Welcome to my blog. This is a place for me to vent and share about my adventures with an bum ankle. Join me as I make the effort to heal and be somehwat normal once again!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Three Weeks Post-Op

Thursday was three weeks since my surgery. I am still 100% non-weight-bearing. Thankfully, I have not needed pain meds much this past week.

I've had the ankle unwrapped pretty much since my doctor visit last week. Trouble is, with the ankle/foot unwrapped, I can always see its condition (probably my doc's way to make sure I don't try doing anything on or with the ankle). As soon as I stand, the blood apparently rushes to the foot and my toes and foot turn a "lovely" shade of purple and swell up. :-(

I've driven a couple times - but now my car needs a new muffler (and we don't have the money to do that right now) and its very difficult for me to drive my husband's car with this ankle - so I'm totally stuck.

I'm bored to tears.

I'm tired of being invisible to pretty much everyone.

I can't stand having to depend on others for even the simplest things (a glass of water for example....) and to be stuck when they forget that I'm waiting for them to help me......

Its only been three weeks, and I have a bit over three MONTHS left to fully recuperate....I think I will go totally insane before that.....

Friday, May 14, 2010

Two Weeks Post-Op

Yesterday was two weeks since surgery. There is progress.

Monday was quiet and I just sat with the leg elevated. I had it unwrapped and could handle it totally free for just a bit of time.

Tuesday, I ventured out for a hair appointment at the place where I am their guinea pig in exchange for color. My husband drove me - he didn't want me to drive He dropped me off at the facility and I clomped in with my crutches. Once in the salon area, my sling bag slipped off my shoulder and fell down right over my crutch. Made note to self - don't put just one string on my shoulder when I clomp with crutches. After that - nothing exceptional happened.

Tuesday evening, my youngest had her choral concert at school. I insisted on driving. Had to use my husband's truck - not a good choice - there is little leg room in it and I truly had no place to put my right leg and ankle. But I managed, and got to the school and saw and heard her sing. So who cares if I was uncomfortable? We then stopped at the local grocery store afterward and I treated her to a Rita's after that.

Wednesday day was quiet, but I had a meeting that night. Again, the family didn't want me to drive, so my middle daughter drove me there. Despite having my ankle up, it was uncomfortable and I couldn't wait to leave the meeting.

Thursday day - again quiet - lots of time for my ankle to be raised. But in the evening I had yet another meeting. I drove myself again - but this time in my car. This was a good trip and a good meeting. My only issue was that my string bag was too heavy with the things I had to turn in to people at that meeting. All-in-all - it was good - unless you want to consider my youngest re-breaking her finger at practice. So - when the meeting was over, I grabbed my my stuff and we left to go to the ER. The ER was packed and we didn't get home until after midnight. Talk about pain,swelling and exhaustion.

Today, I had my two week follow-up visit with my surgeon. He is please with my progress and I go back in two more weeks. I'm still no weight bearing, but I don't have to keep it wrapped. Everything I've been feeling is normal - which I thought but just wanted to ask and make sure. My stitches came out - I can take a real bath!!!! I'm still full no weight bearing for another two weeks until I see him again. But, I did get a script to start PT. He did say that the damage in my ankle was much worse than he thought and the lesion was HUGE! He also gave me no guarantees that this would solve all the issues in my ankle, or if it did, how long it might last...

I'm bruised. I'm swollen.

But I'm healing!!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Another day - another sit...

You would think by my lack of daily posting, that I would be very busy - thus the reason behind the break in posting. Truth be told - I'm not busy....just getting lazy. :-(

Last Thursday - a week after surgery, I did attempt to wash my hair. It was actually quite comical. I took our handheld shower head and hung it down where I could reach it. I sat on the edge of the tub and slowly slipped myself into the tub - having both legs hanging outside over the edge. I then pulled the shower curtain past my legs and took the overflow and rested it into my lap and then proceeded to wash my hair! Not particularly comfortable or good to look at - but it got my hair clean - which was the goal!

Then I had a meeting at church that evening. Since I'm still on pain meds, I'm not allowed to drive so my husband had to take me and bring me home. The meeting itself was OK. I had to hop down one small set of steps and then up another small set of steps before I could get to the stair rider that goes to the second floor. That was fun. Not. Leaving I had to do the same - take the stair rider, hop down a small set and then back up a second small set before I could go outside and get back in the car. My reward for this - a very swollen foot/ankle - and a Rita's wild black cherry italian ice.

Friday there was an errand to run and so my hubby again drove me. This took less time and my ankle responded by not swelling as much.

But Friday was a week and a day post surgery and so it was "reveal day" the day I could take off the ace wrap and dressings and air out my ankle.

