Saturday, January 26, 2008

Everything You Need To Know About Toe Surgery: or, Pretty Blue Foot!

So yesterday I had surgery on my (right) big toe, since the break was complicated enough that it couldn't simply be buddy-taped to my index toe.

(It is a testament to my nerdiness that when I saw my own x-rays, the first thing I said was "cool!" and then when the doctor gave me this "no, it's not cool" look, added "I mean, that looks like it's going to be difficult to fix.")

I showed up at the hospital ready to roll up a pant leg and let the surgeon do his work, which... shows how little I know about surgery.

Things I learned:

1. I got the full "awesome" treatment, which included being wheeled around the (tiny) hospital in a wheelchair. Am waiting to see how much they're going to charge me for the ride.

2. I had to remove all of my clothing, including my bra, because the three metal hooks "might interfere with the equipment." The hospital gown they gave me had been pre-warmed for my comfort. I wish all of my clothes could come to me pre-warmed.

3. The operating room (operating theatre?) looked pretty much like they do on TV. I was hooked up to lots of beeping machines, there were those giant round lightbulb things hanging over me, etc.

4. The local anesthesia hurt terribly going in, but after that I didn't feel a thing.

5. Not even when the surgeon took what appeared to be a small electric screwdriver and literally screwed things into my toe.

6. There was a nurse whose duty seemed to be to stand by my head and ask me questions, so as to distract me from what was going on at my feet (she also prevented me from craning my neck up to watch, unfortunately). What question did she lead off with? "You have a very pretty voice. Where are you from?"

6.5. To tie in to the "where are you from?" question and Manish's recent post on mispronouncing Sanjay, when I was first introduced to my surgeon he asked me ("building rapport," no doubt) why I pronounced my name incorrectly. I explained that it used Germanic rather than Italianate vowel sounds, and he knew what I was talking about, which was actually pretty neat. Those med-school grads are smart.

7. At the end, they gave me a choice of colors for the soft cast which I will be wearing for the next 4-6 weeks. It should be obvious which color I picked.

8. The soft cast (and its combination orthopedic shoe) are gigantic. So much so, that when I was in the recovery room trying to put my pants back on, the nurse helping me said "you might not be able to get that foot into any of your pants, honey" and brought me a pair of scrubs to wear home. I'm excited to see how much these cool scrubs are going to cost me. Also curious to know what I'll be wearing for the next 4-6 weeks.

9. Vicodin rocks. The nurse did warn me that I would wake up at 2:30 a.m. in great pain regardless of the Vicodin, and whadda-you-know, she was right. I wonder why.

10. When I go back to school I am seriously going to get a cane from our prop shop. The surgeon and the nurses all told me "you can walk normally on this," but I have found that trying to put any weight on the foot results in giant screaming pain and thus have been literally hopping back and forth to only the most necessary places, like the bathroom. (If this continues for the next day or so I will call them to ask if the pain is "normal.")

11. If you're ever planning to have surgery, go to your local animal shelter and adopt a cat. Having a kitty purring on your chest is the best thing to make you feel better. If I were the entrepreneurial type, I would start a business that rents cats to people recuperating from illnesses and injuries. (The business would also include a human assistant who would stop by every day and feed the animal, clean the litterbox, etc. Oh, and feel free to tell me that this business already exists.)

That's all for now. I'll keep you posted as to my recovery.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear of your injury, but glad to hear the surgery went all right! Did I miss the post on how it was broken?

Also, I guess this can't be answered semi-pseudonymously, but I'm pretty curious to know how your name would be pronounced with Italianate vowels. ;)


Blue said...

I broke my toe falling down my apartment stairs en route to getting my laundry. Was wearing slippers, but the stairs were a little wet from other people tracking snow in and out.

Then I completely ignored it for a week because I had plans for the MLK long weekend.

I think I was actually wrong about the Italianate thing. ^__^ Just thinking of the little Italian I know makes me guess that the "ie" combination would still be pronounced like a long "e" (which is what we're aiming for, instead of a long "i").

But in high school we learned that the difference between Romance and Saxon languages were their vowels. Of course, in high school we also learned that cows ate rats.

The Director said...

My experiences with surgery are extremely similar. The whole time I was like "This is so cool" and I'm asking all kinds of questions, and my doctors were kind of horrified because I was on death's doorstep.

Speaking of costs, I went to the pharmacy today to ask how much my meds would cost if I didn't have insurance. I have to take two types of meds twice daily, and one month supply for ONE of those meds is $936.99. Yeah, let's stay with the insurance.

Last November, during dress rehearsal for the play I was directing at the time, I was moving a couch to the set, and I slipped and twisted my foot. Turns out I tore a ligament. I was trapped in my house during Thanksgiving, cause my parents were too far away to come pick me up, and I was doped up on pain medicine, so I couldn't even drive.

They charged me almost $700 for it. Well, insurance paid for it, but... still.

Hope the pain goes away (it should) and have a good weekend :)

Bitterlemons said...


Your surgery does sound in the surgery-is-cool camp as well, and yes, my doctors were rather horrified as well...

Did you find pants to fit? Pyjamas?

Good luck with dealing with it.


Anonymous said...

About the surgery... I am having 2 pins placed in my left great toe I have heard its about an hour outpatient surgery. I broke mine while setting up a roll out stage and it fell onto my foot crushing the toe. As well as puncturing straight between my big toe and one next to it... This happenend this past saturday my surgery is March 3 and it is still bleeding...
My doc said my recovery time would be closer to 3 months with a few months of rehab to teach me how to walk again i guess. This will be my first surgery I am not afraid of the actual surgery just upset that I have to wait over a week and a half to fix it. so I have to lay in bed with a practically severed toe and the docs decided that the pain med should be the equivalent of baby aspirin or so it seems.
So any suggestions on how to shorten recovery time because if I'm out of work for that long I'm worried about being able to pay for it

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