ADL and Toe Mice

So Thursday’s post op visit with the surgeon didn’t quite go as expected.  That isn’t to say I am disappointed with the results, it’s just that he said something  I NEVER expected to hear….. EVER….

My friend Jeri picked me up and we, well she, drove to the doctor.  My appointment was at 2:45, we where shown to a room at 3:45.  (not bad as far as orthopedic visits go)  I climb onto the table and the nurse begins asking me what my pain levels are.  This is a trick question I am sure, because if I don’t walk on it and keep it elevated, my pain is pretty low on the scale.  After I have been walking around a bit, or letting my foot hang down too long it climbs quickly.  I told the truth…. kind of… I left out the part that I had been standing alot.

Do you want more pain pills?

I quickly answered, “NO!!!!!”, and pulled out the bottle of remaining pills that I had asking if she wanted them back.  I can not stress enough, that I really don’t like the way the make me feel ( mood swings, maniac, nauseated etc.)  and I NEED to be able to feel the pain to prevent me from overdoing things.  I agreed to take Tylenol over the counter as needed.  (in my opinion, advil is better at pain relief, but since I am a bleeder and it’s a blood thinner, I will stay away for now)

I took off the boot, the nurse removed the dressing, I took a quick picture, and then looked away.  The doctor, and a student came in shortly after.  As he pulled up a chair beside me to examine the stitches, he asked, “Did your father tell you what we found?”… I replied “um no, not really, he didn’t tell me that you FOUND anything, but what he did tell me was…… “So the doctor took off your big toe, reamed holes in your foot and then your toe, they put in a stud and then screwed your big toe back on”.”  The doctor looked at the medical student and then back at me.  He said, well “Yeah, that’s basically what we did”.

After seeing the horrified look on my face, he said, “No seriously though, let me tell you what we found.”  “When I made the incision, two toe mice immediately popped out.”

ANOTHER Horrified look

“Toe Mites?”, I asked.

“No Toe Mice” he responded. and then continued,  “It’s a medical term that we use to describe what we found.”

I really wish I had a picture of my face, because I can’t find the words to describe all of the things I was feeling at this point.

“Cmon doc, PLEASE tell me the truth, I am gullible as hell and completely disgusted that I have mice?!?!?!? My next step is to cry and I promise you don’t want that”.

He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “let me explain.”  “First of all young lady, I can not believe that you were able to walk at all with the amount of damage in your foot.  You had absolutely zero cartilage in your first metatarsal joint.”  He pounded his fists together to demonstrate the bones hitting each other as I walked.  He went on to explain that because I continued walking the bones starting splitting and breaking off into fragments (or mice).  This had been happening for so long that the bones had turned into smooth marbles and kept chipping away more bone.  The combination of those conditions, my unsteady gait, and whatever I was doing to compensate in my walking caused another break.

WOW that’s a lot of information.  Crazy as hell too, but a lot to absorb.

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As I tried to process what he was saying, he re-wrapped my foot in gauze and an ace wrap before sticking it back in the boot.  While he says the incision is healing nicely, I am stuck with the stitches for another week still, but I am released to begin ADL in moderation.

ADL- Activities of Daily Living

Should be simple enough right? But for me it wasn’t….please take a minute to watch this video to understand why, especially if you don’t know me very well.

So this is what Jeri and I were doing BEFORE we saw the doctor.  I get that I can’t use my right foot, so I thought we could just throw the ball and knock the beehive down.  I didn’t realize that to get any “air” with the ball I would have to push off with……you guessed it, My foot….holy mother of……………………………

I was ready to give up, but Jeri was having fun, so I played video  ographer…..

Anyway, I’m not sure that this is considered an activity of daily living, but since I do dumb shit like this all the time, I asked for further clarification.  More specifically….

I am allowed to….

1. stand/or walk for no more than 5 minutes at a time.  to be followed by a minimum of 1/2 hour break  AND ONLY WITH THE BOOT ON

2. Take the boot off except for when walking or sleeping

3. I can resume sexual activities, so long as my toes don’t curl during orgasm (yes this was discussed)

I am not allowed to

  • Curl my toes
  • get the stitches wet
  • put any weight on my foot without the boot
  • specifically throw a ball at a bee hive
  • mow my lawn
  • go grocery shopping without a scooter
  • drive 😦

I will call that progress……though not as much as I hoped

 

 

 

Post op update

So many of you know that I had surgery on Tuesday, but I don’t know if I have ever explained the history to why I needed the surgery, or what the surgery was for.

Two years ago, I broke the first metatarsal in my right foot.  I was in a walking boot for a total of 6 months off and on.  During the treatment, I had cortisone shots, physical therapy, and was diagnosed with Osteopenia.  I had custom orthotics made for my shoes etc.  For the last two years, the pain has always been there, but it has been bearable.  When I would over do it, the doc would advise me to wear the boot for a couple of weeks or use my wheelchair , do R.I.C.E. therapy, and take some drugs.

