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Sunday, February 9, 2014


I had a little breakdown last night. 

See, when you have hardware removal surgery on your ankle - there are a few things you hear over and over: "it's nothing like the last one" and "recovery for this one is really easy" and "you'll be fine." This is great, because it's an encouraging thought that recovery for surgery #2 won't be THE FUCKING FLAMING HELL that surgery #1 was. But it's also not great - because it doesn't actually help you know what to expect going in, and afterward, it makes people forget really quickly that you're in surgery recovery mode.

Of course, I have a really supportive network of friends and family - I'm not blaming anything on them. Hardware removal surgery is deceptive because you are up and walking the first day, you can move your foot (kinda), visually there is way less going on, and you've already done the physical therapy and everything. So your loved ones will be tricked into thinking that everything's cool. But for me - inside - there is still a lot going on! My digestive system is still weird, I feel a little light headed sometimes, my ankle hurts and is bruised and I have very little range of motion...not to mention, I went shopping yesterday and within 10 minutes of being on my feet I was swollen and limping. Oh! And now I have to walk EXTRA carefully because for the next 4-6 weeks I'll have holes in my bones where the screws are and can re-fracture really easily.

In many ways, it's a lot like recovery from the first surgery. I use the same stack of pillows to elevate, the same ice packs with all its timing and wrapping rituals. I'm back to not being able to do yoga which SUCKS. I'm nervous about going back to work tomorrow (I worked from home my first week of recovery) - maybe I should bring some ice packs with me? I have to be back in sneakers after I've been back to real shoes for a few months and loving it. Ugh, that part is terrible.

The hardware removal, though it may be nothing like the first one, is still surgery...and it conjures up a lot of old emotional stuff. I was able to break down last night with my mom and just talk about all of the stuff that's in pain and freaking me out...so I think I'm ok now. Kinda. There may be another breakdown in my future. After surgery #1 I had little breakdowns literally every single day.  I'll keep you guys posted...of course.

ooooh the paranoia

I've gotta say...one of the worst parts about getting surgery is the paranoia that comes with recovery. In my case, the thing I'm most afraid of - now and after the first surgery - is a blood clot. Soooo one begins to Google. 

This is obviously the worst possible thing to do. But here's the rub: with ankle surgery, especially if your foot/ankle/calf is immobilized afterward, you start to get muscle cramps like crazy because you can't contract and release your muscles, which is like their main purpose in life. So here you are with these calf cramps, and then you remember that something in all that post-op literature you got said that's a major symptom of blood clots. So you Google "blood clot symptoms", and start to get anxious when you see the calf cramps you're feeling. You feel the anxiety in your chest...and as you read on, you see that blood clot symptoms are not only cramps in your calf, but tightness in your chest!! And so on...

Anyway, it's scary. I don't have answers, but omg fuck Google for freaking me out ALL THE DAMN TIME. I'm so exhausted  by it. I can't even advise you not to be scared because if it's really a blood clot you should be getting medical attention!! Ugh. So this time around I'm trying to stay away from Google, but it's hard, and I do have cramps in my calf and pains in my chest again...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

week 1 checkup

Today is 6 days post-op, so I went back to superhero (Dr.) Gellman for him to take a look at what I've got going on...

I told him that around my incision was really tight, and he said scar tissue has a difficult time recovering, and just to keep moving my ankle and massaging the area. But not too much, because the incision hasn't healed yet.

Then he took off my tape, cleaned it up, and put new tape on which I need to keep on for another 5 days.

The yellow stuff is something he put on there to help the tape stick - it's not the color of my skin, though I do have a little bruising. 

I can take regular showers now! I've been showering with a trash bag on my leg, and my leg basically up in the air because I don't have faith in the trash bag  method. So that's cool. They didn't have my hardware ready to hand me yet, which was not cool. (Fun fact: Gellman said about 95% of his patients ask to keep their hardware). 

I can't really feel a difference yet between my mechanical ankle and this one - probably because I'm not moving this one like a regular ankle yet and there's still some swelling. I go back to the doc in 6 weeks where he'll take x-rays and make sure everything looks how it should. 

Oh, and I'm off pain meds. I was only on them from day of surgery (Thurs) until Saturday...very cool. Now I also have a pill bottle full of hydrocodone which I have no idea what to do with.