Monday, August 29, 2011

Day Four: A Day of Post-Op Firsts

I had my first post-op poop. YES! I pooped for the first time since surgery! That felt good. It takes a while for your bowels to get back to normal after anesthesia, and the Percocet doesn't help. I took my last Percocet at 10am and have only felt light tingling of pain, mostly in my left foot so I think I am in the clear with that. I will switch to tylenol soon.

I also had my first post-op shower. That was lovely. Can't get my feet or bandages wet, but it still felt quite good. Sat my little shower chair and let the hot water run over me. I am not sure when I will take another one. It is kind of a chore to get in and out, and I am just sitting around anyway, not really cooking up too bad a stench. Maybe in a couple of days, I'll relive the magic that is a shower because it isn't just about getting clean and wet and smelling good. It is changing the scenery. Not that the scenery in there is that great, it is just a different chair to sit on and something else to do.

And lastly, I had my first post-op appointment. Nothing too exciting happened. My doc is really happy with my feet. He peeked down the bandages to see how the incisions were doing and they are fine.He showed me my post op x-rays and my metatarsals are all back in line. He said the real x-rays will happen on Friday when there is weight on my feet, though he was still very happy with all 4 operations. I was thinking that these big bandages would come off, but not until my next appointment on Friday. I was hoping to share some gruesome photos with you, and while I don't have the great revealing of my feet, my doc gave me these:

In these first two you can see that open wedge that the doc cut out of the bone.

In this last one, the wedge is closed and screwed together, fixing the wide angle of the 5th metatarsal. The screw is in there permanently. For my tailor's bunions he used this procedure, called a closed wedge oblique osteotomy. For the big toe bunions he used something else that I can't remember the name of. I'll ask him on Friday.

Other than all that excitement, I am still elevating and icing my feet all the time.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Recovery: Day Three

I am still trying to figure out the best time to write about my day, and it seems that the morning after was a little too late. I think I prefer to write about how my day was at night before I go to bed. Thus there are two posts up today (one for the day before and one for today).

And so today, Day 3, was a good day. I was pretty sleepy today and took a few naps. And the pain, what pain? The most pain I feel right now is in my abs and triceps. All of that lifting from off the bed and onto the toilet and back again has made them a bit sore. But at least I am getting a workout.

My feet are feeling great. In fact I think I'm gonna try to go 5 hours between pills instead of 4. It has been 4 hours since my last pill and I feel absolutely no pain in my feet. I am still icing and elevating constantly.

I've been a bit more mobile with my wheelchair. I've gone out to the kitchen to change my own ice packs, and throw away my breakfast apple that tasted like crap. I played fetch with Freddy in the living room for a while. And we just spent some time outside enjoying the cool evening air.

Tomorrow I look forward to my first shower, and to my first post-op appointment. I hope my doc is impressed with how well I've taken care of my little feet.

Recovery: Day Two

Not much to report on my second day of recovery. It was much like the first. I am still elevating and icing my feet almost every second with the exception of going to the bathroom. The pain was pretty much the same. My toes appear the same, no bigger no smaller.

The main difference between Day 1 and Day 2 is I slept so much more. That first day I was kind of wired and didn't get a lot of sleep. But on Day 2 I took a nap in the afternoon, went to bed fairly early, woke up around 7, ate some breakfast, and then went back to sleep until about 9:30. My dreams are still a little nightmarish. They usually involve my feet in some way, but at least I am not suffocating in them. So no more freaking out.

I am still just hanging in there. We will see what Day 3 brings . . .

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Percocet Nightmares

Well I was a little hasty with my first post-op post and should have waited until the night to blog about my first day or indeed I should have waited till the next morning which is now, so here once again is another addendum to my first day of recovery.

First of all the pain increased just slightly at night especially the outside of my right foot, but was still bearable. But that is only part of what I wanted to share. The real juicy story is the Percocet nightmares that I had . . .

I am not sure what time it was, maybe about 11, when I finally started to get to sleep. I was lying in my usual position on my back with my feet all propped up and ice packed. Mikey was on the computer just a few feet away so I could hear him typing and clicking. Then I fell into these weird uncomfortable dreams. I don't really remember what they were exactly, but they made me very claustrophobic. Some were just a little worrying, like I would get up with my bandages and walk on my feet which I am not supposed to do. In others, I was back in the surgery room and they were just kind of creepy. I kept waking myself up after them and would get back to reality and hear Mikey over at the computer. Then would try to think about good things before falling back asleep again.

