Thursday, August 26, 2021

It Is Going to Happen

It is going to happen. Not for awhile, maybe not for 4 or 6 months, but it is going to happen.

A year and half after my initial appraisal for my foot, the lag being caused by a certain little pandemic, I finally got in to see the surgeon. This is the report from the x-ray.

Surgery will involve inserting three screws and two plates around my ankle. I don't know how to glean that from the report, below, but it is what I was told.

I was promised that this surgery would take the pain away, and if I understand rightly, some movement. would also decrease. I hope the first part is true. If it is true, I can live with a little reduced movement after hobbling around in discomfort for years. A neighbour has had this very operation by the very same surgeon and assures me that it has worked really well for him.

That is all well and good, but post-op care will be highly problematic, for I will not be able to bear any weight on my right foot for 6 weeks, maybe 8.

The trouble is that I'm 74 (as of next week anyway), and things do deteriorate in older bodies. My left leg, which will be the only one that will be able to bear weight,  is a case in point. There is some difficulty with that knee. It's just a bit wonky, and I don't want to over-extend it to the point where it becomes a big problem.

The hands are somewhat arthritic, so we'll have to see if I can manage with crutches. Or maybe not – read on

How will I get in and out of the tub to shower? How will I manage to get into or out of my chair or bed without overtaxing the good leg/knee? We have stairs. Can I manage? I think so. I have already experimented with going up and down on my posterior, but we'll have to figure out how to get me in a position to do that. Getting up or down to the sitting position will take some maneuvering. 

What devices will I need to assist me? We'll have to figure it out. 

I had a long talk with our family doctor, and there's no pre-op, assessment help available. There can be some post-op home care, but let's face it, it won't be that often, and I will really have to figure it out on my own. I mean, WE will have to figure it out – Sue and me, with perhaps some input from Sha who can may be able to draw on some expertise from people at her senior residence.

We probably need to install a bar for the tub/shower. We should have done that already; all seniors should have one installed, or at least the over-70s should.

Apart from crutches, which may or may not work for me, what else can I do?

I came across a gentleman using one of ↓↓ these.  I  chatted with him about this hands-free crutch. It looks like a good idea, and he liked it and used it well. But it's an expense. What if I go to the expense, and it doesn't work for me? Can I rent one? Perhaps a walker would work better, and I could also use it to help me get in and out of chairs or bed.

So many questions and even worries, but we do have time to figure it out.


Barbara R. said...

Great news that you're moving towards pain-free ankles! So glad to hear you are eligible for that surgery. And of course you'll go through a bunch of changes immediately afterward. Moving around will definitely be limited for a while. Sorry, but that's the price you we all do when having major fixes done. My friend who had knee replacement months ago was finally able to go back to work, and now can walk practically normally, after months of physical's a different thing than yours, but you will be able to look back on it as a short period of trials - eventually! OK, I'm on your cheering section here!

Marcia said...

There must be physical therapy and occupational therapy in your future after the surgery. All of that is aimed at helping you cope. Would you insurance pay for a pre op consultation with the physical therapist you'll be using?

You will manage. Just think back to how you've managed with the foot not working properly. Now you can look forward to being pain free.

Marie Smith said...

It is good to have the surgical consult done at last. Knowing someone who has had the surgery with such success must be encouraging too. You have things to figure out yet but those will happen in time. You’ll get through this as you two have faced other challenges and managed them in good time. You got this, AC.

DJan said...

I echo what Marie says above. She points out that knowing someone who has already had the surgery and it was successful is helpful. Do you have someone to consult with about the best options for recovery?

Ed said...

The hands free crutches looks like one stubbed step away from an additional emergency room visit.

Good luck on the surgery. My much older than you grandmother just got a new hip put in and it has been the best improvement in her life in the last 20 years. I have to slow her down lest she does something she regrets.

Karen said...

One of the women in my physio class used that knee crutch. She also had one with wheels, sort of like a kneeling scooter. She loved that one.
When my daughter was hit by the car, she had a similar surgery, as well as a knee replacement and shoulder reconstruction. We had a really nice bath chair. She would Transfer from wheel chair to bath seat and then slide over. It was nicely padded, not hard plastic. It had two legs in the tub and the other two on the floor outside of the tub, so it was fairly wide. Putting a towel on the seat she could then grasp the grab bar and pull herself in. We used a hand wand shower. Hope that helps with that problem.
We joined a group that gave us lots of tips.

Margaret said...

It's good that you'll be getting surgical relief, and also excellent that you're planning ahead and figuring out how to manage. It's overwhelming, getting older, isn't it?

Vicki Lane said...

The shower bars and bath chair are excellent suggestions. I expect there are occupational therapists who could help with these decisions. Having been in a similar situation--broken left ankle, dislocated shoulder, and wonky right knee, I sympathize. I had to use a wheelchair till the ankle could bear weight.

William Kendall said...

All questions that you'll have to sort out sooner or later.

The Furry Gnome said...

We found you have to be really assertive in demanding the home care help you need. Lots of aids available to help, and an occupational therapist might be able to help you plan for it in advance. You can usually rent things at first.

Rita said...

These are all very practical questions that would go through my head, too. It might be trial and error but you will figure something out. Glad you have some time to prepare and think through the challenges. Talking to people who have been through it will be a big help. :)

Mara said...

Good that you finally know exactly about the why's and whats. Well, at least about the surgery. In the Netherlands we have 'shops' that rent out medical equipment for a limited time, like crutches and the like. Do they not have something similar in Canada?

Jenn Jilks said...

This sounds so hopeful. A little bit of pain-in-the-arse antics will be short term pain for long-term gain.
Civitan loans equipment, BTW. They have contacts who can find what you might need, as well. You should be as comfortable as you can be during post-op.
Good luck.

Shammickite said...

Get rid of the tub and install a shower cubicle. How many times a year do you actually sit in the tub?

Debby said...

Ed said what I was thinking. Have you seen the 'knee scooters"? You can get them for about $100 and they seem less likely to lead to a tumble. Stairs might be an issue, but most places here are wheelchair accessible.

MARY G said...

We are living with similar problems. Chronic. Advice, from the trenches.
1.) investigate arm crutches. Not as expensive as the device you picture, but your arms are supported and weight distributed.
2.) we are contemplating getting a chunk chopped out of the bathtub so that it becomes, in effect, a walk-in shower. Lots of pics of this on the internet. Not expensive.
3.) ask at physio about a knee brace for the weak knee, one with hinges. Provides a lot of support and does not limit motion much at all. About $150,00. I love mine and it really helps.
4.) your car seat back as far as possible.
5.) office chair to wheel around the house. Not any good on carpets, but fine in the kitchen, especially.
My aunt had an elbow joint repaired after an accident when she was in her late fifties, much as you describe what is proposed. She got back close to 1005 function.

jj said...

The hospital I work in front of, has a booklet for surgical preparation. Might the hospital you're going to have something similar? There usually is not a lot of pre op help, but every hospital has a social worker - start there. They may be able to help you source a few things out. Post op, you can self refer yourself for in home assistance but any kind of wound care needs your dr's referral.