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Friday, January 18, 2013

Mission Accomplished

     Indeed my mission has been accomplished!  Both eyes have new implants, cataracts gone.  Both feet have been rebuilt successfully.  Today I had my 30+ stitches removed 11 days post op on the left foot and all is well!
There are two screws that will stay permanently fusing the joint just below the big toe - this procedure is called arthrodesis of the big toe.  The 4 pins (or pearls as I call them) will be removed in about 2 weeks.  This procedure is called ostectomy.  I got a gander of the xray of the pins and how far in they go and it was pretty amazing. I have no pain and no sensation of them being there which is awesome.
     This time around all the things under my control went much more smoothly thanks to the Tip Sheet I compiled last time.  It was filled with tips about everything from the type of ice bag to use to what to eat before and after pain meds.  I cannot say enough about the value of this.  Not only for the practical reasons of having a written record but also the psychological benefit of having so much written down that it   gave me a great sense of relief and stress reduction.
     So once the stitches were out they re wrapped it with gauze and put on steri strips and an ace bandage and now it is safely protected till I return in two weeks for the pin removal. 
     One big difference this time was the boot I am using which is drastically different than the last one....
     This is the last overkill for a forefront foot procedure and this thing was so cumbersome it was very uncomfortable to say the least.  I ended up with a swollen and bruised ankle after just one day so I switched on my own to a boot shoe I had worn for a stress fracture I had on the top of my foot several years ago. I cannot tell you how much better it worked!
Last time, I took it with me for my next follow up appt. with the surgeon and he said it was fine to use, especially since I use the knee walker versus crutches which is much safer in terms of the likelihood of accidentally putting any weight on the foot.
     You can see in the photo above how heavy and cumbersome the old boot was, hanging off the scooter and creating more problems than it would solve.  It felt like a ski boot!
     The day of surgery started out a bit negatively as my surgery was delayed by 4 hours due to an emergency.  That made for a very long day but it went fine.  In addition, this time, instead of the nerve block from the knee down (with two injections sites) they chose to do it in the ankle (7 injection sites).  It hurt a WHOLE LOT MORE but worse the block only lasted 12 hours this time versus 2 days the last time!  Not sure I would even suggest it to anyone since I had a general anyway.
     My biggest issue, and this was true the last time as well, is my reaction (aversion) to pain medication.  This is nothing new.  I have said here on blog many times that I do not use prescription pain medication to manage my RA.  I use Tylenol, the various DMARDS, ice, heat, braces, hot tubs, etc. I simply cannot tolerate the way I feel on pain meds.  Once again, and I was on the smallest dose of 5mg., I felt like a person who was in the midst of a "bad drunk", nauseous, dizzy, disoriented, emmotional and worst of all it did nothing for the pain!  That said, I took a total of 5 and then said, NO MORE and switched to super strength (650mg) Tylenol which worked fine and soon I was back to normal.  
          The real key for me was rest, ice and elevation of the foot.  That really controls the pain and swelling and makes the entire recovery go much more smoothly.  I cannot say enough about how critical it is to have your RA Support Team around throughout the process both to help on a personal note but also to act as your advocate and support person when dealing with the entire surgical team and hospital staff.  That really can make the difference in ensuring a successful and stress free procedure.  Friends dropped off food and that was so wonderfully appreciated by both me and my husband!
I am forever grateful to my husband who was my rock of Gibraltor throughout these surgeries!  He was literally at my beck and call, taking such good care of all of my needs and taking me out almost every day so I did not get cabin fever! I am blessed beyond words to have such a wonderful husband and best friend!  


Deb aka AbcsOfra said...

I am so relieved to see you recovering. And I say...your hubby is indeed the best medicine around :-) He looks like an angel sent just for you. And I so agree about pain meds, any med for that matter. We are all so different but medicine tests tend to lump everyone into one pool for medications. It just ain't so. But the point of this post...time to start thinking about taking a tango class in the future :-)

Marianna Paulson said...

I'm glad that your surgery went so well, Nan.

I know exactly what you mean re. the cumbersome "ski" boot is. Did you also sleep in your boot shoe?

I've decided to add another 100 tips, which will include giveaways. Since you were so lucky on my blog the last time, you might be interested in my latest one:

I'm glad that you're doing so well.