So I tried to think about puppies and hoped that I would dream about them instead of doctors in scrubs and walking on my feet. And I did have a dream with puppies in it. I willed puppies into my dream!

I was fenced in with all these little dogs. It was almost like when Mikey and I adopted Freddy. It was outside of a pet shop and there was a fence set up in the parking lot. Just like that, nothing threatening or scary or uncomfortable, just me and some cute little dogs. But then I spotted a dog trapped under the concrete. There was a tiny hole, just big enough for this dog to breath through because I could only see his little snout and I knew that he was suffocating and it freaked me out.

I woke up a little bit, heard Mikey at the computer but before I could will other good stuff into my next dream I was asleep again. This time I was in the same position I was sleeping in. I was in a small grey room with two doctors in scrubs. And they were tearing down these foam like walls and smothering me with them. I couldn't breathe and they kept piling more foam walls on top of me. Suddenly I woke up tore the ice packs off, swung my feet over the bed, tried to catch my breath, and then burst into tears. It was the weirdest thing. Mikey came over to the bed to comfort me, but I just kept crying, I tried to catch my breath, and tried to explain the dream between my sobs. I didn't even know why I was crying, and I couldn't get it under control. I crawled to the bathroom to pee and cried some more. Then I finally controlled myself, sat in my wheelchair for a little bit to catch my breath and after a little while I felt ok.

Mikey looked up some of the side effects of Percocet and on the message boards, people said they had nightmares from the stuff and there was a study where a few people cried after taking it. . . But man, that was weird. I am not an emotional person. Mikey said that was only the 3rd time he had seen me cry in the 6 years we have been together.

Anyway the Percocet was waning and I knew I would have to take another one soon, and I was not looking forward to it, or the nightmares that I would make me have if I laid down again. But I took another pill anyway, and laid down to go to sleep once more. I felt a little nauseous but that could have just been nervousness. I finally fell asleep and didn't dream about anything. I woke up at 6 o'ckock, and Mikey made me some breakfast then I went back to dreamless sleep for another 4 hours. It was great.

And right now I feel just fine. We'll see how I do tonight. More puppies would be nice, as long as they aren't suffocating.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Surgery Recap Addendum

After Mikey read my previous post, he pionted out a few mistakes. I did write the post as soon as my Percocet kicked in so I was a little heavy handed. The biggest mistake though, was my poor perception of time after the surgery. It felt like Mikey was with me during recovery for about 10 minutes and that is how I wrote it in my last post, but he said he was there with me for about an hour.

He had arrived soon after the surgery was over and apparently just after the nurse fed me those crackers because he said I had crumbs all over my gown. Motor skills, such as chomping, definitely impaired. I remember talking to my doctor afterwards but I don't remember Mikey being there at that time, but he was. I do remember that he helped me back into my clothes and helped me pee, not literally, he just helped me onto the toilet. I don't really remember the drive home or what I talked about or if I even talked. . . Man, that anesthesia really puts you out.

Recovery Day One and Surgery Recap

Day of surgery

The surgery was scheduled for noon, so I arrived at the surgery center at 10:45 to fill out paperwork. Then I changed into my gown and laid down on the bed that was covered with heated blankets, that was nice touch because it was rather cold in that prep area, and even colder in the operating room. The nurse got my IV started, took my blood pressure, heart rate, and all that. Then she asked if a med student could observe the surgery and I thought the more the merrier so I had to sign a consent form for that. I met the anesthesiologist who informed me that because the surgery would be rather long (estimated 4 hours because I had 4 knobs to work on) he would use general anesthesia, told me what to expect from it and blah blah. Then my surgeon stopped by too and they talked about some medical stuff. He wrote something on both of my legs, asked if I had any questions, then I took one last pee and got wheeled into the OR . . .

What felt like only one second my time, but was actually 5.5 hours real time and it was all over. I didn't feel nauseous, I just had a sore throat from the breathing tube, and my mouth tasted like medicated plastic. My vision was pretty blurry, and I felt well, drugged up. After a little while, the nurse fed me some crackers and a Percocet. Mikey arrived to pick me up and I was sent on my way.

