It’s been one week today since I underwent surgery to remove a synovial cyst and a bone spur in my left foot. I haven’t been able to wear a shoe other than flip-flops since April, and I really needed to get this taken care of before the cold weather arrives. Visions of clumping around in flip-flops in two feet of snow with subzero temperatures left me cold. [groan]
The surgery, itself, was routine, about an hour as an outpatient procedure. I went into surgery a little after 7:30am and was home before 11am. Because I am unable to tolerate any kind of opiate pain relievers, the surgeon tried a relatively new drug called Exparel, which when injected directly into the surgical site, is supposed to provide up to 72 hours of pain relief.
What a drug is supposed to do and what it actually does are sometimes two completely different things, as was the case with Exparel. Less than half an hour after I returned home from surgery, my foot began to hurt as the nerve block wore off. Within an hour, the pain was had become severe. The 3-day wonder drug never took effect. I sat with my foot up, icepack on the bandaged area, hoping that it would be over soon. Somehow, I managed to work 37 hours between Tuesday morning and Thursday night on a freelance project that needed to go for proofing very early Friday morning. I uploaded the file to the printer’s ftp site around midnight and went to bed.
So, how is it possible to endure that level of pain for four days and still work more hours than most normal people do? I have no idea, really, but I can truthfully say that my work has always been a good anesthetic for me (and I’m not normal, according to some people I know). I get involved in a project and lose all concept of the passage of time, hunger, or the calls of nature.
Apparently, I have a high tolerance for pain. Post-surgical pain without drugs is unforgiving, as I discovered when I had my right hip joint replaced a couple of years ago. For 15 hours after surgery, I had no pain relief at all. I was up all night, needing the bedpan every 20 minutes due to the IV plugged into my arm. Each time I called for the nurse, I had to raise myself up on my left arm, in which they’d put the IV, and then raise up my right, operated hip. When you do this 10 times or more a night, you are completely exhausted in the morning. So, when the surgeon came in to see me after my horrid night, he told me how well I looked, considering I’d had major surgery and no sleep. Had I any strength at that moment, I’d have found something to throw at him. Instead, I agreed to try half the lowest dose of oxycodone, which helped to take the edge off the pain, but which caused a dangerous reaction about two weeks later, as my intolerance to it grew. That was the end of that.
By Friday afternoon, the huge honking bandage on my foot had worked itself completely off, leaving the two-inch incision and 10 stitches exposed. Actually, it didn’t look as bad as I’d thought it would, and seemed to be healing well. Following doctor’s orders, I bandaged it up again, this time with a much smaller bandage. I’ll probably hear about that when I visit her tomorrow, but it’s ever so much more comfortable in a streamlined state. Stitches should come out in another week, and then, I’ll be released from house arrest to come and go as I please.
Tonight, as I sit here in the dark listening to the rain, the cat curled up beside me in my comfy chair, my foot up and aching a bit, and listening to BB King, I am just happy that I’ll soon be able to wear a shoe again. I don’t know why I’m so tickled about that, as I generally regard shoes as little coffins for the feet.
Before I sign off, I want to thank my dear friend, Mary, who picked me up at 5:15am and stayed until I was ready to go home last Monday. My friends have taken good care of me in the interim. My other dad, Tony, brought me ice cream Monday afternoon, fruit and salad mix on Tuesday evening, and picked up my laptop for me from the Apple store at the mall on Friday; Jackie brought me cucumbers and cherry tomatoes on Wednesday; Sarah loaned me a bluetooth headset after mine died on Thursday; and my house guest has grocery shopped, cooked, washed dishes, done laundry and put together some new shelving for my studio so I can begin to clean up the mess in there, once I’m up and about without restriction. I have the most wonderful bunch of friends!