until actually tested. Passively watching TV was not a good warm up to the challenge of interacting with three other people. Conclusion: just because I can talk does not mean that I can express ideas in a coherent manner. Fascinating!

Note to self: Next time… just rest for the full 72 hours as recommended by the good doctor.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Energy level: Post-surgery general anesthesia cocoon
Pain level: 4

Going into surgery #2 is a bit of a mixed bag. There is a fear of reliving the pain of surgery #1 and there is the comfort of experience that tells me that I’ll get past the pain. I was told that this extraction will be much less painful than the surgery to fix the broken bone and that I should be able to walk out this time in my boot and be partial weight bearing on crutches.

I let the nurse know that last time coming out of general anesthesia I was a real grouch (or so my husband says) and that I was terribly nauseous. She assures me that they can put some additional medicine in my IV as I regain conscious to deal with the nausea.

There’s a lot less excitement this time around… sign this, sign that, been there, done that.

Dr. D stops by to write a giant purple “YES” on my left leg. He pauses to a moment to stay that they won’t even need to roll me over on my stomach today. I’m not sure why this is a good thing, I won’t care one way or the other, I’ll be out.

Today’s anesthesiologist is all business – there is no chit chat or counting back from 10. He simply states that I’ll be taking a little nap and places the mask over my nose….

Coming to is much more pleasant this time. No nausea! Hooray! I couldn’t be happier! (given the circumstances.) I’m not grumpy at all either! No overwhelming dizziness! I can eat saltine crackers and drink ginger ale right away!

The nurse give me some pills and after half an hour the pain has leveled out to an unpleasant 4. I ask the nurse what she gave me and she replies: Percodan. I ask if that is okay to take with Oxycodone and she asks why I want to know. I explain that my pain level is about a 4 and I can only assume that it will go up later and I just want to know if it is okay to take something stronger if I need it to sleep at night. I have plenty of Oxycodone left over from my first surgery. She tells me that I should only be a little sore right now, that I won’t be pain free today.

Why can’t I be pain free? Pain is so unnecessary. She gives me a prescription for a low dose of Oxycodone. (Later I find out that Percodan is half Oxycodone anyhow.)

I ask: “How do I get the boot over the splint that has been placed on my leg?” She shows me the note on my chart. The original note stating that I placed in a walking boot and partial weight bearing is crossed out with a note to be non-weight bearing for two weeks. Needless to say, I’m pretty disappointed to be non-weight bearing again. Crutches really suck when they have to bear all the weight - I might as well walk on my hands for two weeks.

Again, I am amazed at the comparatively low level of pain and dizziness I am experiencing and I practically hop into the back of the car. At home I zoom up the stairs. The nurse had advised that I go up on my rump using the backwards crab walk since I should be subject to dizzy spells for the next 48 hours. Again, I am amazed at the comparison - last time each individual step felt like a monumental task. This time I make it up all 39 steps without needing a break. Then I climb into my nest and curl up for a long summer’s nap.

Ah, glorious sleep!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Post Op Day 174 - check list

Energy level: Normal
Pain level: .5

In my hardware removal pre-operation interview the nurse asked if I had ever had surgery before... hum... wonder how those screws got embedded in my heel?

She did laugh when I pointed out the obvious. Silly pre-op checklist! :)

I have to say, I am a little nervous about this surgery. I wouldn’t be so adamant about getting the screws out if I had been pain free. But the truth is that I walk with a limp and I feel a tiny bit of pain with every step.

Dr. D insists that many people live with screws embedded in their bones for the rest of their lives. This is not the life for me.

Those screws have got to go!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Post Op Day 156 - vacation

Energy level: Low
Pain level: 3

Vacation has meant a break from my normal shoes. It has been just too hot to think of compression socks so I have been “running” around in my Sketcher thongs. It has been heaven not to have an straps on the back of my heel. Things were going so great that I have been tempted to sleep without the splint....

I don’t know why today was any different than the past week, but a sudden fatigue took over my legs today. The odd part is that this fatigue is focused on the area below my calf and above my ankle. In the evening I resort to elevating the leg with as many pillows as I can gather and experience random electric shocks on the sides of the Achilles tendon and on the bottom of the foot. Tylenol brings a bit of relief, enough to sleep.

I really wish the plantar fasciitis would take a vacation.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Post Op Day 149 - 4th of july

Happy 4th of July!

I am celebrating our Independence Day in the lovely country that gave the US our greatest icon - the Statue of Liberty. Now if only this lovely country could give me some drugs to help with the swelling.

: )

There is quite a heat wave here in the South of France and it looks like there is half a soft ball attached to my ankle, not pleasant at all. I am not sure if the stabbing pain along the Achilles tendon is related to the swelling or not. Sitting down for three hour leisurely French lunches doesn’t help either and I am in enough pain to warrant skipping the cheese course to go elevate and ice my swollen foot.

The good news is that the primary objective of this vacation is relaxation with plenty of elevation of the foot!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Post Op Day 148 – da plane

Energy level: Normal
Pain level: 1 – 2

Two layers of compression socks kept the swelling down for an 11 plane ride.

However, the South of France is having a heat wave so the socks had to go. After an hour of walking on cobble stone streets my ankle swelled to the size of a softball.

Ice and elevation to the rescue!


Energy level: Normal
Pain level: 1 - 3
Epiphany: If you feel silly walking in place on a plane, try dancing to your iTunes!
Milestone: First plane trip since surgery