April 25, 2014. Cheilectomy on left big toe.
April 26, 2014. SOS sent to mother.
April 27, 2014. Mom arrives with her nursemaid gear and mothering face. To have one’s mother all to oneself is a delight I rarely experience. I recommend having foot surgery if that can be your Rx.
May 5, 2014. Doctor removes bandages. I pass out. First time ever. I don’t recommend it.
May 19, 2014. Stitches out.
May 23-28, 2014. Travel to CO for family wedding. Massive blisters form along the site where the tape covered the stitches. Nephew dubs me “tapioca toe.”
May 29, 2014. Email doctor picture of rapidly declining wound area. He immediately responds with a “That’s an allergic reaction. You’re allergic to the adhesive on the bandages.” Treatment plan is discussed and successfully carried out. I report findings to family. Father and Sister J say “Oh, yeah, I’m allergic to that too.” A little heads up next time, Family, huh?
June – September 2014. Pain continues in one form or another. Continued visits to doctor.
September 9, 2014. Week long steroid treatment clears up remaining inflammation. Pain free.
September 11, 2014. In the middle of playing frisbee on a beach in Nantucket at the full length and speed of my stride, my left foot collides with a cement block that was, you know, in the middle of the beach. As cement blocks are. ALL the pain and frustration and disappointment and fear and pain and pain and tears and pain.
September 25, 2014. X-rays reveal a chipped bone + a crack running through the joint where my big toe connects with my foot.
October 2014 – April 2015. Pain with every step. Various more courses of steroids and appointments and my inability to explain the location and types pain and the inability of the doctor to look at any place other than the point of surgery and suggestions of more more surgery and my refusal and my frustration with the daily pain and the student doctor asking if this is something I could learn to live with and my glare leveled at him and my anger boiling over to the point where I blurt out, “This, this part right here. It feels like I could just pop it off, just pull the entire joint out. This is where it hurts. Not the part where you did the surgery. That’s fine.” And the doctor tests that joint and says, “Oh, yes, that is stiff.” And a light bulb goes on in my head. Doctors are human. And now I understand the saying One must be their own advocate.
April 17, 2015, 10:30am. Foot manipulation (a procedure done in the operating room, but without any cutting, as the doctor bends the foot in a multitude of ways to break up the scar tissue that’s abundant in my foot).
April 17, 2015, 11:15am. In recovery room. Nurse sees me struggling to get my phone, offers help, and a warning, “Be careful. Texting so soon after anesthesia is going to be like drunk texting.” I laugh and text C to ask her to come sit with me, but my brain and fingers agree with the nurse’s assessment and all I can type out is “The nurse said this would be like a drinker text.”
April 17, 2015, remainder of day. Foot is numb and weird feeling and only slightly painful.
April 18, 2015. My foot looks normal and feels normal and the swelling is gone and there’s some slight pain on the top of my toe and a bunch of bruising around the joint, but IT MOVES. IT REALLY MOVES. Angels strike their harps. I stand there and blink dumbly at my foot. Afraid to move again. Afraid it was a dream and I’ll wake to reality. I take a tentative few steps. My foot bends like a normal foot!! I haven’t had such range of motion since 3 years ago.
April 23, 2015. Follow-up appointment. Doctor uses words like “satisfying, dramatic, immediate change, crunching, a lot of scar tissue in there, a lot, it’s not usually so dramatic, but I got double the motion almost immediately.” I use words like “FREEDOM, mobility, broken record, it moves, it bends, it’s a normal foot.” He grins at the opportunity he had to forcibly wrangle the scar tissue out of my joint. I grin at the wonder of having my foot move. At the (to quote my doctor) dramatic difference. At the fact I can walk without searing pain and without a marbled bottom of my foot and for miles and miles and miles.
*walks into sunset*