Thursday, December 21, 2017

Diary of A Foot Reconstruction.........6 months later.

"Stop feeling sorry for your self think of the BFF you have not everyone is that lucky"

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ReplyJuly 19 at 4:46pm

I remember reading this on my Facebook page back in July after posting a video of 
My dear friend "Necie" vacuuming my family room carpet....
Greatly appreciating what she was doing for me.... because by July... after 2 surgeries... I was starting to
get very stressed by it all....that was it...a simple video...of a wonderful friend...
This comment was left by a guy I went to high school with....
Did it upset me....You bet....was it a "man thing" You bet...

This is more of a short story instead of a post with a little bit of advise thrown in... but I find myself writing this over 6 months from when I had my first surgery....You might find it a bit long...lot's of pictures...
But if one person finds this on Google and it helps them to cope with this type of surgery
Then to me it's worth it....Feeling sorry for myself or not....

I have broken it down in to a few different subjects....

First explaining how I got where I am today....
Then the actual surgery that was done...some pretty grossed out pictures but for the "comment guy"
and any other person who feels this is a pity party I thought they were necessary....
Then there will be some helpful hints on how to prepare your self for what my family doctor called
"The worst surgery you could possibly ever have"
and finally where I stand...And I am standing and walking.......more then 6 months later....
Not terribly well but I'm getting around...

I was born with bi-lateral club feet back in 1950 when.... according to the foot surgeon... back then they almost overcompensated for fixing the issue. From birth until the age of three I wore legs casts with that steel bar between them. At the age of around 10 they surgically fixed my Achilles tendon on my left foot....corrective shoes for 18 years (sneaking in ballet slippers in my locker at school to wear when not at home) by the time I was 20 my feet were fine....

Fast forward to age 60.....Just moved in to my "dream house" and after some other injury health issues out of the way I was.... for once in my life... in great shape....Ready to take on the new house...
The new life....
When slowly I noticed my foot starting to move.....then small bones started breaking....this went on for the next 6 years....about every six months or so for 3 or 4 days the pain would be so bad I couldn't walk on my right foot.....and then it would just go away...
I always knew when it was in motion..It felt broken......My Big Toe at some point became dislocated and the curvature began....
I starting seeing foot doctors....Five in all from Atlanta all the way to Cornell Medical Center in NYC.
No one knew why it was doing what it was doing but they all had a solution to fix it....
Treating it like "bunion" surgery.....This was far from a bad bunion....
I was finally recommended to an Orthopedic foot surgeon who used to work at Shriners Children's Hospital... being a foot surgeon... I assumed he would be perfect because he had to... in his 30 year career... worked on kids with club feet...
You see I felt this was some re-occurance of that childhood defect....

On my first visit I addressed this with him to which he said...
"I know how to fix it...I am not a detective"....
Okay....must be related to the HS Comment Guy.....
Not overly impressed with his bedside manner I made the decision to finally have it corrected the day I was in a dressing room at the mall in front of the mirror....I looked down to see a horribly
deformed foot....I was at the point where the only shoes I could wear were Converse Sneakers.
Plus this doctor did not believe in "toe fusions" where they put a titanium rod in your toe never to be able to bend it again....That sort of sold me on him....After all...I needed a surgeon...
Not a detective....
With surgery scheduled I had to accompany the Granddaughter back to NYC after she visited us for 
Spring Break....right before leaving....and actually while I was sleeping...a sharp pain woke me...
The ligament in my arch had ruptured....


