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.