Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Fanklebaby

(This is my fourth post in My Fankle Journey.)

I pretty much laid in bed the entire first day of my Fankle surgery recovery. My foot—which I'll refer to as Fanklebaby for the next little while because of the immense amount of time and energy I've spent caring for it(!)—was tingly and numb from the nerve block I received just before surgery.

The nerve block seemed to wear off in stages/sections of my foot. The crazy/scary thing was that my foot was still partially numb at 10:00 that night! At that point, I was nervous and wondered if maybe my podiatrist had nicked a nerve in my foot?? Thankfully, the last part of Fanklebaby—my right pinky toe—regained feeling around 12:00 that night, er, morning. Even though I felt pain when the nerve block wore off, I was extremely relieved that my entire foot had full feeling again! I have no idea how people deal with permanent nerve damage on a daily basis!

So, the oxycodone-acetaminophen pills I was prescribed made me feel totally wacky! I felt as if everything around me was in slower motion, or maybe I was in slow-motion. Whatever it was, I felt sort of jiggly inside—like my mind and body weren't fully connected. I know that sounds weird and I can't accurately describe it, but I'm not a fan of that partial-narcotic! I ended up taking my OC-AC pills (Clever nickname, huh?!) for only two full days because I couldn't tolerate the side effects any longer! Plus, the scariest thing happened to me on day two:

I was very tired because of tossing and turning all night long—Fanklebaby did a great job of keeping me up! Grrr... So I napped for the majority of day two. I took my OC-AC right on schedule and it helped a little. Yet while I napped on and off, I distinctly remember feeling like I was forgetting to breathe. I remember having to remind myself, "Breathe, Adrie!" multiple times! Then I would take a really deep breath and keep breathing...until I forgot to breathe again! So yeah, after I took my afternoon dose, I decided I wouldn't take anymore of those scary pills that made me forget to breathe! Seriously, partial-narcotics are nuts! They are nothing to mess around with!

I shudder to think of those precious souls who accidentally overdose. After my experience with oxycodone-acetaminophen, I can see how easily a person could quit breathing if they took too many pills, and that would simply be the end of them. Again, please don't take any prescription painkillers unless you absolutely have to!

My family was blessed to have dinner provided by four wonderful women in our ward (church congregation) on the first and second days of my Fankle recovery. Our dinners were unbelievably yummy and we even had leftovers! Yay! I'm so grateful for their service and help, they made my life so much easier during those first two days!

Also, my darling little sister brought me the most beautiful flowers and a chocolate-peanut-butter milkshake! Her gifts were to-die-for and perfectly hit my soul's happy spot! But what I loved the most is that my sister took time out of her unbelievably busy full-time-employment and mama-of-two schedule to drive 30 minutes to my house, talk with me while eating her lunch, and drive 30 minutes back to work. Her sweet sacrifice was so appreciated and will never be forgotten!


Friday, day three of my recovery, was a rough pain day for me because I took only ibuprofen. Yet I knew that my pain level would also worsen because I'd decided not to take any kind of pain medication after Friday.

You see, I'd recently read that ibuprofen is somewhat controversial in terms of tendon healing. Based on all of the research studies I read, ibuprofen possibly interferes with the healing/rebuilding process; it possibly slows down a person's entire tendon recovery; and it possibly causes tendons to not be as strong when they're completely healed. Thus, instead of taking more pain medication, I managed my pain on my own through rest, elevation, ice therapy and sleep, i.e., multiple mini-naps each day!

As a side note, I've also read recently that after week four of tendon surgery, ibuprofen can possibly help prevent the formation of adhesions (internal scar tissue caused by surgery) while healing. Thus, I've taken one or two ibuprofen pills now and then when my Fankle is feeling achy/tender.

By Friday night, I finally ventured into our pink bathtub! Yes, our Disco Dandy 70s house still has its original pink tub! Oh man, was my bath time awkward and frustrating! I hung my calf/foot on the edge of the tub on a folded towel so my wrapped incision wouldn't get wet. I washed my hair using the tub faucet, but I felt more like a pretzel than a happy bath goer! Ha ha. I think my bath took an astonishing 40 minutes to complete, and I wasn't at all relaxed afterward! That said, I was unbelievably happy to be so squeaky clean!! Yes, that deserves two exclamation points!

Saturday, day four of my recovery, was probably my most frustrating day because I hadn't slept well since two nights before my surgery. #Fanklebaby! My problem with sleeping was three-fold: pain; awkward body positions; and an uncomfortable foot position inside my boot. I had to stuff my boot with a washcloth and a small kitchen hand towel in order to get the right support and angle for Fanklebaby. Yet even then, if I moved my boot the wrong way, it was unbelievably painful!

I remember feeling such annoyance and a slight depression with my situation that Saturday because I realized I wouldn't be off my crutches anytime soon. I thought back to my MRI-followup appointment when my podiatrist explained to me that I'd be back to driving a week after my surgery. In my hurting state, I thought, "What was he thinking?! There's NO way I can drive in four days! I can't even move my foot a smidgen without wanting to cry out in pain!" The thought of me driving my minivan at that point of my recovery was akin to summiting K2! Yeah, not gonna happen!

While I enjoyed laying in bed for a smidgen of my recovery—because it felt so nice to not have to do anything for once in my life(!)—after laying in bed for four whole days, I was completely over it. I wanted out of my situation! 

