MAY BE GRAPHIC
FOR SENSITIVE READERS.
It was a big day since I was heading to the doctor to get the bandages off and the foot examined. This was also the day they projected I could start driving and could get my foot wet (showers and swimming laps).
As expected, when the bandages were cut off the skin was wrinkled from the compression of the bandages. And the dead skin, which would normally slough off, had nowhere to escape and added to the ancient appearance. Due to inactivity the right leg looked slimmer than the left leg, which has been working twice as hard as usual. The incisions themselves looked good from a medical perspective. From an aesthetic perspective it looked like Frankenstein’s Monster with 34 staples holding the scarred edges together in what appeared to be a hastily applied manner.
Not all the staples were painful to remove, but enough of them were real zingers and made the process difficult. Half-way through the removal process my body temperature shot up and for a few hours afterwards I felt like I was vibrating due to the adrenaline.
Although the incisions were healing and there were no problems, the recovery timeline was not as originally presented. I should have started partial weight bearing, driving, and swimming after this post-op visit. But those have all been pushed back.
The one concession I received from yesterday’s post-op was that I could get my foot wet. I’m still not allowed to submerge it, but showering is allowed as long as I use alcohol on the Steri-Strips™ to dry them out afterwards. And since I can shower, I thought I would try doing bodyweight exercises.
The workout went well, but the shower was a bit of an ordeal because it takes a lot of staging and planning. A fresh change of clothes were laid out on the bed where it’s easiest to get dressed. A chair, towel, and kneeling mat were staged at the shower door. I knelt on the chair with the bad leg and swiveled into the shower and stood on one leg for most of the process. When I got really tired, I use the kneeling mat to get a rest and also so I can scrub my legs and feet. For the incisions I used a special antibacterial liquid soap.
This kneeling mat is ultra dense foam about an inch thick, and saves my knees from the harsh painful tile. It also sheds water and dries easily. Although intended for gardening, it works perfectly for the shower. Although, I had to be careful not to cover the drain.
The whole showering process was a lot more work than I had expected. And including the preparation and cleanup afterwards, took a long time. So it looks like I’ll be going back to sponge baths as I won’t be able to make it to work on time.
My first physical therapy session was today and it was short and easy. They established my range of motion, strength, and pain levels in different positions. I did well in all the categories, although there is progress still to be made in each. On the topics of driving and swimming, the therapist confirmed it won’t be soon.
There was some swelling in my foot by nightfall. Not at the incision site, but a visible bump on the top of the foot so I used ice to get it down. It wasn’t tight and uncomfortable as in the earlier weeks. These past few days I also noticed tenderness and a sting at the staple sites, usually when I flex my foot (e.g., during PT exercises). It’s not too intense nor does it last for long, but it’s a reminder that recovery is going to take some time.