So every time I post photos of my feet (pre- or post-surgery), I end up getting a bunch of new foot fetish followers on my Twitter. So this will be fun!
So this has been a whole process (links below). And just in case anyone is curious, I figured I’d post some photos of my feet 10 months post-surgery.
Looking better, right? Sort of? And yes, they still hurt when I walk. With every step. Moreso than before I had surgery. So that’s fantastic.
Sorry I’ve been neglecting this blog so much. Work has been insane, and has only recently finally calmed down.
Anyway, this morning was pretty traumatic.
Remember when I had pins in my feet? Well today, they were finally yanked from my right foot. And since I was awake for the whole procedure, I can give you the blow-by-blow.
I was called into a small room where my blood pressure was taken, and I talked with the anesthesiologist. However, my plan was to do this all under local anesthesia only since I don’t much like being put under. This would prove to not be the best idea.
I was then led into a freezing cold room where a curtain went up between me and my foot, and a nurse bathed my foot liberally in betadine. Hence the yellow color in the photo above. I tried to sneak a peek at what was going on, but was told doing so would “compromise the sterile site.” Really? Because the air conditioner was blasting air all over the room, and the door to the hallway was open for the entire procedure. Plus the curtain was only maybe two feet across, so it wasn’t much of a barrier.
Anyway, the doctor came in and poured some freezing cold liquid on the injection site, which was incredibly uncomfortable. It wasn’t liquid nitrogen (I can’t remember what it was called for the life of me), but it felt like the entire top of my foot had been dunked in ice water. Then it was time for the numbing injection, which hurt like a BITCH. Three CCs of something were pushed into my foot, and I was told to “relax.” Yeah, not happening. Only the site where he would be cutting was numbed, with the rest of my foot left alone.
After waiting 10 minutes or so, it was time for the cutting to begin. Though I could only feel pressure or minor pinching, it was still psychologically scarring to realize what was going on down towards my toes. The doctor made a 3/4″ cut directly on top of my original surgery scar, then went to TOWN with a chisel. Well, maybe the tool looked different, but I couldn’t see it, so I’ll just describe the sounds and sensations.
He chipped away at my bone with large amounts of pressure. The bone had grown over top both of the pins, so freeing each one was not an easy task. He would position himself, then just start scraping away for several seconds, my bones grinding the entire time. He would then pause, reposition, and repeat. I’m honestly not sure how long this lasted, and though it felt like 15 minutes of pure torture, I imagine it was actually shorter than that. Though there wasn’t really any pain, it was still incredibly upsetting to imagine what was going on down there, and I felt close to fainting for almost the entire procedure. Hence, if you ever get this done yourself, you might want to opt for the IV sedation. Most people who get this done get the sedation, and according to the doctor, it takes a “tough sort” to opt for local. I certainly didn’t feel tough. I was almost in tears by the end.
Finally, he pronounced that both pins had been removed, and he stitched up my skin, which felt like I was being bitten by fire ants. Two bandages were applied, my foot was wrapped up, I was x-rayed, had my blood pressure taken again, and was sent on my way. I wore my usual sneakers out, and was told to take a cab home so that I didn’t put too much pressure on my recently battered bone.
Now I’m home, and though the pin site is still numb, I can tell that it’s swelling, and I feel a vague burning sensation. However, I can walk decently, so at least there’s that. I have to keep the stitches dry for 10 days (which means no bathing my foot AGAIN), and will get them out the day before Halloween. And then I’ll get the pin taken out of my left foot. Maybe I’ll opt for some happy-time drugs in the future? Or I’ll at least bring headphones, since the bone scraping sounds were the worst part of all.
So when I feel the tops of my feet, I have…well…horns, essentially.
These are the pins sticking out of my healing bones. After my bones were broken during bunion surgery, they were realigned and stabilized with scary-looking metal hooks. And so they’ve stayed since June, just waiting to poke up their sharp little curvy heads.
