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    Old 12-20-2006, 08:30 PM   #1
    Hoppy2006
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    Tips for surving bunion surgery

    I don't know when I'll be having my second bunionectomy, but I will definitely be more prepared for it than I was for this one. I actually have quite a long list of things I've learned from experience over the past few weeks, and thought I'd share it in case there's anyone out there who's getting ready for this procedure and the subsequent recovery time. Please feel free to add on to my list!

    1. (the lesson I most wish I'd known beforehand) - After the surgery, take it easy, even if you feel remarkably good. The foot may be pain free at the moment, but if you want it to stay that way, you really must stay off it every moment you can, even into the third and fourth week. It is perfectly acceptable to say "I'm sorry, I can't - I recently had bunion surgery, and I need to stay off my feet." When things are going well, it's frighteningly easy to overdo things badly and not realize until hours later that you really, really, really shouldn't have done whatever it was that you did. But by then it's too late to do anything but pop an Advil, refill your ice bag, and lie awake wondering just how many days you added to your total recovery time by taking one little ol' trip to the mall.

    2. Plan ahead before the surgery, and eliminate the need for errands during your recovery time. It might not seem like a big deal to run in to the supermarket to pick up a few things now and then, but those extra steps will add up fast, especially if you get stuck in a stalled checkout line. Before your surgery, get a haircut, fill your car with gas, and get the oil changed. Stock up on everything you can think of - try to have at LEAST 2 weeks' worth of shampoo, toilet paper, laundry detergent, pet foot, and frozen meals in your house. You'll also need a good supply of plastic bags and big rubber bands for keeping your foot dry in the shower.

    3. To save errands to the drugstore, stock up on the medical supplies you'll need - Ibuprofin, a good ice bag, gauze pads, Vitamin E oil, compression tape, etc. Ask the doctor what supplies you'll need in the weeks after the surgery.

    4. Get a shower chair, a cane, and a pair of crutches. You can rent most of these things from a pharmacy for a very low fee. If you find you don't need them after all, great! But if you do need them, you'll appreciate not having to go out and get them when you can barely walk.

    5. Standing at the sink long enough to wash dishes can be too much. If you don't have a dishwasher, use paper plates and plastic forks for a while.

    6. Have pillows, cushions, or rolled blankets ready to go for the first night - they'll shelter your foot from the pressure of blankets.

    7. Bring a bar stool into the bathroom so you can sit in front of the mirror instead of standing.

    8. If there's anything in your basement or attic you'll need to use within the month after your surgery, move it to the main floor beforehand if at all possible.

    9. Ice and elevation are magic bullets. Use them every chance you get.

    10. Doctors truly do know what they're talking about. This experience that's so foreign to you is one they've gone through dozens or hundreds of times, so follow their instructions. Like you, they want your procedure to be successful.

    11. Photograph the foot the night before the surgery, and also trace around it on a piece of paper. It's encouraging to see the immediate improvement in shape, even when the foot is bruised and swollen from the surgery. Continue to take pictures as you recover so you can see on bad days how much better things really are.

    Last edited by Hoppy2006; 12-21-2006 at 06:43 AM.

     
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    Old 12-21-2006, 06:30 AM   #2
    BunionLovah
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    Re: Tips for surving bunion surgery

    That is GREAT advice! I wish I'd had a comprehensive list of tips before my surgery! I totally agree with everything you wrote. Of course I tried to be a hero and was up and about way too much in the first week or two.

    I think having the surgery a second time would be a lot easier because you would know what to expect.

     
    Old 12-21-2006, 06:37 AM   #3
    mkl
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    Re: Tips for surving bunion surgery

    Very nicely done. Wish I had all that info neatly packaged before my surgeries!

    Marianne

    Last edited by mkl; 12-21-2006 at 06:38 AM.

     
    Old 12-21-2006, 06:39 AM   #4
    Hoppy2006
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    Re: Tips for surving bunion surgery

    Bunionlovah -

    Yeah, that was me - I tried to be Wonder Woman or something. (I think you even advised me on that a couple weeks ago!) It was all very impressive until it caught up with me, and it was disheartening to have to ease off, expecially when my co-workers noticed and commented on my reduced activity level. "Going backwards, huh? Well, I thought all along that you were doing too much ... " :P

    I thought of one more, and added it as #11.

    Last edited by Hoppy2006; 12-21-2006 at 06:42 AM.

     
    Old 12-21-2006, 02:59 PM   #5
    RightFootMary
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    Re: Tips for surving bunion surgery

    Hi Hoppy - what a wonderful list - very helpful. Can I add just one thing - I found a rolling office chair to be my lifesaver in the kitchen. I could at least get around to get my breakfast and lunch and later I used it to kneel on when I was at the sink doing dishes. Also take up any offers of help that you get!

    Thanks again for the great advice.

    Mary

     
    Old 12-21-2006, 03:22 PM   #6
    dancing feet
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    Re: Tips for surving bunion surgery

    Excellent advice! I'd also like to add: Mentally prepare yourself and don't be alarmed or discouraged if and when you don't recover as quickly as the doctor may have indicated. Everyone is different as is their recovery period. A lot depends on what was actually done to the foot, and the age of the person. (I was told that in 2 weeks I would be able to go back to work. I couldn't go back to work until 7 weeks after the surgery.) I think I would have been better mentally prepared had I known that there was a good possibility that it could take much longer for me to heal. Also, don't judge your recovery time based on others who have had the surgery. When I would hear how quickly some people recovered, I began to question why I was taking so long, and getting depressed about it. No two surgeries are alike.

     
    Old 12-22-2006, 11:42 AM   #7
    marathon50
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    Re: Tips for surving bunion surgery

    Excellent list. I learned alot from others on this web site prior to my surgery and the suggestions were so helpful. The only thing I would add is protection of the cast while showering....I used the garbage bags the first 10 days until someone in the Orthopaedic office suggested getting a "cast mate". It is a plastic sleeve that has a lip on the top end with a round hole. You put your foot into that sleeve and the lip is curved downward to keep water out. It took about 5 minutes off my prep time and was so much easier to use. You can get them at most drug stores/medical supply places. I found one at a drug mart.

    I'm for anything to make this process more simple since it affects so many of the things we need to survive the daily routine.

     
    Old 12-22-2006, 02:30 PM   #8
    RightFootMary
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    Re: Tips for surving bunion surgery

    You might want to ask your dr's office about a cast/bandage protector for use in the shower. My dr's office actually sold me one the day I had my pre-op appt ($20) and it was a great lifesaver. I also found a shower chair to be a great help (I have a hand-held showerhead) so I could sit and shower. It felt so good.

    Mary

     
    Old 12-22-2006, 03:09 PM   #9
    debbie g
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    Re: Tips for surving bunion surgery

    after reading your advice, i think i will not travel. thank you and i want my husband to read this. debbie g

     
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