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Tuesday, 16 October 2012

OOPS! Doing a Balancing act with my Laptop

This blog is for all my friends, virtual and otherwise. You see lots of them have taken a real interest in my welfare over the last few days, and I’ve been overwhelmed with the loads of good wishes that have been coming my way. I feel blessed that so many people care. I’ve also had queries about the surgical procedure I’ve undergone and what it entails, so this is for you.

My new glamorous shoe

For those of you not in the know I’d like to explain. You see, on Friday this past week (luckily it was Friday 12th and not the 13th) I had a bunion operation. Glamorous it was not, but necessary it was, because it had got to the stage where it pained me to walk.

I took a while to make the decision to have this operation because I’d heard all the horror stories about it being a nasty, painful procedure. I did my research on the web about what it entailed, and read a few blogs, none of which reassured me in any way. However the decision was made and I asked my GP to set things in motion. That was in June and I expected an acknowledgement at least. However, everything went quiet and I was beginning to think the referral had got lost in the system, but then in September, there it was, an appointment letter for the orthopaedic clinic.

On the appointed day I attended the clinic, had my foot X-rayed, and saw the surgeon. He was a lovely, gentle man, and when I queried how painful the procedure would be, he reassured me that it was more like a ‘bit of discomfort’ rather than the painful procedure I’d been led to expect. I must admit that at that point I was tempted to say ‘Liar, liar, pants on fire’, but of course, being the polite person I am, I restrained myself.

Next thing was the pre-op assessment which was done at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, and I was left with the expectation that I would be admitted for the procedure in November or December, and I could have it done at Stracathro Hospital which is nearer home for me. However, the next day my admission letter plopped through my letterbox, and yes, you don’t have to guess because I’ve already told you, it was October 12th, barely 2 weeks away, and it wasn’t Stracathro Hospital, it was Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, further away therefore not so convenient.

The two weeks sped in and although I had a date I didn’t have a time. So I waited for the hospital to contact prior to admission, but that didn’t happen until the last minute on Thursday afternoon. Then, horror of horrors, I was told to check into the ward at 7am. That meant I would have to leave the house at 5.30am. My granddaughter, who was my designated driver on the day, thought I was joking when I told her.

Anyway, Friday morning we set off in the pouring rain. Tayside had an amber warning that day, but although the roads had a lot of really large puddles we got there all right. Although on the way home my granddaughter had to take detours because by this time the main road was closed due to flooding.

Okay, now for the nitty gritty. I was signed into the ward and put to bed. The surgeon came to see me about 8am. He explained what would happen and drew a lovely arrow on my leg pointing to my foot, plus a couple of daubs of black pen on my big toe nail and the one next to it. These were the toes which required to be straightened. Notice, this is important- 2 toes required to be straightened – no more, no less. I lay back in my bed and waited – and waited. Then at 9am a porter came and wheeled my bed to the theatre, so I got a lovely scenic tour of the hospital corridors. I met some more lovely people who came and talked to me, checking they didn’t have the wrong person. Oh, I forgot to say, I was asked over and over again for my date of birth, hospital staff are fixated on that. However, at my age I don’t really want to dwell on my age or date of birth, so if you find yourself in this position I would advise you to memorise this crucial piece of information.

Notice at this stage I am still wide awake and I can see into the theatre every time someone enters or leaves through the swing doors. I’m starting to get a wee bit worried here. I don’t really want to be awake when they do this, you know. But a nice man who had previously put a wee tube thing in the back of my hand, stuck a needle into it and I reckon it must have had an instantaneous result because I knew no more until I started to wake up in the recovery room and it was all over.

I don’t know how long the operation lasted, all I know was that I was taken to theatre at 9am and was back in the ward at 11am, and that included the time I spent both before and after the op. Oh, and one other thing, when the surgeon popped in to see me later on he told me he’d straightened all 5 toes, and there were pins in 3 of them, so I reckon I got a bargain, just no one told me there would be bargain offers. It was even better than BOGOFF (buy one get one free) in the supermarket.

What my foot looked like after the op complete with artwork

So, how did it affect me? Well, it wasn’t nearly as painful as I expected it to be. Uncomfortable yes, but the pain was bearable, not all that bad really. So now I believed the surgeon’s statement about it being a ‘bit of discomfort’. The anaesthetic didn’t hang around and I was now wide awake and ready for my lunch, and believe me, I cleared my plate – nothing left for the starving children in Africa my granny used to tell me about. However, I suppose I must have been hungry, after all I’d been fasting since the previous night.

Later in the afternoon I was issued with crutches and given a rudimentary lesson on how to use them. I was also told I could go home. The only problem was that the roads were still flooded. No problem, I was told, I could stay overnight and go home the next day when, hopefully, the weather would have cleared up.