Asking the husband to take a look to see what he thought had happened.....he reverted back to
"comment guy" and said "Don't make a federal case about everything...."
So off I went to NYC....
On the flight...I suppose the pressure on the plane was too intense for this foot....I flew from Atlanta to La Guardia for most of the flight with a bag of ice on that bulge you see...
When I got to NY and saw the daughter she said it looked just like the ruptured bicep I had happen a few years earlier.....We quickly e-mailed the picture to the surgeons office and had it confirmed that...yes...my arch ligament had ruptured....
Not to be stopped by a little something like that.....Me and Miss B took to the city one day
for a Grandmother and Granddaughter day on the town...A stop for lunch at Alice's Tea Cup...
I walked from 60 something and 2nd Ave....all the way down to 50th Street and back up to 56th and 1st....with a ruptured arch....
Don't tell this person I have a low tolerance for pain.....and I did it with a smile....
Back in Atlanta I prepared for the surgery by going to Bliss Spa for 1/2 of a Pedicure.....
I wanted at least one foot to look good for the months I would be in recovery...
No..they didn't give me a one foot discount :)
The first surgery day came and it was a three parter...
I would have my heel and ankle stabilized....
They would "harvest" a ligament from my calf
(Who knew we have extra spare body parts)
and put it into my arch...
I didn't want a nerve block for the after surgery pain but they insisted.....
I hate nerve blocks....let me repeat that....I hate nerve blocks...
So with a fiberglass cast up to my knee and about an hour after surgery
They sent me packing....
With a prescription for pain meds and a hardy handshake..... this doctor works out of his own surgery center..... so your in and out like you just had your teeth cleaned....
I made it home fine and settled in to the downstairs guest room...
I recommend if your having any kind of weird surgery that your going to be off your feet for
months never to leave your house....Get yourself a Dog...
Monty the "Great Pyrenees" was extremely attentive and never left my side....
This is a trait of this particular breed....they are "Guardian" dogs...
And he took his job very seriously...
Even slept on my leg all night....
One wonderful feature were terrific friends sending wonderful
Gifts....This was such a surprise from an old High School friend who was watching my progress on
Facebook...Thank You Marie Curto for the beautiful flowers...
I moved to the couch during the daytime....
Monty moved right along with me....
I thought I was doing terrific....Here I am one week after surgery #1.....makeup on and all....
Little did I know it would be all downhill from here...
But the wonderful Peeps....like Sandy....kept up my spirits....
Another friend Judy even came over and dyed my hair before surgery #2....
Now that's a friend....
Best Bud up in Jersey....sent me I Love Lucy P.J.'s......
 the day she called me to see how I was doing.....this was a bit over a week after surgery #1
This is what she got on the other end of the phone....
I had to restrain from showing you the picture of my bruised hip but I did a number on my face when I was trying to get to the bathroom.... when moving from wheelchair to walker.....
We still hadn't figured out yet that the bathroom door needed to be removed for me to get the wheelchair in....I either lost my balance (a big issue with foot surgery)....or I tripped on the walker or on the wheelchair....but I went flying face first in to the bedroom door knob...
Knocking myself on to the floor.....I was home alone and petrified of what just happened to my face....
When Nunze (Cheryl) called I couldn't even recognize her voice...I just kept saying...
"what did I do to my face"
I recovered....no teeth knocked out but a big ass hip bruise...and some smaller facial bruises...
Husband finally arrive home about fifteen minuted later and asked why I was lying on the floor...
So the days went on and they just kept telling me to keep ice behind my knee and keep my leg above my Heart....done and done...
Always the exaggerator...this was done strictly for theatrics...
 I slept for four long months with my leg this way...
Awful because I am strictly a side sleeper...
And thanks to Sue Combs in Ohio I feasted on chocolate covered strawberries....
Back out to the couch I sat all day with ice and my leg propped up on this great foam invention...
Found on Amazon...it was a slanted wedge with an indentation for my leg to rest...
Worked like a charm. My leg was positioned in this as I slept all night....Way better then trying to keep pillows propped up....If you need to keep your leg up after any surgery this is the thing you
can't live without....
As you can see now I have the dog and his assistant "Mr./Miss Kitty on duty...
Weeks went by and it was finally time for cast to come off (it was changed every week for 6 weeks)
It was time to finally see what was done during phase one...
This is not pretty folks...

Ligament harvested from leg to arch..... 
That little bony thing on the side of your foot removed.....I believe the bone was dying...
That is right back where my foot and ankle meet...
But...back into a cast another week while waiting for surgery stage two to begin.....
Only one small problem.....
Having a "trainee" put on the new cast he got a bit over zealous and made it a wee bit too tight...
Your foot swells pretty badly from the surgery and he did not take that in to account...
My toes started turning colors....
In order for the husband to take me seriously....I took this picture and e-mailed it to him....

Yes I e-mailed him the picture as he sat next to me on the couch...
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words...
It worked....
He had me immediately call the doctors office...only it was a Saturday...
The Physicians Assistant called us back and instead of instructing me to get to an emergency room somewhere and have it removed....remember this was done in the doctors own surgery center...
No....he instructs the husband how to loosen it using a Dremel Tool and a Swiss Arm Knife...
Talk about trusting your spouse....
He managed to release some of the pressure and first thing Monday morning I was at the doctors door....
Surgery Part Two.....fixing those pesky toes that you saw in the first x-ray.....
Lot's of pins and two screws......
You have to admit...this looks like some sort of miracle.....
I have a straight foot!
This time I declined the nerve block to which they were appalled telling me I was the first person
EVER
to refuse one....Hey....that's me...I always have to be different...or a pain in the ass....one of the two..


