Friday, July 22, 2016

The Good, Bad & Ugly of Bunion Foot Surgery

The Good, Bad, and Ugly Bunion Surgery

I just wanted to give all a small tutorial on how my Big Toe Bunion Fusion surgery went. I know this is going to be a long post, so if you aren’t having bunion surgery in your future you may not want to stay with me for this post.  I’m writing it mostly so I won’t forget everything I have gone thru to get to this point, but also for those of you out there that need the information.  It would have been so nice to find this post on the web before I went to surgery. At the bottom of the post I will list some things that you may want to consider purchasing or arranging before you go to surgery.  It will make your life so much easier I promise! It was wrapped in a hard bandage so it couldn’t be bumped and was told to not unwrap it and return to the doctor in 3 days.

PROCEDURE
I had surgery on Wednesday, November 18, 2015.  The orthopedist found that my main joint had a ton of arthritis on it and was really deformed. So instead of just shaving the bunion off, she had to put in a steel plate with 4 screws and a staple.  I knew beforehand that I would need the plate and screws but did not know about the arthritis. 

 Before the  surgery the anesthesiologist told me he was putting a pain block at the surgery site so when I got home to start taking my pain pills before it wore off and that’s exactly what I did every 4 hours.  My husband would set the alarm on my phone and write down when I took a pill.  I also had two antibiotics (for 2 weeks) to help me heal quickly as I am a type 2 diabetic.  I took  the pain pills for 4 days and I promise you I did not have any pain.  God has been so good to me during this time for I don’t do well with pain

RECOVERY
Below is a picture the day after my surgery with a cool air compress on that kept it from swelling.  Not mandatory, but my BFF had this machine so thought it would be a good idea to take advantage of it so she loaned it to me.  Also, another tidbit, until you put your foot on the ground 7  weeks later, it has to be elevated above your heart.  I did this on the sofa, bed, and especially while sleeping at night,  everywhere I was and I promise it makes a huge difference in recovery. 


AFTER 3 DAYS
After 3 days I received a hard cast and since it was the week of Thanksgiving my husband thought that I needed a Christmas cast.  The cast stayed on for 4 weeks.  That was the hardest part of it all. 


We live in a two story home so the first two weeks I didn’t even try to go downstairs.  After staying in bed for a week I utilized the upstairs study/den in the recliner.  After the second week I was feeling better and wanted to venture downstairs.  So you know what that means, bump, bump, bump on my back end.  Also that meant that someone had to take my scooter down the steps.  Eventually after my cast was removed I learned to take it down in front of me and drag it up behind me.  It would have been nice to have someone there to do it but someone had to go to work if you know what I mean! I also couldn’t shower without help because that cast was hard to get in and out of the shower with.

AFTER 4 WEEKS
December 17th,  I went back to the Ortho and she removed the cast, which was wonderful because that cast was so very heavy.   Here they are cutting it off my left foot.  A shame you can’t see a picture of my face as it was beaming!  Another baby step!!! 


She replaced the cast with a boot but no putting it on the ground.  I wore the boot for 3 weeks, but could take it off to bath the foot and finally could get in and out of the shower by myself still using the shower stool.




AFTER 7 WEEKS
January 7th, she said I could do some limited walking with my heel on the ground and return in 6 weeks, February 18th . Also I didn’t have to sleep with the boot anymore.  The first time I put my foot on the floor pain shot up from my heel and I was not able to walk on it for about 4 days.  I massaged my heel every chance I got and put heat on it.  On the following Monday I was able to begin walking a lot more.  Now I see that the circulation and muscles are returning and it feels so much better. 

AFTER 13 WEEKS
My next appointment is February 18th, 6 more weeks and then she says I should be able to wear a tennis shoe for a while.  How long I’m not sure but at least I am now walking a little.  I hope by the time I return I’ll be walking everywhere.  Baby steps, I have to keep remembering.  But she did say I should be able to return to some exercising in March so for that I’m excited. 

PREPARATION
Days Before Surgery
1.       Rent a Scooter with basket or use a tote bag that will hang from handle bars.

2.       Rent or purchase a Shower stool.

3.       Put all your bathing/hair  products within arms-reach so you can get them while seated.

4.       Buy a plastic cover for showering (or use a trash bag).

5.       Borrow if you can a cool air machine for swelling (not a definite need but nice).

6.       Purchase soft bandages and paper tape for when you wear your boot. (at least 2 packages of bandages).

7.       Select pants that have wide legs such as jogging pants and long or short T-shirts (at least 4 sets).

8.       Also pull out your undergarments, large socks (I used my hubby’s tennis socks) and gowns/pajamas..

9.       Take the clothing and put them in a place to easy access.

10.   Pull your one shoe out of the closet for easy access.

11.   Pull together a basket that can hold your cell phone, snacks, magazines, IPad, note pad, pens/pencils, medicine billfold with credit and debit cards, bills for bill paying, thank you note cards, stamps, books for reading, lots of bottled water, and anything  else that you may want to use during recovery and boredom.

12.   Wherever you end up, bed, sofa, or chair you will need pillows to elevate your foot. 

13.   A small cooler for if you have to have someone leave you lunch and snacks for the day (when my hubby returned to work).

I know this sounds like an extensive list but it would have saved my husband countless steps in the recovery process.  It’s hard enough for that person to prepare the food, food shopping, do the wash, etc. and take care of you. Especially during Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays. 

THANK YOUS
During this recovery I will say I had many wonderful friends and co-workers stop by and visit, bring coloring books, crayons, magazines, flowers, snacks.  I think we had food for two – three weeks for dinner every evening.  What would you do without friendship.  I know my husband really appreciated all those blessings as well as myself.

Also, I must tell you I don’t know how I would have gotten through all of this if it had not been for my wonderful husband.  It was a long haul and still not over but up until last week I could only fix myself a sandwich and only if I had to.  So most of all you will need someone who is willing to stay with you.  

PS
I wrote this about 8 weeks ago in May.  Since then I am doing much better and can wear my shoes, or some of them.  No high heels ever.  But at least I'm styling better now.  The doctor has sent me a stimulator that I use nightly for 30 minutes which helps stimulate the tissues in my foot and has attributed to healing my foot.  It is really working!