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    Old 06-09-2004, 10:46 PM   #1
    CrazyCatLady's Avatar
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    Location: Asheville, North Carolina
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    Two Weeks Post-Op Update


    On May 25th, I had an Achilles tendon lengthening, subtalar fusion, and calcaneocuboid fusion. My surgeon found that two of the bones in my foot had smashed into each other over time and autofused, so he had to shatter those apart and put a spacer in to keep them from collapsing again. Also, there was a nerve that he could not reconnect, so I might have numbness or tingling in the outer edge and towards the top of my foot.

    I had a horrible reaction to either Fentanyl or another sedative that was given to me just before my popliteal block, which never fully worked (the block, not the sedative). According to my mother, my lips turned dark blue around the edges and I turned rigid and "passed out" for about 30 seconds. She's never seen so many people gather around one bed so fast in her life. They had to give me something to counteract the reaction.

    My experience of this was very terrifying. I remember my nurse saying that he was going to give me my sleepy medicine now and told me to let him know when I felt different. I didn't get the chance to because I quickly realized I was unable to speak. Everything got very sharp in focus, then suddenly all that had form broke apart into separate colors. Then there was nothing. Just black. I was "conscious" in my own mind for the entire time. Then the black disappeared to reveal flames. Flames EVERYWHERE. I was running over what looked like red cobblestone and the flames were everywhere. The "sky" above was pitch black. I was being chased, I remember running and hearing screaming, what sounded like a crowd of people shouting. This went on for what seemed to me to be hours. Then suddenly I was caught, pulled by the nape of my neck and pulled out of this world of flames, turned onto my back, and I woke up in the hospital.

    My mother says that I was very angry when I woke up and then got upset. Also, funny thing, the Dr. who did the nerve block, which was done amidst all of this, commented, "Where does she think she's running to?" when my leg jerked voilently when the block was given. When I say "jerking voilently", I was told my leg was bending at the knee, then straightening repeatedly, thus slamming into the bed many times.

    I regained consciousness a few minutes before my general anesthesia was administered. I remember breathing fast and crying, and my surgeon offering a cheerful greeting. I remember someone rubbing my arm and someone else rubbing my face, which calmed me down considerably. Then came the anesthesia. I took all of two breaths and was gone.

    I woke up in Recovery 3 1/2 hours later, severely nauseated and barely able to speak.

    I felt my foot immediately, possibly the worst pain I've ever felt in my life. I didn't feel anything in my hip, so I thought in my state of delusion that my surgeon didn't have to go in there, but alas, he did. They just gave me a very good local for the hip.

    My nurse in the recovery room was great. She was quick to respond and didn't give up on trying to alleviate my nausea, which took three different meds. I remember her saying at one point that I had nothing in my stomach, so I couldn't throw up, but we all know what happens when your stomach is empty and wants to throw up, and it's not pleasant. She also took my puffy cap off at one point, "You don't want this on anymore, do you?".

    I remember someone telling me that I was going to go to my room and that my mom was there. I remember being wheeled down the hall, into an elevator, and into my room. I remember scooting over from the gourney to my bed with someone holding my throbbing foot and a sheet under me. I felt my hip for the first time then, just slightly, but my delusion of an undisturbed hip bone flew out the window.

    I slept a lot that afernoon and evening. In my brief windows of awakeness my mom told me about my surgery, friends of ours called, and my stepdad came to see me, but I only heard him, I didn't fully wake up for him. I felt him put his hand on me, but I pulled away; his hand was very hot and I just didn't want to be touched. I just wanted to be left alone.

    I had orange Jell-O for dinner that night, yum! Every four hours or so a nurse would check my blood pressure, temp, and oxygen saturation, which was fine every time. I had my oxygen removed sometime around midnight. That was the best feeling in the world.

    My surgeon came in early the next morning. Once again, I heard him, but I didn't fully wake up for him. He touched my big toe and asked if I could feel him, yes, I could. He had me wiggle my toes, which is still a chore. He spoke to my mother briefly, something about PT, that I could move my toes and knee as much as I wanted to, and "elevate! elevate! elevate!", and was on his way.

    PT came and got me out of bed. I tried my crutches, but wasn't stable enough with them, so I have a walker. I had lunch and then endured the painful car ride home.

    I've done well at home with the exception of pain and stomach upsets. It was so great to be home. Hospitals suck. My family has been great, too.

    My 10-day post-op visit went well. I got the dressing off, which felt good, but hurt at the same time. My x-rays looked "great" and my foot looks dramatically different. My surgeon is a god. Most of my stitches were dissolvable, except for the ones in my heel because the skin was too thick there to put dissolvable ones in. I had what felt like 7 or 8 stithes removed. The incision went from the middle of the bottom of my heel to just where the Achilles tendon inserts into the heel. I have more incisions than I thought I would. A cast was applied (a purple one!). I had to keep my foot in neutral position so my tendon can heal. That took an amazing amount of effort, just getting my foot into neutral. Sheesh.