I think we got home around 6:30. I took another Percocet because my feet did hurt pretty badly. (My prescription is for 1-2 pills every 4-6 hours.) I propped my feet up, ate some soup, Mikey carried me to the bathroom to pee a few times, and then went to sleep. Sleep was pretty crappy. I woke up about every 2 hours because lying on my back with my feet propped up constantly ain't too comfortable. But it wasn't that bad. The most annoying things were the gross taste in my mouth and blurred vision. When I woke up around 6:30 this morning my vision was finally back to normal.

Pain the day of surgery:

On a scale of 1-10, about a 5. When the percocet kicked in it was about a 3, whenever Mikey carried me to the toilet to pee it went up to a 4 and the feet would start throbbing immediately when not elevated. The pain itself feels like stubbing a toe really hard, kind of difficult to explain, but quite tolerable. I just have to keep them elevated every second.

Recovery: Day One

My dog is resting and I am resting my dogs. And that is pretty much all I've been doing since the surgery and resting is all Freddy ever does, so we're doing a lot of hanging out. He is probably wondering why I haven't taken him on a walk. Poor guy.

These are my wrappings. They are pretty heavy and then you add the ice pack and they get even heavier. Mikey bought this bean bag box yesterday for me and it is working out really well. It is sturdy, and soft, and high enough.

My toes don't look swollen at all. Hopefully that keeps up.

My toilet is about 10 feet from my bed so I just have to scoot off the bed and drag myself over there and lift myself on. I've gotten the hang of it so peeing is not such a chore that it was yesterday with Mikey carrying me there every time.

About a 2. When I feel the percocet start to wane it goes up to a 4. When I go the the bathroom about a 3. I've been taking only one pill every 4 hours. No nausea, good appetite, sore throat and bad taste is gone. It really has been a piece of cake so far.

My doc just called me to see how I was doing, and that everything went well and he's got some good x-rays to show me on our next visit on Monday. I can't wait so see these gruesome things!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Knobless at last!

Well, I'm home from surgery. My little peds are elevated and ice packed.


Well it is the morning of my surgery and I am ready as I'll ever be. I've got my wheelchair, some Percocet, ice packs, a shower chair, a clean apartment, an almost finished reupholstered sofa, a nice new comfortable bed, and no breakfast.

My surgery is at noon, and I have to be there at 10:45 to fill out paperwork and get ready. But right now Freddy and I are about to go on our last walk together for a while . . .

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pre-Surgery Stuff

You don't just walk into surgery without prior examination. Those surgeons want to make sure that your hemoglobins globe, your platelets plate, and your thromboplastin time ticks.

Before you go into surgery you have to see your primary care physician and he will check off your pre-surgery checklist that the surgeon provides. My checklist included: blood work, EKG, and a chest x-ray. Also my primary care physician said that I should get a tetanus shot, since my shot record showed that I hadn't had one since '91. I do remember getting one when I moved from Kansas to California in '02, but it wasn't on my record so I couldn't be sure.

That stuff was pretty easy. Needles don't bother me, although I forgot how sore that tetanus shot makes your arm, a little bit of radiation exposure isn't too bad, and the EKG took about 3 minutes. It did tickle when they put those electrodes all over me. I feel healthy and I eat pretty healthily, but it is cool to have on paper (not that I know what any of it really means) that my parts are working fine.

Pre-surgery lifestyle stuff (things I am doing to hopefully make me recover faster):

1. I've never been a vitamin taker, but two months ago I started taking one everyday. Can't hurt.
2. I am trying to stay active. A while ago I started running but of course it started hurting my feet a lot. I've got a bike and I ride that. And I walk my dog. I might as well introduce him now, since you will probably see him more in the next months.
This is Freddy:
During the cooler months he looks like this:

And during the summer he looks like this:

3. I don't smoke. This makes a big deal in recovery time. Plus it is stupid and gross.
4. I don't drink alcohol. Not sure how not drinking directly affects the healing process, but like the vitamins it can't hurt. My liver and kidney's are happy. And I'm not a stupid drunk moron, that is always good.
5. I'm not overweight.
6. I eat healthy. I am pretty much a vegetarian. I say pretty much because I can't be sure that when Thanksgiving rolls around that I won't eat some turkey. I do have to make sure that I am getting enough protein which helps in healing, and I think I'm fine in that department: tofu, beans, lentils, mmm I love them.
7. I am mentally prepared for surgery, I don't expect that I will be recovered in a few days, and I think I have enough to keep be busy and to keep me from going crazy during recovery.
8. I have enough time off of work (10 weeks total) to make sure that my bones are healed before I go back.

