Eight weeks post-op /Still a long process

Today marks eight weeks post-op (surgery March 6th, 2013).  I am still recovering from surgery, but my achilles feels so much better than before.  That bone spur was a killer, as it gnawed my achilles in two.

I was sent home from the surgery center in the walking boot with strict instructions to wear it all the time.  I was allowed to take it off on March 10th to re-dress the incision, but I couldn’t get it wet.  I was also instructed to un-do the velcro strips to ice it.

The first four days after surgery I did not take a real shower.  I just sponged off and washed my hair in the kitchen sink (gross, I know, but I HAD to have clean hair!!).  I was soo afraid of screwing something up, I was cautious about everything.

I was able to use my bad foot for balance only.  I had ordered a rolling knee scooter because I knew the crutches were going to be nearly impossible for a fatty like me to use.  However, that knee scooter was horrible.  With the walking CAM boot, it just hurt to use it.  I HAD to learn to use the crutches.  I’m sure an elephant on stilts isn’t a real nice site to see, but I did manage to use the crutches.  Even though, I am 8 weeks post-op, I am still using the crutches.  I was allowed to go PWB (partial-weight bearing) at about 2 1/2 - 3 weeks, and FWB (full weight bearing) at 4-5 weeks.  However, I just can’t get the hang of walking in the stupid boot, so I am still using one crutch occassionally.

I did find some helpful hints to get around and accomplish things as I recovered.  As I mentioned before, after 3 days, I was on my own to fend for myself during recovery.   The first thing I figured out was that plastic sacks (like Wal-Mart sacks) are your best friend.  You can put anything in a Wal-Mart sack, and carry it in your teeth as you crutch around.  If I fixed a drink, I would put a lid on it, put it in a Wal-Mart sack and crutch to the living room, etc.  Also, I used those plastic sacks to load up my dirty laundry to take to the laundry room.  When the laundry was clean, I folded things, and put them in another Wal-Mart sack to tote them back to my bedroom.  Wal-Mart sacks, very good thing.

Another thing I learned was that a curtain rod that is curvy on the end is very handy.  I used that puppy to pick things up, to reach a wash cloth in the bathroom, to slide the soap to the edge of the tub so I could reach it, etc.

I also hadn’t thought much about the showering process before surgery (even though I had 2 months to prepare), so I had to quickly devise a plan for that.  I used a regular trash bag to tie around my boot and taped it up.  To shower, I sat a regular $20.00 cheapy, wooden bar stool outside my bathtub/shower.  I would sit on this stool and swing my bad leg over the tub.  Then I would stand with my weight on the good foot which was outside the tub and swing over and sit in a 2nd cheapy, wooden bar stool that I had placed IN the bathtub.  This was the way I would shower.  I have seen the plastic showering chairs, but they were way too low for me to use !!!  I also have a removable/ hand held shower head.  This was AWESOME for recovery.

When I first started showering, washing hair, fixing hair, dressing the wound, getting dressed, and changing the liner of the boot, it was nearly a 2 hour process.  It would be lunchtime before I was really dressed and ready for the day.

I did use a wheelchair to make my way around the kitchen for about 3 days, but it was just a total pain.  It was big and bulky and I couldn’t get close enough to the counters.  I had read on this board where somewhere has a rolling stool, like a doctor’s stool.  I ordered one from Amazon for only $50.00 and it has been a lifesaver.  It is very important HOW it is used however.  Never, ever take your bad foot and use it to push or pull yourself across the floor.  My laundry room and kitchen have tile, so the stool rolled very easily.  But remember, only use your good foot to guide your way around.

Thanks to this board, and stories others have shared, I knew I just had to hang in there and muddle by day by day.  It was 11 days before I left the house the first time.  A friend just came to get me and we drove around our little town and got a soda.  I was exhausted afterwards (even though I didn’t get out of the vehicle, she got my soda for me !!).

I was looking forward to my first post-op check up to get my stitches removed.  That appointment was March 22, 2013.  I felt so good, and my heel was no longer so painful, that I was POSITIVE that my doctor would tell me things were progressing nicely and I could resume NORMAL activities and go back to teaching.

The roller-coaster rolls on !!!

Until Next-time —-  To everyone out there recovering-GOOD LUCK.  It’s a long, slow process, but you CAN DO IT.  :  )

One Response to “Eight weeks post-op /Still a long process”

  1. You should get instruction on boot-walking. It’s important. Basically, you need your boot to be snug and secure and stiff enough that you can push your knee forward and roll onto the ball of your foot/boot without using your calf and AT AT ALL. All the force should come from the front of your shin pushing against the boot cuff. And that’s how you walk FWB (and PWB before that) in the boot. Make sure you don’t hyperextend or “lock” your booted knee.

    Once you “get” it, it should be fast, secure, and comfy, though you’ll still need to elevate…

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