As the swelling in my feet go down, the pins are becoming more and more prominent, and are now sticking up and bruising my skin. My scar can’t fully heal while the pins are pushing on it from the inside, so they’ve got to go. I had an appointment with my surgeon yesterday to discuss the procedure, which turns out to be a bit more involved than I had anticipated.
Basically, the doctor will make a small incision over the pin, perhaps a centimeter wide, then yank on the exposed metal with pliers for all he’s worth. If he’s lucky, the pin will come out smoothly and relatively painlessly. If he’s not so lucky, the bone will have grown up over the head of the pin, and he’ll have to chip away at it until he can pull the pin free. If he’s really unlucky, the pin will have bent at some point while it was embedded in my bone, and it will be nearly impossible to remove without doing some painful damage. Then the incision will be stitched up, and I’ll have to keep my foot dry (AGAIN) for another ten days. Torture.
The doctor said this could (hopefully) all be performed under local anesthesia, though my mom, who has had pins removed from bones before, warned that it would still be plenty painful. Though injected anesthetic can numb skin and muscle, it apparently has no effect on bone, which is just bristling with nerve endings. When my mom had pins pulled from a broken finger, she said the pain was some of the worst she had ever experienced, and this is a woman who has had natural childbirth at home more than once. So…that’s daunting.
And so the nurses told me to be prepared to be put under IV sedation. Though the pin removal will be first attempted under local anesthetic, if I start freaking out, I’ll apparently be put down like an unruly circus animal. I’m really, really trying to avoid that outcome since it involves being escorted home on a Friday morning, which is a tough sell since all my friends/family work for a living.
So here’s hoping I won’t pussy out, and the whole thing will take five minutes TOPS. Or else I’ll scream and be injected with powerful drugs. Oh yeah, no pressure at all.
So the bunion journey has been long and shitty. In short, lots of pain, broken bones, canes, and dirty feet. But I realized that the last photo I had posted of my foot was a few weeks ago, and it was disgusting and wrinkly. Like a jaundiced raisin.
So I wanted to post to prove that yes, skin and bone do heal.
Would I do it all again? At this point, I think it’s too early to tell. I can walk better than a few weeks ago, but can’t run or jump, and am in more pain than I was before the surgeries. But hopefully, once everything is healed, I’ll be glad I went through it all.
Also, I’m attending physical therapy twice a week, and it SUCKS ASS. Painful to the point of tears, it’s a miserable experience that takes 90 minutes or so each time. There’s heat, ice on bare skin, massages that are the opposite relaxing, and lots of balancing exercises that involve me picking up towels with my toes. Fun stuff. But I think it’s helping, despite the pain.
The healing on my left foot is much different than it was for my right one.
For the first foot, it was always an upward trajectory with each day being a little better than the day before. Now, with the second foot, it’s a total crap shoot. Some days I feel okay, other days the pain is unbelievable. Some days the pain is quite manageable, and others my foot throbs and burns with every heartbeat. I never know what it’s going to be like until I wake up in the morning and put weight on it. It’s a brutal reminder that, yes, my bone is indeed broken, and I should quit trying to hop around town on it. But I’ve been almost entirely housebound for the past three weekends, and I’m getting very antsy.
The doctors don’t really know why I’m having such a hard time with the left foot, but suppose that it might just be because my right foot is still not at 100%. There’s a lot of pressure involved in walking, and there’s no super stable bone for it to travel through. Sigh.
So yeah, on again off again pain, and I was told to stop taking Percocet and switch to Aleve instead (which does nothing). I’m supposed to get the boot off on Tuesday, though I’m worried about walking in a regular shoe, given the shooting nerve zaps I get even in the surgical shoe.
Below are pictures from my bandage change earlier this week (2 weeks post-op), and my before and after x-rays. Only one pin instead of two in the left foot, for some reason. I wonder if that could be causing any extra twisting, which would result in more pain? No idea.
So yeah, it’s that time again. Four weeks ago, I had bunion surgery on my right foot. I documented the healing process a bit, then decided to just go ahead and get the left foot done since who needs a summer anyway? Not this girl!
