January 26, 2007


Here is a tale about feet. Mine. The gory bits are elsewhere - link at the bottom for those with weak tummies.

Bunions - what a great word, sounds like something you might order as a side-dish. I have (only one now) bunions. They are ghastly, painful and make shoe buying hard.
Just when you think you have comfy old slip-ons the joint swells up and you’re back to square one. Also I think of bunions as an old bird condition (no disrespect to any seniors) so of course have ‘issues’.

Added to the problem was the fact that when feet hurt it affects walking and posture which in turn causes back ache.

What to do then? The GP was first. Her words were. ‘Ooh they’ll need operating on. Wait a while and see how it goes.’ I wasn’t sure why she gave me the the virus speech. I waited - they got worse. Hobbled back to doc. Saw another who referred me to a podiatrist.

Sweet chap gave me insoles. Feet still hurt lots. Back to doc for referral elsewhere.

Saw Consultant. I told him that when my feet hurt lots my walking was affected and my back ached - he looked at me like I was deranged and said, “I can’t help your back.” No amount of explanation could get through to him what I was actually meaning. He said I might need surgery as a last option but it was grueling with a long recovery time. He then had a brilliant idea which was to refer me to another podiatrist who suggested ... have you guessed? Yes. Insoles. Please note all this took months.

This is not a moan about the NHS. I have had marvelous care and support in the past but this time I felt a head banging against a wall moment coming on. I was stuck in a vicious loop.

In the meantime my big toes were veering off in the wrong direction causing almost constant pain which was making me miserable and grumpy.
Time to take matters into my own feet. I spent many hours finding out about the options.

And there he was - the man who can - drum roll please - Mr Ron McCulloch (FCPodS) Podiatric Surgeon who owns the London Podiatry Centre in Lewisham.
He could make my feet better. He would cut, chop, grind, re-shape, pin and screw. Sorted.

He explained the cunning plan, gave me printouts of everything I needed to know and generally cheered me up with his confidence. I could call or email and get quick replies. Brilliant!

Surgery scheduled for the 10th January. I’m so glad I know hypnotic techniques to calm nerves and mentally prepare. The prospect of being pain-free was so exciting I didn’t bother to think about post surgery pain.

Our man Ron performs this operation under local anesthetic (me not him!) and those injections hurt. I could numb my foot with hypnosis but sometimes it’s best to know what’s going on and if nerves are really zapped. He stabbed me several times around the ankle which wasn’t much fun but is over and done with quickly so not worth getting in a tizzy about. Bits of my foot started to go numb but it needed a bit of help with a little extra stabbing to the nerve.

We moved into the operating room. The Senior Podiatrist, Ms Nutan Shah, SRCh was on hand so to speak to assist and they just happen to be married. Also in the proceedings was Nurse Tina.

An important point here that I must make is that they are all pleasing on the eyes. There is nothing more shocking when feeling vulnerable than having a random fright-fest turn up startling the crap out of you. I’ve been in hospital and heard the tail slapping on the ground as the scary monster floats.

Not here. It is calm and peaceful. And they have the radio playing.

Mr and Mrs are very entertaining and work beautifully as a double act. The knowledge that your foot is being re-shaped while you haven’t any feeling but can hear it happening is bizarre and I would love to have watched the procedure. Sadly not allowed.

I lost track of the time but then those lovely words, “That’s the last stitch”. Large pressure dressing wrapped round foot followed by comedy shoe, instruction on walking with crutches and I left them to their Chinese takeaway. It was about 9.00 p.m. We got drive by Maccie D.

They had told me that the local anesthetic might last a few hours but it actually stayed put until 8.30 the following morning. Of course you would think that meant I slept all night. But I didn’t. I woke up every hour wondering if it was still numb and how much it might or might not hurt.

When it did wear off it hurt but only a bit. I rather enjoyed being propped in bed or on the sofa being waited on. That night I slept like a log and when I woke in the morning I hurt lots. Had very wicked un-shareable thoughts regarding the man who only 2 days previously had been my hero. But it didn’t last long and I realised it was swollen and stiff through lack of movement. My discomfort levels went up and down over the following week until I returned to have the dressing changed.

During the second week the soreness changed and after a few days it felt very much on the surface. Having the stitches out was fine. It almost tickled. Nutan did this bit as she had the week before and she is gentle and lovely. She also demonstrated how to massage away the swelling. Gross, as if! We were firmly instructed which bit of the toe to touch to ensure it didn’t break and my naked foot was popped back into its comedic little home.
I am writing this 16 days after surgery. I have bathed which was bliss, massaged which is even more blissful. Although it is still swollen, bit achy and scabby all the old bunion pain has gone and I am very happy.

I’ll keep you posted. Pictures through here

1 comment:

Richard King said...

How many other people would post photos of their bunions on the Internet?
You are certainly different!