My journey into my foot surgery (HVG)
My little trip around the world had to be put on hold...
Operation Date 27.02.2020 morning
I arrived at the clinic "Merian Iselin Klinik" early. They gave me a pill to relax and be chilled.
The prep room was nice, I had to change clothes and the nurse asked few questions and I was provided with everything written in a nice booklet. Perfect team!
I had to choose what I wanted to have for breakfast etc. Put my necessary things I want to reach when I wake up in the white box (so I added Iphone & Apple Watch).
Nurse came and pushed the bed in the corridors, then we took the elevator and we got to the operation room, I could see the Dr’s from the transparent plastic separation.
They asked me if I have any allergies, crosschecking info written on my file ... Anyway I stated it again .. all good, no stress.
Put the IV on my left hand and a gas on my face asking me to deeply breath in ... and then I was gone. Full anesthesia rather than only local as the stress of being "aware" or not totally disconnected is a no-go for me.
Woke up few hours later around 2/3pm still in another waiting room, post op, felt good and thankful I made it :)
Nurses came couple of times to check on me, all was perfect. Asked if I had pain but I was good on all point. So glad all the staff were so nice and so professional.
Later around 4:30pm I was driven to my room while on the bed and they gave me my first meal. As I hadn’t eaten anything since 9pm the previous day and due to the meds I was battling between sleeping and eating.
Now the journey began...
My journey and Evolution - From start to 11 Weeks today ...
I was on Morphine first. It just knocked me out straight. I would be sleeping all time, waking up when it was time to eat (8:15, 12 and 17:45), and falling asleep before the food reached my mouth. Once, I fell asleep and I had the fork in my hand, woke up again and took another bite of lasagna, while putting in my mouth I realize I already had food there not swollen :/ ...
The morphine was most of the time putting me KO but not so for the pain. I felt exhausted, when nurses came to talk I almost wanted to throw up. I couldn’t. Apparently a bad reaction or side effects. It once happened one night I got some kind of panic attacks 4 times in a row while deeply sleeping I would wake up breathless, shaking like I was about to fall from the bed. (.. that feeling when in a dream you are falling and then it wakes you up in panic?). Besides, while falling asleep I would be breathing in but then not breathing out and feel I was holding it until I no longer can and will react wake up breathless. Like my system didn’t know how to breathe no more or was too tired. It was quite scary, I told the nurse and ask for a change of medicines.
I usually never asked for the meds until I really feel the pain. Wrong move. I was so scared of being addicted (morphine) that I was pushing the limit of what I can take. Believing I’m strong I can take it.
The pain would wake me up, then once at night it was so strong I called and the nurse said they can’t give me meds because I have to wait as I have reached the limit.
Well that night I cried the hell out of me.
The pain was very very strong. And because of the way I felt with my stomach I had to wait until it’s all gone from my body before they could switch to another one [oxynorm]. Which I later tolerated much more better!
Nurse then explained to me there is no chance of overdose as all dose are well calculated and I can ask every one hour. Every one hour? Why the hell no one told me before?? I thought as for usual meds you should be waiting 4/5hours.. that’s why I wasn’t requesting more often.
I stood with no meds from around 3am ish until mid day.
Morning I had first physiotherapy appointment. He came in and told me today we are going to try to walk. I open my wide eyes like .. uhhhh what , kidding right? Just got operated what ...? -
Get up, feet down, put the ugly shoes on, grab crutches and lets try. Well, all I felt was the pain. Not from the surgery scar and the cut. No. From the blood flowing down the feet. Eyes grabbing tears. Felt like shit.. couldn’t do up to 60cm walk. That was two steps and a half. Felt like a failure, assuming he thought I could do more but in that pain there isn't much you can really do. Back to bed. Message of comfort “don’t worry will try again tomorrow, try to go to the bathroom from time to time with the nurse whenever you can “. Unrealistically playing the scene again. So, this the pain I have signed up for blindly? Thinking how long it was going to last, feeling safe in my bed I didn’t feel so much pain so I didn’t expect that putting down the feet was going to be so brutal. I heard it hurts but I didn’t get what exactly hurts. Wasn’t the wound of the surgery or the bones or muscle that hurts, no.
I slept, rested, ring for some meds, took my lunch and slept again.
Woke up needed to go and pee, the nurse came, helped me out on the shoes and grab the crutches (I was thinking but I really want to pee we don’t have time for shoes, crutches, stress , 2min to get up and walk.. why not bring the pot?), now realizing the pot thing is over, only at night. Stop the laziness and get your shit together. Extenuating.. but first painful.
