March 6, 2013 - Surgery day

March 6th couldn’t come soon enough for me.  I had already had to cancel my surgery twice, and it was so painful I couldn’t wait.  I had a teacher friend take me to the surgery center, which is located 2 hours away.  I was to be there by 8:30, surgery would be around 9:30.  The doctor had told me that he thought it would be about a 45 minute procedure.

On the two-hour drive, my foot/heel hurt so bad, I had to take my shoe off and prop my foot up on my other foot.  We stopped once to get out and stretch and I thought I was going to die.

Upon arrival, the nurses called me back right away and I changed into a lovely hospital gown.  They hooked me up to the patchy/heart monitor, and started an IV.  They had a hard time hitting a vein, and had to try three times.  So, I ended up with the IV in the bend of my arm.  They had to use a board and tape my arm to it so I wouldn’t bend it and damage the iv catheter.  I laid down on the little, rolley hospital bed, and my heel hurt so bad, I had to hang it off the side of the bed.  Just laying in bed put too much pressure on the heel and caused severe pain.

The doctor came in to explain the procedure to me again.  And, get this:  we both signed the foot that the surgery was to be performed on.  I thought that was funny.  But, I’ve heard those stories where people wake up and the surgery was performed on the wrong side or body part.  The anesthesiologist also came in to discuss what would happen.  He said I would have a nerve block and would kind of be awake during the procedure.  WHAT?  AWAKE?  You’ve got to be kidding me.  He assured me that he would be right there and it would be okay.  After he left, I wanted to have a little panic attack right there.  But, before I could launch into a full-fledged panic attack, he came back and told me that I would be having a general anesthesia and that I would be out.  Thank God !!

They rolled me into the operating room about 10:00.  I remember it was freezing in there.  There was a guy getting all garbed up for surgery and he introduced himself as “Bob, the janitor.”  Glad the folks had humor!!!   I didn’t even get to count backwards from 10.  The next thing I knew, I was in recovery and the nurses were telling me it was time to wake-up.  I had a little trouble focusing, and things seemed rather blurry, but I noticed right away that I had no PAIN in my foot/heel area.  I had worried that I would wake up with a cast on my foot.  The doctor had told me that I would have NO cast, just start from the beginning in a CAM walker boot.  When I woke up, so far, I just had dressings and an Ace bandage.

The surgery had taken nearly 2 hours, and not the short 45 minutes that they thought from the beginning.  Since I had to post-pone the surgery two times due to having the shingles, my achilles had gotten really bad.  The bone spur had actually rubbed my achilles in two.  That explains the severe pain that I’d had for the last several weeks.  The MRI I had in November, 2012 did not show a rupture.  However, since getting the shingles and post-poning surgery from January 2, to March 6th, things had certainly gone downhill.  The doctor had to use an anchor to attach my achilles to the heel bone.  Also, he shaved off the bone spur/Haglund’s deformity.  My scar was on the inside of my ankle.  I had 9 pretty huge stitches closing the incision.

I stayed in recovery about another hour.  I had to change back into my clothes and go to the restroom.  That was really fun trying to figure out how to use the restroom !!!  I was ready for the two hour ride home.  I sprawled myself out in the backseat of my SUV while my teacher friend drove me home.

Two things surgery and the pain pills were supposed to cause were sleepiness, and constipation.  Well, I’ve always been different, and this was no exception.  On the drive home, I was anything but tired.  I was kind of “high” and very talkative.  I also had no trouble with constipation during recovery.  Quite the opposite.  Okay, TMI, I know.

My parents were at my house when I got home, and they both stayed for 3 days.  It was good to have them here, but they have things to do, and doctors appointments to go to, so, they left the following Sunday.  I was alone to figure things out for myself.  I knew this was going to be a long recovery, but I was determined to do it on my own.

I stayed in bed with my foot propped up “toes above nose” for the first week.  It was so hard to stay that way because my foot/heel felt so much better, I just wanted to get back to teaching, going to ballgames, and all the other things I’d been missing for months when I was crippling along with my bone spur.

The roller-coaster rolls on.  Until next time –

4 Responses to “March 6, 2013 - Surgery day”

  1. None of us “normal ATR” folks who had surgery felt BETTER post-op than a week or a month (or even a day) earlier — that’s reserved for you Haglunds folks! And probably only the ones who wait ’til it’s really bad, too.

    In my other online addiction — [heart]valvereplacement.org — I often suggest that patients wait a month more before getting their valve replaced. Physically, most of the indicators suggest going sooner, but psychologically it’s all the other way. The worse you feel pre-op, the sooner you’re going to feel better than THAT post-op, and that’s usually what our friends and relatives ask us first, and also what we ask ourselves… My cardiologist thought I should go for the op when I was still playing no-holds-barred competitive volleyball with my young teammates, but I couldn’t imagine facing the year it would take me to feel ALMOST that good again, no matter WHAT the echo cardiograms and such said…

  2. I’ve had several invasive surgeries with “spinal”-type “local” anaesthetic, and each time I was pumped so full of sedatives and relaxers that I noticed and remembered nothing at all. I think at least one of my hernia surgeries was done that way, and my ATR(#1) surgery, too. Especially for hernia surgery, if you wake up retching, you could pull out your staples, which would be Very Bad, hence the preference, I think.

  3. Hey Kelliblw, I enjoyed your surgery story. I felt so relieved for you that you got the G.A - isn’t it amazing, one moment you’re there… and the next moment, it’s all done! Good luck in your recovery, let us know how it goes.

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