Saturday 8 October 2022

Late September 2022 - | Post-Op Recovery: Short Dispatch No. 1- Footloose & Frankenstein

Oct 6th, 2022

I might just do the odd short post here and there as I recover from the bunion operation that I had a few weeks ago.

Thursday, September 15th. 

                                         I was discharged from the hospital that morning, as mentioned in my previous post. The following day, the big toe of my right foot looked bruised and felt numb. This is normal, I was told. My feet were still fully bandaged up and I was wearing the cam-shoes, which are basically a pair of velcro-fastened sandals with a very stiff sole. They're made to prevent you from exerting pressure on the balls of your feet, thus keeping the toes in one position. All weight is distributed to the heels when you walk. And I had a pair of those forearm crutches that are all the rage these days. I asked about the old wooden armpit crutches, 'cos they're a little more old-school, but was told that they don't really use those anymore. 

I wore the cam-shoes all day and into the night. Two cushions positioned at the end of the mattress, the covers lifted out from underneath my side of the bed. It has made for awkward and uncomfortable nights of sleep. Despite the numbness that I felt in my right toe, I still felt this sensation of a razor blade cutting into the toe from time to time. Putting on a pair of pyjama pants could be excruciating if the cuff brushed lightly against the top of my toe. Bloody weird sensation.

I was given a prescription for a five-pack of heavy duty painkillers and was told by the hospital pharmacist to just take plain old paracetamol tablets for pain over the first three to five days and to use the prescribed painkillers for strong pain only. In the end, despite some sharp - but brief - moments of pain here and there, I didn't use the painkillers. 

The paperwork that I was given upon being discharged from hospital stated that I should go see my GP five to seven days after the operation. So, I made an appointment for the following week.

Tuesday, September 20th. 

Four days after the op. The pain had subsided greatly. Although, as I shifted position in bed that night, my elbow slipped off the edge of the mattress and I reflexively tensed up. And curled my toes. My feet felt like they had just caught on fire. Did I just tear the stitches? Both feet hurt a little over the next few days. I was scheduled for a follow-up appointment at the hospital on the 29th. I kept an eye on the bandages. No visible bleeding. 

Meanwhile, I had the appointment with my GP the next evening. It was for after 6:00pm, so it was gonna cost me $101.oo for this consultation.  He was running late with appointments. I didn't get to see him until close to 7 o'clock. I hobbled into his office and took a seat. 

"Now, what can I do for you?", he asked. I showed him the hospital discharge paperwork which stated that I was to make an appointment to see him. 

"The hospital didn't contact you?", I asked.

"Nope. That's slack", he responded, pointing at the paperwork in my hand. And there I sat, thinking that I was paying a hundred bucks tonight to chat with my doctor about nothing in particular. It would seem that the hospital's discharge paperwork was a generic one that they hand out to most patients. 

Not to have made this visit a complete waste of time and money, he wrote me up a referral for a yearly-scheduled blood test, to be done after the first week of November, and took my blood pressure. Once this consultation was done, I headed to the reception desk and paid. Our public health insurance body, Medicare, would reimburse me $35.oo for this visit. Still, though...

I started writing a typecast, so I'll just paste it up here, shall I? Disregard the dates. That's when I wrote them, not when the events occurred.

Oh. Wait a sec. I've jumped the gun a little here. Let me bring you up to speed. I had a follow-up appointment at the hospital on the 29th. The night before, I got online and booked a cab for nine am the next morning. I'm old-school. I doubt I'll ever catch an Uber. My appointment at the Orthopaedic Clinic was for 9:45 and, while it would only most likely be a 20-25 minute drive, I was allowing for any possible delays. 
The taxi cab arrived at my house at 9:06am. 

October 8th
                 I needn't have worried. The doctor flooded it with saline and it peeled away easily enough. To my untrained eye, it looked like the stitches were still in place. The slight mishap a week or so earlier didn't appear to have caused any issues.  
The doctor looked over both feet and then made a quick phone call. A few minutes later, one of the surgeons who assisted during my operation arrived. We made our quick greetings and I asked him to thank everyone involved in the operation on the day. Whether or not he will see these same nurses and staff anytime soon is another matter. 
He had a look at the sutures and said it all seemed to be healing nicely. He then turned to the younger doctor and explained which stitches to cut first and in which order. He then bid me goodbye and left. 

The young lad soon got to work. He had a small tool that he would use.
He tore open the sealed plastic packet containing the stitch cutter and positioned himself over my left foot. I wondered if he would be comfortable hovering over my foot like that. Did he want to sit down? Was there sufficient lighting? 
I, meanwhile, grabbed the lower section of the chore jacket that I was wearing and scrunched it up in my closed fist. He got to work, and I felt a slight pull against the thread, followed by a sharp burning sensation. I gripped the jacket. It took him a few minutes to remove all the sutures. 
In one foot. I felt the sharp burn on a few occasions.  
"This your first day, Doc?", I wanted to ask him, through gritted teeth.
Then, he shifted over slightly and I placed my right foot in front of him. I gave some thought to including photos here, but thought better of it. This is a reasonably family-friendly blog and we don't want to frighten the youngsters. So...

<-- This pic is from; To Draw Feet

There were more sutures running along the outer edge of my foot, but for the purposes of this demonstration, these ones illustrated here were the problem. Specifically, the last, very tightly knotted(!), thread, which proved difficult to slide the cutting blade underneath. Needless to say, it took him almost as long to remove this one last knot as it did to do the entire other foot. 
By the end of it, I had a slight sheen of perspiration on my forehead and my knuckles ached from gripping the jacket. FYI, the skin on top of the foot is very, very thin. 
Once he was done, I started breathing again while he cleaned the wounds with saline and applied a thin adhesive bandage on both feet. 
"Leave these on for a few days and then remove them. It's okay to get them wet, Just pat them dry afterwards", he informed me. 
That was good to know. I had been taking showers wearing these long plastic leggings with elastic cuffs. The whole process of showering was taking me around 30 minutes from start to finish. 

Anyway, They reminded me that I had a follow-up appointment with my surgeon on the 27th and I was then free to go. I got my crutches and got out of there. There's a cafe situated a little ways up the street from the hospital. I decided to grab a coffee. 
My wife sent me a text message. I replied and sent her a photo of my feet. She replied, saying they looked grisly, and she asked a couple of questions regarding the bandages, etc. While I sat in the cafe with my latté, I quickly jotted down some notes regarding my next appointment. I wanted to make sure I had everything covered.

Okay, so much for a 'short dispatch'! 
Oh, and since this blog of mine is about watches, as much as anything else, I wore the 40mm Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic to the hospital. I wanted something that could could withstand a knock against a doorway or something.
I finished the coffee, slowly made my way back to the hospital entrance, figuring it would be easier for a taxi driver to find me at a hospital rather than outside a street café, and called a cab. 
The taxi arrived about fifteen minutes later. I climbed into the back-seat and gave the driver my address and headed home. 
Thanks for reading!


  1. Awww, how did you know the title of my next post?

  2. That Surgerytool comes from Aesculap, a Company from my Hometown Tuttlingen, in the Southwest of Germany. I feel slightly proudness.