Yesterday was my long-awaited surgery on my posterior tibial tendon in my left ankle. After years (literally) of trying to deal with it in non-surgical ways, and finally giving up that it was something I could actually have fixed, I am relieved and hopeful for the first time in a while that I can have a pain-free ankle and return to actually being able to do activities without limited mobility.
Lucky for me, the surgery was scheduled for early in the morning. I am NOT a morning person. I stay up working early into the morning hours and then sleep in a little later because that's when my brain functions best. So when I had to show up at the surgery center at 6:45am, I was groggy enough not to be stressed out about it.
The sky sure is pretty so early in the morning!
I got checked in and back to the prep area pretty quickly. I was thankful for good veins and a fast IV insertion! They also drew blood as they used it for a plasma injection at the site of the tendon during surgery to help assist with healing. That was the biggest ordeal of everything as they tried to draw the blood from the IV, which didn't work, and took forever. They finally just drew it from my other arm, which was fine.
My surgeon (Dr. Sarah Voelkel of Lexington Podiatry) talked to me before anesthesia and I didn't have any other questions. She wasn't sure if she could just clean up the tendon and repair it by itself of if she would need to graft another tendon with it.
I was wheeled back to the surgery room and then I moved to the operating table. Can I tell you something? This was my most nerve-wracking part. I worried all the night before how the surgery staff could transfer me to and from the table. I know I'm heavy, and I've watched one too many live operating shows where people are unconscious and the staff have a tough time moving a heavy patient to and from beds. Screw my ankle being cut up – I was just worried about getting from one place to the other. I brought this up to one of the extremely kind nurses and she assured me it was no problem – they use a wheeled panel under the sheet that just glides the patient from the table to the bed. That's all I remember hearing before I was completely knocked out.
I woke up and was in immediate pain. So tired and just tears streaming down my face. There were a couple people in front of me who were also waiting for nerve blocks, so it took a few minutes for them to get to me. It was okay though since I was pretty out of it. They did a nerve block on my left leg, and almost instantaneously the pain was from a 9 to a 0. Such relief. Dr. Voelkel did graft a portion of tendon, but said it went really well and just as planned. I was ready to get out of there, so hubs helped me get dressed and then I had my first taste of how awkward it would be the next 6 weeks when I tried to get into the car. It's hard when you can't put any weight on one leg!
On the way home
The next hardest part was getting out of the car and onto the main floor of my house. I have stairs no matter which way I come in, so I ended up crawling on all 4's up the stairs from my garage (in the basement) to the main floor. Thank goodness my leg was numb. I slept pretty much the rest of the day. In the evening, I took to watching some TV and cursed myself for drinking so much water because I'd yet to master the 1-legged toilet trip.
Woke up this morning having slept well and with very little pain. They warned me to stay on top of my pain pills, so I've been keeping to their advice and haven't skipped any doses yet. I don't want to be in pain if it's not necessary, you know? I'm having some discomfort as I write this, but nothing unmanageable.
Today I've actually mastered getting in and out of bed, on and off the toilet, and into my new “central command” I set up in my living room. It consists of my Thunderbolt display with laptop plugged in it and wireless keyboard and mouse where I can work from a recliner. It's pretty ballin'
this was pre-surgery, testing out my new configuration
The only tricky part is getting from the recliner back to my knee walker. Since sitting back in the recliner puts me back deep, I have to figure out how to close the recliner with 1 leg, then get up. I nearly mastered it by myself last go-around, so hopefully I'll get it figured out in the next couple of days. Hubs took time off work, so he's with me nearly 2 weeks in case I need anything. It will be helpful since I can't really drive. Theoretically I could drive if I could get in and out of my car, but I'm not nearly to that kind of balance and skill level yet, considering I need to take this wonderful contraption with me:
“they see me rollin, they hatin….” #ridingdirty – seriously, it's all I can think of when I'm on this knee walker. But it's amazing. So easy to use and it's great to lock down and use when I need leverage to get up or down from a chair (or commode).
The next task I'll have to tackle is the shower or tub. I borrowed a shower bench, so I'll be able to sit, but thinking about getting my hair clean and keeping my splint dry is a little daunting. One day at a time, I suppose!