Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Week Two

Wednesday, October 13, was one week post-surgery and the pain was somewhat worse that day; the medication helped but not as much as before. The day before I was fitted for my walking boot and the additional pain could have been from walking around on crutches that afternoon. Could have been part of the healing process. Could have been from doing my leg exercises. I'm not one for calling the doctor for every little ache and pain; I planned on calling my surgeon if it didn't get any better or got worse within the next few days.

On Thursday the pain was better. When walking around or doing my leg exercises, I focused on how I bent my leg, using my thigh muscles rather than my knee. I thought that may have been the problem the day before and planned to keep an eye on things.

Friday was better. I was watching how I bent my knee and I noticed that the more I moved around, the better my foot felt. Laying down and elevating it too long seemed to make the tingling worse. Of course, walking around too much didn't make it much better! A good mix of getting up and moving around along with resting helped, but there were still small spasms of pain in my foot. My surgeon had mentioned the nerves were "coming back to life" and I figured this was the cause of these sensations. I also noticed I was able to go a little longer between pain medication, from every 4 hours to every 5 hours.

By Saturday I realized most of the discomfort I was feeling was due to the tingling in my foot and not actual pain at all. At least, not until the pain medication started to wear off, and once that did the spasms themselves were painful. Now and then my foot would twitch inside the cast, on it's own, and that hurt the ankle joint itself. Understanding where my pain was coming from was helping me cope with it.

As the week went on the swelling subsided and the cast became looser, which caused what felt like an abrasion on the back of my foot, along the heel. It was frustrating but I had no other choice but to ignore it, since there was nothing I could do as long as the cast was on.

I still did not have feeling along the bottom of my toes or foot and hoped that would change soon, especially since the tingling and cramps were still coming on strong. The cramps were very uncomfortable and had a "charley horse" type of feeling.

The mornings were probably the most difficult part of my day because my foot felt very stiff and tingly upon waking. It was also hard to get comfortable because I could only lay either on my back or my right side, with my foot elevated either way. I also tried sitting with my foot elevated differently because the abrasion on the back of my foot was bothering me. If I was able to have my foot sideways it didn't hurt as much. It also felt better when I got up to move around or to do my leg exercises. I couldn't wait for the cast to come off next week so my foot could breathe and I could tend to the aches and pains.

Sometimes I would become upset thinking about how my surgeon had told me I would no longer be able to participate in mountain biking. This was my favorite hobby and it would be very hard to give up but I knew the surgeon was right. I couldn't risk loosening the implant and shortening its lifespan. My friends were supportive and reminded me there are plenty of other activities out there to enjoy. Some even said the surgeon could be wrong, if I modified my style of riding or rode a full suspension bike then I should be fine. I knew I couldn't take any chances and instead of focusing on what I couldn't do, I focused on all the things I would be able to do. For over a year I hadn't used my elliptical machine or Wii Fit, and I hadn't gone hiking with my family or gone for morning walks around my neighborhood. The simple tasks of cleaning the house or grocery shopping had been very difficult. I reminded myself that giving up one of my hobbies was a small price to pay in exchange for doing so many of the other things that I enjoyed doing. Plus... who knew what other new hobbies I could take up!

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