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Ground Control to Major Tom: Commence Post-op Phase 3

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I don't know why I was compelled to name this blog after the Bowie song, but maybe its partly because getting my cast off today was a bit surreal...

My friend Wendy drove me to the Uber Doc for an 8:15 appt., and we waited over an hour to go back to the cast room. His assistant cut the cast off and then left... more waiting... at 9:50 the Doc came in and started removing my sutures. Snip, pull, snip, pull... WAIT. He hurriedly confers with his assistant in hushed tones and then disappears. What the heck? There are still over a dozen stitches to go! What's up with that?

Turns out I need to have an Xray of my foot before he'll proceed. He thought it had been done already, but I guess the asst. never ordered it. I say that because the gal on the bed next to me had an 8:30 appt. and was taken to xray as soon as they brought us back to the cast room. So we wait some more for the xray... in the meantime, I was preparing for the pain of having the pin pulled out. I took Advil at 6:30 a.m. and took a vicodin at 8 a.m., thinking that would suffice. I was caught off guard by how much my foot hurt just sitting there and waiting, so in my anxiety I took a lower dose of another pain pill around 10:15... then the Doc came back in, before it could kick in and he finished removing the stitches.

When it came time to pull the pin he had me lie down (good thing!) and raise my foot in the air, resting on my other knee. He got some kind of tool (couldn't describe it, I shut my eyes!) and started twisting and yanking the pin out. OUCH! It didn't take more than a few seconds, but it felt awful. Then, to add insult to injury, he started to pull away the dry skin around the pin hole! That hurt worse than the pin removal... It took me a few minutes to compose myself after that, but he seemed quite pleased with my progress.

I am back into my walking boot, but unfortunately his instructions weren't very clear... he wants me walking with partial weight bearing, up to my own tolerance, and even sleeping in the boot for the next 4 weeks. Hard to imagine sleeping in something that I've worn walking around (would you wear your shoes to bed?!?) but its because the broken bones are not totally healed yet and he doesn't want it bumped during the night. I elected not to take crutches because I have a walker at home that has a seat and I figured that would be easier on me.

So... a few minutes go by and the assistant straps me into my boot, and I try to stand up... try being the operative word. Shooting pain in my heel on repeated attempts meant that I was back on my scooter to go check out. Next appointment set for 4 weeks, but then I nearly fainted! I got really nauseous and light headed, broke into a cold sweat and started shaking. I think it was due to shock from the pain, but it might have been that extra pain killer too... My friend suggested that maybe I should get crutches after all, so that I wouldn't have to put my foot down any more than I wanted to, so it was back to the cast room to wait. I thought I was going to leave them a little present, but I remembered my 1st aid and got my blood going back to my head... by the time I got the crutches I was feeling a little better . I'm talking to the assistant and saying how I can't possibly walk yet because of the pain in my heel, and she says "just start weight bearing when you're standing still, you aren't supposed to walk on it yet" emoticon My friend and I just looked at each other... obviously, the previous instructions were NOT clear...

As much as I'd like to say that I no longer self medicate with food, the truth is that I couldn't wait to go to my favorite fish taco place and eat lunch. I told myself it was necessary, after all - if I was sick from the meds, or too much caffeine, I needed food in my stomach, right? It was 11:30 and I hadn't eaten since 6:30, so there was some logic in that...

Lunch, then home, then a much needed nap. Whew! This healing stuff is exhausting!

I'm a little sad that I can't stand on my foot yet, and that I'll be using crutches for the next 6 weeks (at least!). I'm not ready yet for PT, but I go back in a month and maybe then? So, phase 3 begins today and will last for 4-6 weeks or more...

Major Tom to Ground Control: I'm floating in a most peculiar way... *

*David Bowie, Space Oddity
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Just popping in to check on you again :) As always, amazed with your attitude and wonderful spirit! I know you went into this with much thought and with no unrealistic expectations but I'm sure there are times when it's just DANG hard! My thoughts are often with you because I so much admire you as a fellow runner and fellow woman, period!

    Hangeth thou in there Sister and feel free to write me if ever ya need to vent or just need a friend!

    ((HUGS)) ~Deej
    2942 days ago
    Please forgive me for being so late in this comment. YIPPEE...I was gone to Chicago and couldn't get WiFi - sooooooo

    This is so exciting. You will know when you can put any pressure on the foot - don't don't push it. I was excited that when I was standing with crutches I could just place the boot directly on the floor - I don't think I had any pressure on it. Get an old fashion scale and put your booted foot on it and slightly press down - you will see how many pounds of pressure you are placing on it. When I got my initially clearance (No bones broken) I was allotted 60 pounds of pressure to stand on it. That is a lot - you will be surprised.

    I am so excited for you....just think you will get out of the boot and get moving then it is surgery time again????