Somehow I managed, with less pain than when I was with the physiotherapist in the morning, excited I thought wow I’m improving isn’t?
Few hours later, same exercise, call on the nurse to go to the bathroom, this time pain was not the same. Just didn’t get it, could barely lift my feet up because of the pain. Was I back to square one? So confusing. [That's when you know being Patient is a blessing!]
Later that day, I had friends visiting me at the clinic. It was nice and comforting to see them all. As I was in a shared room it was uncomfortable for the lady next to me as we were loud and visiting time was coming to an end. So I asked to go to the cafeteria all together and chill there. Nurse approved and friends asked for a wheelchair. The wheelchair was brought at the room entrance. Still got to get there!
With all my motivation, power and not wanting my friends to leave I stood up. Carried my anxiety together with my willingness with me. They helped with the shoes and now was time to rock the walk!. I made it and it was much better than the attempt with the Physio in the morning !
[video at the end of this page]
On Sunday, exit planned day, I haven’t slept much at night. My left feet was painful despite the legs up.
Early morning I first felt very well and positive, I asked for some meds, and to use the bathroom to refresh. The pain was a 10/10 starting early.. Once I put the feet down it was so painful I couldn't move, I was standing, tired and another nurse came in to support and told me "Hmm If you have pain like this you can't go home today.." : this annoyed me but at the same time gave me power to continue to try and reach the bathroom. Finally got there starting to feel better. Another nurse brought my meds to drink. I was changing still, few minutes later pressing the buttin for the nurse to come as I was done, I asked for one of my crutches next to the wall, as I turn around, my head started spinning. I shouted for the chair, I was falling, fainting. The meds was too quick on me. I couldn't barely hear anything, all was getting white and apparently I had lost consciousnesses from time to time. All I know, is 5 nurses were then around trying to get me to my bed which they have brought next to the bathroom door, problem is I couldn't move away from holding the sink while losing my mind and fear of falling. I think it lasted 5min or less before I could do the 3 steps back to reach the bed. Quite something!!
Due to that event I wasn’t allowed to get away and leave. So, one night more for me.
Bright side of it: another day with the greatest top 5* food served!
Time to exit, checkout the clinic and go straight to my first physiotherapy appointment at 1pm.
My friend came to pick me up. Got in the car hardly, maybe should have gone at the back to lay down.
At the Physio she massaged and had a look, all went good. Felt the swelling was getting away.
We drove back to my friend house where I stayed for 3days because there is no way I could have survived by myself.
I took over her couch as the toilet room wasn’t too far and she helped incredibly with everything.. food and stuff. The pain was strong and now I was switching to my own meds which I felt didn’t do much compared to the one in the clinic. Obviously;)
I was struggling to get up to the bathroom and also sleeping. I had added pillows under my feet to keep them up but my knee and back were not happy about this same position for long.
Time to get back home as I had my family visiting to help out. So half a week, mix of pain and being ok. Depends on the day...
Surprisingly able to walk easily without crutches sometimes but took one at least just in case.. as my knee sometimes acts funny.
My first day alone... home.
Noticing how little I can actually do by myself but taking it easy and managing the pain.
Doctor appointment which I though was a casual one, and actually was to Remove the stitches... not a good feeling but not so bad neither. The fear was all Over me! (More pain in my head than actually)
All day and night after that, it has been tingling a bit, discomfort, pain.
I had pain but not so much that I needed to take a pill (I am not a fan of pills and meds in general.. ). Doesn’t mean I wasn’t in pain but just I prefer to not take them.
Decision to stop all meds (arcoxia 60mg) and continuing the Cléxane injections every evening. By the way I was pretty scared of doing the 8pm injections of Cléxane for thrombosis myself. But it was very easy and did not hurt.
Now home on lockdown but at least it wasn't due to Covid-19.
Week 7 (day 51) : did my first hike of the year 16.5km !
Week 11 : Continuing exercising (walk on treadmill 1h per day), massage 30min..
Why did I have an operation ?
So , I had an halluxvalgus which is more hereditary than due to my high heels shoes. My mum and mum sisters suffered from this and very very badly. It may have started when I was 10 years old i guess when I noticed the little bump on the sides but nothing major. I had never ever had pain until last year where things started to fall apart with my body. Few months ago, I started to have lack of balance when walking (stopping in a middle of a normal Walk and wondering what the heck is wrong with my legs ? Felt like i didn’t know how to walk properly again.. ), more of a discomfort. My knee was progressively getting inner side hitting my left knee. Completely destroying the straightness of my leg (literally bending on the side), which you can notice when I was standing, bending or sleeping.