About a month? ago when I started walking on a daily basis, my pain got worse and worse.  My foot began to be black and blue on a daily basis.  I went to see the doctor and was advised that I had gout, I DIDN’T.  I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.  In the doctor’s defense, I WALKED into the office, granted I was limping from the pain, but I did walk.  Maybe he thought, if I was in that much pain, I wouldn’t have been able to walk?  Whatever the case, he sent me home with an order for RICE therapy again (REST, ICE, COMPRESSION, ELEVATION)  and another RX to try.

The pain got so bad I ended up at immediate care where they finally did xrays and determined that not only had I broken my foot again, but I also had severe arthritis.   I had surgery on Tuesday.  The short story is that they cleaned up the arthritis, and have inserted a plate and screws to fuse the bones together.  I was sent home bandaged and in a CAM boot to my knee.

Here’s the part where I get really angry

Before surgery I was told that after surgery I would be placed in a non removable, non weight bearing cast until I followed up with the doctor to have the stitches removed.  I planned for that.  What I DIDN’T plan on was all the conflicting information.

I came home in a CAM (walking boot) with verbal instructions to stay in bed with my foot elevated above my heart for 3 days, applying ice 15 mins on 15 off for the same amount of time.  After 3 days, I could spend some time out of bed, but was still supposed to stay off of it and keep it elevated as much as possible.  The boot was not to come off until my first post op appointment next week.

The surgery center called the following day to see how I was doing and how often I was bearing light weight on my foot.  Had I taken the boot off to do ankle circles etc?

smh 2

HUH?!?!?!

I was told NOT to take it off?!??!?!?

My parents, who had stayed the night with me after surgery reiterated that the doctor said the boot does not come off under any circumstances and absolutely NO weight on it.

I found the written instructions from the surgery center which give me a third set of instructions and all of them are conflicting.

I’ve called the surgeons office and can only get a nurse on the phone.  Her instructions are to bear weight on my foot as tolerated.  ( walk to the bathroom with the CAM boot on, but don’t get the mail, cook dinner etc.)

Here’s another problem…. I can’t bear ANY weight on my foot.   The pain is excruciating!  How do you define as tolerated?  Is MS making me feel pain that isn’t there?

After I got home from surgery, my father told me that the doctor said he could not believe that I was able to walk at all with such a bad break, or that I had been able to tolerate the pain for as long as I had.  I don’t think I have a high pain tolerance, I think it has to do with just doing what you need to do, something I have had years of practice doing because of living with MS.  I know that MS screws with the way my brain interprets pain.

I don’t want to do more damage, or screw up the surgery.  I don’t know who to listen to.  I don’t trust my own ability to make decisions because of the pain pills, and I’m very emotional……not to mention bored out of my mind.

I don’t expect anyone to give me answers or fix this for me, I just needed to get it off my chest, and did want to let everyone know that I did survive surgery and really appreciate all the thoughts, prayers, and well wishes.

I am going to go with the thought that even the doctors don’t know, after all they are just practicing.  ARGH…..

 

“Practicing” for recovery

I wrote yesterday about preparing for surgery, and although I have been through this a gazillon times, I forget to mention something very important.  Try to envision yourself with your Post -op limitations and practice overcoming them!!!!!!

Over the years, several people have asked me what I considered to be the worst part of having MS, while the worst symptoms may vary day to day, my answer is…

The worst symptom of having MS, is the one you haven’t learned to adapt to.  By adapting, I don’t mean accepting it, so much as I mean finding a work around or a way to still accomplish your goal.  Sometimes you have to get pretty creative, but most symptoms can be managed with some trial and error.

Getting around your house in a wheelchair

While I have been in a walking boot for a couple of weeks now, after surgery I will not be able to bear any weight on my foot, which for me means using a wheelchair.  I’ve had to use a wheelchair before, but not in this house and for other reasons.  So yesterday my first step was going through my entire house using the wheelchair.  The only trouble I ran into was trying to get into the bathroom.  First of all, the door is only wide enough for the chair, NOT for my hands on the wheels.  Whoops!  *Note to self another home improvement project for next year.

squatty potty The next issue I RAN into (literally) was the squatty potty.

I can not get close enough to the toilet, pivoting on one foot with the squatty potty there, so it had to move.

The pain pills are not going to help with my normal issue of MS and constipation, so better I just make a clear path for using the laxatives I know I will end up needing.  Even “power pudding” doesn’t help with the constipation from Norco.

Selecting clothing for after surgery

Again, I have been in a boot for a couple of weeks, so I know there will be some challenges putting on pants.  Not that I like wearing them anyway, post op visits and physical therapy will require some form of clothing for my lower extremities, so I have purchased some guys basketball shorts to wear for those occasions.  Even those will fit over the cast.

CLIMBING into bed

tall bedThis one may not happen for a bit.  I have one of those really tall beds that you literally have to Climb up onto.

Okay not literally like this one, I am totally being dramatic, but I discovered it is difficult to climb on my bed without bearing weight on my right foot, so I will be sleeping on the couch for a few days.