I’m so depressed.
Anyway, the procedure was much the same this time around, though with a few key differences. One, I had a different nurse anesthetist who pumped me full of anti-anxiety drugs without notifying me. I felt someone fiddling with my IV, then felt really weird and had to turn around and ask what the hell had just happened. “Oh, just something to make you feel a bit better!” he said, cheerfully. I had actually been feeling fine, and didn’t need the extra drugs. Sigh. But as a result of the pre-surgery drugs or maybe something else given during the procedure, I was really out of it for a few hours post-surgery. The doctor came over and talked to me about the procedure afterwards, apparently, but I have no recollection of any of it.
Also, I’m not sure he cut the tendon above my second toe this time around. I called the office to ask, but the doctor wasn’t in, so I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out for sure. Considering that the tendon release was the most painful part of the surgery on the right foot, I can’t really complain about its omission on the left foot, but still. Er, wasn’t it supposed to be done?
So here’s my pictorial update, and I’m bed/couch-bound for the next week at least. I’m bored already!
Also, a close-up of the weird ether inhaler from the podiatrist’s office, as detailed in this post.
So I went to the doctor this morning to get the stitches out of my foot (what happened? See posts here and here.), and he told me that I had been showering ALL WRONG for the past two weeks. See, I had this weird waterproof rubber boot thingie, and had been stuffing my entire surgical boot into the narrow opening. This was only done with great difficulty and gnashing of teeth. Apparently, the boot wasn’t supposed to go in there at all, and I’ve been cursing a piece of rubber needlessly for weeks now. Great.
But anyway, this post is mostly about my surgeon’s office decor. I didn’t really notice it the first time I went to visit, but I sure did this time, and whipped out my camera to document the madness. The entire office is filled with vintage medical supplies, including an ether inhaler and bottles filled with the dregs of myrrh resin and morphine. I mean, shit, I thought myrrh was just a Biblical term, but evidently it’s also an astringent and disinfectant. Thank God the baby Jesus got it as a gift along with all that gold and frankincense.
Click on each image to see it full-sized.
Oh yeah, this is comforting to see when you first walk into a doctor’s office. There’s ancient eye wash, some ominous-looking tubes in the lower left, and the aforementioned ether inhaler at the bottom right. I’ll have to get a better picture of that next time I go in.
Yup, nothing but a super modern medical office here. Yesiree, you’ll never get anally probed with that bottle on the top shelf during your visit, I swear! Now let me just put the ether mask on ya…
The “TINCT. CHLOR.ET MORPH.” (perhaps a cough suppressant?) and the mysterious MYRRH. Also some chest rub and a well-used tin of Vaseline. All totally normal for a foot doctor!
Finally some foot-related medicines, along with six different mortar-and-pestle sets. Because you never know when you might need to grind up some herbs for your patient’s feet!
“Bacorn’s Vaporizing Forkola Jell.” Holy shit, that sounds like the most awesome medicine EVER. What the hell is it?! I found the answer in an old court case from 1929:
Analysis of a sample of the article by this department showed that it was an ointment consisting essentially of a petrolatum base containing benzoin and volatile oils including peppermint and eucalyptus oils, camphor, menthol, turpentine oil, and methyl salicylate.
The article was labeled in part:
Congestion and Inflammation
For Spasmodic Croup
Nasal Catarrh, Bronchitis, Sore Throat, Coughs, Whooping Cough, Tonsilitis, Asthma, etc., spread
Then rub Forkola Jell in well and spread on
Leave covering loose around neck so that vapors arising may be freely inhaled. Continue until fever is reduced
For: Bites, Boils, Eczema, Itchings, Neuralgia, Pains, Itching Piles, Muscular Rheumatism, Salt Rheum.
Behold! It’s an “entirely new” and “daring” ceramic bottle that GETS HOT when you put HOT WATER IN IT! Stop the fucking presses!