It’s a good thing I went to my orthopedic surgeon appointment on Friday expecting the worst. She took one look at my x-rays and said “So, how are you feeling about surgery?”
Unlike a lot of people, I haven’t dealt with bunion pain for many years. Obviously it has been developing for years, but I didn’t start noticing the pain until earlier this year, probably about six months ago, maybe a bit more. I remember asking my husband and best friend if they remember which foot I had fractured when we were in a traveling vocal ensemble in college (btw…that was ELEVEN years ago…ELEVEN) because I was starting to feel some pain in my foot and wondered if they could be related.
I started working again, just part-time at first, but wearing dress shoes every day and being on my feet a lot more. After just a couple of weeks working, I was in excruciating pain by the end of the workday. For the first time in my life, Dr. Google actually did yield some answers for me: I was dealing with a bunion. After a quick Facebook poll of my friends, I selected an orthopedic surgeon in the area and made an appointment for after the end of the school year.
So here’s the deal: I’m having surgery on my foot in a few weeks. Going under the knife…or, actually, under the bone saw. *shudders* Because the bones in my foot are currently at greater than 15 degrees apart, which makes my bunion in the “moderate to severe” category, the surgery is more extensive than the simple kind. They’ll have to make two incisions, cut and re-set the bone with two screws, and make an incision and cut the bone in my big toe, resetting it with something like a metal twist-tie. I’m not allowed to put any weight on my foot for 6-8 weeks, which means it’ll be Crutch City for me. After that, I’ll be in an orthopedic boot for another 8 weeks. Sometime after that, I’ll be able to start wearing loose-fitting shoes again, provided the healing is going well.
It’s all happening pretty fast, but the only other option was to wait about five more months, after some big fundraising events at school which I am in charge of, and that would mean lots of long days and much pain. I’d rather just get it over with, no matter how much it’s going to suck.
And yeah. It’s gonna suck. I’ve only ever been on crutches once in my life, for a mere three or four days, in between my foot fracture at summer camp and when I got my orthopedic boot. It was awful. How am I going to handle eight weeks?! Not to mention just trying to be a mom, and a wife, and employee during that time. The timing on this is actually going to work out well, if you disregard that I’ll be missing vacation and will be hobbling around in the sweltering heat of summer. I’m able to go to Chicago for a work conference with the two principals from my school, then my mom is coming up from TN to take me to my surgery (because my husband and boys will be at the beach in NC — it’s a long story about why I’m not going) and then take care of me afterward. It’s an outpatient surgery, but will take the greater part of a day at the surgery center. Then the boys will be going to her house for a week at Grandma’s, so I’ll be able to recover without being a full-time mommy for about two weeks.
Here’s where I need some help. I have about two weeks to get everything prepared at home and at school for making my weeks on crutches as tolerable as possible. What are the post-surgery tips and tricks that will keep me sane? Have you had foot or leg surgery? What did you find helpful to you at home?
Stay tuned for a post with the ideas I’ve collected so far on how to handle surgery recovery on crutches!