Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Not Feeling Thankful (Surgery Update)

 Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and, I won't lie, I'm struggling a little bit this year to feel thankful. 2021 has been a hard year, I've had a hard few months, and it might just be that my mental health (despite the anti-depressants) has taken a hit. Even so, knowing why I feel low doesn't really seem to be helping me feel better. Add to all the chaos that I seem to have lost interest in most of my hobbies of late and I'm a bit of a thankless mess.

My surgery recovery is still slow and when I talked to my doc last Friday (11/19) he said that it can take up to 3-4 months before most people feel even 80% better, and up to a whole year before most people are completely back to normal. While I kind of knew that because all I have to do lately is research every little tiny thing on the internet until I fall into a never-ending internet rabbit hole, to hear it come out of his mouth was tough. 

They did take out the staples, so that's positive, but that process is painful. The nurse who took the staples out said some people pass out, others ask to go to the OR and be put under for the staple removal (which they do not do), while others still cry. I sat and took it like a champ, or at least she says so, though maybe they say that to everyone so they feel better about the situation. She did happen to mention to me, when she had just two of the 31 staples out, that the lower extremities (legs & feet) are the most painful for staple removal, so that's fun. Here she is passing along that info when they still had 29 staples to go. At least they're all super nice and knowledgeable in that office, which always manages to make me feel better.

I got a removable splint, which it turns out is just the same thing as all the other splints, just without the annoying cotton padding. It's still like a million layers of stuff... okay, like five, but it feels like more than that when we're taking it off so I can shower. And, hubs is having to remove the steri-strips from the wound, which is super ouch, and replace them with new ones every time I shower. That hurts as much, if not more, than having the staples pulled. It is gruesome. 

And, just for shits and giggles, my foot is literally flaking away. The top layer of skin has been white and dry and cracking since just after the surgery, but now it's even worse. I put lotion on it and my foot just laughed... like mustachio villain laughter, and proceeded to try to shed the whole top layer of skin. It looks, and feels, pretty disgusting. So yeah, fun times.

Overall, I think my recovery is actually coming along pretty nicely. Most of the pain is just about gone, except the aching in my right side when I move my leg certain ways, but that's where the plate and screws are, so I'm guessing that's normal. I go back on December 10th for the 6 weeks post op appointment where they'll take 3 more x-rays and see how it's healing. If it's healing nicely, they'll put me in the walking boot and I'll transition to partial weight bearing. And... I. Am. Terrified. 

When the splint was off so I could bathe, my foot felt so wobbly and unstable. I've also read online that a lot of people who have this procedure have pain when walking after prolonged non-weight bearing. By that point, I will have not put much/any weight it for almost 8 weeks, 6 weeks of which were total non-weight bearing after my surgery. So yeah, I'm looking forward to being able to put both feet on the ground again, but I'm scared to actually put my surgically repaired foot on the ground again.

Add the whole broken leg, surgical repair healing, to the fact that the year started off with having to put my dog to sleep, then in the summer I spent almost two months with a severe upper respiratory infection, then we planned a trip to AZ which we ended up having to cancel, and this year has been something of a dud. So this Thanksgiving, I am struggling hard to feel anything but depressed. Especially when you consider that being a little bit helpless for the last almost two months has got me feeling some kinda way about life. I can't put up my Christmas tree, I can't stand up in our tiny kitchen long enough to cook a Thanksgiving meal... or almost any meal, really. It's got me down.

All I can think to be thankful for is my amazing husband who has been so loving and supportive, taking care of me through this broken leg ordeal. He really is my hero. And, of course, for my friends and for having an online, part-time teaching job that I really enjoy and that allows me to continue working through this time of healing. Finally, I'm thankful that this year is almost over. Hopefully next year will be better. Fingers crossed. For now, I leave you with another gruesome picture of my healing foot.

4 weeks post opp, after the staples came out