19 January 2009

Groundhog Day

It was like Groundhog Day come early. Six more weeks, he announced. Only it had nothing to do with the weather or the seasons, it simply meant I’m about six weeks away from being deemed healed. Meanwhile, I’ve been granted the sweet freedom of mobility.

There was no fat waddling animal (thank God, after last week’s squirrel in the house, no more animals, please!). And no, it’s not February yet. The event was a visit to Dr. Foot Doctor. And the verdict is good! I’m not there yet, but all signals indicate I’m on my way. I can’t yet bend Mr. Big Toe, mostly because he’s been cooped up so long he’s very stiff, but he is showing, to be technical, “excellent resistive strength.” Or, in other words, I can push down with him – far more important than bending him anyway – and I can keep him from going ff-thpp-thpp-thpp-thpp-thpp… when I put my pants on. Which may sound silly, but trust me, it was extremely annoying, and in and of itself constituted a strong argument for going through this ordeal.

So why Ground Hog Day? Because in six weeks, give or take five or ten minutes, I should be free from all supportive encumbrances. First, the good doctor granted me time off for good behavior and exorcised the crutches. Then he pronounced the six week plan: three weeks in the air cast effectively full time, then three weeks sloooowly transitioning to real shoes, via short walks only around the house, then – voi-la! – at six weeks I should be good to go. Or at least we hope. Fact is, I’m what he calls a “unique surgery”, so there are no real guidelines for how long this will take. Therefore he’s taking the conservative approach, lopping on extra healing time. I’m right there with him on that.

Most importantly, to steal a phrase from a certain airline, I’m now free to roam the country. (Bing!) Despite the six week additional sentence, I now have license to fly, but since that’s rather risky with all the geese around, I’ll stick to driving. Freedom!

Of course, then he proceeded to rip off all the scabs. OK, you take the bad with the good. Ouch.

On returning home, I quickly decided to let my poor neglected rust-bucket of a vehicle get a well-deserved claw-off-the-cobwebs ride around the neighborhood. Dr. Foot Doctor instructed me to trade the air cast for stiff-soled shoes only for driving. With great excitement, out came the hiking boot, and… well, that didn’t work so well. Even six weeks after surgery, my foot is still swollen and wasn’t going into any hiking boot without a fight, and I’m not about to make it fight. Not to mention that said foot insertion would necessitate bending Mr. Big Toe upwards. Nope, not going there.

And that’s why I limped slowly to my vehicle on a cold winter day in a (stiff) sandal. Perfect seasonal clothing.

And sadly, even that didn’t work so well, being not as stiff as I’d hoped. Experiment #2 was even more attractive and less weatherproof. Out came the surgical sandal they gave me at the hospital. Now this baby is pure fashion, all the way through. Blue nylon, two Velcro straps, attached to a glorified a chunk of wood. But you know what? Hot diggity, it worked pretty well. Road trip, baby!

Before closing, a few notes from my Groundhog experience. Dr. Foot Doctor has a rockin’ primary office. To date, I’ve only seen him at his satellite office in my town. Scheduling forced this visit to be held two towns over at his main digs. You could hold a small wing-ding in the exam room, with the built-in wrap-around couch snugged into the bay window of the grand old converted home, the big screen TV to entertain you while you wait, and a chair with more ranges of powered motion than a high-end Lexus. I’ll bet it was heated, too, though I didn’t ask. I was waiting for the waiter to arrive with the tray of champagne glasses and bacon-wrapped scallops (take note: a weakness, I can be bribed with food).

But, as with any grand old converted home, you work with what you’ve got, so the waiting room is, shall we say, intimate. Not that I spent a long time there, but enough time, and intimate enough, that it was hard not to fall over the other gentleman in the room who quickly enough figured out who I was. And he knew who I was because he was the rep from Pegasus Biologics, the firm that developed and manufactures the chunk of horse they used to patch me up.

Remember I said I was a “unique surgery”? I knew that Mr. Pegasus had been in the O.R. in part because I was a unique case. Just how unique was impressed on me by the fact that he showed up for this visit, and promised to be there for the next one. Frankly, I find that pretty cool. Knock another minute off my 15 minutes of allowed fame. Let’s just hope this turns out so well that they want me on their web site. Or at least a pointer to my blog!

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