Through all these appointments with perpetual uncertainty, waiting and not much action, I had run out of Vicodin. They had given me 16 pills and it had been two weeks since I had been in the ER. I had been using them conservatively, mostly at night so I could sleep and when the pain was at its worst. I couldn’t take the Naproxen they had given me as it upset my stomach and the orthopedist told me ibuprofen and other NSAIDs can inhibit bone healing. The swelling had not gone down and I was in pain daily.
In hindsight, I was probably up and doing stuff a lot more than I should have been instead of elevating and icing. Apparently, swelling equals pain. Elevation is key to keeping the swelling down, the higher elevated, the better. I sleep with my knee, lower leg and foot propped up on two pillows. It’s not the most comfortable position but it really helps with the swelling and thus, pain.
I had to persist in calling his office for two days before I got to speak with him to ask for more pain medication. It was a rather humiliating experience as I felt like they were treating me like I was seeking the drugs for recreation. I understand that this is probably common but I was dealing with real pain and they had just seen me. I felt entirely helpless and quite distressed. The lesson here is, don’t be afraid to ask for pain medication if you need it. There is no reason to suffer needlessly. Be your own advocate and remain persistent, patient and pleasant when dealing with people. That seems to be an ongoing theme I’ve experienced these past few months.
I saw the surgeon on Friday, June 28. I met with a resident first and he said that I would have to have surgery and answered most of my questions that I had printed out. I had the report from when I met with the orthopedist and after reading it, I figured that surgery was going to be the best option. Both the resident and the surgeon said, “You’ve really done a number on yourself.” After hearing that from three doctors, I knew this was not going to be a simple recovery. The surgeon said I had torn the ligament in half and it was also torn in two other places. Surgery was necessary in order for the ligament to heal properly as it is responsible for stabling the arch and bones in the midfoot.
The plan was this: They will do an open reduction, making three incisions in my foot. They will clear out any debris and insert two to three screws in the bone and reattach the ligaments. I will be put in a splint for 3 weeks and then the sutures will come out. They will then put me in a hard cast for 3-4 weeks. That will come off and I will be in a boot for the next 6-8 weeks with NO weight bearing. It is extremely important not to put weight on it so the ligaments can heal and the hardware doesn’t break. After that, I will gradually begin to put weight back on the foot and will need to be in the boot for another 6-8 weeks. I will be non weight bearing for at least 12 weeks—pretty devastating news. Not to mention, I will eventually have to have the screws taken out. I might be walking by November. He said that a full recovery can take nine months to a year. The surgery was scheduled for Friday, July 5. I would be seeing a whole different kind of fireworks on that day!