I have been reading these posts for a long time and would like to share my story. So far it is one of the good news ones and I think it's important for those waiting for surgery to know that it can be an okay experience.
I had my triple arthrodesis on Feb. 3. I had a positive experience. Really no pain after surgery. I had a popliteal nerve block which kept the pain away for 36 hrs. and also had a spinal anesthetic with Morphine. I was also given pain pills regularily for the 3 days I was in hospital. Once I got home, I didn't use any pain medication. I used lots of ice packs and kept the leg elevated.
I live alone (age-early 50's) in my own house and had someone stay with me for the first 2 nights. After that I was okay on my own. I alternated between using a walker and crutches, had a raised toilet seat and a bath chair. I was able to cook and freeze some meals before surgery and that was probably the most valuable preparation I did. Anything in the kitchen was very tiring and I did as little there as I had to. I tend to be very independent and coped quite well.
I try to get out a few times every week and have lots of hobbies to keep me entertained - scrapbooking, reading, quilting, computer games, etc. The hardest part for me has been not being able to drive since it's my right foot that had the surgery. At first I had lots of visitors, now not so many but I now have more interest and ambition to work on my hobbies.
I have been in a boot since week 3 but only starting to put light weight on the foot now at week 8. I expect to be off work for a few more months since I am on my feet all day at work.
Thank you all for your information. Darby -- I live alone too and your post really helped me feel like I could do this. That's been a really big concern for me. For the first couple of weeks I plan to hire a home care person to come in for 1-2 hours a day to do things like wash dishes etc.
I've been getting very little information from my surgeon and assistant too -- it's routine for them but huge for us.
Glad I could be of some help and encouragement. What helped me too, was that I had been on crutches before - although that was 30 years ago! So I knew what to expect to a certain degree. If you plan to use crutches postop, practice with them before surgery. I wish I had done that to strengthen my upper body more. The one thing that happened to me while in hospital and in a plaster cast was that I got really sore in the groin area from lifting the leg on and off the pillows. So just be aware that that can happen.
Also, plan on everything you do being labor intensive and taking a long time.That was my mindset from the beginning and it helped me to not get frustrated. I would feel a real sense of accomplishment with boiling water for tea!
I think one thing I feared most and have been very aware of is that depression could be an issue, especially with living alone. But half the battle is being aware that it could happen and watching for it. I love being at home and enjoy many hobbies but need to get out every few days or have someone over for coffee. And I keep in mind that the crutches and inconvenience of not being able to drive are temporary - for some people it's a way of life. Kind of puts things into perspective.
Lovelyladi, I don't see any problems with going into the jaccuzi. You won't feel any heat transferred through the screws, etc. It would be a nice, relaxing thing to do. I have a whirlpool tub in the house and have used it a couple of times since my incisions are well healed.
I'll keep checking back if anyone has more questions. It's important to share the information we've gained through our experiences, what works and what doesn't and hopefully make the process easier for others. Much of what I know now I learned from reading this board.
You're so right about the weight of the cast. My cast pulled my leg overboard and I rolled right out of bed. After that, I learned to put the cast in first, and keep my good leg along the edge! Recovery is surely interesting and challenging -- and sometimes it's a comedy show.
To those of you who are still pre-op,
What helped me be independent was a well-stocked set of drawers by the bed. Meds, change of clothes, bottled water, and literally a three week supply of snacks and water. Sometimes I was awake and uncomfortable at night and wanted to eat at weird hours. It was also nice to have a lot of pillows, different densities, to keep the foot up -- some in each room so that I didn't have to move them.
Another wonderful piece of advice a coworker gave me was to take a small radio, or your ipod, to the hospital with you. I tucked it in with me, found a station with soothing music and left the little earbuds in all through the first 24 hours. Even though you'll have a pain med pump, the music is so comforting.
There is no good time, ever, to have surgery. The nervousness you have is understandable and normal. I only had 2 weeks notice of my surgery date and went into shock when I got the call. (Didn't think I'd have it until next Oct/Nov). I spent the next 2 weeks working fulltime and trying to get the house/equipment/meals ready. It was good I was so busy - didn't have much time to think of what was to come. I was nervous the day of surgery but everything happened so fast once I got to the hospital that in hindsight it is all a blur.
I trust my dr. He never seems rushed, is always willing to answer questions. Great personality so I hope the work is also good. Time will tell.
For at home, I bought a couple of body pillows to have in different rooms in the house (got the hint on this board!). You can fold them, etc. to make them work well.