The husband said I cried all the way home from the severe pain.....
Hence this is why you should ALWAYS have major surgery in a real hospital where they can
pump drugs into an I.V. for the first couple of days...
I have no recollection of the ride home and the day after so to me what difference does it make...
To me that car ride never happened....
And this is why I suppose I did feel just a tad bit sorry for myself.....
I give you the "Frankenstein Foot"........

One nasty looking foot....But it's straight!
bottom view....just dry skin....I went home and soaked it in the salt water pool...
That fixed it right up....sort of....

Unfortunately my foot still feels like that dry skin is still on my foot and toes.
Preventing it from being able to bend....
You can see the difference in my leg size after the cast came off...
Now if they can only figure a way to do that around your stomach women would be thrilled...

Third and Final time going under anesthesia to have some of the pins removed....
I started writing this Blog in the car service taking me back to the office...
I had to be there really early and believe me Atlanta traffic at that time of day
My stress level with the Boss behind the wheel in traffic is not a good thing...
Having George the driver take me....much better....
The husband was there promptly when I came to and I was once again quickly
removed from the premises...
No pain this time...so a nice ride home...
The only one that benefited by this surgery was the
Valet Parking Guy out in front of the building...
We tipped him well to take good care of the car...
But I was not up to finishing it after I got home...
It took me this long to go back to writing about this...
Trying to remain positive....I always recommend to anyone having anesthesia to use the
Scopolamine Patch behind their ear for the sickness the medicine can cause...
It works like a charm...It's a motion sickness patch... 

And here it is....The Foot...the toes till look a bit Wonky but all in all it is straight... 
I choose to use a wheelchair since I was wobbly and  one fall was enough....
we have hardwoods so it was very easy to get around from room to room...
We bought one of these things ahead of time and I never used it....
You all know me...an accident waiting to happen...
I felt more secure in the wheelchair...
Plus I am left handed and this had a right handed brake...
Not good....
Don't laugh...it's a toilet extender....
believe me best invention ever...
Using your own toilet seat... it fits between and was a real
Godsend...
Amazon sells these but make sure you get the right size as there are different ones
to choose from..
This was great also....
I sat with my back to the shower....
But I was unable to use it for the first four weeks...
I was just not steady enough to move that much...
Sponge baths got me by....
This thing is fabulous.....
Nobody tells you about these things....
As in the "medical professionals" that should provide you with all the worrisome
things you need to know about....
It cost $10 again on Amazon....don't believe the few bad reviews...
This thing held up for months...and is still good.
It slips up over your cast with a nice tight seal...
waterproof every time...
I would roll the wheelchair up to the tub then slip on the cover...
I would then move from wheelchair onto tub edge and using the arms of the chair
Move big body into chair...
Elasto -Gel cold packs are the best....
they are soft even when frozen....
I needed to keep one on my knee most of the time to keep the
swelling down...
I have four so one was always ready to be used...
Amazon has a great selection of all sizes...
about $30.00
I used a towel on the edge of the tub for non slipping reasons...
Again....I am an accident waiting to happen...
Huge suggestion....
Always have a few bars of soap within reach....
It never failed that I would drop the soap 2 seconds in to showering....
I don't like using body wash but that would probably have been a better option
I did find pump shampoo to be the best...
You don't need to pick anything up....


So what's the update after 6 months.....

I managed to hobble to NYC for the birth of my second Grandchild in
September....I used everything possible offered to me at the airport to make the
Trip manageable...
I stayed off my feet for the two weeks we were there and was able to squash my foot into a pair of
shoes to wear for Jack's Bris....
I did get a bit woozy after about an hour and had to sit down....but it could have been the excitement....
When I got back to the apartment this is what the foot looked like...
It swelled up to beat the band...
I also had uncontrollable chills...
My wonderful son in law went out and got me an electric blanket which I used
the whole time I was there...
The doctors P.A. said it was coming from the pain meds....
This was the foot after standing that hour at the Bris.....

I went in to the doctor when I got back home and they gave me a
Cortisone shot in my ankle which hurt like hell but took the
swelling away within a day...
Thank Goodness because that was one shot I would not want to repeat...
They did not give me one of those numbing shots first....
it was a real Ouch!!!! Moment...and I was there alone...
No ones hand to squeeze....

so to review......
This happened for who knows what reason....over the course of 6 years...
I was prepared to wear Converse Sneakers for the rest of my life...
The family thought I was too young.... at some point.... unknown to us....
Not to be able to ever walk again......