The ace wrap came off easily. The cotton batting wrap also came off easily. However the gauze dressings were another story. Apparently the poke holes had some post surgical bleeding and so the gauze was seriously stuck to both my skin and the sutures. I had to call the doc's office to see how they wanted me to proceed. The doc's assistant called me right back and told me if I was there how they would do it, but explained that I could take water soaked cotton balls and dab at the gauze until it got wet enough to release from the skin/sutures. Before I did anything else though, I had to let everything dry thoroughly - put nothing on it (as in ointment or cream) and then I could put 4x4's or band-aids on the sutures and re-wrap or whatever.

So I got the kids to bring me a bowl of lukewarm water and some cotton balls and a towel, and began dabbing at my dressings to try and loosen them and get them off my ankle. This was a time-consuming job, but one I was happy to do. After a while, I got the last bit of gauze off and my ankle was mostly free. (I left the steri-strips on the incisions/sutures.)

The ankle and lower leg are starting to whither from lack of use. That's the first thing I noticed. The next thing I noticed was that Doc was able to do the surgery with only TWO poke holes - not the three I thought he had created. There is one on each side of the front of my ankle. There were guide lines drawn in case he needed to do the open surgery - but the cute message on my foot was gone. Bruising seemed to be minimal - but the longer the ankle was free - the more the bruising seemed to come to the surface. The greatest bruising was where the lesion was. The arch of my foot and my heel still felt a bit numb - but I guess that is all part of it.

A while after the unveiling - I had to go to the bathroom and so crutched my way there. As I sat on the throne I lifted my ankle to the tub side and looked and was shocked. I had to left my good leg next to it and was even more shocked. My surgeried ankle was purple and mottling more and more right before my eyes. When I finished, I clomped my way back to my nest on the couch and got my ankle/leg raised and asked for an ice pack. With the ankle raised, the purple started to go away and the color returned to close to normal. But now the throbbing began. Within an hour, I had to take a pain pill because not just was my ankle throbbing, but I was getting a head-ache and starting to get nauseous. It took a few hours for all of this to calm down - but before it fully did - I decided to re-wrap my ankle. Once I re-wrapped it - all those symptoms started to recede. I was able to have a bit of soup and then started feeling more human.

What I think happened was that even though I didn't feel sharp or intense pain, since my level of pain tolerance is so high, this must have been some really intense pain to make me nauseous. Once wrapped and supported - the pain level started to be more manageable and my feelings of being sick started to go away.

Saturday I still had some strong pain in the ankle and continued to take some pain meds but as the day wore on (and I had things to do to try and prepare for my husband's birthday with our children) it all seemed to get better.

Today is Sunday - Mother's Day. I didn't go to church because I didn't feel that I should have my ankle un-elevated for so many hours. Once the others left, I went and washed my hair again today. That felt good. Then I got a little dressed up because its Mother's Day. But we have 50-60 MPH winds here and it's cold - so I'm sitting with a sweater on and wrapped on a blanket - can't tell I'm dressed up. My children are planning dinner for me - so that will be nice.

All in all - things are going well - I think. I'm back to the doc on Friday to get the sutures out. Then we'll see what he says.

Day-by-day - that's the only way I can take it.....

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Making Strides

Well, tomorrow will be one week since my surgery. I've been home from the hospital for almost six full days....

The last few days here where we live, have been beautiful, summery days - and we are just at the beginning of May. Sitting on the couch with either the TV on or watching a video either on the TV or on my laptop has lost is sparkle...I am BORED!!!!!

Since sitting in the hospital the day of my surgery, I've become addicted to the Maury Povich Show - especially the "baby/daddy" shows. Not for the stories per se - but the entertainment of it all...some of these people are just downright hilarious!!!!!

So, this morning after my daughter and I got our "Maury fix" - I decided to venture outside. In less than a week - how much has changed in our gardens. My grandmother's rose bush (a peace rose) is exploding with blooms of all sizes. Her pink rose bush just under the peace rose - is starting to blossom as well, our iris patch which was only buds last week is a fragrant blaze of color and smells. The white lilac which was beautiful and fragrant last week - is done and brown - yet the french lilac in the front yard is now a beautiful fragrant and blooming bush.

The walk around the yard was wonderful. If felt great to get outside - feel the breeze, the sun, smell all the smells.....It was great....but when I got inside and sat back down on my couch - my ankle complained long and loud about the new adventure - and it didn't do anything but hang around for the "ride".....

Later in the day, I ventured out again - to visit with a friend and give her some things for the school. It was nice to have company and nice to chat with a friend. Was also nice to again be outside. But as before, my ankle complained about the trip. :-(

After supper, my youngest wanted to show me her flag work for the memorial day parade (she is captain of the color guard at her school) and so once more - I went outside for a brief stint....The ankle complained yet again, but not as bad because I had taken a pain pill when I had come in from the second trip out...

