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    Old 03-10-2008, 05:57 PM   #1
    armykat
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    Survived the bunionectomy!

    First just want to thank everyone who responded to my post about pre-op advice. I had a Kalish (modified Austin) bunionectomy on my right foot 3 days ago (Fri). I thought I'd share my experience and then ask for some post-op advice. This is the first major surgery that I've had, so I had a fair amount of naivete going in. Beware.....long post ahead.
    Reported for surgery at 10:30 AM. After vitals were taken and I waited for an hour (miserable from fasting!), I finally went to the OR a little before 1. Anesthesiologist explained the whole "twilight" anesthesia + nerve block thing again, and I asked him to load me up on drugs! I lose all recollection from about 10 minutes after he started to make me "mellow" (he said, "I'm going to make you a little mellow, then I'm going to make you VERY mellow!"). I woke up in recovery with most awful thirst I ever experienced. They wouldn't give me anything until after they had me stabilized and took my post-op x-rays. I could not feel my foot at all, so placing my foot where the technician wanted it was almost humorous. They showed me the new x-ray, which looked like a NORMAL foot (plus two permanent screws). Hooray!!! I was released about an hour afterwards, after I took my first two percocet without incident. I have a dressing and ace bandage, plus surgical sandal and crutches. I didn't leave the hosp until about 6 pm. My instructions were to be NWB for 3 days, plus constant elevation and icing. As of tomorrow, I think I'm supposed to be PWB with my boot for 5-10 minutes at a time. Post-op check up is not until next week, which will be 1 1/2 weeks post-surgery.
    The first night was very simple and easy. A little nausea and dizziness, but perfectly manageable. The block started wearing off around midnight, and I woke up with pain around 4 am. Took two percocet and back to sleep. Saturday was very painful, and I kept forgetting to take percocet BEFORE signs of pain. Again, a little woozy and nauseated throughout the day, but manageable. Sunday was a totally different experience. I made the mistake of taking the percocet w/o food....and that was the beginning of my temporary descent into hell! I vomitted all morning and afternoon, not even able to keep down water. Got the on-call doc to call in prescriptions for Zofran (anti-nausea) and Darvocet. The Zofran didn't really combat the nausea until the second dose, and it wasn't until 5 pm that I was able to hold anything down. I really wish that I had read the boards dealing with Percocet b/c I would have requested something else -- I react to just about everything. I never took the Darvocet because I just couldn't bear to be both nauseous AND in pain (percocet did not take care of all the pain on Saturday) -- it's just too much. The good news is that I feel much better today. No more nausea, and the pain is being well-managed with OTC motrin. My feet have pretty much been elevated consistently, and I'm trying to be religious about the icing. Have rarely even put my foot down on my ankle, even though the doc said that was ok. It has just been too painful up until now.
    I owe my mother and my boyfriend greatly, both of whom have been taking great care of me. However, my mother left yesterday night and my boyfriend is returning to work tomorrow, so I'm about to be by myself most of tomorrow. Yes, I have the DVDs, books, microwaveable foods, etc. But I am a little anxious about being by myself (even though I was fine today). We'll see how it goes.
    So, any guidance about what comes next? Any advice on how to proceed over the next few days? Any exercises that you did that were helpful? Many thanks for your advice!!!!

    Carin

     
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    Old 03-10-2008, 06:00 PM   #2
    janewhite1
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    Re: Survived the bunionectomy!

    Congratulations!

     
    Old 03-10-2008, 08:25 PM   #3
    badfeet51
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    Re: Survived the bunionectomy!

    armykat...please keep posting to keep us updated. I am scheduled for a bunionectomy on my right foot, fusion of the right great toe, fusion of the little toe, and bunionectomy on the little toe side on the left on the 21st. I have had multiple foot surgeries...some of which worked...some of which did not. I have much pain in both feet and can not wear much of any kind of shoe but birkenstocks, sneakers, and crocs. I recently went to a nephews wedding and wore these awful shoes that looked much like things I saw my great-grandmother wear in some of her pictures. my pre-op is tomorrow. I remember the pain well from a bunionectomy done before. I remember the second night I was not even able to get to the bathroom and had to be taken. Please tell me it was not that bad with you. I will be keeping up with your post as I will be close behind you. If you read my thread you will see some good post-op suggestions that were given to me. Good luck with the pain.

     
    Old 03-11-2008, 12:45 PM   #4
    armykat
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    Re: Survived the bunionectomy!

    Thanks for the support! Badfeet, I did look at your post and the suggestions were helpful....or at least they will be helpful when I feel up to trying them! I can totally relate to the image of your monstrous shoes at the party! I have been wearing shoes that are 1 to 1 1/2 sizes too big for the last few years. When the "wide" shoes weren't even working any more, I knew it was time for surgery. Please feel free to remind me of this when I'm sounding frustrated.