Pain on the feet started badly with or without shoes, heels or no heels, tight or not most probably not even tight. Not even really on the bunion level but more on top of the foot and middle up to ankles.
Later on I started to have pain on the hips , mostly the right one, that’s quite critical. I am sitting normally and everything is good, I would get up from my chair and then I am blocked ! It almost makes me laugh because it’s brutal and shocking I just can’t move for few seconds and it all looks awkward, every one looking at me like “uhhh are you ok? What’s wrong”, trying to slightly straighten my body , only time could help me, something a good 20seconds before I can move again ..and obviously staying on the weird half up position centimeters up from the chair.
Later on, I will have pain from my right shoulder to top of the neck. This I couldn’t do much than going for therapeutic massage and the lady was always telling me it’s so tense and hard it’s even hurting her massaging me. Once a week I would go for a relief. Then I had neck pains.
Suddenly started to have torticolis and from my right shoulder up to the neck and back of the head near the right ear I will just be blocked. Every week, I will have incapacity to turn my head to the right side, just unstretchable. Unbelievable the amount of mess that happens in just 3-4 months. And kept increasing. I could clearly see : my feet deforming at a higher speed (big toe was even trying to hide under the second toe, my knees where just suffering to another level, my hip was taking a hit, then my shoulder-neck-head was just killing.). I couldn’t continue this mode of survival for long and certainly didn’t want to have to fix my hip or back at some stage of my life in the future.
( only at a very late stage did I made the connection with all this ! )
As all went worse and I just couldn’t walk without pain, I decided to take my health back under control. I once had an accident home where a suitcase fell on my feet, right on it! I just thought it was broken. I have seen 4 doctors even one in emergency, in Paris and in Basel where I live.
At last, after couple of appointments I chose my Dr and he confirmed an urgent operation date before more damages occurs.
The Merian Iselin Klinik
The best treatment, service and support I could have imagine. Also glad to have my Doctor visiting me and explaining the process cleaely while putting me in confidence. Day and night shift, the nurses were super kind.
Perfect clean room and facilities, support to have guest visiting in other floors to chill.
I have to specially share the meals I had was just fabulous!
Tips & Tricks ?
To do before you get off your bed the first 10days:
Never get up straight : take time to 1) move your feet left and ride, front and back for few secs. 2)put your feet down First,3) shake your hands up (activate body). 4) wear your shoes ,5)grab your crutches and make sure someone around (so easy to lose balance and fall then hurt your toes due to the extra stretching).
Wear easy large clothes, recommend a dress easy to pull up when you want to go to the bathroom, but I started with these pants: I had bought 5 like those MESHIKAIER on biggest size.
In my bed from the clinic I tried some exercise from time to time. Try to feel my toes and see if I can “move them a little” sense them. Move my feet to the left and right then to front and back. From time to time no excess. If it hurts don’t do it! No pressure.
Where you sleep you should have it all : tv, books, food, water, shoes, crutches, clothes, charger, phone etc or make sure your buddy is not far away ... no way you can cook or stand for more than a few minutes the first weeks especially as you need balance when you stand.
While on crutches I often lost balance and almost fell, which got me into so much heat and stressed out, just got to take it slowly one crutches after the other and always on front. One feet after the other ..
Do not attempt going up and down with stairs: forget it ! Highjack your couch if your room is upstairs if necessary
Remove any things like carpet on the floor from where you are going to stay and the bathroom
Go to the bathroom often before you want to pee. Trust me when you are in urge to pee and you have to first prepare yourself otherwise the blood getting in your feet and toes will hurt you so bad, then put your shoes on, then carry your crutches then start trying to walk (while supporting the pain), getting to the toilet and quickly think where to drop one crutch, where to hold and simultaneously put your pants down, grab sit and put a leg forward > I hope you are good at keeping it inside :/ when you have an urge to pee...
Prepare your bathroom and install a chair in front of the sink and your toiletries ready next to you so you can easily Have your body cleaning and stuff done. No shower possible as you can’t stand or sit too long and worse if you are alone.
Do not : Warnings
Take your meds before eating !
Be alone for the first 2 weeks ! It is hard to get up from bed/couch or else alone. Also not possible to walk any stairs (difficult to lift one leg and put weight on the second feet even with crutches).
Try to kill or push away a mosquito (!) , Might end up falling in panic due to lack of balance [serious]
Be impatient : I had days of improvements and so excited and the next hour so much pain I can’t walk and felt I had regressed completely. This happened for a whole week, I never knew where I was. Was I doing good ? Or was I getting worse? Gotta be patient and cope with it, it takes time ...