I slept as well as anyone can sleep in a hospital ward, and there was no pain to get in the way of that, although sleeping with my leg propped higher than my body was a new experience for me. And before I leave the hospital I need to say the care was excellent and the hospital staff were all great and couldn’t do enough for me.

So now I am home you’ll want to know how things are. Well, I’m certainly not in lots of pain. Things are more awkward and uncomfortable rather than painful, and it’s a nuisance having to keep my leg elevated. However, I manage to hobble a bit on my crutches, there’s a knack to this heel walking which I haven’t fully mastered yet and my progress can be a bit hit and miss, as well as excruciatingly slow. Oh, and the laptop keeps sliding, because it’s balanced at an angle on the leg which isn’t pointing to the sky.

Oh, and one other thing – remember to stay downwind of me, because showering is something I haven’t yet mastered in my current situation.


Janice Horton said...

Oh wow Chris - I'm in awe of you and your bravery - but now, if I ever do have a bunion, I'll know all it entails (and your surgeon sounded lovely)!

That said, looking at your poor toes sticking out of your 'dressings' I do think you deserve a treat - and when you are all recovered - I recommend a pair of fabulous high heels!

Meanwhile, keep your foot up, your chin up, and yourself downwind!

Lots of love, Janice xx

Janet Beasley said...

Hi Chirs! So glad to read the pain was less than you'd expected, and that the annoyances are at least ways tolerable. Welcome home, and here's wishing you a very, very, speedy recovery! <3 (((hugs))) and chocolate ~Janet~

CallyPhillips said...

Ow! I've been hirpling around with bunions for a few years now - keeping telling myself the pain is never THAT bad as long as I only wear wellies and 'walking' often is done astride a quad bike. Even though you do downplay 'the horror' I think I'm going to try and avoid that (or any other) operation. In my case at least now it's both feet that are affected so they kind of match and the pain is consistent so I can tell myself it's just 'natural' One good thing for you though - you'll be able to read plenty if you can't move around! All the best for a speedy recovery though - and I look forward to reading a book with a character on crutches doing hideous deeds!

Suzy Turner said...

I'm so glad that you're not in too much pain, Chris. With a painful bunion myself, I'm fascinated by all of this and I do feel much better about going ahead with the procedure myself. However, I think I will wait until I've returned to live in England. Portuguese hospitals don't have the best name for themselves!!
You could do with one of those special trays (the ones with legs) to put your laptop on top of!
Hope you have a very speedy recovery... and good luck learning how to shower!!
Big hugs from Portugal

DragonLady said...

I'm happy to hear this procedure went well, Chris. Just think of it as 'temporary inconvenience, permanent improvement'. Blessings and get better soon.

Bill Kirton said...

Great blow by blow account, Chris. I hope you're soon back to your scampering self.

Linn B Halton said...

Thank goodness for the arrow! If it wasn't there you could have ended up with something else - higher eyebrows for instance! Ha! Ha! Hope it heals quicly Chris.

Mary Smith said...

Glad it all went well, Chris. You'll soon get used to using the crutches and be whizzing around. I'll share your account with my sister, though I suspect she won't do anything about it until she really has to. Did they tell you how long it will be before you can drive again? All best for a good recovery.

Gwen Kirkwood said...

Love the fashionable footwear Chris so long as I'm not expected to wear it! I'm glad the op is over and you have retained your usual humour and philosophical approach to things but I hope you make a swift and perfect recovery and reap the benefits of being brave enough to tackle the problem,

Jenny Harper said...

Oh Lordy, Chris, poor you. Was this brought about by a youth misspent in high heels, or did your bunion come naturally? I Hope you recover quickly and I salute your courage.

Cathy Helms said...

I am so glad that the procedure was less painful than you'd anticipated! I wish you a very speedy recovery!! I'd hate the crutches bit too. And trying to shower with a boot way. LOL

Take it easy and slow.

Chris Longmuir said...

Thanks for all your good wishes, and I suppose I did wear high heels in my youth, but nothing higher than 3 inches. My aunt had a bunion in the same place so I reckon it might be hereditary as well as a misspent youth. I'm still waving my foot in the air but I get my stitches out next Thursday so don't know what happens after that. Off now on my 5 mile hike from living room to kitchen to put the kettle on!

Joan Fleming said...

Chris - looks like you'll have to leave the heels in the cupboard for a while. I'm sure you kept the hospital staff amused and impressed by your good-humoured approach to your surgery. I hope your recovery is swift and continues to be relatively pain-free.

Chris Longmuir said...

Got my stitches out today, folks - OUCH! Plus I now have a different type of foot-wrapping. Original bandages gone and fresh ones on, not so bulky this time, and over that a soft plaster bootee of glorious purple, it'll probably match my bare toes once I venture outside! Oh and my new boot, which fits over the plaster bootee, is more like a flip flop with velcro over the top. Another 5 weeks to go - groan - before the plaster bootee comes off!