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.
So, this post is going to get a little gross. Nothing too crazy, but if you are of a sensitive disposition, you might just want to go read about dog molestation instead.
Anyway, I finally got my surgical boot and bandages from my bunion surgery removed on Tuesday. Check out the difference between before and after!
As you can see, I’ve got a nasty gash on the top of my foot, but it’s not too bad, all things considered. However, what WAS bad was trying to wash my foot for the first time in three weeks.
The human body produces a startling amount of dead skin that is normally washed away by sweat, a shower, a bath, friction, etc. My foot had received no such attention, and as such was coated in a quarter-inch thick layer of scum. I didn’t take a picture of my foot before the washing, because it was just too gross.
Calluses which were merely a nuisance before the surgery had morphed into cracked deserts with crevasses large enough to act as tunnels in an ant farm. The surface of my skin was a dull yellow color, both from old Betadine and grime. To my alarm, great chunks of foot began falling off as I scrubbed in the shower. A delicate scratch with a single fingernail released a tectonic plate of dead skin the size of my entire big toe. Each stroke of my loofah made it look like I was leaving genetic breadcrumbs Hansel-and-Gretel style on the bottom of the tub. I hastily collected all the skin in some toilet paper and washed the tub, since I live with roommates and am not a complete heathen.
After about 10 minutes in the shower, the scar cracked open and began to ooze yellowish plasma, followed shortly by heavily congealed blood. I had been avoiding the wound itself as best I could, and to see it spew forth blood like a volcano made me freak out completely. But I kept right on scrubbing the rest of my foot in the midst of my panic, because I’d be damned if I was going to crawl into brand new white sheets while shedding skin faster than a snake.
After a good 25 minutes or so of scrubbing, the deed was finally done. I was bloody and exhausted, but comparatively clean. Luckily, my wound scabbed nicely overnight, and it hasn’t given me a whole lot of trouble since.
But the strange thing is that it still doesn’t feel like my foot. I look at it, and it’s like someone else’s foot has been grafted onto my ankle, then left to fester. When you’re used to seeing an appendage a certain way, and then it suddenly changes, your mind goes all wonky. The fact that some of my toes are still numb from swelling doesn’t help matters. Over the past few days, I’ve tried to get reacquainted with my foot, but it still feels like I’ve got a waxen corpse attached to me. Psychologically, this is pretty upsetting, but I’m hopeful I’ll come around soon. After all, it’s still my body, and I’ll go nuts if I can’t come to terms with that.
Hey, remember when I had bunions? I had surgery yesterday on my right foot, which will be followed in a month or so by my left foot.
So how’s it going? Well, it’s not as painful as I anticipated, but it doesn’t feel great either. Walking around my apartment is torture, but sometime a girl’s gotta eat and go to the bathroom, so it’s unavoidable. Otherwise, I’m laying in bed with my foot elevated on a pillow, and a bag full of ice that I put on my ankle off and on.
I have Percocet here, but have only taken a little bit since the pain isn’t too intense, and it makes me really drowsy. The doctor originally wanted to prescribe me Vicodin, but I refused since hydrocodone has the unfortunately side effect of making me vomit uncontrollably. After some back and forth, he finally allowed me to get Percocet. I guess it’s more likely to be abused or something, so he was very reluctant to let me have it.
They gave me a small surgical boot to wear while walking, which is a relief since I was expecting a huge full-leg monstrosity.
And then there is my foot itself, which is still gloriously coated in Betadine. My second toe has been lowered dramatically, to the point where it’s actually below ALL my other toes now. Hopefully it’ll move back up a little after the dressings are removed?
I also have to wear this ridiculous-looking leg cover while bathing. It sucks all the air out so that there’s a completely waterproof seal.
Sexy stuff. Hopefully I’ll heal quickly so I can actually walk. Even just trying to grab lunch from the kitchen is quite the trek.