I wanted to be able to walk from my bed to the bathroom without using crutches or hopping on one foot! I wanted to be able to sleep without my foot in a huge, uncomfortable robotic boot! I wanted to sleep under the covers with my Gregor instead of using a mountain of pillows and a separate sheet to cover me! I wanted to shower normally and not worry about my incision! I wanted to move my foot normally without gasping in pain if my foot accidentally jerked the wrong way! I wanted to serve my family! I wanted to be able to drive! I wanted to be able to put my foot below my heart without desiring to cut it off (because of pain)! Ha ha.
I wanted,
I wanted,
I wanted...

By Sunday, day five of my recovery, I awoke feeling much better! :) I thoroughly enjoyed our special Sabbath by watching BYU Devotionals, reading my scriptures, napping, and watching the Olympics. I also finally felt true hope because I knew my post-op appointment was only one day away! Hip hop hooray! I couldn't wait for my podiatrist to give me some sort of good news!

Speaking of the Olympics, I will be forever grateful that I had my Fanklestein recovery during the 2016 Summer Games! The Olympics were so much fun to watch from my Fankle bed! They gave me something to enjoy with our world as it happened! I was truly happy to connect with our amazing athletes on Instagram, as well as watching them on NBC.

Michael Phelps was probably my favorite Olympic athlete. I loved cheering him on! I mean, how often do we get to witness history in the making?! Of course, the other athletes were sooo talented and fun to watch, and I truly enjoyed so many events, but I guess I latched on to Michael because of his story. He was an amazing athlete as a young man; then he struggled for many years; but then he made the biggest comeback ever! Not to mention, he has a beautiful family now! I truly appreciated his dedication, grit, determination, and follow through. He was an absolute inspiration!

Blessed Monday morning, day six of my recovery, finally arrived! I had taken a bath the night before and put my hair in French braids so I could easily get ready for my post-op appointment. The morning passed more slowly than I had hoped, but suddenly it was time to leave and I didn't want to be late! Ha ha. Isn't that always how it is?! As Greg drove us to my appointment, I relished how amazing it felt to finally get out of the house! Oh, I was such a sad little shut-in! Ha ha.

We checked in with the receptionist and barely waited two minutes when the nurse called me back to see the podiatrist. I was grateful she told me I could put my leg up on their stool because I couldn't fathom just letting my foot hang down with all the blood pooling in Fanklestein, causing me more pain!

Dr. _____ came in shortly and cut off my bandage—I was fascinated to see how much gauze was underneath! I was also extremely relieved to see him pull surgical tape off with the gauze as well. You see, whenever I moved a certain way, the tape pulled my skin and I envisioned the worst: that my sutures (stitches) were tearing, or something horrible like that! I was legitimately worried that I had undone something important that was created during my surgery, thus I didn't sleep very well—ever. After my tape revelation, I laughed at my very vivid imagination!

My sutures looked creepy (see my Fanklestein post for the photo), but I was so happy to actually see them instead of relying on my wild ideas of what might be lurking underneath my bandage! Ha ha. I was so relieved when Dr. _____ told me that my wound looked really good. Yay! He was so pleased with my progress! Double yay! His kind words meant so much because I had worked so hard at laying down, icing Fanklebaby and keeping it above my heart. And using crutches without falling down felt like a pretty awesome feat in itself! Ha ha.

I wanted to shout for joy when Dr. _____ told me I was cleared for taking a shower! He said to make sure I didn't soak my incision—that I could only let the shower water run over it, and wash it with soapy water. He also suggested that we purchase a shower chair for my comfort and safety. I was shocked I hadn't thought of that before! The Fankle dollar signs just kept adding up! Boo to the hoo. :(

Then my podiatrist told me the bad news: I needed to get my foot flat in my boot at a 90° angle no later than that upcoming Friday. He showed me—by pushing my forefoot up—just how much I would have to flex my foot to get it flat in my boot. I nearly screamed with pain at his actions and wanted to kick him in the head! Ha ha. Yet I know he only did that to show me it was safe to stretch Fanklebaby, despite my searing discomfort.

Dr. _____ then explained how my recovery would proceed. He said once I got my foot flatly into my boot, I could start putting minor pressure on it walking with two crutches. Once that felt okay, I could taper off to one crutch. He then took one of my crutches and demonstrated how to walk! I thought it was nice of him to show me so I wouldn't accidentally put too much pressure on Fanklebaby. Lastly, he instructed me to schedule my next appointment—suture removal(!)—for just over two weeks away.

As I think back on my first five days after posterior tibial tendon surgery (six if you include my surgery day), I'm reminded of how much service my husband provided for me. Greg continually checked on me and asked what he could do for me. He did everything possible to help me in any way I needed. I literally could not have had my ankle surgery without him! I have no idea how people handle surgery when they don't have family members to help them! My children helped me in many ways, as well. I consider myself mighty blessed!

Here is just one example of many sweet things my husband did for me while I spent all of my energy caring for Fanklebaby: After Greg brought me my blue ice pack (that's covering my foot, pictured below), he surprised me with this delicious treat plate! I nearly cried because not only did the fruit taste so delicious with all that whipped cream, but I loved seeing how much my wonderful husband continuously loves and cares for me!


That's it for now, but get ready for more Fankle because I'm not finished yet! :)

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