Friday, October 31, 2014

The Misadventures of Michatan: the one-legged workout

Day 10

  When I googled "non weight bearing workouts" there wasn't a lot to choose from for people like me. I'm proof that you can have a good workout, even with a cast on your leg.  I'm not a fitness professional so my routine is not scientific. What I can say is that I sweat so much today that I needed to take a second shower.
  This is my comic strip character Michatan.  She was invented in 2004 by my best friend from college, Carolyn and drew this for me this morning.

By Carolyn Bott, 2014

  This was posted on my Facebook feed yesterday. It's motivating because I've worked very hard over the past 2.5 years to become fit and I don't want being in a cast to stop me from doing what I love to do.  

To view my work-out click here.  Love my eighties weights.

 This is my giant shower bag.  No sponge baths for this girl.  My favourite part of my day is breakfast in bed (thanks Tim for mastering the over-easy egg) and my shower(s).

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pity Party: 24 hours of self-commiseration

Day 9

  I was expecting this day to come right around now.  I had my pity-party; it's over now.  I was joking  with friends before my surgery how I picture myself after the surgery: in bed, barely moving with a bag of chips in one hand and drool coming out the corner of my mouth. Yesterday, I was that person.

  Everything I do takes much more effort and three times as long. I'm not that patient yet! Naturally, that made me a little sad.  Also, I drank way too much wine on Tuesday night in celebration of my return to Kingston and my one week post-op.  "Don't drink too much," said Tim. "I won't," I said thinking I have this totally under control.  That was not the case, I was way over my head.  Tim had to work the next day and I woke him up at 3am Wednesday morning to grab me a bucket and kept him up for the next two hours.
  I realize alcohol is a depressant and that I didn't make the best choice. I spent all of Wednesday feeling sorry for myself: crying, eating and staring off into space.  I didn't feel like doing anything and I was alone for the first time since the surgery. Tim bought some all-dressed and sour cream and onion chips the night before.  I found them in the same cupboard as our travel mugs on the top shelf hidden between the martini glasses. You can't hide anything in a woman's house.  She'll always find it!
  "MICHELLE, how are you?" texted Carolyn. "Hi," I responded,  "I'm that person I didn't want to be. Demotivated, bored and eating too many chips." "Watch documentaries on Netflix," she continued, "educate than scare the shit out of yourself."  Carolyn is my best friend from college.  She is the type of person that would say wildly inappropriate things at any time and is absolutely hysterical to be around. "Get Tim to draw dicks on your cast.  Big long skinny ones, short fat juicy ones, itsy bitsy teeny weeny peens." "It's fiberglass, can't really draw on it," I texted.  "Where there's a will, there's a way," she declared.  "Get a thick marker. Silver. Or you could decoupage some dicks on there." "No will here," I responded.  I ended up taking Carolyn's first suggestion and decided to watch a documentary on Katy Perry's 2011 tour. Even beautiful, successful, rich and talented people get depressed too.  I felt a bit better.
  I still have another 4-5 weeks to go with a cast that I can put absolutely no weight on before I get switched to a walking cast.  The good news is that pain is minimal in part to the fact that I've been keeping my leg elevated as much as I can above my heart to improve circulation and reduce swelling and discomfort.

  Anyways, I plan to do a little bit more with myself today.  I have a workout area set up in my bedroom.  In the back of my mind, I'm still going to become a one legged work-out YouTube sensation. But, probably not.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

PG -13: Parents Strongly Cautioned

Day 7

My new foot was unveiled this morning when they removed my plaster cast.  Don't scroll down, if you don't want to see it; parental guidance is recommended. It was bruised and swollen and frankly looked like it didn't belong to me.  I couldn't look at it for more than a few seconds without feeling emotional.

I asked Dr. Brunet to draw me diagram of his work (see below).  He described the Lapidus procedure which is used to correct moderate to severe bunion deformity.  He cut the bone at the base of my toe, swung it over and put three screws in to hold it in place.  Then he shaved bone on the side of the bunion location (cresentic osteotomy) and shortened and lengthened ligaments (ligament balancing). is a website by orthopedic surgeons and is a great source for more information.

I'm now in a fiberglass cast which is lighter and more durable.  My stitches will be removed next week.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Reclaiming My Independence

Day 6

"Does Paul miss Paul? It must be weird for him to know he's next...", texted my friend Carolyn.  "Lmao, you're hilarious," I responded. "No, the Pauls were," she said, "but you've killed one."
  I'm finally getting good at the showering routine.  My parents' water heater is adjusted to piping hot. Like when you point the shower knob to cold, it's still hot.  My Mom asked my Dad to turn up the water heat a billion degrees.  It took me a couple days of scolding hot water on my skin for me to remember this. I actually enjoyed my shower today despite having a giant bag wrapped around my leg.  I have discovered that the shower chair is not only a terrific tool for someone like me but could become an excellent help in the future for shaving my legs in the shower.  Why have I been standing in the shower all these years?  I highly recommend that you consider this for your own primping as well. 
  I made myself breakfast today although I had to sit while preparing it. I have also acquired a pink back pack to carry my iPad etc. around in.

