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Old 04-03-2009, 10:26 AM   #5
labec labec is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Shreveport, Louisiana
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labec HB User
Re: PTTD surgery 5-1-09 --many ?s

Hi Mary 2!

My surgery date was 11-25-08 (got me out of any cooking and working during both holidays-great!) I had the same 3 procedures you are having plus an implant with 2 short screws on the top outside of my foot. I have been reading this board since last summer when I realized what I was facing. This board is a godsend. I have yet to see anything that is way off target or less than helpful. The shared experiences and encouraging words will carry you through.

As for advice, my most difficult problem after surgery was getting out of my recliner. I'm 5'8" (a little over 5'7" before surg-really), overweight and 58 years old. Also, the knee on my "good" leg is arthritic with ligament problems so I was not very stable. Only weeks later did I realize that when I'm sitting up, ready to stand, in that chair my knees were much higher than my hips. I almost tipped the chair over several times struggling to get out, even when someone was there to pull me up. The light bulb went off and my husband used a 2x4 to add height to the front of a chair & a half recliner we had. He drilled 2 holes just deep enough to hold the 2 front legs. This is very stable for me and enables me to slide off and stand much easier, just didn't figure it out for awhile. I still have it in place and will probably keep it that way.

The other things, I have my mother's transport wheelchair which is a bit narrower and more managable in the house. I used it exclusively the first few weeks. I got a Weil knee walker/scooter before surg and tried it a few days after surg and could'nt handle it, thought I had really wasted my money. However, I could not balance on my crutches (issued at the hospital) while I was totally NWB. It didn't take too long though before the knee walker was my best friend. We have a van and I was able to get to it and put the walker behind the driver's seat and go out of the house by myself and even take my 90 yr old Mother to the grocery store (kinda funny to see, she uses a cane & walker). It also enabled me to cook, do dishes, wash clothes, stand in front of the mirror (very short times in the beginning). It has a removable basket in the front which frees you to carry many different things. I also attached w/velcro one of those "grabber arms". You do drop things more than you might think and also it just extends your reach many times so you don't have to get up or call for help.

In my bathroom, my commode is separate in a small alcove. We had replaced our toilet 2 yrs ago with the higher, handicapped model. The facing wall is close enough we installed a white handicap grab bar. I also added the side rails that attach to the back of the toilet under the lid. I could not have managed without them, still use both. My tub is the larger oval kind and had a step in front of it. We took out the step and replaced it with tile and were able to place the larger transfer seat which has two legs outside the tub and also added the hand-held shower. The tub surround is only 2' high with painted wall above. I added a spring-loaded shower rod with 2 full curtains on the window wall and then another one with 2 more full curtains on the outside. I put a leg cast sleeve (pharmacy) on, left my leg on the outside of the tub and used heavy duty clips to hold the curtains, worked great. We have a small shower stall and installed another white heavy grab bar on the inside wall. I didn't start using that until I was fully weight bearing and walking, the 10 min shower is back!

Like others, shaved before surg and then not til hard cast was off. I still tend to have ingrown hair on that leg even though I'm wearing my compression hose less all the time. All things that improve with time and you really won't be as concerned with that as you think now.

For clothes, I'm lucky and not working (employed i should say!). I got 3 pair of knit comfy crop pants a size too big and never had a problem. For me, the biggest cast was the original surgical splint. Your hard cast will be smaller and then your walking boot comes off.

For pain, I had Lortab and Meperghan(?). I took everything on schedule in the beginning (1st week) and feel I could have gotten by with less, but I'll never know. Pain was controlled and I was very out of it. After that, I think I could have been OK with aspirin but they don't want you on that at all so I just used half a Lortab, mostly in afternoon and evening when swelling is worse. I used the freezer gel pacs for swelling and had different pillow combos depending on where I was. Almost forgot, I used PVC pipes to make a square/rectangle about a foot & a half higher than my mattress, with 2 pieces that slid between the mattess and box springs. This made it much easier to accommodate all the pillows and then when finally sleeping "bare" foot again, to keep the weight of the covers off. I'm 4 and a half mos out of surg now and I took that off the bed about a month ago.

All these transitions; from wheelchair to scooter to crutches to boot to orthotic insole inserts to SHOPPING FOR SHOES AGAIN! I didn't realize that I would really even be thinking about shoes at this point. I saw my surgeon 2 days ago, x-rays showed one of the small screws holding the implant is snapped/broken. He thinks I'll be OK, wait and see. I can't remember any point where it may have happened. Anyway, another transition is 5 steps forward and only a half step back. (Pain is almost gone, walking is better every day and then you have a day of pain/swelling and hardly able to walk, just happens less and less)

Good luck with your surgery. If you are like me, you like to have it all figured out before surgery, you're in control (somewhat!) There will be something unique for you, that you might not have read about, but, you'll figure it out. Prepare and then just relax, you'll do great.

Thank's to all on this board for all the help and support, I really haven't been alone.

Becky in Louisiana!

Last edited by labec; 04-03-2009 at 06:44 PM. Reason: misspell