Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Second Appointment

Day 18 
4:15PM @ Alamo Family Foot and Ankle Care

The second appointment went something like this:

X-rays, unveiling of the feet, sani-strips removed, compression ankle things tugged on, exercise bands received, toes wiggled and moved (eyes closed - yikes!), feet no longer wrapped, appointment scheduled for 3 weeks from today. 

I discussed my pain and insomnia and received prescription for Tylenol 3 and a topical compounded medication. Dr. Perez said that the ibuprofen may be causing the insomnia & instructed me to discontinue the use of the Tylenol PM, which may also be causing the insomnia due to a specific ingredient. 

Dr. Perez seemed pleased with my progress.  

Regarding work, Dr. Perez agreed that I need to feel physically, emotionally, and psychologically ready for it. Because of the persistent insomnia, work must be placed on hold. Additionally, the insomnia may be impeding the healing process. 

Sleep is of the utmost importance in the healing process. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Relax and Recover

For the last few days, I have been relaxing. SERIOUSLY relaxing. I have found comfort and solace in my recliner. I'm exhausted every day and have just decided to give in to the recuperation part of recovery.

My schedule, which I have implemented this week, looks something like this:

8:30 - 9:30              Yoga, Weights, and Meditation
9:30 - 10:30            Read Financial Peace and other financial planning books
10:30 - 11:30          Knit
11:30-12:30            Rest - although I cannot sleep...sigh
12:30-2:30              Watch a movie
2:30-4:30                Fiction reading

After 4:30P, my mom, dad, brother, niece, nephew, boyfriend, & friends etc. keep me company. 

My feet still ache - especially when it's raining and overcast - and insomnia is my constant companion. I continue to sleep only 5-6 hours per night and cannot sleep during the day. I can't wait to chat with my doctor about it. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

12 Days Later...

An Update

12 days in to my new feet!!! 12 days post-surgery!!! 12 days til Christmas!!! 

Here are some things that I have found to be imperative during the recovery period:

1. Ask for Help
By nature, I am a control freak. It is important that I am independent, strong-willed, and can do things on my own. I'm telling you... for the last 12 days, I have relied on my family & friends for moral support, love, assistance, conversation, etc. My boyfriend has been my partner-in-crime. He has carried me through this ordeal, literally. Without such incredible support, I would be a mess. 

2. At least 3 weeks of vacation/sick leave, FMLA, PLOA, short term disability, supplemental income... etc.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE have your finances in order and at least some way to supplement your income during the time you are out for surgery. I work from home, and am unable to work. I'm physically, emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically exhausted... I cannot do it. I'm not sleeping well and the mornings are difficult to get through. 

3. A Shower Seat
It has been 12 days since I have taken a shower. GET A SHOWER SEAT and A BUCKET. 

4. A Hobby, Good Books, and Netflix. 
I have learned to knit in 2 weeks and have completed 2 children's hats. I haven't read as much as I would have liked but, by next week, I plan to have 2 books read. Netflix is a lifesaver. I'm not much of a TV watcher, therefore having movies at my fingertips has been amazing.

5. A Recliner
Folks, I'm telling you, your recliner will suddenly become your best friend. Add a couple of extra pillows and - WALLAH - comfort. 

6. A Wheelchair
No matter how you feel about it, GET A WHEELCHAIR and A HANDICAP STICKER. You can find super cheap ones at your local thrift store. It has become a lifesaver. The handicap sticker speaks for itself. If you're out and about, use the motorized chairs at the grocery store and big box retailer. AHHHHH...

Out and About :)

7. Snacks 
You will need to keep crackers or something near your recovery chair/area. The medications will likely make your stomach upset. 

8. A Podiatrist with a Good Bedside Manner and Goodies
My podiatrist, Dr. Perez, has everything I need to make my life a bit easier. The therapeutic boots, the shower covers, a smile, and a listening ear. I have his direct cell phone number if there is an emergency and his office representative has called several times to ensure I am okay. I submitted my FMLA paperwork, it was faxed to my employer the next day. I'm telling you, Alamo Family Foot and Ankle Care is incredible. 

Let the showers begin!!! 
a MUST HAVE item

I will continue to add to the list as I think of things. 

Here's to a good recovery! Cheers!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good

The weekend was a blur of activity. 

I went to a breakfast with my boyfriend, a small town Christmas fair, and dinner with my parents. I felt really good - and all, in my wheelchair. I was carried up and down the stairs, put my feet up in the car, hobbled into my wheelchair, and was wheeled around everywhere. A few naps were weaved meticulously into those activities and l-o-n-g night rests, but it left me feeling pretty good and keeping up with my 1 hour of walking. 

I was most anxious, though, about what was to happen on Monday. 

