New Foot Surgery – Into the 2nd Week

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This is a blog on the recovery of foot/ankle surgery for me. Surgery was on January 14th. The first blog was published on January 23rd. This is the story of the 2nd week after surgery. This is important as tomorrow, January 23rd, the original splint is removed and a new, all-covering foot cast is installed for a longer time.
Tomorrow will be a happy day for me. I’ve had this splint on since the surgery. I have discovered that this splint seems to be attached, somehow, to my skin, and is movable. Especially when I get up to go somewhere. I believe there is an incision a little above my ankle, on the outside of the ankle. When I move enough, the splint moves downward of its own weight. The splint is evidently stuck to this incision because, when the splint moves, I can feel a quick, intense pain, like a cut right at that location described. I think the splint rips the incision open every time. A few times I’ve felt liquid run down my leg, though nothing came through the dressing, so I’m not positive. No matter how long, or how little I am still; when I get up, the splint moves and the feeling of being cut with a knife is immediate. My hope is that the new cast will end this quick pain and I can go about getting around without being anxious if I’m going to be in pain when I move again.
I had a doctor’s appointment today, the 22nd. It snowed during the night of the 22nd and the weather was below frigid, at about 10 with wind chill down to below zero. I was frightened of going out in this cold. With this oversized cast on, I cannot get any kind of long underwear on over the cast, nor insulated pants, or any other kind of insulation for my legs. I thought it was fortunate that it snowed. I called the doctor’s office this morning. They said the streets were not plowed so they reset my doctor appointment to Thursday, the 23rd, in the afternoon. A friend came by today and cleaned the snow off the driveway. So I’m good to go tomorrow. Now I don’t have to think about the cold. All I have to consider now is whether I’m going to slide down the steps to the driveway or fall down the steps. Guess I can think about that fun time when it’s time to go.
Now it’s the 23rd of January and I did go to the doctor today. It was cold outside. I was very worried about getting down my 4 wood steps, then down my 2 brick steps, then getting into my SUV for the ride. At the last minute I figured out that I could drive. So I carted myself out of the house onto the wood stoop outside my porch. Amazingly, the wood steps were completely cleared of snow! I got off my little cart and decided I would keep the cart behind me and pull it down behind me. Now to sit down on the steps. Well, that’s a little difficult since I only have one foot to stand on. How to step down with one foot if the other foot can’t have any weight on it? I grabbed the rails beside the steps and attempted to hold myself up while stepping down. Bad move, I near fell. I stepped back up, tried again. Same result. Next, I remounted the cart, and stepped down one step. Success!! I stepped off the cart and sat down on the top step and bumped my way on down the steps, dragged the cart behind me. Then slid on my butt over to the brick steps and swung my legs over, stood up, and remounted the cart that my wife had placed there. Walked over to the car, backed up, opened the door, got in. WHEW!!!
I was very worried about driving to the doctor’s office. I believed I may not be able to drive with my foot in a cast, thinking it would be too large to fit inside the driver’s area. But….I fit! And I drove! Not much to say about that, we arrived, parked and carted on into the doctor’s office.
We were escorted into the doctor’s office. Nurse Constance, a 27-year veteran of this job, removed my splint. Then removed my tape over my incisions. I noted with interest that the back of the splint had a lot of dried blood at the lower area and the heel. Constance advised me that I had an incision on the back of my calf. Now, I didn’t know that from the doctor, and I couldn’t see it, but I figured it due to the blood and the pain of the scab being pulled off when my splint moved up and down my leg. I felt good about being right about believing there was an incision there even though I didn’t know it till Constance pointed it out.
I took photos of my affected foot showing incisions on both sides. I couldn’t get to the incision on the back of my leg, or my heel so I don’t have photos of those locations but here is my foot with the splint off.

left side of left foot

left side 1 week after surgery

right side one week after surgy

right side one week after surgy

Constance advised me that my stitches would self dissolve. As I commented to Constance, that’s a happy thing to know. After my first ankle surgery, the stitches were removed by a nurse. The pain was searing when the stitches were removed as they had not completely closed so it was still live skin that the wire was passing through. Whew!! I can feel still feel that unique pain with a shiver as I write this.
I discussed the leg lift exercises with Constance that my therapist, Jorge, had suggested. Constance agreed wholeheartedly even mentioning the exact exercises that Jorge had told me to do. So I’m set for exercising now.
After removal of all the covers over my incisions, Constance had the X-ray tech come in and take some photos of my ankle. Next, I saw Dr. Cuttica and he showed the x-rays. I didn’t ask for the x-rays. Perhaps next time. The x-rays showed that I had two ‘wedges’ as Dr. Cuttica said. Doctors didn’t use cadaver bone to hold things together inside the foot, instead using these wedges which were about 8mm X 6mm. One was holding a pin in on side of my foot, the other was holding some hardware installed in my foot. It was very cool to look at these things, knowing they were inside my foot to make it better and yet I could feel nothing there. Dr. Cuttica advised that today a cast would be put on my foot. Three weeks hence, that cast would be removed, and another one placed on the foot. The next one would also be on for three weeks.
Dr. Cuttica left and Constance returned to put my new cast on. I selected a red outside covering. That’s because camouflage is no longer made. The red is bright and I like it. Constance determined that my foot would be cast at 90 degrees to my leg. This was not comfortable. It freaking hurt to have my ankle in this position and my foot in this much more acute angle than it had been in the splint! But it had to be done. And about 20 minutes later, after holding in position, the cast was done. We left the office, made another appointment and left. I carted myself back to the car and left. Enroute home I treated myself to a chocolate milkshake for getting through this. This is what my new cast looks like.IMG_1731 Bright isn’t it?
By the way, I just discovered that if you would like to see these photos closer, click them twice. When the next photo comes up, click it, then at the following one, click that. Pretty amazing how close the photo gets.
Once back home, I realized my ankle, on the right side of the affected ankle, hurt. The place were the incision on my leg was, also hurt. I took a pain pill, put ice on my new cast, and sat down. A bit later, I went on to bed.
Nothing like sleeping the whole night through with the aid of one little pain pill!! It is now Friday, January 24th. Today is 10 days after my surgery. Today is the last day I am required to take an aspirin to thin my blood. The purpose of that was the prevention of blood clots.
Same as yesterday, my ankle aches on the right side of my foot. I haven’t take a pain pill for it. I’m hoping just keeping the cast above my heart and in a certain neutral place will ease the aching. If not, I suppose another pain pill will get me throught the rest of the day and night, though I’d rather not do that.
I did some leg lift exercises and that had a good effect on reducing the aching in my foot. If that’s all it takes then I guess I’ll have some fine muscles by the time I get the next cast on! I’ll be doing leg lifts the majority of the day!
This is the end of this update. More to come!

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About Detective Estes

Detective EstesMr. Estes has lived in the DC Metropolitan area for most of his life. His father’s influence and expertise in firearms resulted in Mr. Estes beginning to rifle shoot at a young age and eventually shooting on the Washington-Lee High School rifle team in Arlington, VA.

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