    2951 days ago
    Oh my! I loved your Bowie song reference. It was perfect after all! Sorry to hear about the near faint from pain...but again, your true warrior self comes out!

    2954 days ago
    Well it is at least a step (no pun intended) in the right direction. I am glad the cast is off. Standing on your foot will come with time and I image that pain is to be expected.

    I think of you daily and I know you are going to get through this. Someday this will all just seem like a bad dream:)
    2954 days ago
    that was soo detailed... i truly felt that pin come out!! ugh!! but you did and its done and you never have to do it again!! i am very glad you got those crutches.. you will go very light i know you will.. no weight bearing like he said or didnt say.. those doctors! emoticon

    and yes, wear that boot at night.. he did make that clear..

    i am happy Tammy you are at ground control... you have worked hard to get here!!! press on woman emoticon
    2955 days ago
    Perfect song for yer blog Tammy! Sorry for your waiting and pain. You're doing great tho and soon..that fairy tale ending "happily ever after".. emoticon
    2955 days ago
    emoticon Sorry about the pain. You deserved Baja fish!!! And it's way healthier than other things. Don't you wish doctors would take the time to be a little more clear?!? emoticon Take it easy on yourself.
    2955 days ago
    So sorry for your pain. My thoughts are with you.
    2955 days ago
    Hang in there! emoticon
    2955 days ago
    emoticon Bless your heart! What a long (and painful) process this has been for you. You are so close to a happy ending though. Let us know if we can help.
    And congratulations!! You are one step closer to reaching your goals...
    2955 days ago
    God love have been through the ringer! So glad to hear that the cast removal was a success. Also glad you got the additional instruction NOT to walk on it yet! Good grief. Still sending speedy recovery thoughts and prayers your way.
    2955 days ago
    Sounds like progress! emoticon
    2955 days ago
  • DONZO64
    Ouch! It hurt me just reading Phase 3! OUCH!
    2955 days ago
  • NAVYMOM133
    "Ground Control to Major Tom. Ground Control to Major Tom.
    Take your protein pills and put your helmet on," because Phase 3 has commenced! Excellent news, Tammy!

    Sorry the pin removal was tough, but it's OUT now, YIPPEE!! I have to agree with the gang, the screw up with the X-Ray and not getting clear instructions for phase three doesn't sound good. If it were me, I'd be on the horn this morning, with a clear and anxiety-free head, and would insist on written instructions being FAXed to the house. Period. You are paying for the Uber-skills of this doctor, it's imperative that you get clear, correct instructions while in recovery! Something along the lines of, his excellent surgical skills will matter more if they come with equally good post-op instructions and care. Sort of, "Get what you pay for" by demanding excellence in the recovery phase too.

    How about a pillowcase over the boot at night?

    Can't wait for the scooter pic, girlie!!! In memory of phases I and II...

    2955 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/22/2010 9:13:43 AM
    Not too impressed with your doc, but "uber" impressed with YOU! Just try not to overdo - you will get there.
    2955 days ago
    Great update....thanks for sharing and keep up your great sense of humor!!!
    emoticon emoticon
    2955 days ago
    (i'm so glad to hear an update from you. ::hugs:: loving that attitude, girl. i'm proud of you.)
    2955 days ago
  • AUNTIE65
    Yah Phase 3!!!! You sooo deserved your yummy lunch after all you went through this morning! I can't believe that uber doc gave you such unclear instructions... so I guess it was good that you went back to get the crutches!

    Now once all those pain killers wear off, you sit back and relax with a nice glass of wine!!!

    2955 days ago
    Oh, I wish I were there to give you a big hug (but not so big that it would hurt you more.) What a day! I can't believe you went through all that. You are one very strong woman. I cannot imagine the pain and I'm sorry the doc wasn't very clear in his instructions.

    I am glad you are on your way to the next phase and that you can begin to put weight on your foot. I know this healing process is slow going but you will get there and be better than ever!

    I am so glad you went to Baja Fish. I don't blame you and hope you enjoyed every single bite! The food is fresh, so if you're going to go overboard, that's a good place to do it!

    Hang in there and know you WILL get there. Little by little, day by day, you are getting better. I so wish I could be there with you!
    2955 days ago
    So, are we calling him "uber-dinko-doc" yet? Or how about "uber-airhead"....sort of has a nice ring to it.

    Congrats on getting the cast off, though! Would've been nice if they would've explained what to expect, huh?

    And, I think you did well going to Baja Fish. I may have taken a stab at the KFC monstrosity everyone's been talking about.

    One weight-bearing moment at a time, friend. It'll happen. You are doing so well that I have no doubt you'll be increasing that foot stamina in no time. At least the pin's out!

    And think about the upper body strength you could build with those crutches...right? emoticon

    Hugs, Tammy...wish I could make it all better.
    2955 days ago
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