    Today is Day 4, and it's not too bad. I've survived the first half of my day alone without much incident. I have been walking around (probably more than the 10 minutes that doc recommended) and it is amazing how quickly my foot swells up when I put my foot down. The good news is there's still not a whole lot of pain. So I'm back to having my feet up and icing. Planning a trip to Mexico for June, by which point I should be able to show off my new foot (at least one will be bunion-free!). Looking for cheap flights kept me busy all morning, and I'll have to get a travel book to keep me busy tomorrow.

     
    Old 03-11-2008, 01:14 PM   #5
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    Re: Survived the bunionectomy!

    Armykat-

    I enjoy being in shape and struggled with not being able to run or do something to move my muscles at all so I tried doing all the old calisthenics from junior high school PE. Anything that I could do without putting weight on my foot I did. Sit-ups, knee push-ups, leg lifts, air cycling, sitting torso twists with a medicine ball, whatever I could think of. One of the unexpected benefits of this was that I had very minimal swelling as I was moving blood through the foot.
    I started doing these four days after surgery as that was when pain was minimal and movement was easier. I did ice right after each session.
    It helps to just be doing something that is more normal than just sitting and having your whole world focused on your foot.

     
    Old 03-11-2008, 01:28 PM   #6
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    Re: Survived the bunionectomy!

    After two months on crutches (my first surgery was on Jan. 9th and the second was on Feb. 25th - same foot), I had finally had enough of being either at work or at home. This past Saturday (a few days shy of being two weeks out from second surgery) my husband was away all day playing golf and my son was out on a date - I decided I was going shopping (I love to shop!). It was quite a sight.
    At JC Penny, I used their buggy/stroller - put one crutch in the cart and used the handle as a crutch and one of my crutches under the other arm (I am NWB) - that was strenuous! At Kohl's and Goody's, I used their wheelchairs. I was looking for jeans (I am hard to fit) and trying those on was a little aggravating as I have a hard cast. I am proud to say though that I had a successful trip and came home with new jeans, dress pants, shirts and three pair of shoes - plus a little bit for my husband and son.
    After I got home I rolled around the house in my wheelchair and cleaned the house. That is how I keep my activity level up.

     
    Old 03-11-2008, 03:13 PM   #7
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    Re: Survived the bunionectomy!

    just remember to rest before you jump into any exercise. you have to let things heal. ask your dr what you can do and follow his instructions. but i am a firm believer in attacking the problem so anything you can do now would be great for recovery.

     
    Old 03-11-2008, 05:40 PM   #8
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    Re: Survived the bunionectomy!

    Armykat, you have the best method of being boredom free--travel books. Your trip will be so much more enjoyable the more knowledgeable you are about the area in which you will be visiting. I always try to get a travel book when I plan a trip so I can enjoy the trip long before I ever leave home. You will be able to see more, do more, and know all the right places to go if you learn all about the area before you even leave home. What are you doing about a bath? and washing your hair? I am wondering how I will handle that and can't remember how I did it previously. I am going to put a dorm size refrig. beside my recliner b/c I can't think how I would bring drinks to my recliner on crutches. My pre-op was today so I have all my ducks in a row so I am just trying to get everything caught up here at home before next Friday. I hope you continue to do well. It sounds as if you are doing good. Keep up the good work and keep letting me know how you progress.

     
    Old 03-11-2008, 05:46 PM   #9
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    Re: Survived the bunionectomy!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by badfeet51 View Post
    I am going to put a dorm size refrig. beside my recliner b/c I can't think how I would bring drinks to my recliner on crutches.
    Take a closed beverage bottle, roll it down the hall using a crutch as a hockey stick.

    Inefficient? Perhaps. Amusing? Certainly, and that alone makes it worth doing in my book.

    My surgery is 2 days before yours, Badfeet51. I guess that means we're on the same team now.

     
    Old 03-11-2008, 07:01 PM   #10
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    Re: Survived the bunionectomy!

    armykat, what type of anesthesia did they use for your surgery? I was told today they were going to use IV sedation and local for me. I am afraid that I will feel pain. They are going to use proponal to put me under slightly to do the local and then use versed and fentanyl. Also, Jane1, what type are they going to use for you. Thanks.

     
    Old 03-11-2008, 07:52 PM   #11
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    Re: Survived the bunionectomy!

