I have been dreading foot surgery for weeks. I would have been dreading it for longer but have only known I needed it for a month or so. While I was dreading it, I wasn’t particularly worried about the outcome, more the preparation for having to travel 1500k (1000 miles) to Adelaide to have it done that was the complicating factor…and of course the nature of the surgery, being both feet, meant I would be incapacitated for a full two weeks and maybe longer depending on individual recovery time. I’d also been warned anecdotally that the recovery would be painful. I’ve since learned from my own experience and from the medical staff at the clinic that this varies considerably depending on the individual, and the radical nature of the procedure. Mine has not been particularly painful, needing only paracetamol for discomfort. In fact I had more discomfort from the lack of mobility for my back than I had for my feet, however we are not yet into the physical therapy phase either.

One of the reasons I wanted to proceed at this time was because it was early intervention for my own bone spurs and beginning bunions, which would only worsen over time and which had every chance of relatively easy recovery if done early. So far, I would highly recommend this approach. The necessary part of keeping one’s feet elevated and very little movement for two weeks (in my case) is the same for one foot or both, and even though the left foot was less problematic, the recovery and low level activity is the same for both and would be if I had them done individually. So the surgeon agreed since we live remotely and part of the difficulty is the arrangements and duration of immobility, doing two at once would be ok.

What I didn’t know when we started down this road was that it is recommended to keep the ‘sandals’ on 24/7 for at least two weeks, and certainly when upright and walking for another 1-3 weeks, and the full recovery is 8-10 weeks! Yikes. Once home on my own again, this will be tricky. It would have also been tricky had I not found out in time to shop for a pair of pants that would slip on over the highly fashionable post op sandals. Later I found out the sandals can be unstrapped while slipping pants on and off, however the bandages are still quite bulky and would require something more than my normal pants. It was the only part of the entire procedure that was not well communicated and I have no idea why. One certainly needs to be aware of the limitations and prepare for them.

Having done a Google search a week before the surgery, I found out that wide legged ‘yoga pants’ or track pants—-something stretchy to fit over the boot/sandal was the optimum attire for post op use. Who would have guessed that wide legged yoga and track pants were out of style just when I needed them!? I searched for two hours in downtown Adelaide, finding several helpful sales people but no pants wide enough or stretchy enough for the job. And then a lovely young sales woman wearing the latest fashion in jeans suggested I might try a pair of them. They draped nicely over her shoes and were certainly wide enough so I thanked her and found the shop she suggested. In that shop a nice, very young man of about 20 asked if he could help me. I explained what I was after and he said ‘I had a moon boot a year or so ago and I know exactly what you mean’. He walked over to a table and picked up a pair of wide legged jeans and told me they would certainly work! And they did! I’m not saying I’m cool or a fashion statement, not by a long shot and about 50 years, however, they do not look as ridiculous as I had imagined and even the nurses in recovery thought they were brilliant—-they used that exact word!! I wish I could walk into that shop and tell that young man how much his advice helped me. We all want to be helpful, you know.

As soon as I tried on the trendy pants and knew they fit and would work, I could also see a problem. Given my shortness on the bottom end, they were 2.5 inches too long. Fortunately, I’m familiar with that problem and had previously used a ‘one hour’ hemming service only a short way down the mall in the Adelaide Arcade. I quickly made my way there. Sitting here writing with feet bound to the max, I’m dreaming of the luxury of ‘moving quickly’ anywhere again soon! I explained to the woman taking the job that all I wanted was for someone with a good pair of scissors to cut the pants off evenly at the appropriate length, and leave the edges to ravel…trendily, of course. By now I was embracing this trend, even at my age. And why not? I was going to be at home with my feet up, not even likely to have visitors for two weeks…why not have fun? She kept wanting to hem them for me but I explained I didn’t want that and finally we settled on her reinforcing the side seems which satisfied both of us. She had me try them on and pinned them to the desired length and within half an hour I’d received a text message that they were ready to be collected. Magic. To visit somewhere with this service was a luxury for me.

So. Here I sit, two days after surgery and 13 days until the sutures are removed and the bandages come off. Also 13 days before I can shower again! Gruesome, I know… waiting in my trendy, baggy, shaggy jeans… hoping that my feet will heal enough for our overseas trip starting June 14th. While convalescing at our daughter’s house, her tiny little sausage dog, Leni, provides endless comfort and entertainment. My dear husband is brushing up his skills of washing clothes and making cups of tea and lunch and doing a smashing job of it, but is clearly worn out. Meanwhile, we await an update for a newly developing situation with his health and it’s all a bit much. We just put one surgically repaired foot in front of the other and move forward. I will report more soon.