Monday, January 16, 2012

Nurse Bo

About a week and a half ago I had surgery on my right foot. Last summer it started to really hurt for a few months, but I had convinced myself it was nothing and I was just being a wuss as usual. Of course, it continued to worsen, to the point where it was extremely painful to run, high heels were no longer practical, and even going for a walk with Molly started to hurt. That was the point where I decided it was time to self-diagnose myself on Google/WebMD, and determined that I had bunions, which my doctor confirmed a week later.

Contrary to popular belief (as in, the beliefs of Bo and several of my friends), bunions have nothing to do with old people. So, to set the record straight - in layman's terms, a bunion is when your big toe bone sticks out to the side of your foot instead of being straight, and all the bones are no longer aligned with the rest of your foot as they should be. Bunions are typically genetic (Mom/Dad - which of you do I have to thank for this??) and are worsened by certain conditions:

1. Flat feet (which I have)
2. Frequent and/or strenuous exercise (which I do most days)
3. Wearing uncomfortable shoes for the sake of fashion (which I have done 5 days a week for 4 years now)

No joke, the x-ray of my foot looked a pointy-toe high-heel shoe. So my doctor suggested that I get rid of all my pointy-toed shoes (tear), and start wearing flats and round-toed shoes. (This has resulted in a major overhaul of my shoe wardrobe.) He then ordered me some really sweet shoe inserts that could help with the pain, which did make me feel like an old lady.

I tried them out for a little while, but they were annoying, they didn't fit right in all of my shoes, and they also didn't reduce my foot pain as much as I had hoped for. Surgery is the only permanent fix, and because Bo's insurance plan is amazing and covered it 100%, I went ahead and scheduled surgery for my right foot. My left foot looked exactly the same as my right foot, however it was not in any pain, so I decided to see how this one goes and wait before doing surgery for the left foot. Some people do both at the same time, but I didn't need to and I'm really glad I only did one.

Leading up to my surgery date, everyone kept asking me if I was nervous. I wasn't, which meant that I started to get nervous about the fact that I wasn't nervous about surgery. Should I be?! It was just my foot. No big deal. And in hindsight, it really wasn't (whew).

This was my first surgery other than having my wisdom teeth taken out. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I just hoped that they would knock me out for enough of it that I didn't have any memory - I do not do well with medical things. One thing I was really glad about was that at my pre-op appointment, they gave me all my prescriptions in advance, so I had pills ready and waiting for me when I got home from surgery. They also gave me the boot that I would be wearing so I could make sure I knew how to put it on, take it off, get my pants over it, etc.

My surgery was scheduled for 8am, and I had to be there an hour early. The surgery center was about 30 minutes away, so it was an early day. Normally I am not a morning person, but I picked a morning appointment on purpose for a few reasons. First of all, I couldn't eat or drink ANY thing at all after midnight until I had the surgery. So, the earlier the better. Second, I figured if I was super tired anyway, that I would have no problem passing out during surgery. I have an abnormal fear of waking up during surgery, so this made me feel confident that would not be an issue. Finally, since I was the first patient of the day, I didn't really have to see any other patients before my surgery. I'm pretty sure it would freak me out to see other people passed out or in pain, or god forbid something went wrong, right before I went in. As far as scheduling goes, I would definitely do a morning appointment again.

One of the few things I do remember before they knocked me out, was when the nurse took out a permanent marker. She wrote a big "YES" on my right foot, and a big "NO" on my left foot, and then had me initial next to each. I thought it was kinda funny, but I was also relieved that they weren't taking any chances about operating on the wrong foot.

Left foot - "NO"

The worst part of the surgery for me was actually when they gave me the IV. I hate needles. Every time I give blood or even have my finger pricked, the nurse gets concerned because my face goes white. I can't help it. I'm pretty sure I passed out before the anesthesia even kicked in.

When I woke up everything was over, which was awesome (and much to my relief). It took about 30-45 minutes total, from the point where they knocked me out until I came to. My foot was all bandaged up, so I couldn't even see what they had done except for in the x-rays. Which, as it turns out, I now have three titanium screws in my foot to hold the bones in place. I was told it wouldn't set off airport security alarms or anything like that, so it's fine by me.

Right foot - "YES" (covered up and bandaged...)

I've been taking painkillers and some heavy duty ibuprofen, which keep me pretty drowsy all the time. One thing I completely underestimated is just how tired I would be. In the middle of the day I had a hard time just keeping my eyes open. Yes, the meds all warned me of "drowsiness" but I did not anticipate that would mean sleeping a full 12 hours at night, and needing at least two solid naps during the day. Don't get me wrong, I love to sleep and I like being lazy sometimes, but only when I want to, not when I am forced to.

