Wednesday, October 20, was three weeks post-surgery. The cramps were still coming on strong and my foot felt as if it were burning; this was definitely my nerves "coming back to life" but it was so uncomfortable! I was also doing my best to ignore the abrasion on the back of my foot but it wasn't easy.
Meanwhile, the fall weather was cool and crisp and I wanted so much to enjoy it! Of course I wasn't ready to venture outside anywhere yet. My pain medication made me sleepy and getting around on my crutches or walker for too long tired me out. Not to mention my foot was still in considerable pain. Not only did that need to subside, but I also needed to build up my strength.
Thursday the pain was a little better and I couldn't decide whether it was the abrasion on the back of my foot or the actual ankle that was bothering me. I took my pain medication upon waking in the morning and was able to wait 6 hours before taking it again. There were still spasms but during the day they didn't seem to bother me as much. I decided I would continue taking the pain medication until the cast came off the following Tuesday. At that time I would be able to take care of the abrasion and possibly massage the cramps, and hopefully I could wean myself off the medication. It all depended on how the rest of the week went.
Of course, by Thursday evening I wasn't able to wait 6 hours before taking my pain medication again, and the next day my foot was still tingling and burning. My next appointment with my doctor was that coming Tuesday and I planned on asking him about the sensations I was feeling; I wondered how much longer they were going to last.
Saturday I was still feeling the spasms and tingling, and the incision site and ankle itself were also painful, although I noticed the abrasion on the back of my foot did not bother me as much that day. The spasms were making it harder to wait 5 hours before taking pain medication but I persisted. I wasn't sure exactly what type of pain I was supposed to be feeling other than the spasms; it seemed there were only a few times when the actual ankle hurt. I wondered if the pain medication was helping, since I didn't know what type of pain I was supposed to be feeling. Was I not feeling pain because the medication was doing its work, or was I lucky that the pain was not too bad for me? The pain was different from when I had initially broken my ankle; I would need to speak with my doctor at my next appointment.
Getting up and moving around helped the spasms but not always the tingling. I continued with my left leg exercises as well to keep the leg from atrophying too much. It had atrophied when I'd first been on crutches 7 years ago and I felt as though it never went back to being the same size as my right leg. I was worried it would be even smaller and more noticeable now. Hopefully I would be able to build it back up again.
Most of my days were spent reading and watching TV or movies, and occasionally napping due to the pain medication. I was able to log onto the Internet through my Netbook, so I could keep in touch with friends and stay posted as to what was happening at the shelter. Each day I would get up and move around the house in order to build up my stength but it was still very tiring. Not being able to sleep well at night didn't help; I would wake up 2-3 times a night due to pain or just being uncomfortable.
The next day the hard cast would be coming off and the walking cast would be going on. Although I knew the air cast would stay on most of the time, I began to worry about when my foot was out of the cast, when I was sleeping or in the shower. My foot would be able to move freely, and movement could hurt. All I could do was wait and see.
On Tuesday the hard cast was removed and the air cast was put on. My doctor said the wound was healing nicely, the swelling had gone down and everything looked good. He told me the tingling and the spasms were normal and would continue for a while. The pain medication was not helping those, and he advised me to start weaning myself off.
When he moved my foot back and forth it did not hurt too much; it actually felt nice to move my foot without the pain I was experiencing before the surgery! He told me I would be allowed to put weight on my foot as tolerable, but I still needed the crutches to get around. I was also supposed to exercise my foot by moving it back and forth, and start physical therapy. I tried standing up in the doctor's office and although it was somewhat painful, it worked!
I was so happy that I would be able to let my foot breathe again and that I wouldn't have to balance on one leg when standing. I wanted to do so much when I got home but I was exhausted from my busy day and needed to rest. I also knew I needed to take things one day at a time... baby steps.
I found a physical therapist in my neighborhood and made an appointment for Friday morning. I was nervous and excited at the same time.
By evening I could definitely feel pain in my foot and knew this is what I would have been feeling all along if I had not been taking my pain medication. But I was holding out for my bedtime dose so I could begin the weaning-off process.