Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thumbs down: Karmic invasions during post-op recovery

CAUTION: Graphic surgery details below

I had what I THOUGHT was minor surgery last week. And I was wrong. Eight days after a bunionectomy and metatarsal osteotomy I find myself still woozy, unable to walk with any normalcy, and generally feeling fragile.

A bunion, not to be confused with Binion's, is a deformity in the way the big toe grows - rather than being straight it grows at a wacky angle, causing a knob to become pronounced on the the instep of one's foot - usually at the part of the foot that is already the widest. Generally speaking, bunions aren't bad, unless they hurt for no apparent reason (e.g. tight shoes) or if the deformity becomes pronounced. Well, my deformity on my left foot was becoming pronounced enough to drive that big toe under the second toe leaving blisters on the bottom of the second toe. And it occasionally hurt for no reason in spite of the fact that I usually wear orthopedic (although stylish) shoes.

So, I had a bunionectomy and metatarsal osteotomy. My foot surgeon put a 2.5" slice through the top of my big toe, shaved off the knobby, deformed bone (that's the bunionectomy) and then sliced the bone in my big toe wide open and placed a pin in it to keep it straight. After a week of generic aching made less severe by a surgical boot, crutches and percoset, I finally got the chance to peek at the toe when I visited the doctor for my first post-op appointment. My poor tootsie had a handful of small but angry bruises on them. But, it mostly looked fine. The doctor said it was healing great and I could now (a) get it wet (hooray - shower!), and (b) begin putting full weight on it. "You mean, no more crutches?" I asked. "Nope" he replied. "What about driving?" "Fine with me," he said. "Jogging?" "Okay, no jogging. But you COULD be jogging in as little as three weeks.

So, that good news, coupled with the fact that the first week hadn't been THAT bad, I decided to start walking around (at home) as I normally would. As normally as I COULD. My foot muscles are so tight from a week of elevation that they aren't as compliant as I would like. And, for most of the next 24 hours I was okay. Not ready to go dancing or return to work (lots of stairs), but feeling like this recovery thing was going to be pretty easy. And then, tonight, while standing at the kitchen counter depositing a mint chocolate chip covered ice cream scoop into the sink I instinctively pivoted on my foot and torqued it bad enough to cause me to yell in pain and immediately begin crying.

With me home for 8 days and BMG operating almost exclusively out of the home office, he and I have been lovingly bickering most of the last week. But, when I yelped he immediately popped up, hugged me as I cried, found my crutches, got me a percoset and some seltzer, and got me settled back on the couch with my feet again elevated and iced. And, three hours later, it is still aching from a tiny tiny pivot on one part of one foot.

BMG asserts that hammer toes are caused by pent up anger. And there is a part of me who believes this setback in my recovery bravado is karmic payback for eating the (reduced fat) mint chocolate chip ice cream after drinking two glasses of wine and reveling in the three (or was it four??) slices of pizza I had for lunch and dinner. Stupid karma!

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