Saturday, July 19, 2008

hobbling along

My foot today. Note the bruising and swelling on all my toes, and the purple writing
that (upside down) says "yes", written by my doctor before the surgery,
so they would operate on the correct foot!

Well, it's been five days since my surgery. I wasn't nervous at all beforehand - just ready to roll. I got up at 4:45 a.m., took my shower, and got dressed in comfy clothes. We were at the hospital by 6:00 and I was whisked away immediately for an EKG (so they could monitor my heart rate during surgery and know what my "normal" was). Then I was off to the pre-op room, where I got into my gown, and then the nurse came in to do my IV.

Now, this is what I had been dreading more than the surgery itself. It's not that I'm afraid of needles - I'm freaked out by veins. Shots are fine but anything vein related makes me woozy and sweaty. So I took a deep breath and told myself it would be over soon. Only it wasn't. I was so dehydrated from not being able to eat or drink since 11 p.m. the night before that the nurse couldn't find a vein in my hand. Poke, prod, thump, poke . . . uggghhhh. It was horrible and went on forever. Then she tried my other hand. More of the same. FINALLY, FINALLY she was successful.

My mom came in to wish me luck, and then they gave me a relaxing cocktail through my IV. I giddily watched the lights go by as they pushed me to the operating room. The last thing I remember was the nurses putting my arms up on little shelf things on either side of the table . . . and then I heard someone say "she's waking up."

It was the most blissful, warm, comforting, happy sleep, and I didn't want to wake up at all. My doctor was wrapping my foot in miles of bandages, and I didn't care. I just wanted to go back to sleep. Then I was in the recovery room, and suddenly my mom was there helping me to get dressed. My foot hurt already, so they gave me painkillers through the IV. And then the physical therapist guy was there to show me how to use crutches. Yes, that's what klutzy, half-asleep me wanted to do - get out of bed and swing crutches around. Not fun. Then I was being pushed out in a wheelchair, and my mom picked me up at the curb. And BOOM, I was home by 10:30 a.m. It all felt like a dream.

My mom set me up on the couch with pillows and blankets and an ice pack for my foot. I had the essentials like the remote control, a pile of books and magazines, water, pain pills, my phone, my blackberry, and my dogs flitting around nervously, overwhelmed by the crutches and my grogginess. My foot felt pretty great for the first few hours, and then all the potent hospital meds wore off. I took Vicodin, which helped but didn't entirely take the pain away.

The first night was not fun. I slept downstairs in the guest room on a twin bed, with my foot up and both dogs in bed with me. I'm used to my king sized bed upstairs, and I'm a stomach sleeper, so right off the bat I was uncomfortable. And then the pain . . . like someone was ramming an icy-hot poker into my toe joint and down my foot. It was horrible. The Vicodin made me sweat and have flushing (both are side effects), so I was all sticky and hot, too. AND I had to get up four times during the night to use the bathroom. Me, on crutches, lurching around at 4 a.m., drugged up, with a throbbing foot, having to pee. Good times.

The next night was better - I decided to sleep on the couch instead, with the dogs in their own beds on the floor next to me. Much more comfortable. It took me awhile to master the crutches, though. When my mom first saw me on them, she said "oh, my!" I looked like a drunk, flailing octopus.

Overall, I've been in pain all week, and I have to say: OW!!!! My foot hurts MUCH more than I expected. I thought I'd be uncomfortable, but able to walk out into the yard and sit outside. Nope. I couldn't put any weight on my foot, and it was too hard to navigate through the tall grass and uneven ground of my yard. Every time I put my foot down, the blood would rush to it and it would throb, burn, and ache. All I wanted was my couch, to recline back with my foot elevated.

Today has been the best day so far. I'm able to put about 1/2 my weight on my broken foot as I use the crutches. I had my first doctor's appointment this morning, and he said I'm doing great. The x-rays looked awesome - no more big bony bump on my toe joint, all the wierd debris is cleaned out, and the screw is holding my broken foot bone to my toe. He unwrapped my foot for the first time since the surgery, and we all leaned in excitedly, like viewing a 1920's mummy unwrapping. I couldn't wait to see what it looked like.

My foot is bruised yellow/green/brown and swollen from my big toe down the side of my foot and to the ankle. I have a long incision that is closed with stitches. It's puffy and odd-looking, but not as scary as I thought it would be. He re-wrapped it in less bandages, and said I can unwrap it starting tomorrow and take a regular shower (I've been using one of those shower chair things and hanging my foot out so it doesn't get wet), then wrap it back up myself to support it.

I must say: this whole procedure was not fun, but compared to Lyme, it was sooooo quick and easy. In fact, I could have had both feet done, plus both hands, plus, let's say, my head, maybe, all at the same time, and it would still be better than having Lyme. So it totally puts things in perspective for me. In many ways, Lyme has prepared me for the rest of my life. There's nothing I can't tackle, and nothing I can't face my fear of. So there, Lyme. Take that.


d said...

a drunk flailing octopus, huh? ... i love the imagery. :-)

Anonymous said...

I love the state of mind you've found yourself in lately.

Stronger, for sure.

It's nice to see that girl again...