Friday, January 23, 2015

All American Surgery Recovery - Goodbye Cast, Hello Boot

Phew! I made it! Well...sort of. It has been seven weeks since the surgery, and although I'm out of the cast, I am now in a walking boot. The last few days have been a little frustrating, but I know we're on the right track.

What I Would Have Done Differently - Understood the Process
When we went in to the doctor's office on Wednesday, I legitimately thought that I'd be walking out on my own two feet with the help of the walking boot. Turns out that was not the case, and I've got another two weeks non-weight bearing before I get to start walking. In addition, I didn't realize that the transition from the cast to the boot would be so taxing. My pain and fatigue levels are way back up, and I feel like I got set backwards a few weeks. I know that isn't actually the case, but I was really not prepared for it.

What is Frustrating - Boot Button
The walking boot that I was given by the ortho has a button on the top that, when turned, allows little balloons inside the boot to inflate and provide stability to my foot. This wouldn't be a problem if you were using crutches to get around, but on my iWalk 2.0 Armless Crutch and my knee scooter, both of which you kneel on, the pressure is pushing the button back into my leg. After only two days, I have a massive bruise on my shin, and I can only make it a few steps before it gets uncomfortable. Today I ran to the store and bought some soft foam sheets, and am going to try to cut out a hole for the button. I'll update with that soon!

What I'm Looking Forward To - Return to Work
Because I was unaware of the intensity of the first few days in the boot, I legitimately thought that I'd be returning to work on the 22nd. My job is one that, depending on the day, can require a lot of time on your feet, and I know myself well enough to know that if  I were to go back now, I'd push myself more than I should. But, hopefully after the first few days of weight bearing I'll be able to go back!

What is Working - BATHS
I cannot tell you how excited I am to be able to take a bath again. I still have to be a little cautious as my incision sites are still pretty tender, but using a rolled up washcloth under my calf keeps everything supported without putting weight on my heel. Also, there is nothing better in the world than that first bath once your cast comes off. Just sayin'.

What I've Accomplished - The Cast
Seven weeks was an INSANELY long time and I know I wasn't always the best company to my dear husband or our friends. Patience has never been my virtue, but I was really good and followed the doctor's orders, I didn't try to scratch my leg with hangers or other weird things. Now just two more weeks non-weight bearing, two weeks after that in the walking boot, and I will finally be free (to start physical therapy).

This Week's Goal
Figure out how to make the walking boot and my pegleg work together, and get back to the activity level that I was at before the cast came off.

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  1. Hey Jenna.

    I received my walking boot this past Monday at my six week follow, and the doctor told me to begin walking with the crutches. My foot is sore and walking is tough, but I'm doing ok walking short distances around the house and the office at work. I start PT on Tuesday.

    The doctor did prescribe Tramadol this time instead of the Percocet I had been taking previously, and it is effective for pain relief. If you don't mind sharing, I was wondering how long you needed the Tramadol before OTC pain relief was enough.

    1. Hi Mike! Glad to hear you're making progress. Good luck with the PT tomorrow, you'll definitely be sore so take it easy on yourself once you're done with the PT but it will definitely be worth it. I honestly don't remember how long it took me to go off of the Tramadol, I know by the time I went back to work I was off of any prescriptions entirely, which was about two months out from my surgery. A lot longer than I had planned, that's for sure! That said, everybody is different, so gauge what your body is telling you, don't push too hard, and RICE!

    2. I find the walking boot so uncomfortable and I've only been wearing it for 2 weeks. It feels like it weighs a ton and I hate it. I fractured my left 5th metatarsal and the throbbing was terrible up until a couple of days ago. I can't use crutches and have a walker which I don't like either. Part of my problem is my age of 74. I think if I were younger, I might be able to handle crutches. I'm using tramadol for pain but it upsets my stomach so I have a lot of nausea. Sleeping is next to impossible for me with the boot on. My friend has been helping me with the shower- we use a plastic bag around the foot. We have rented a wheel chair for when I have to leave the house. Jeanne H.

    3. Jeanne,

      I'm sorry to hear that your walking boot has been uncomfortable, and I hope that it has gotten more so since you sent in your comment. It definitely takes some getting used to. I really didn't like crutches at all (and couldn't use them because of a chronic shoulder issue) so was glad I was able to find an alternative.

      Regarding your upset stomach, have you tried eating yogurt before you take your Tramadol? I've found that that always helps my stomach.

      Keep me updated, I hope you are more comfortable!