So it has been a year since undergoing reconstructive foot surgery on both my left and right feet. Over the last year I have seen the amount of search requests that have led to my foot posts, and therefore have decided to do an all-inclusive follow up for those looking for an experiential account to refer to.
The left foot was the first to undergo the knife. This was back in April 2009. It hurt, but not as bad as the second. This was primarily due to the choice to use a general anesthetic rather than nerve block. The general anesthesia leaves you feeling pretty funky for a few days. It does not cover all the pain, but makes it more distant. I was still very, very uncomfortable and should have stayed an extra night in the hospital to manage the initial pain, rather than leaving the following day.
My right foot happened on September 11, 2009. The anesthesiologist was an arrogant, young prick who did not want to waste time with my indecision when asked which I'd prefer, the general anesthesia or nerve block. Across the room from me was a fairly attractive woman maybe in her mid- to late-thirties, but literally almost gray colored. That was because her right arm was severed at the shoulder. This, combined with the douche anesthesiologist's impatience clouded my memory and rushed me to the decision to do the nerve block. The nerve block was great. I woke up and recovered very quickly from the drugs, and didn't feel a thing in my right leg. I had a loser roommate who watched TV literally the entire 20+ hours I was in the room, so I didn't get a wink of sleep and was simply desperate to escape the hospital. Big mistake.
On the way home, the nerve block wore off. The pain, from what I remember, was incredible, enough to make me hallucinate. My wife and mother told me when I regained some semblance of sanity a day or two later that I didn't even recognize my son, and was asking over and over why we'd had an additional bathroom added to the house. I do remember moaning and writhing around on the floor for the first two days back home. If you choose the nerve block, do not go through this. Stay at the hospital. Manage the pain there. Tell your loser roommate to STFU while you try to recover.
One more anecdote on how painful this was. My wife's uncle died of lung cancer back in September 2008. He was taking large amounts of oxycodone to manage his pain, and apparently it really did very little for him. I was taking something like 2 oxy's every 4 hours, which was the “max” I guess for my prescription. It did nothing. I was a heavy smoker for 20 years. While writhing on the floor in pain, I realized that if my pain was even remotely like anything he had dealt with, fuck cigarettes. I have remained smoke-free since, and that is very, very key to why.
So, anyways, another difference was, with the first foot, and I presume the choice of general anesthesia instead of nerve block, I was unable to take a shit. And I mean for a good week. When it did come, it was a painful and horrible experience. I took oxycodone for the first several days with each surgery, and that certainly may have contributed, but in hindsight 20/20, it was the choice of general anesthesia. And colasce didn't do shit (pun intended). Go get Miralax. Take the colasce, too. Drink your Miralax and be near the john, because after about an hour or so, your stomach will make a few strange noises, and then it's time to go. Now I wasn't blessed enough to know this then, but I did a colon “cleansing” recently with it and I shit you not (pun intended, again), I crapped a YARD. Alas, no picture for proof. But don't screw around with the pooping. Get 'er done.
Shower bench is a must.
Loofah-on-a-stick is waste of money.
Crutches vs. walker. I ended up doing both, and I recommend the same. The walker is very helpful, especially getting in and out of the shower. You can also, theoretically, get around “with stuff”, such as travel coffee mugs with a “hook” handle. Crutches you simply go much faster. Both are excellent upper body workouts. You may get made fun of with the walker, but literally within two weeks, my flabby banana breasts became actual pecs with the walker. And you can do dips on it. So get both. Start with walker, then get crutches.
Oxycodone vs. Vicodin. Obviously this depends on your doctor, allergies, etc. I guess the oxy's were good the first few days when I just needed to pass out. I really got much better results with the Vicodin. I also eventually got extra strength Vicodin, which was quite effective.
Entertainment was simply a PlayStation 3 + Fallout 3 for the first foot, then Oblivion for the second. I had this great wonderful fantastic setup with my first foot, but actually ruined it in a pain + oxy haze on the second day home. Also apparently my company at the time actually thought I was planning some sort of vacation and slacking because the saw it on my blog. Not sure I have any advice on this, as I would have told them to s--- my d--- anyways if they'd confronted me directly about it. It's not like you can go anywhere farther than 10 feet from your bed the first three weeks. I worked from home and had more than enough time to write great code. The problem was the oxy's and vicodin. I would trail off in space and come back to the code as if maybe a minute passed, but would check my emails and gtalk and see two hours of missed conversation requests.
I actually have my one-year follow up appointment soon and will most likely be going back in for the right foot, as my tendon is rubbing on the outside of my ankle bone, which feels strange and could end up fraying / breaking the tendon. Apparently they have to shave a channel in my ankle bone to “fit” the tendon in or something. We'll see.
Any questions and what not, please throw down a comment and I'll reply as soon as I can.