It was closely monitored over the years so we knew it was slowly moving...
There was not one doctor...and there were many....That didn't have a clue what was
wrong with it.... none of them had an interest.....in the occupation of being
an orthopedic foot surgeon you would think they would want to do a little research
to figure out what was happening...
If I was a doctor I sure would have wanted to know what was going on...
Knowing how to fix something is one thing....
I applaud the surgeon who was able to go from this
To This...
But I would have also liked for someone to take an interest and at least make an effort to
let me know why it happened....how do you know if it will happen again...
If you don't know why it happened in the first place....

How am I today.....
well....I opted to not got back to Physical Therapy....my foot is the same in feeling and
usability as the day the cast came off...
The stiffness....that feeling like glue has dried on it and I can't move it has been there from day one.
My big toe which was not fused does not move. My entire foot does not move...
It's stiff as a board....
Makes it kind of hard to get shoes on....

The biggest issue I have is that no one prepares you mentally for something like this...
I have been through many many surgeries in my 67 years but nothing like this...
The frustration that there is no one who knows how it feels.... yet it's there every single day...
A nurse friend described it as a claustrophobic feeling...something wrong with the nerves...
That is exactly what it feels like...
No numbness....no pins and needles...just a feeling like the skin is about to crack
a tightness that never goes away....a foot that won't move...it's stuck somewhere and you
can't get it out....
On my last office visit I tried one last time to describe it to the doctor...
being a bit alarmed that this weird feeling is slowly creeping from the front of my foot and toes up into my heel and ankle....inching up the back of my leg...
He suggested that I possibly could have a bad back....

That was all I needed to hear....
Some thing tells me that would not have been said to a man...
I also started having some pain where one of the screws is placed...You can see in the X-ray
Just how close it is under the skin...
All three men in the room (one being my husband) got a good chuckle when the husband told the doctor I'm worried
the screw might come through the skin...Oh they thought that was a good one...
But then the doctor promptly added..."well there has been some movement"...

I FORMALLY SURRENDER

it is what it is....
It will either improve with time and I will get normal feeling back...
Or it will not...
I have lost faith in a doctor who has this amazing talent to fix such an issue but no interest
in the well being of the patient after the fact...
I keep busy all day long which keeps my mind off of it....
At night it wakes me...
What to do????

Enjoy my new Grandson Jack....my adorable Granddaughter Sophie....
The Boss...the daughter....the son-in-law...
Monty...
And get on with my life...
Would I go through this again.... am I sorry it was done...
Come back when a year has gone by and I will let you know...
I don't want to be unreasonable....
"Give it time"......
They say.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

ROSE'S CHRISTMAS HOUSE.....magazine worthy.


Every year my friend Rose has a fabulous 
Christmas luncheon....
Every year I go and every year I say the same thing....
"Rose....your house should be on the cover of a magazine"
You see Rose is the Queen of Christmas....
She is also the most talented artistic person I have ever known...
There isn't anything Rose can't do....
I have posted her home in the past so it can be enjoyed by my
Blog Friends....so many of you have seen what she
does at the holidays....
She kicked it up a notch this year....
It's simply amazing....
So sit back and enjoy just looking at her
Magnificent home.....
Every wreath you see....pillows...monograms....much of the furniture has been re-done...and Most of all... the Santas are all handmade by Rose including all the clothing and the hand painted faces.
And in the course of fairness in the Blog World...
*****All of these photo's are Covered by a copyright, not public domain. so please don't steal them and take credit as them being your own...
This especially goes for decorating magazines....
One of these days a Magazine like Country Living
is going to recognize this house as being cover worthy....
Please Enjoy....



the ultimate
entertainer.
notice the Santa hats
on the back of
the chairs


she hand painted these...
Rose made this using
Vintage Glass balls..


the range hood...

Seaside Santa...
gorgeous....
welcoming hallway
Rose gathers props all year in
her travels
with certain themes in mind

His eyes come to life



How beautiful is he 
Skates...ribbons and greenery
inside a glassless frame
a ribbon and wreath
adorned
sleigh


an old dining room
chandelier
painted white with a new
purpose
a dear head
made from twigs.
another beautiful
vignette
once a screened porch
now a beautiful room
dressed in blue
handmade pillows
everywhere.
rose and her husbands
monogram
chair covers handmade
simple cranberries in
jars...
My favorite...
I threatened to steal this.
a wire basket with
old glass
Christmas ornaments

an old store scale filled
with vintage Christmas
balls...
That is a 12 ft. Tree!
MERRY CHRISTMAS....
HOPE YOU ENJOYED
THE TOUR!