    I see my Dr. again on July 12th at which time I "might" be able to put "a little bit" of weight on the foot. I'm in the cast until then. I'm only allowed to rest my foot on the ground, but NO weightbearing.

    Of course I'm still a worry wart. What if something goes wrong between now and July 12th? There's a new sensation every day. Is my cast okay? Why is my hip popping loudly? My two last toes are still without feeling. At the same time, I know everything will be okay.

    I just started physical therapy on Tuesday. A therapist comes to my house three times a week. I just do various leg lifts, some standing, most while lying down. I used to transcribe therapy notes and laughed at the people in therapy, oh, that must be a cake walk, I'd think.

    EL WRONGO! It is most certainly NOT easy! It's definitely something I'm enduring right now, but my therapist is cool. I'm the only "young" person on her list. She does therapy with elderly and she's excited to have a 20-year-old on her list. She says it's a nice change for her. She's a fellow cat lover, too.

    I'm still not back to work yet. I had to urge to go back today, but now that I've sat at the computer typing this, I know I'm not quite ready.

    So, since various parts of me are in pain now, I'm going to go elevate my foot.

    I'm sorry this was so long. I just got going I guess.

    Thanks for listening and all of the well wishes,

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    Old 06-10-2004, 05:52 AM   #2
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    Re: Two Weeks Post-Op Update

    Congradulations on your recovery, so far! Surgery is a very scarry thing.
    When I had surgery a couple of years ago (not having anything to do with my ankle at that point) I had a reaction to the medication that they gave me before they put me under. When the surgery was over I actually went into anaphalatic shock (it's early in the morning so if my spelling is a little off, sorry!). I was wheezing, and had hives,etc. The doctor's were already around but they rushed up and gave me an oxygen mask and put Benedyl in my IV,etc. I was pretty much out of it anyway. I kept wondering why everyone was hanging around!! That's always a nice way to find out that you're allergic to a medication! The stuff I'm allergic to is called succinyl choline. So actually is sucks to have succs!
    Good luck on your recovery. And about going back to work. I just went back this past Monday after 5 weeks off for ankle surgery and it's been kind of rough. I'm suppose to be doing sedentary work only and it's really bugging me because everyone is bringing things to me and if I just happen to get up for the slightest thing, I'm being told by my bosses to "sit down". But by the time my shift is over, I'm ready to elevate!! My ankle has not been feeling the best. But then again I wasn't suppose to go back to work until the end of June. (Still in a cast, but off crutches!) By the way, my first cast for this surgery was bright green and my walking cast is bright yellow. I needed somthing summery. Something to cheer me up. I had a purple cast last year when I had my first surgery on my ankle. I love the different colors. Anything to cheer you up.
    Sounds like your on the road to recovery!!

    Old 06-10-2004, 05:33 PM   #3
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    Re: Two Weeks Post-Op Update

    Glad you're feeling better! Aren't nurses the best? I'm 3.5 weeks post op. I was so teary, I went to the OR with a box of kleenex, but the nurses were so sweet. The fentanyl made me feel weird too, but nothing as scary as you described. I didn't have my contacts/glasses on, and to me, the room was just spinning. I felt much more comfortable laying down. I'm surprised your mom was there with you-- we left my mom at the surgical lounge, and I went on to Sugical Holding alone.

    The anesthesiologist and my surgeon were comforting (although, my surgeon was very concerned that I was crying--at my post op visits he still comes in very cautiously, puts his arm around my shoulders, and asks me if I'm feeling any better yet, lol), but the nurse anesthetist was the best by far--but they are mostly there for you. When he came to visit me in surgical holding, he immediately reached for my hand and held it the whole time. I went with a spinal and a sedative (a very GOOD sedative), and as soon as I went into the OR, he was holding my hand again, and we talked about General Hospital while the epidural was administered--it was not nearly as bad as I thought. After laying back, I don't remember much!

    I'm 21, and I've been non-weightbearing so far... another 3 weeks of it too. I also have a purple cast! Why not have a fun color if you have to be in a cast, right? I had a gorgeous sky blue one from 4 days post op to 2.5 weeks post op. I think elevating is the hardest... when I was in the hospital, I only had an ace bandage and 60,000 layers of gauze up to my ankle, so it was easy to elevate! Now with the cast up to my knee, it's harder... I'm never comfortable.

    I had a damaged nerve removed, but still am having bad shooting pains, so we're experimenting with pain relief...anti-depressants are given to people with nerve pain (they work on some of the same chemicals), but I've tried two in the last week and they make me so shaky... I called my OS today to leave a message for tomorrow because I want the pain to go away, but I can't stand the anti-depressant feeling. Hopefully, the drugs will be out of my system in a few days.

    I too am surprised that my OS schedules the visits so far apart--what if something is wrong? But, they are an amazing office. During the week he is at 2 offices and 3 hospitals, but when I call with a concern, they have an answer for me within a matter of hours. They are just phenomenal. I marvel at how they can do that--especially with an 8 doctor practice!

    Good luck and hang in there! If it gets tough, know that you are not alone!

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