I've been confined to the couch, the bathroom, and the bed. When I do walk around, I'm in a walking boot, which is significantly better than a hard cast. One of my co-workers let me borrow his crutches, which was nice so that I could completely avoid using my foot at all for the first few days. By day 4 I was comfortable enough walking without the crutches, and as long as I'm taking my pills I can't feel anything in my foot anyway.

I went in for my post-op appointment this past Friday. I'll be in the walking boot until this coming Friday, when I go back to the doctor to have the stitches taken out. After that I can drive and wear sneakers. I'll slowly transition into my regular (non-high heel) shoes again soon after that, and once I'm comfortable enough I will be able to go on walks. It'll be at least another month before I can run. One thing I wish I would have done differently: waxed my legs before the surgery - yikes!

I've got a nice little station setup on the couch - most everything is within arm's reach, but just far enough so that I have to do crunches to get them. Crunches and leg lifts are about the extent of my exercise lately, and I'm afraid to step on the scale once I get back to exercising. On a positive note, I've made a serious dent in my stack of books to read, I'm all caught up on magazines, and I've even read my new camera manual cover to cover.

Lucky for me, Bo was able to stay in town this week and work from home most days to take care of me and Molly. She's been a terrific snuggler and does her best to make sure I'm okay all the time. :)

Bo has been an excellent nurse to me and has taken over my usual puppy responsibilities. I am typically extremely independent and do not like asking others for help, so it's been quite annoying having to ask him for every little thing I want/need. We held up well for about five days until I became very irritable and was actually glad when Bo went back to work for a day. We just have very different styles of working from home - as in, I prefer the house to be nice and quiet, while he prefers to have ESPN on all day long. We also have different views on domestic matters - as in, his are almost non-existent, and mine are rather OCD. Which is usually fine when I am fully functional and able to do all the things by myself that I want to get done (ya know, my way). I even had this nice long list of things I wanted to accomplish during my "recovery week" - which was completely shot to hell after just one day. Those things will just have to sit around and wait a while longer. So in that sense it's been a rough week for me.

Despite my irritability, Bo has been a really good sport about waiting on me hand and foot. And often referring to me as "princess" :) ...even if he is being sarcastic. He's also been an excellent cook. I am very lucky to have a husband who enjoys cooking and who is very good at it - be jealous, ladies! But don't be jealous of the disaster he leaves behind in the kitchen. Anyway, here are the highlights from Nurse Bo's menu this week (and some practice shots with my DSLR!)...

Chicken stir fry - I could probably eat some variation of this every day, and it's one of our staples for a quick and healthy meal.

Light baked spaghetti - this was a new recipe we wanted to try from our latest edition of the Food Network Magazine, by Bobby Deen - a healthier take on his mom's recipe. We substituted turkey sausage for the chicken sausage, and it was awesome. Bo made a half-batch which lasted us for a few meals, and the leftovers were just as good. This is definitely going into our regular dinner rotation.

Master sauce beef, with vegetables. Yum! Bo loves all foods Asian, and found a recipe for the "master sauce" a few years ago in his Asian cookbook. You can basically use the master sauce as a marinade or sauce for just about anything. We freeze it, and reuse it for all kinds of things.

Turkey spaghetti - he used all the leftover ingredients from the baked spaghetti to make regular spaghetti sauce with turkey meat.

Take out from Harry & Sons - our favorite restaurant. I have my regular order of sushi that I usually get, but since we had already been there twice the week before, I ventured out and tried something new. I got the Veggie Stir Fry with Chicken, which was really good. I love that place.

Paprika chicken, broccoli, and mac & cheese - one of our typical dinners that we probably eat too often. But it's so easy and soo good!

Beef bourguignonne - this was a new recipe we tried from the recipe book that came with our slow cooker. It was pretty good. I'm not sure how often we'll actually make it, but the recipe is a keeper.


Baked lemon pepper chicken, green beans, and baked

All things considered, it was a pretty easy surgery and recovery is not bad so far. Today was my first day back in the office, and I was actually really looking forward to it. I was getting a little stir crazy at home. One of our good friends lives a few blocks away from us and he works pretty close to my office, so he is chauffeuring me all week until I can drive again. Though I did miss my little work buddy - Molly likes to help us when we work from home.

how am I supposed to get anything done with that sweet face staring at me?

whatcha workin on?

It's been great to have all this help from Bo and my friends, and I loved spending longs days at home with Bo and Molly.... but I'm not gonna lie - I am looking forward to getting out and about, and doing things on my own again :)


  1. Oh goodness!!! I hope you are feeling better :)

  2. Hey there! I've been following your website for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Houston Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the fantastic job!
    Have a look at my web site :: bunions


I love hearing from you! Thanks for commenting :)