Tuesday, March 18, 2014

timing is everything

After two lots of breast surgery and then 4 whole days of rest, it was time to fix the foot!

After the pain block [administered during foot surgery] wore off, I did find myself wondering "Oh, my God, what have I done to myself? If I had known it would hurt this much..."
But, anyone who knows what they are on about will tell us that bone pain is pretty much the worst type of pain. I've no way to compare the heel pain to the pain of childbirth. I would like to think I have a rather good pain threshold, but part of enduring pain is knowing that it will pass. After 24 hours the pain became tolerable, but in future cases of "elective" surgery I will probably make a point of asking how long it will be before the pain becomes manageable. Just so I can be psychologically prepared, you know?

Not long after I was returned to a ward, TO came to visit me with a brand new pair of crutches. [Not Prince Henry's vintage and, in fact, purchased by TO from a chemist shop.] Price approx $50.

Why do I have a picture here of barre exercises?
The answer is because I had sort of pictured the crutches
helping me walk gracefully...

Once I was home, the only way to get upstairs was backwards, on my BTM. Not only have I not swum a lap for ten years [hence the bingo flaps], but also have to haul more weight up the stairs than I should be carrying – it's almost as if chocolate is designed to come back and bite us in the bum.

On my first day home alone, TO headed off to work. At some point I tried hobbling on crutches to the powder room, only to lose my balance and flip A over T.
The surgeon later suggested, by phone, the enormous cracking sound I heard was probably the sound of the plaster cracking a little. I did not discuss with him the other sound I heard when I fell –a word I must confess I have used once or twice before.

That night, TO decided that because of the breast surgery [and the consequences of my own innate laziness] my arms were not strong enough for crutches and we should hire a knee cruzer.

4 Minutes into this clip you can see this thing has a great turning circle.

The cruzer TO ended up hiring – apparently the only short-ass option available – has a turning circle of 5 miles. Negotiating some corners in the house required either a 20 point turn or that I simply stand on one leg while picking up the knee rest and turning the entire scooter by hand.
For all its faults, my relatively crappy knee cruiser was a great success. Every single and/or married male from 5 to 95 that I knew [and some I didn't]  "had a go" at riding it. Each and every one of them enjoyed talking about a better way to design it for steering or manoeuvrability.
Just the same, for the price of delivery, return, and 4 weeks' rent, it might have been better value to simply buy one.

After a few weeks, it was time to remove the plaster and 15 metal staples from my heel.

A Moon Boot - Costs the Earth

Mr B, the bone man who fixed my foot, seems not to be in the business of supplying moon boots or ancillary equipment himself – but some extremely enterprising "company" keeps a woman on hand in his rooms to personally "fit" boots and stuff to people's heels as needed.
As the staples were removed, the wound dressed and then the boot fitted in one smooth sequence, I found myself forking over a 25% share of our little house in Franger before I had a clue what I was doing.

A quick search of the 'net now shows that I was well and truly robbed – the words "one time use only" stitched onto the boot seem a tad extreme to me. Even new it would be easy to find a boot much cheaper than the one I bought.

I shan't complain too much. Mr B has accepted medicare and private health care contributions as payment in full for the whole bang lot [except for the boot and compression stockings]. Nonetheless, I have now learned that some advance planning and questions about spending on complementary products before surgery might be a good idea.

Once I was in the moon boot, the crutches were actually handy as they helped me control just how much pressure I was putting on my foot at any point in time. I really only needed the scooter upstairs for the last week because TO did not want to hear me fiddling with Velcro straps in the middle of the night when I needed to go potty.

The surgical wound on my heel has been slow to heal. Here's a picture that will give you an idea of the size and location of the wound:

The timing of this surgery is an example of a case where TO did not put 2 and 2 together properly – radiation therapy does make the body take longer to repair.
The infection was only kept under control by the miracle of silver sulfadiazine dressings.

The exciting news is that I have now ditched the moon boot, and have a lift inside one of my proper shoes. I can drive! This will save  me what has been an average of $27 -$28 per day in taxi fares to and from radiation therapy. Phew.

The public vs private health system question is a question I'm not sure there is a clear answer to. With respect to a Haglund's procedure, what I can be reasonably confident about is that it would never be urgent enough to actually get done under a public system.

So, my private health insurance covered the cost of 2 nights in hospital.
It also contributed to the cost of consultations, surgery, anaesthetic, etc.

I've had to wear the cost of the crutches, the cruzer and the boot. TO's timing of the surgery has cost quite a bit of her energy, and a lot of dough on taxi-fares. In about 6 months' time I'll be looking for treatment to fix my right shoulder which has not been quite the same since my big powder room fall.
On the other hand, TO's connections have saved me tons of dough on "gap" payments to surgeons and anaesthetists.

I've learned a few lessons from this exercise - though hopefully I won't need to use them in a hurry - ask up front what I'll need, when I'll need it, and make sure I will have time to shop around.

For so-called "elective" procedures, private health insurance is a must, but on its own not necessarily sufficient to keep us covered. As I shan't be putting up with the burning, searing pain in my leg for the next 20 years the out of pocket expenses were worth it - but probably only because we could actually afford it.

Sorry peeps - have been a tad seedy, grumpy, busy etc. TY for sticking with me. :)