    You guys are all fantastic! Let me try to address everything. Someone in another thread suggested carrying things around in a big purse or similar bag. So I've been hobbling on my crutches with a bag filled with what I need -- my phone, a water bottle, a book, etc. Have to have my coffee, but can't carry the mug, so I've been using a travel mug with a tight seal so that it doesn't spill while I thrash around.
    Taterbug, you've given me great hope that I might be hobbling around Kohl's next weekend with the help of their wheelchairs/scooters!
    I mentioned that I was supposed to walk around for a max of 10 mins today....I think I did about 20. Very bad, and I'm definitely feeling it now. Will rest for the night, then think about some of the NWB exercises that you all mentioned.
    I took a shower yesterday with the bath stool that I purchased ahead of time. I taped two plastic bags around my foot, then sat on the stool with my foot hanging outside the bath tub. Yes, this was all very sexy! It was definitely difficult, and I'd suggest you ask for help from a partner, trusted friend, etc. Nothing like being humiliated on top of being in pain!
    Badfeet -- I think I got the same sedation. The doc explained it all to me ahead of time, but I forgot. But the versed definitely sounds familiar. My last memory is of scooting onto the gurney in the OR, and then I woke up in the recovery room. I don't think I freaked out about the nerve block b/c my doc said ahead of time that they would put me under general anesthesia if I did, and they definitely did not do that. Be prepared to be VERY thirsty post-surgery, and don't be surprised if you can't quite speak at a normal level until you've had a few drinks.
    OK, Day 4 is drawing to a close! Can I get a round of applause for surviving all by my lonesome today? Tomorrow my boyfriend will be gone for a full 12 hours, so I will be on here ALL DAY trying to stay sane. Thanks for all your support!

     
    Old 03-11-2008, 08:10 PM   #12
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    Re: Survived the bunionectomy!

    Armykat:

    You deserve a round of applause ... or two! This is no small thing. Good luck tomorrow.... I'll look for you here.

    About the shower.... Get an "Aquashield" when/if you are able to stand on one leg while you shower. I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE my Aquashield. It's like a rubber type of boot....thick enough to be durable, yet thin enough not to tear. It goes over your knee and is tight enough above the knee that no water can get in. It saved my bathing sanity BIG TIME! If you have to stay on a shower seat, however, make sure you have a hand-held shower. Those are perfect for this situation.

    For carrying things, I used a bag too, but I preferred to carry things in nice big shirts. The shirts either had to have a tight band across the bottom or I tucked them into pants..... whatever worked so things wouldn't fall through. (Isn't this a pathetic thing to admit?) Shirts worked well for me when I could get away with it. I'd carry books and magazines, or anything I could fit in. What a sight! Talk about "sexy." Between that and my every-other-day hairdo and "sensible" sweat suits, I don't know HOW my husband could ever take his eyes off of me ... lol....

    Good luck tomorrow!

    Last edited by hey19; 03-12-2008 at 06:04 AM.

     
    Old 03-12-2008, 06:47 AM   #13
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    Re: Survived the bunionectomy!

    As we are remodeling our house, I only have a stand up shower right now. I bought a small plastic stool, a hand held shower head and have the Aqua Sheild. I can get myself in and out by myself by having the stool as close to the shower opening as possible and scooting from the commode to the stool. I reverse that to get out. My husband helped me the first couple of days after surgery and I hated that - I am too independent and it just made me feel like an invalid.
    I had the every other day hair do for the first couple of weeks since I worked from home and although the jogging suits I wore were really cute, I was really ready to go back to work so I could dress up and feel somewhat like my old self.
    It's easy to let your whole self go when you are trying to recover and I think that makes everything seem worse. A few days after this past surgery, I gave myself a pedicure on the good foot and just having painted toe nails on one foot made me feel so much better. Find little ways to pamper yourself.
    As for carrying a bag with crutches, I found that a small backpack is the easiest. If you carry a bag, you are putting more weight on one side of your body and you tend to get off balance. With a backpack, you have the weight evenly on your back.

     
    Old 03-12-2008, 07:17 PM   #14
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    Re: Survived the bunionectomy!

    I'm so impressed with those of you who went with the "every-other-day" hairdo....I'm barely keeping up the "every-third-day" do! But I'm grateful for the Aquashield recommendations. I may invest in it before the second surgery (whenever I can talk myself into that one!).
    So, I made it through day 5 and now I'm exhausted!!! I walked around a ton, even made it down the front steps as planned, and spent an hour in the sun. It was exactly what I needed! My legs are throbbing tonight, so I will be sleeping late tomorrow. There were times that I didn't use the crutches at all, just the WB boot. Does that seem normal to people who have been through the bunionectomy? Or do I seem to be doing too much? My foot itself doesn't hurt, it's more like my whole body is tired at the end of the day.

     
    Old 03-12-2008, 07:22 PM   #15
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    Re: Survived the bunionectomy!

    congratulations on staying alone today. I hope tomorrow will be just as successful as today. You are giving me great hope and expectations for my surgery recovery. What a good idea about using a backpak. I had not even thought about using a backpak. I have not bought a chair for the shower yet but I was wondering if you could just use one of those stacking plastic chairs you see at all the stores in the summer? Anyone know? Sounds like you are really doing well. Tomorrow might be a little long but use the boards and I don't know about you but here in NC we are having 70 degrees tomorrow. Maybe you could sit outside if you have a deck or patio/porch etc. with your foot up and enjoy the weather. I love to sit outside with a good book. I don't know what weather you are having though.

     
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