I had one more adventure today...and that was taking a real BATH. My ankle is still wrapped in the ace bandage and more and the sutures are still in, so I can't really take a full bath. Since my surgery, I've been sponging myself off - but that's as far as its gone. Today, I had had it and decided I needed to just get into the tub...

Adventure to be sure...

I wound up sitting on the side of the tub and then sliding my behind down into the tub, and then swinging my good leg into the water. Because my right leg is the one that had surgery, I have to sit at the drain side of the tub - so no real chance to soak, but my right leg could hang over the tub edge and the rest of me could soak. And that's precisely what I did.....

I was afraid getting out would be a real challenge - but it wasn't that bad - I swung my good leg over the edge, dried that leg and both thighs, as well as my hands - then I hefted my behind up and onto the edge of the tub - dried myself and was done! (Of course, I prayed the whole time I wouldn't slip backwards into the tub and hurt myself or the tub in the process....)

But it worked!

Tomorrow - challenge number two - washing my hair.....

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Tale of Surgery - Part 2

I blinked my eyes….

A nurse was touching my toes and asking if I could feel it and then she asked me to wiggle my toes.

I was in RECOVERY!!!

My throat was sore – I asked for ice chips. Instead I was given pain meds into my IV port.

Suddenly I was in an old-time movie – not just was everything flickering, but it also seemed to be rolling/flipping as well…..what a trip…..

I was told to snooze – but I wanted to wake up and get rid of this weird feeling…..

After a bit of time, my doctor came over smiling. He was happy; he was able to do EVERYHTING arthroscopically! He did not have to open the ankle up. This news made me happy as well. He did tell me though that there was much more damage in the joint than he originally had thought. There was a lot of inflammatory tissue which he removed. The OCD lesion itself was much larger than originally indicated. There was a huge “hunk” of cartilage barely hanging on by a thread that I think he said he took out as well. He did microfracture (scraped things up to make the bone bleed in order to generate some “new” cartilage growth). He conceded that I had good reason to be in pain given what was actually IN the ankle joint. He said he had taken lots of pictures during the surgery and that he had given a copy to my daughter and when I came to the office he would explain them all. I asked when that would be and he said in two weeks. I was given the go ahead to put very little pressure on the toes if I wanted. I told him I didn’t think I wanted – and he said pain? I nodded and he said OK….

Slowly, the nurse got me sitting a bit more upright and gave me ice chips. I still had my IV, as well as a blood pressure cuff on my arm. I also had a pressure cuff on my (good) leg to stimulate blood flow. My surgeried ankle was wrapped in a big ac bandage and I had several ice packs on it as it was elevated on a pillow or two. Doc came and spoke with me once more and checked on me. The nurse asked if I had crutches at home – because if I didn’t, I was going to have to spend the night since the crutch people were gone for the day. I told her I did have crutches at home, so it would just be a matter of getting me from the bed to the car. She said wheelchair would work.

And then I got to go back to the same day suite!

Soon my daughter came to sit with me – but it was a different daughter than the one I left when I went to surgery. (The older one started getting a migraine after I went in to surgery and so called her sister to come and take her place so she could come home and do what she needed to do to relieve the migraine.) The nurse brought me juice and graham crackers.

My mouth was too dry and my throat too sore to enjoy the crackers, but I enjoyed the juice. They brought me more and I enjoyed that as well.

I was asked if I wanted to go home and my answer was a resounding YES!!!!! But I wanted to hit the potty before my hour ride home. They found a wheel chair for me and he aide rolled me to the lav and told me when I was done to pull the call button. I stood on my good leg and wiggled to turn around and sat to go.

And I sat.

And I waited.

And nothing happened.

I felt absolutely full (and must have been with an entire bag of ringers’ lactate, two glasses of ice chips and six containers of juice) but nothing happened.

I closed my eyes and pictured WATER, I sang a song of water to myself and since I couldn’t reach the sink to run water, I swished what little saliva I had in my mouth – all just trying to get my body to cooperate and “go”.

FINALLY, after what seemed like an eternity of sitting on the throne – I was able to trickle a teeny-tiny bit out. Didn’t mater – I had peed – I could go home!!!!!

I finished up, pulled the call button and got taken back to my cubicle. The nurse gave me my scripts for meds and called for a wheelchair and sent my daughter to get the car while I got dressed.

Thank God I’m a dancer, because standing on one leg to get dressed was not an issue for me. A little tricky – but not an issue. Plus it helped that my daughter stayed just to make sure I was OK.

A short wheelchair ride down to the entrance and our hospital adventure was over as we drove home.

