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Recovery Update

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Surgery was two weeks ago yesterday. This Monday, I went for my first follow-up with the surgeon. He was pleased with how the incisions are healing, and took my stitches out (which hurt like the dickens). He also said my range of motion (which seemed very small to me) was good for this point in the recovery.

I'm back in a walking boot (the same one I was in between the accident and surgery) instead of the splint/cast thing they put me in after surgery. The bad news is that the rigid sides of the boot are right where the incisions are, which is very uncomfortable. The good news is that I only have to wear the boot when I am moving around (which is not a lot) and when I sleep. The first two nights after having the stitches out, I had to use the narcotic painkillers to be able to sleep in the boot, but now I've done three nights with just Extra Strength Tylenol, and while I'm not 100% comfortable, I'm doing okay. I think on Monday I'll call the nurse and ask for suggestions for how to make the boot work better (or use something else if they have other options).

I don't get to actually walk in the walking boot until at least December 14th (my next appointment with the surgeon). Until then I can't put any weight at all on my left foot. I am doing small foot flexing exercises to move the ankle, and that's about it.

I get around on a "knee scooter" which works well for going from the couch to the bathroom downstairs; I'm still sleeping on the couch because it's so much work to get upstairs to my bedroom, and the bed actually doesn't work as well for me right now as the couch anyway.

When we went to the doctor Monday, the 20-minute ride each was was long enough that my ankle hurt a lot from being down for that long (instead of elevated as it has been most of the time). Yesterday I went out with Mom to run some errands, with her driving and me in the back seat with my foot up, hoping that would be better, but I think I overdid the amount I used my scooter and ended up in a pretty significant amount of pain.

What I am learning is that when people say "take it slow" or "take baby steps in returning to activity" they mean something much slower and smaller than what I thought. I'm also learning that I need to change something as soon as I start to get uncomfortable rather than waiting for actual pain--whether that means going home and putting my foot up, or icing the ankle, or taking a pain pill.

This is going to be a long, frustrating process, I'm afraid. I know the surgeon said before surgery that complete healing would take 6 months, but I really had no idea what that meant in terms of how slowly the initial healing would go.

I had to cancel or postpone a whole lot of things over not only the past few weeks but also the next few. Most significantly, I was supposed to go before the Ministerial Fellowship Committee (to hopefully be granted preliminary fellowship, the first level of professional ministry in our denomination) in Boston on December 4th, and after my appointment it was clear I won't be ready for a full day of travel by then. So I rescheduled to the next session of the committee, which is in early April, towards the end of that six month healing period. A lot of smaller commitments have also had to go by the wayside or be postponed, or attended online via video chat instead of in person.

The next thing I'm worried about is that I'm supposed to preach on Nov. 29th, two weeks from tomorrow. The church is fine with me preaching from a seated position since I can't stand yet then, but I am not convinced that in two weeks I'll be able to tolerate a 75 minute drive from home to church (let alone drive myself there!), an hour of worship prep, two services with a one-hour break between them, and then the drive home. It sounds exhausting and painful. So on Monday I think I need to talk with my co-ministers and see what we can do.

I hate backing out of commitments, even when the reason is as good as this is. Sigh.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • no profile photo CD5127867
    Diana - Use ice liberally. I found it kept me from needing so much pain medication. And, you're right - you need to stay in front of the pain. I got in the habit of applying ice packs every 45 minutes.

    1889 days ago
    Your congregation will understand that your healing will be slower than first anticipated. You have to take care of yourself first - your most important commitment is to be healthy for yourself and your son, so the others may have to be canceled or postponed.

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    1890 days ago
    People will understand the why behind you backing out of some commitments that were made prior to the accident Diana. This is not an easy recovery.

    Dad had the same complaint about the boot with the incision sites. They ended up wrapping them thickly with gauze to help. Definitely call and see what they can offer you though...might be some extra foam they can use to protect the incisions.
    1890 days ago
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