Still, the beast wasn’t satisfied.
Shoe purchases became even more restricted. Strips of fabric or other materials that cut across the bunion annoyed it to no end, hence throbbing pain. Some low-heeled, strappy sandals were OK as long as the mountain summit could poke out between two straps. Now, isn’t that just really attractive!
But when my sneaker purchases were finally limited, I knew it was time. In October, I made an appointment with the podiatrist who performed a bunionectomy on my mom several years ago. (Yes, there is a hereditary factor.) When he heard my story and saw the lump then the X-ray, he didn’t hesitate. He described the out-patient procedure, the post-op restrictions and, of course, the risks. Bill and I had already discussed timing of the surgery to be after the cow/calf pairs were trucked to their winter quarters; and after the Kansas Livestock Association’s annual convention the first week of December so I could feed the Bobsey twin calves while he was gone. Surgery was scheduled for December 10th.
Post-surgical restrictions involved wearing a protective boot, three weeks of no weight-bearing on the right foot, minimal mobility using crutches or a walker and keeping the foot elevated as much as possible. Also, no driving. It’s actually illegal in Kansas to drive wearing the protective boot. After that three-week period, I likely would be allowed to carefully and gradually start putting weight on the foot, but to still wear the boot for at least two more weeks.
With all that downtime, I needed projects so I put together a list:
- Sort through many boxes of pictures and ancestral memorabilia from both Mom’s and Dad’s sides of the family. Mom was the repository for these until we moved her into a studio apartment at the assisted living facility. I have three siblings and, except for my youngest sister who took home some pictures when she visited in the fall, none of them wanted much of this stuff. Guess who ended up with it!
- Read all the books I hadn't had time for;
- Check out some DVD movies from the library;
- Clean up and delete computer files and emails;
- Update all my financial spreadsheets for 2014 income taxes, including book income, expenses and sales taxes, my medical expenses, and Mom’s medical and financial information.
- Create blogs for future posting.
The next project was to plan ahead for my limited mobility. Initially, I opted for crutches over using a walker. Luckily, we have both, plus other home health assistance items left over from Bill’s knee replacement surgery a few years ago. At my pre-op appointment with the podiatrist, I was issued the glamorous boot (Not Prada or Gucci as I requested. Seems Blue Cross-Blue Shield frowned on these!). So I practiced using crutches while wearing the boot to build strength and coordination. Then, after surgery, the post-op nurse encouraged using a walker and provided one for a few minutes of practice. When we returned home, I switched to a walker, which is admittedly more stable.
Anyone we told about my surgery who either experienced it or knew someone who had, expressed the same sentiment: “That’s so painful” or “That’s the worst surgery you can have!” I was never too concerned about pain. The doctor prescribed two pain meds, Oxycontin and hydrocodone, and recommended ice packs to reduce pain and swelling. I don’t usually experience adverse side effects from surgical anesthesia or post-op pain meds, and didn't this time. I’d anticipated trips to “la-la land” from the pain meds, but that didn't happen either. I remained awake and alert during the day. After three days, I was still pain-free, so discontinued the Oxycontin. The next day, I stopped the hydrocodone and switched to naproxen sodium (brand name Aleve). The day after that, I ditched the naproxen. Apparently, I have a high tolerance to pain. Also, I follow directions extremely well so heeded the doc’s advice about no weight-bearing and minimal mobility. So far, it’s paid off—I’m ahead on the healing curve!
I couldn't get through this recuperation without my home health aide extraordinaire, Bill. We've always shared cooking duties, but now he’s doing it all, plus laundry and housework. He helps me get in and out of the shower and, while I’m showering, he assembles my post-shower and hair paraphernalia on the bathroom countertop. He even has my coffee, jug of water and newspaper by the couch when I get up in the morning. That’s my farmer and my love!
My post-surgical expectations are reasonable:
- To be fully recovered by March;
- To wear low-heeled, comfortable and attractive leather shoes for dress and casual events;
- To choose from a limitless variety of sneakers.
In the past, I dreaded shoe shopping. Now I can hardly wait to go!