Sutures are out!

It is now 18 days post-surgery.  I’ll add another post with the earlier happenings later.  Just to clarify I did not have an ATR rather I had a very large bone spur/growth removed under my Achilles (some call this Haglunds deformity but my doc didn’t).  This required cutting the Achilles, grinding off all the bone growth and reattaching the Achilles.  When I forwarded articles about the shortened recovery time for ATR to my doc he said those don’t apply to my surgery so I’ll be waiting until the 6 week mark for PWB.  I’m guessing the recovery is different because the connectivity sheath is still intact for an ATR but has been cut in my case in order to expose the bone and the connectivity sheath has to regrow as well.

But back to yesterday.  I did get the sutures out and that didn’t feel too special.  One thing I learned as I helped my mom with her recovery through 2 hip replacements and other surgeries is to speak your mind and be insistent about things. I’m sure most folks don’t go in for a cast change every 2-5 days but I did because all the padding would get compressed and start putting painful pressure on either my incision or my skin.  When they were a bit doubtful about it one time I told them I would unwrap down to the splint and put foam or bubble wrap between it and my heel if I didn’t get in.  I would have too since I only get about 3 hours of solid sleep when the cast feels ok and that goes to about 1 hour when it starts rubbing on things.  What can I say - I’m the Princess and the Pea when all body parts are normal.  The slightest wrinkle in the sheets has to get fixed or I can’t get to sleep.  Having a cast is way more annoying than a sheet wrinkle.

Anyway I talked about all these cast changes with my nurse and other techs in the area confirmed I had 3 cast changes in 10 days so when the tech started to put on this plaster cast he used as little plaster as possible to make it lighter and more comfortable.  He told me to be careful with it since it is just strong enough to hold my foot at neutral and can’t have any weight on it.  I could balance on the edge of the other cast since it was so heavy and my foot in it was so loose by the 2nd day so my foot hung freely inside while the cast outside held some of my weight.  We’ll see if I’m back for a cast change by Friday - some areas are already getting loose probably because I’m a wiggler so I’m continually moving my foot and wiggling my toes.

The doctor was supposed to be at this appt and wasn’t so when the nurse told me I wouldn’t come back for 3 weeks I told her she was wrong.  The timeline the doc gave me was that scar mobilisation (aka massage) starts in week 4 and you can’t massage a scar in a plaster cast.  Also the wraps/casts are pressing on a nerve on the top of my foot which causes my big toe to feel numb just under the skin.  The doctor was supposed to discuss this with me.  So I left with my cast and emailed the doc this AM with questions.  As I expected he’ll have me come in next week to get a boot on (both for doing the massage and to minimize the pressure on the nerve in my foot).  So if things don’t jive with your understanding ask questions and if needed raise a fuss.

As to how things went after the suture removal and slowly pushing my foot to neutral as the cast hardened … it hurt.  I didn’t realize that the post surgery casts/splints let my foot hang down a bit until the tech started slowly pushing my foot to neutral (aka right angle to my leg).  It was definitely uncomfortable.  Once I got home I started getting these random sharp pains in my heel.  No idea why but they happened enough that I knew it would be a Percocet night.  Haven’t taken them since day 5 after surgery and on day 8 when I gave up on crutches after a fall.  I started with 1/2 a Percocet but felt no relief after an hour so I took the other half.  I did get 5 straight, drugged hours of sleep which felt great!  I got probably another  1.5 hours of intermittent sleep after that.  I did forget to take the anti-nausea drugs though so after my 5 hour wake up and bathroom visit I had to lay on the floor for a bit to keep things down before I could scooter back to bed and take the meds.  Interesting that 1/2 a Percocet doesn’t make me nauseous.  So far today I’ve only had a few of those pains so haven’t needed any meds.

Here’s my foot after suture removal - love seeing my ankle again - LOL!
foot after suture removal

One more thing … If the nurse says something contrary to the recovery plan outlined by your doc verify with him.  I asked the nurse if I still had to elevate 90% of the time and she said no, just elevate as needed.  Since I’m still in week 3 and my timeline said 90% through week 3 I checked on this with the doc and he said follow the plan so here I hang with my foot on pillows.  :)

Hanging out in the bedroom with foot elevated and my daily companion, Gino, checking on things

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