A brief new adventure followed as we tried to find our way out of Trenton. Not an easy task as I just prayed we got out of town before dark (and we did).

My sore throat gave way to full fledged laryngitis as I tried to call my husband and let him know we were on our way home.

The ride home was uneventful. My daughter stopped for me at Panera and bought me a container of broccoli/cheddar soup. I didn’t think I could eat much else with my throat. We got home and I parked my behind on the couch and have barely moved since

The Tale of Surgery - Part 1

My surgery was on Thursday – April 29. I had to be at the hospital for 10:15 AM with surgery scheduled for 12:15 PM. The hospital is less than an hour from home, so my daughter and I left at 9:15 – figuring it was past rush-hour by then so we would have plenty of time.
Little did we know there was construction on the highway less than 10 miles from home. Within 10 minutes we hit the traffic and sat still – only inching along for almost a half-hour. I telephoned the hospital to let them know I had not “chickened out” but was stuck in traffic. Their response was just take my time – no worries.

We eventually arrived at the hospital about a half hour later than anticipated. Kind staff members directed up to the Ambulatory Care Pavilion and my adventure for the day began…

Once up in ACP, I was taken in the back to go over insurance and other information and given my bracelet. I went back to the waiting area, only soon to be called in by a nurse to go in the back. My daughter was to wait until I was situated.

Once in the same day suite, my blood pressure, pulse and temperature was taken. I had the opportunity to give them a urine sample (from which they were going to do a pregnancy test! LOLOL). Then I got to undress and put on the lovely hospital Dior gown. My daughter then joined me and we hunkered down to wait.

The nurse assured me that my tardiness was not a problem and that my doctor wasn’t yet there – and he had another procedure prior to mine – so I was probably going to be late going to surgery.


I was asked which ankle – and I told them the right one and I was told – I would be asked at least five more times before surgery. Just to be sure….

So – “just to be sure” I took my eyeliner and wrote on my insteps…..

The left one read - “This is the one to be LEFT alone”
The right one read – “This is the one to be made “RIGHT”

My doctor came in to chat with me. While he was still hoping to be able to do the surgery arthroscopically – he couldn’t promise that he would indeed be able to do so. But he did mention that he was going to see if a third “poke hole” would give him a better view point of the ankle so that he could do the procedure arthroscopically. I told him – whatever he had to do to make it right was fine with me. He then asked (with a smile on his face) “Which ankle?” I told him he right and then pulled the blanket off my foot and said – and I even marked it in case you forget….He looked at my feet and read them with a smile. Then he looked at me and said – let’s make it definite that everyone knows which ankle – and then he whipped out a permanent marker and wrote on my shin “PC – YES” with a big arrow pointing to my ankle. We all chuckled over that!

Shortly after, the anesthesiologist and the nurse anesthetist came in to see me. This man was very special. Not only was he gentle, kind and pleasant – but he spent a great deal of time with me patiently answering my questions and honestly giving me information so that I could make an informed decision regarding my anesthesia choice. While he was supportive of my desire to stay awake for the procedure, he patiently pointed out to me that the spinal anesthesia had a limited time span and that if the surgery took longer than that time frame – I would need to have a general anesthetic anyway.

My doc came back while we were discussing it and the discussion became three-way. Doc also had no problem with my having the spinal – but he could not guarantee the length of time the surgery would take. The Anesthesiologist told me outright that I was an excellent candidate for general anesthesia because of my current health and my health history. His only concern was my less than perfect teeth and the outside possibility that at some point I might clamp down on the breathing tube and break or dislodge one or more teeth. If that was a risk I was willing to take – then he was supportive of whatever my choice was.

Given all the information – and the fact that we honestly did not know how long the surgery itself would take – I opted to forgo the “middle man” and have the general anesthesia from the getgo. I signed the release forms and thought that was it. Shortly after, the anesthesiologist returned and showed me that in the comment section he had added that we discussed the possibility of damage to my teeth and that I understood that as well. We joked a little and then he left.

My daughter and I sat and talked for a while – and then before I knew it – the anesthesiologist was back to take me to surgery!!!

The stress of finally going to surgery and facing my fear of general anesthesia got the best of me and I got weepy. The Anesthesiologist saw and gently asked if I was OK. I told him just stressed and a bit nervous. He told me it would all be fine and that once we got in the OR he would give me a little something to calm me down. I thanked him. As we got to the ER the nurse anesthetist opened the door with a flourish and a big smile and greeted me happily. She then started introducing me to everyone in the room and I had to apologize that I wouldn’t remember their names. She told me it was OK – there wouldn’t be a quiz. 

She asked a couple of questions, situated me on the table, strapped me in and got my left arm ready to strap down. The anesthesiologist (I think) added something to my IV and then I was told to breathe the oxygen.