I'm ready!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Tomorrow I will be exactly 2 weeks away from my knobectomies. Oh man! I am really excited and a little nervous, but mostly I am obsessed with bunion surgery stories. Last night and tonight, I spent a lot of time looking for blogs, videos, helpful tips, or whatever I could find on the subject, and I have one tip for those doing the same: steer clear of message boards.

I have found that most message boards consist of people asking stupid questions they should really be asking a doctor, and then getting equally, if not stupider responses from idiots that don't reread what they have written so it is full of typos and txt msg like abbrivs that I find totes annoying, omg, wtf. I hate it!

Also on those message boards, there are really nothing but horror stories (amplified by stupid idiots that can't spell). That is pretty much all I read last night, and it made me a little worried. Tonight, though I stumbled upon these two blogs that I found quite helpful and reassuring: Emily's Foot Surgery and Double Bunionectomy...My Story. They were of particular interest to me because they are about getting both feet done at one time. So go read them if you are in the same boat. And then meet me back here in 2 weeks and I'll tell you my story. . .

Monday, August 1, 2011

My Knobs: A History

You don't really hear about tailors getting bunions nowadays. But apparently in the past, tailors didn't have chairs or tables and did their hand stitching hunched over their crossed legs, and got bunions from doing so. Well at least enough of them did to warrant naming the little toe bunion after them. I'd like to say that is how I got my tailor's bunions, but I am not a tailor (though I'd love to apprentice with one to learn how it is really done), and even if I was, I am pretty sure I would employ the ol' table and chair. But nope, my knobs probably came from my mom. We have a very similar bone structure in our feet, fortunately for her she didn't develop bunions, unfortunately for me I did.

But lets start at the beginning. They started bothering me when I was 15. I was on this stupid dance team that I regretting trying out for, and we had to wear these stupid shoes that were extremely narrow. And those bastards were what started this whole thing! I started feeling sharp pain in the area that I would later call my knobs when wearing those shoes. I went to the doctor, he took x-rays and diagnosed me with tailor's bunions (or bunionettes as they are also called). He told me it is a genetic foot deformity that can get irritated and worsen by wearing narrow shoes. I finished the rest of the year on that dance team, and those shoes, and as soon as that was over, and those shoes were off, my feet felt fine. So all was good.

Then about 5 years ago they started bothering me off and on again, when I wore heels, or when I wore Converse shoes, which were pretty narrow. Then they just eventually got really bad. I kept trying to change my shoes: buying wider widths, trying different brands, but my knobs just kept getting bigger and redder and more painful. I finally settled on PF Flyers which worked out great for a few years, but they, as with all my other shoe trials, just couldn't handle these knobs. All this time I had been trying to deal with these things conservatively, because I didn't have health insurance and couldn't pay for surgery anyway. Then late 2010 that health care bill passed and I could get back on my parents insurance till I was 26! The first thing I thought was, "Holy shit, I could get my knobs chopped off!"

So long bunions! You are going to be replaced with ugly scars. But chicks dig scars so that's fine.

Anyway, once I got that insurance card, I booked an appointment in February to get my knobs checked out. And well, I have tailor's bunions, which I had known, but I've developed regular bunions as well. Which I was afraid of because by left big toe joint was starting to become painful as well. Jesus, 4 knobs. Here are my x-rays:

There are my little feet bones. Those poor metatarsals are all out of line, but you can see that the toes still like to hang out together because the outside toes are trying to cram there way back in. Especially my little pinky toes, which are now causing corns to develop on my 4th little piggies. That 5th little piggy always was a jerk, crying wee wee wee all the way home. And the 4th little piggy got no roast beef? That is bullshit! (Well . . . at least in my case he got some corn. ha.ha.)

Enough about piggies. I had a problem: I had to get surgery on all 4 of these things, but I would have to take off 2 months of work because I work at a coffee shop and spend an 8 hour shift on my feet. I could save enough money by August to take off these two months (all of September and October), but I wouldn't be able to save enough money to do this again before I turn 26 and become insurance-less once again, which is in December. So I am taking care of all these at once, because I don't have the time or money to do one foot at a time.

I've heard good and bad stories about doing both feet at one time, but since I don't have a choice I am going to remain positive that it'll be no big deal to have no feet for a few weeks. I live with my friend and boyfriend so I'll have plenty of help around the house. Yeah, I'm not worried.