  And yes, I have been going out in public in my pyjama pants. I am that person, but I have an excuse and I did put mascara on. All my normal pants are tapered and won't fit over my cast.  It's not my fault what's in style.  I went to Service Canada and acquired an accessible parking permit signed off by my surgeon for the next three months.  Perfect for the casino and the upcoming holidays.  So If you want to take me somewhere, I can promise you a good parking spot.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Paul Bunions


  My co-worker Karen calls them Paul Bunions.  "Poor Paul," she would say as I hobbled around in my scrubs.  Of course, both Pauls were aggravated as I just spent several hours standing on a hard floor.
  The pain wouldn't stop me though.  I would still exercise 2 hours/day 5-6 days week. I was used to it by now.  I would imaging myself at a spin class with only the discomfort of lactic acid to deal with rather than the Pauls screaming at me from below.
  I've hesitated for years to have bunion surgery.  I'm 33 years old and throughout my 20s, I've had multiple consultations with several surgeons. I've had bunions for as long as I could remember.  I've never been able to wear high heels due to the instant pain I get from the pressure on the balls of my feet or wear flip flops because my toes would crunch together over the plastic piece that went in between them.
  The last two and a half years of my life, I've become fairly active.  Although I lost over 30 lbs, my bunion pain became more intense and frequent.  It has become increasingly difficult to find any shoe that fit my feet.  To compensate for the Pauls, I would choose a half size bigger which would cause my heels to constantly slip out of my shoes. 
  My increased frustrations lead to a consultation with Dr. Jacques Brunet at the Ottawa General Hospital.  I asked my family physician in Kingston to refer me to him since I had recently talked to someone that had both bunions removed at the same time with him and was satisfied with the outcome.
  My boyfriend Tim, who has a medical background, attended the consultation with me and was not convinced bunion surgery was the best route for me.  I had already been wearing orthotics for years and I felt ready to explore the next step.  I was positive that I was ready to proceed this time and was very eager to hear what Dr. Brunet had to say. "Are you double jointed?" asked Dr. Brunet. "No," I said as he took my fingers and contorted them in funky directions. "Yes, you are. Look!" he said.  "Oh, that's weird," I said.  "You were destined for bunion surgery," he said, "I wouldn't wait any longer than two years to have them operated on."  I left the consultation pretty upset.  I guess was eager to hear what I thought Dr. Brunet would say and not what he actually did say. Only one foot could be operated on at a time since I would be non-weight bearing (NWB) for 5-6 weeks post-operatively and I shouldn't wait any longer than two years to have the surgery. You mean I have to go through this TWICE in two years!!! WTF!! Tim left the consultation confident that I should get surgery.  What a switch!

  I booked my surgery for my left foot for October 22, 2014 at the Kemptville District Hospital.  As this day approached, I tried to make the most of my active days.  I went for a manicure and pedicure two days before.  "Only polish on one foot please."  As for my fingers nails, I paid extra for shellac and then realized the nurses and doctors use your fingernails to monitor circulation. I scraped the shellac off off one fingernail the night before, hoping that one exposed nail would be enough.
  The staff at the Kemptville Hospital were extremely reassuring.  I thought I would be more nervous then I ended up being moments before the surgery.  They wrapped me in cozy warm blankets which made me unbelievably relaxed. The anesthesiologist told me that she would be my eyes and ears during the surgery as I was hesitant about being put asleep.  "We're bringing you to OR #2, the room with the view". "Perfect", I said, " that's what I asked for when I booked this."
  When I woke up from the anesthesia, I couldn't believe that I had been asleep.  Dr. Brunet was right there and I told me everything went fine. I felt really good. My foot was completely numb.  The nurse offered me ginger ale with ice chips which seemed like the best thing in the world.  
  Tim was in the waiting room to greet me after surgery and soon after my parents met me to take me to their house in Orleans.  My foot would be frozen for 18-36 hours post-op and I was feeling very relieved.

  If you are considering bunion surgery, I would highly recommend that you purchase crutches, a shower chair and a shower bag for your cast and rent a wheelchair.  Make sure you have someone who can help you for the first week.  I stayed with my parents who work from home and I enjoyed and sucked up every minute of it.  Also, I recommend the HBO series GIRLS to watch, but not with your Dad like I did.

Day 5

 Today is the day when I decided to write my blog; partly due to boredom and the desire to keep my brain somewhat active but also because I wasn't able to find or talk to someone who recently went through a similar experience.  Majority of people that I heard of or talked to all could get both feet operated on at the same time.  What if my first surgery was so awful that I would never want to do it again?  What if I could never return to the active person I once was?  Honestly, I haven't experienced anywhere near the amount of pain and discomfort that I prepared myself for. Granted, I've been faithfully taking my hydromorphone and acetaminophen and I'm certainly looking forward to having my plaster cast changed to fiberglass in less than 48 hours.
  My first legitimate wheelchair experience was today.  I watched a video on YouTube last night of Heather Dugan, who was in a cast and posted workout videos which included many many pull-ups.  She encouraged fellow cast-mates to make sure to continue to do things that are enjoyable and try to get out of the house.  Because I still need to keep my foot elevated, I had to sit in the back seat of the car with my leg spread over the seats.  The wheelchair wasn't so bad.  I managed to wheel myself away from Tim when he wasn't looking and because I'm only at hip height, I was pretty hard to find among the aisles of SAIL.  He bought me a water bottle. By the time I got back to my parents, my foot felt numb. I felt like I burnt the 1000 calories that I ate at lunch (Gabriel's Pizza).  My excursion was definitely one or two days premature.