I have packed a small bag of things to keep me busy, while I am NOT sleeping.  Notebooks, phone and laptop with chargers, tv remotes, and a couple of books.  The only thing I am missing is a mini fridge and a maid.  But at least this isn’t permanent.  (putting the things in a bag will allow me to transport them to another room easily without worrying about dropping them)

Thank you for letting me share my tips with you.  To be honest, this is part of my mental checklist to prepare for surgery as well. I will write more about the MENTAL part of preparing for surgery later this weekend.  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend.  If you do anything fun or adventurous please share pictures so I can live vicariously through you!!!

 

 

 

Too Many to count

I’m not just talking about the number of speeding tickets I have had. (although that number almost equals the number of years I have been driving) YIKES!

I’m talking about the number of times I have been “put under”.  When you get general anesthesia, you’re “put under,” which means that you’re totally unconscious and immobilized. You “go to sleep” and don’t feel, sense or remember anything that happens after the drugs begin to work on your system.

My very first surgery was having my wisdom teeth removed when I was 16.  Between that time and my most recently scheduled surgery (having screws and a plate put in my right foot on 9/4/2018)  I have lost track of the number of times I have been put under.

I really do need to keep better records.

The most notable surgeries were:

  1. an emergency C-section with Thing One
  2. a hysterectomy
  3. CMC joint replacements in both my hands
  4. the power port being placed in my chest (on valentines day…smh)
  5. a laminectomy of my thoracic spine
  6. and my every few months Botox in the BLADDER surgeries.

You could almost call me a professional surgeree?  I don’t really think that’s a word though, so let’s stick with patient.

I’m not writing this post to elicit sympathy, but rather to share some of the things I have learned over the years to help me prepare for going under.  For me, preparation for surgery begins more than a week before surgery.

The FIRST thing I do is take a look at the amount of recovery or down time that the surgeon is recommending, then DOUBLE IT.  (Most people probably don’t need to double it, but I’m going with MY past experiences, AND the whole plan for the worst, but hope for the best scenario)  Make a list of all the things that you are responsible for during that time period and begin to look for someone to COVER for you.  Your list should include the basic necessities of adulting like eating, bathing, paying your bills etc.

In my case I have purchased enough groceries for a month.  I won’t claim that they are the healthiest options available, but this will allow me to be as self sufficient as possible.  All of my bills are set up for automatic bill pay.  I have hired someone to take care of my lawn.  My kids will be grabbing my mail for me a couple times a week etc.  As far as bathing goes, I just won’t do it.  I’M KIDDING!!!!!  I have a shower chair and after the number of  medical procedures I have had performed, I have no modesty left, so my kids and some close friends are helping with that.

shower clothsIf you are not comfortable sharing that much with your family, they do sell bathing wipes that you can use by yourself.

While on the subject of modesty, BEFORE surgery is also a good time to PUT away anything you might not be comfortable sharing with friends or a caretaker.  (Don’t put spare cash for food delivery in the same drawer you stash, “OTHER” things.  If you catch my drift.

Most importantly, don’t try to be a hero, super or otherwise.  Just because you THINK you can do something, try to error on the side of caution, at least while you are on pain meds.  If you wouldn’t do the task after drinking a 12 pack, maybe wait just a little bit longer or ask for help?!?!?

drivingWhile I have figured out, kind of, how to drive with my left foot, I will be relinquishing my keys for the next couple of months.  While I have proven to myself that it CAN be done, it’s really not safe and is against doctor’s orders.  I would hate to have the issue come up if I had a flat tire, or worse was involved in an accident.

I have more that I would like to share about preparing for surgery,  especially about the night before and day of, but I still have more to do and a few days before surgery, so I will write more later.

Have you ever had surgery?  Can you think of anything I have missed?  Any funny stories to share?

Conflicting Emotions

Have you ever felt emotions that were complete polar opposites at the exact same time?

Last week, I wrote  One Step forward, two steps back.   I saw the surgeon this morning.  I should be happy that he was able to see me so quickly, and that they will be getting me in for surgery soonish.  I AM happy…kind of.

BUT, I am also pissed off.  I’m mad at the doctor who dismissed my foot pain and swelling as gout, but I’m even more upset with myself for letting him.  I should have fought harder for myself.  Three weeks have passed since my original visit to the doctor,. Three weeks before I couldn’t handle the pain anymore, and went to immediate care.  THREE weeks more damage to my foot because I continued to walk on it.  and NOW surgery.

The doctor is trying to get me in for surgery this week, but I have Medicare for insurance, and they don’t do anything quickly, so maybe not until next week.  I suppose I am to blame for this too, since I refuse to take pain meds, it can’t hurt that bad??!?!?!??!   I don’t refuse pain meds because I have a high pain tolerance, I refuse them because even one norco binds me up for at least a week and the mood swings are scary…. In hindsight, I will ask for them anyway.

While on the subject of being angry.  I am also mad that I bought another pack of cigarettes.  No one forced me to do that, and I know that recovering from surgery will take longer if I continue to smoke, yet I did it anyway……I have thrown the pack out 3x only to dig it back out of the trash….yes disgusting I know……

But did I mention yah surgery?…..smh