Below are the pictures that were taken during the great unveiling of my new feet. 

Before and After X-rays, On the right, my foot before surgery. On the right, my new, narrow, corrected foot.

Right Foot.

 Left Foot.

New Wraps!

Brand New Footwear :)

I must admit, I am quite satisfied with the result. Therefore, I must tell you, Dr. Perez is a miracle worker. 

The Bad

Post-foot reveal has been difficult. In a way, I believe the bandages kept everything in place.

First, the boots are heavy. Robocop heavy. 
Second, the feet are more exposed AND the spacers fall out when I sleep, when I sit, when the wind blows. 
Third, I'm having a very hard time sleeping. Insomnia hard. I have been taking the Tylenol PM, as instructed, but even with those - I'm not sleeping.

The Ugly

Because I am entirely hard-headed, I decided to try to get back on my work schedule. I even called my supervisor and tried to log-in. I ended up in tears. My feet hurt, I was exhausted, and getting out of bed was so entirely difficult, I nearly passed out. 

So... short term disability it is -- 60%. 

The Lesson

My mother keeps asking me what the lesson is in all of this. Reality is, I have had surgery every 2 years since I was 26 on something. I often tell people that I am the black, female version of Benjamin Button. Complete with old people problems - shingles, for example. 
I'm not really certain, but I have decided to seek some understanding. So, here goes. This will be both a time of recovery and healing. Love you, Mom. Time for a nap. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Less Pain, Less Medication

I feel very good today. I woke up around 4:15AM, ate some oatmeal, went to sleep, and woke up again at 8:15AM. I decided to discontinue my prescription pain meds because they don't seem to be helping. My feet ache, but not nearly as bad as yesterday. I managed to vacuum my living room this morning, take a splash bath, and fuss over dinner preparations. 

My father cleaned up my wheelchair this morning, and I am ready to use it. I'm a bit stir crazy. 

Regarding the use of a wheelchair, my doctor seems that think it OK to get around on crutches. I decided to go against this recommendation and purchase a chair. Thankfully, my father found one for $25.00 at the local thrift store. It will be my new best friend. 

I cannot overemphasize the importance of company during this time. It is quite important to take everyone up on their offer to visit with you. The confinement can drive you crazy.

I Can Feel my Feet

Finally, I can feel my feet... and they HURT!!! OUCH!!! 
Written 12/3/14

The first 24 hours post surgery were awesome. I walked on my heels with no problem at all. My parents arrived, I greeted them at the door. lovely :-)

And then... slowly... my toes started tingling and itching - the first sign of pain. At approximately 2:00pm, my dad touched my toes, all 10, and I felt them. The pain has been constant since then, and walking has become more difficult. The medication does effectively manage the pain, it makes me sleep through it. As described in so many blogs, my feet are pounding against my bandages. It's as though they would like to break free. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

Although I tried my very hardest, I could not plan for what happened at 5:00AM on December 1st. 

The night before, I enjoyed margaritas with my neighbor, picked up my boyfriend from the airport - sigh - and ended up alone. I confirmed my 5:30AM pick up with my neighbor, my 3 day stay at her home, and went to bed. 

5:00AM. My neighbor's boyfriend was rushed to the hospital. 
5:15AM. A call to my boyfriend, sobbing, asking for his help. 
5:30AM. My boyfriend arrived, saved the day, but could not stay during the surgery. He had 2 exams that could not be postponed. 
6:00AM. I call my sister, my mentor, my mom, etc. trying to find someone to come and stay with me. Tears were flowing like the Guadalupe River. No one was able to come. 
6:10AM. My boyfriend said he would just stay; I was more important than his exams. 

Now let me pause and say that this seems like common sense to most of you; but honestly, I wasn't sure whether I was more important than his exams. We're in that relationship phase where the newness has worn off and it begins to storm - with periods of lightening. Therefore, I was not really certain that I was more important than his exams, you know. He doesn't love me... yet...

I was wheeled back into the pre-operative room, signed a lot of papers, got weighed (109lbs, yay!), and got the IV poke. 

Drip, drip, drip... all went dark. 

I woke up 3 hours later to bandaged feet and a smiling operative team. It was over.

After about 20 minutes, I was wheeled out of the surgical center with prescriptions and ice packs... and ... I COULD WALK. With no pain, I could stand on my heels and walk. I was instructed to do so only one hour, collectively, each day. 

For the last 6 hours, I have been sitting in my recliner with my feet up. I have probably exceeded the 1 hour limit... so we will see what tomorrow brings. 

My anesthesia has not worn off yet, but I started taking my pain pills. I read, and heard from those that have had foot surgery, that it is of the utmost importance take the medication every 4 hours for the first 4 days. 

We shall see what tomorrow brings.