Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Foot Surgery

When J was a kid, he broke his right big toe while jumping on a trampoline (a trampoline injury you say? INCONCEIVABLE!!!).  Fast forward 30 or so years, and he's taken up running. That toe has always bothered him a little, but it has gotten much worse since the running thing.

He saw a podiatrist a couple weeks ago, who did some x-rays and said that it looked like there was a minor bone spur. He said J could try orthotics or have a cheilectomy done. J felt like he'd like a more permanent solution, so he opted for the surgery. A cheilectomy is basically just shaving the sharp part off of the joint. The doctor felt like J's case was fairly mild, and didn't see any other complications. We scheduled the surgery for today. Since he'd already planned to take all week off work anyway, it was very convenient. After scheduling the surgery, J noticed a sharp decline in his toe, and was feeling a lot more pain. I noticed he was favoring the foot more. I'm not sure why it suddenly got worse- maybe it was mentally accepting there was something wrong and not blocking the pain as much?

He had the surgery done today. He opted to have the deeper sedation so that he wouldn't wake up partway through the procedure. The doctor said it would take about 45 minutes. It ended up taking a bit longer. It turns out things weren't quite as simple as the x-rays showed. I will now explain in laymen's terms what they found and what they did. I'm totally doing this because all of my many readers (ha ha) would prefer it that way, and NOT because I can't remember the technical terms.

They found he had a flap of cartilage loose, and flapping around. This would cause some trouble. They ended up cutting it off, and drilling around the bone to encourage growth of new cartilage/scar tissue. There was also a minor bunion repair, and the bone spur was significantly larger than originally thought. He also saw some signs of arthritis. The doctor stressed that this wasn't a permanent fix, but it should make for a dramatic improvement for a good long time.

They have a pain pump somehow inserted into the wound (maybe as an IV or something? His foot is all bandaged up, and I've been instructed not to unwrap it, dangit). The pump gives a continuous flow of a local numbing anesthetic. If he starts to feel pain, he can press a button and get a bollus (or extra boost) of the numbing medicine. A home health care nurse will be coming by Friday to remove it.

So far, his recovery has been great. He's just hung out in our room, watching tv. He's threatened to get a bell so he can ring the bell to get my attention/annoy me. He's been a great patient so far, willing to stay down. I guess this means he's in more pain than he's letting on, as inactivity drives him right up the wall. I'm thinking that by Thursday or Friday I'll be having to bungee cord him down.

No comments: