So, I’ve been pretty bad about keeping up with the blog lately. Trying to catch up, I promise.
In an attempt to get back to blogging, here’s some updates on the last month or so. An appropriate description for January and early February of 2012 is The Month of Life on Crutches.
Back in January, I had foot surgery to correct a bunion on my left foot. My foot has been “off” for a long time, but the last few years it really started to hurt when out walking and hiking.
My foot before the surgery
The surgery was somewhat involved. They adjusted the tendons in my toe to train it back to a more straight position. That part isn’t a big deal. The big deal was cutting the bone, realigning it, and fixing it in place with some sort of plate and screws (called an osteotomy). In a way it is sort of like volunteering to have a broken foot for a while. And now I have metal hardware embedded in my foot, which will make future airplane travel interesting I’m sure.
I was somewhat amused the morning of the surgery by the fact that at least three or four different people (nurses, the surgeon, etc.) all asked me to verbally confirm which foot they were going to operate on. I guess they want to be sure that everyone is on the same page.
Things went pretty well that day; we got there around 6:30 AM and were home I think around 11 AM or noon or so. The only weird things was that, shortly after the put in the IV, I passed out, which sort of freaked everyone out a bit.
I don’t even remember them wheeling me to the operating room; they gave me something to “relax” and the next thing I knew I was waking up all groggy with a big black boot on my foot.
I was very happy that the nurses referred to Renee as my family. Shortly after waking up, they said “you’re family wants to see you.” A moment later she got to come in and sit with me till it was time to go home.
Cricket and Darwin keeping me company
The rest of the day was pretty low-key. I stayed in bed with my foot up and periodically iced it. Everything was still numb from the ankle block.
Icing my foot on the first day
Excitement on Day Two
The next day had a bit of excitement in it. I got up and attempted to use the “knee walker” we rented so that I could make coffee. I started feeling a little big dizzy. Next thing I knew, I was on the kitchen floor and Renee was hovering over me and telling me that I passed out.
She started helping me to get back up, but then I apparently passed out again on the way to the sofa. Fortunately Renee has combat training and was able to do the “dead man drag” to get me to the sofa. After I came to, we called the doctor and they advised going to the ER.
So, Renee called in some friends to help (Carolyn and Ally) just in case I passed out again in the yard. Fortunately that didn’t happen and we made it to the hospital without incident.
I was there all morning and the general consensus was that I passed out because of dehydration. Luckily it has not happened since.
Out and About on Crutches
Since those first couple days, my recovery has mostly been uneventful but fairly boring. I’ve been back to the doctor twice so that they could change the bandages and take out the stitches.
Stitches one week after surgery
New bandage one week after surgery
The incision two weeks later, right before they removed the stitches
It was a bit of adventure getting to the doctor on those two days; the first appointment was the first day of a huge snowstorm, so I had to get through the snow on crutches. The second appointment was on a day when we had freezing rain.
Snowstorm! Renee had to shovel a lot of snow by herself
I’m glad I work from home during all this so I don’t have to commute through the snow on crutches. I’ve set up shop in the living room so that I can keep my foot elevated.
Working from the living room couch
We’ve come up with some short outings so that I’m not cooped up in the house too much during this recovery.
Lolo Pass Drive
The weekend after the surgery, we took a little drive up to Lolo Pass just to get me out of the house for a bit. By the end of the drive my foot was a little bit sore since it was a little hard to keep it elevated comfortably. But it was nice to get out and see some scenery. Also, at this point we had no snow here in Missoula, so it was nice to see all the snow up in the mountains.
The dogs all got to come along. I think they were disappointed that we weren’t taking them on a hike, but they still enjoyed the ride.
Coming home from Lolo Pass
Dogs in the back seat enjoying the drive
On a couple different nice days, Renee drove me down to McCormick Park so that I could get some fresh air. She played fetch with Darwin and let Cricket run around a bit. I used the knee walker to “stroll” around and get some exercise and fresh air. I miss being able to go on normal walks!
At McCormick Park
Here’s a video I made from the first outing:
Click here if the embedded video doesn’t work.
Renee and Darwin
Here’s a GPS map of my knee walker strolling from the most recent outing. I went up and down a nice section of path that didn’t have any snow or ice on it while Darwin and Cricket got to run around. I went a total of about .4 miles and averaged 2.3 mph.
We’ve also had to do some shopping in the last few weeks. I’ve now been to Walmart multiple times and used the electric carts to buzz around the store. Those carts actually work surprisingly well, although today I was a little afraid the rechargeable battery would die. The battery indicator started blinking and it felt like the cart got slower and slower. Fortunately I made it back to the front of the store in time.
This past week we made a couple visits to Home Depot and Lowes. I used the knee walker again, which worked really well on the nice smooth floors in the stores. Managed to zip all over with no issues at all. It actually reminded me of Interface Software a very long time ago, when we had those Razor kick-scooters in the office and employees could scoot from one end of the building to the other.
Finally, we recently had some work done in the basement. First the furnace died and had to be replaced; then we had a sewer line problem. They had to snake out the line to clear it of tree roots and get things flowing again. Renee had to coordinate all of this since I couldn’t go down there on crutches.
But I did want to see the results of all this work, so I managed to go down the steep stairs on crutches. When it was time to go back up, I decided to do it the safe way. I sat down on the steps and used my arms and one good leg to work my way back up the stairs.
This week, I go back to the doctor again for another x-ray. The doctor will evaluate my healing and let me know if I can start putting weight on the foot again. I assume I’ll still be wearing the big black boot and using crutches to avoid putting on too much weight in the beginning.
I am really looking forward to having use of both feet again! I’ve gotten used to the crutches and the knee walker, and Renee has been wonderful about helping me with all the things I can’t do easily. But I really miss being able to walk around normally!