It’s over. I’m still alive, my foot is still on, and if you can believe it, I’m actually smiling.
My surgery experience was beyond my most positive expectations. The surgeon I complained about being arrogant in my initial consultation and pre-op visit was smiling, supportive, and attentive as were his entire team of assisting physician, two operating room nurses, anesthesiologist, assisting nurse anesthetist and patient intake coordinator. couldn’t have asked for a better experience. (Maybe the fresh baked chocolate chip cookies I brought for the surgical team helped.)
The patient intake coordinator who greeted me was friendly and funny and reassured me from the start that I was going to be so happy with the results. She said, “I said I’d never have my bunions operated on, but when I started working here and I kept seeing people coming back for their second foot, I knew something good was going on. So I finally did it last summer.” I asked to see her foot, which she proudly lifted up from behind the desk and said, “Look! Full range of motion,” and wiggled her toes. I felt a deep sigh come from the bottom of my feet. Maybe I did make a good decision.
I waited about fifteen minutes in this gorgeous waiting room with plasma TV and big cushy couch with rolled arms and lots of pillows and then heard my name called. After locking my things in a locker in this open waiting area, I was taken to a bathroom, given a bag with gown, soc hairnet (everything was a pretty purple), asked to change and then taken to a pre-op room with surgical bed.
Get this!: While I was being prepared in the pre-op room, they put a sheet over my torso and legs that had a special plastic opening that connected to a hose that blew warm air under the sheet I didn’t get cold because the rooms are often so cold. That was a nice unexpected touch.
I had planned on marking my feet with “Not this foot” on my left ankle before I went in, just to humor the surgical team. When I realized I’?d forgotten to do it, I asked for a marking pen, and laughed, telling the patient coordinator what I wanted to do. We were on the same page. She said, “Oh, we do that as a matter of course.” She pulled out a purple pen and proceeded to write “?No” on my left ankle and “Yes”? on my right ankle. Simple malpractice insurance, wouldn’t you say?
What was very cool to me was that the entire team met with me for a few minutes before I went in for surgery and they were all very present and upbeat. Each checked my foot once and then again with paperwork to verify they were doing what we had discussed. Very encouraging for me, given that it was 4 o’?clock in the afternoon, I was their last patient (perhaps this is why they were smiling!) and they’d been doing surgery all day.
One of the nurses who was preparing my foot said, “Oh, you have some good bunions here, girl! You are going to LOVE the results! In fact, when you have your screw removed (a small screw is inserted to hold the bone together in “The Great Toe”), you should definitely do the other foot.” I had the same reaction I’ve heard many mothers tell me after the birth of their first child when someone says, “So when is the next one?” and the mother says, “Ask me again in a month.”
My worries about anesthesia were unnecessary. The anesthesiologist was not only informative but also an amazing listener with an incredibly compassionate manner. He reassured me that I’d have a nice nap, feel no pain and wake up comfortably within 30 minutes of them finishing the surgery. All true. Phew!
I woke to smiling faces, congratulations, and a bandaged foot that felt like it weighed a hundred pounds. True to the doctor’s words in our pre-op meeting, my foot was very numb, reminding me of the feeling I’ve had after having dental work done. No pain. Ahhh.
My friend Lorna was waiting in the wings to greet me. (What a bright light! Thank you precious friend!) I don’t remember now how I got dressed (they said I wouldn’t remember much in the few minutes after receiving the drugs and waking up – definitely the case) but next thing I knew I was up and being wheeled outside.
I stood up in my boot and walked to the car. Amazing! Let the healing begin.
[Post Surgery Note: You can read the whole story including all the tips I learned and resources I discovered in my ebook “Bunion Survivor’s Guide to Bunion Surgery & Bunion Surgery Recovery.”