The aftermath and lessons learned – Part 3

knee scooter, invaluable after knee surgery!

Hello friends! This post is part of the Foot to Mouth story.

 

You can catch up with:

Part 1 – preparing for surgery (includes dry socket and scooter info)

Part 2 – surgery day (includes the fears and accomplishments)

Today, let’s move on to Part 3 – the aftermath and lessons learned, which will be the final instalment. I sincerely hope…


I don’t do sick.

In fact, I don’t even remember the last time I was sick.

I was afraid of the surgery because of getting sick. But I wasn’t sick at all on surgery day, because the hospital wouldn’t even release me if I was!

Upon getting out of bed the next day, I was maybe a little groggy, however it really wasn’t that big of a deal. I grabbed my knee scooter, and met my brother, who stayed for night in the kitchen. Time to brew up some coffee!

Is that the worst of it? Wow, did I ever sail through this one!

However, once things were brewing, something swept over me that hit so intense and fast, I knew I had to get back to bed, or else I’d be on the floor.

“I don’t feel well…” is all I could muster. I seriously couldn’t even talk after that. All I remember is heading back to bed to stop the spinning.

My brother followed me into the bedroom to chat about what was wrong. Was it the anesthetic from the day before? Or was this the new-to-me Tramadol I had taken all night long?

I think it was Tramadol. When I set my alarm all night long to take it as prescribed, I remember the last take feeling queasy. But I just erased that out of my mind and went back to sleep.

Tramadol was the med prescribed to me for pain management because I couldn’t take Tylenol 3 with codeine.

Well, the last thing on my mind was to take another one. I was D.O.N.E. I’d rather deal with pain than be this sick to my stomach from head to toe.

Les left me for a few minutes to gather his thoughts and so I could also gather mine. What was going on? I just allowed my head to sink into the pillow and… nothing. I couldn’t nor wanted to do anything else. I felt poisoned. 

Before Les left for home (under my insistance,) he whipped me up a big batch of Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup, and my neighbour Janette checked up on me periodically. There was just nothing else to do but sleep this one off. No Tv. No reading. Just eyes closed looking forward to a better day tomorrow. I have never felt so poorly in all my life.

Tramadol, you will forever be on my hit list.

The next day was a whole different story. My head was completely clear and I felt great!

knee scooter, invaluable after knee surgery!

I heavily relied on the knee scooter (more on it HERE) but that’s ok, that’s what it was there for! This thing became my next best friend. I couldn’t believe how effortlessly wheeling around on it was. It was NOT a big deal to scoot from bedroom to kitchen at all, especially with that basket attached. Both phones came with me all the time so I didn’t have to dash for a thing.

The cane was a slightly different scenario. It came in handy for tight spaces, however using it regularly started to actually do harm to my back and arm. I could only support my weight for so long that way. Hands down, the scooter quickly became my #1.

I can’t even fathom how I would have done if I had taken my dr’s advice of not likely needing a scooter or cane prior. There is no way. NO WAY.

As for my foot, it felt ok but odd. And that’s when I noticed the bandages were pretty thick and crunchy. I pulled them away from my foot and it immediately felt better. That’s when I knew I’d have to somehow brave it and change the dressing.

Luckily, Janette’s hubby Jake is a fireman with first aid, so together we successfully changed everything out using the extra gauze and bandages I was given upon hospital release. Whew! 

When I had walked around the hospital before they let me go, my foot had started bleeding. I remember asking them to change the dressing, but all they did was stick additional gauze into the foot wrap to tide me over. BAD MOVE. Now I wish I had stood my ground as this wasn’t a pleasant thing to deal with. Nor was I even suppose to even touch those bandages.

Over the weekend, I was royally spoiled with phone calls, messages, and Janette bringing over dinner. I was so grateful for anything. And honestly, was feeling pretty good despite needing to elevate the foot to stop the foot from pounding. It was all do-able with no pain killers. 10 seasons of Heartland came in mighty handy!

At one point when Janette brought over a lovely homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese (to die for…), I turned to her and said, “Ya know, this is not a terrible thing! Rest, Netflix, food… what’s to hate here?!”

However, things were about to get a little rough around the edges… of course.

Full throttle mouth drama

Exactly 2 days after surgery, I woke up to an aching jaw that gradually grew to a jaw that screamed for attention. No. Please, no. I’ve had dry socket before, and right on schedule, looks like I was about to deal with it again, during the worst of times.

So let me paint the realistic picture.

I was barely on my foot, barely clear minded from that medication cloud, could not drive, and could not get 1.5 hours away to the dentist that pulled the tooth.

So I called their office, and they referred me to a dentist near me. My sister happened to be in town that day, (so grateful!) and took me in to see what in the world they could do to stop the pain.

I want to tell you my experience was a good one, but it wasn’t. Those that don’t love dentist visits, please skim over the next paragraph.

The dentist attending started to work on my mouth without anesthetic. I said NO! Freeze me up good! It was a very rough experience even after the fact as this dentist didn’t appear to exhibit the gentle touch I needed right then. And appeared to be completely oblivious to my now streaming tears and requests to slow the heck down and be gentle! I left the office still in tears feeling traumatized and very likely having left a head impression and fingernail punctures in the chair. Bad. Just very very bad.

The next day brought relief. In fact, 2 days of it! Something worked out after all that?! I quickly forgot about what I had endured and just relished in the fact that I could hopefully move on relatively pain free. No pain medication on the menu at all!

And it’s a good thing, because I had an important meeting in town that I had to be a part of that day. I was picked up and all went really well!

Day 3

But not so on the 3rd day. The ache returned and then pounced on me yet again, so I had to think quick. With no family members in town, I looked into the local cab companies, and discovered one had a handy app I could download. I have NEVER taken a cab in all my years of driving other than when on vacation in NYC, so this would be new!

So I hunted for my own nearby dentist this round, and head out for my first cab ride experience. And am happy to report, the needed cab was the best move ever! I fell in love with their service, and little did I know this would be one of the best lessons through all this ever. I no longer ‘feel stranded’ my my truck is out of commission!

What took me so long?

Unfortunately, this next dentist visit (I picked out myself due to good online references) did absolutely nothing to relieve the pain. I hadn’t even left the mall complex yet when I knew I had to revisit him.

Sitting in his chair an hour later, he was not pleased with me challenging his method of treatment, only to find it completely ineffective. Once he started raising his voice at me (seriously), I knew I just had to make my exit and cut this loss out of my life. He wouldn’t get near my mouth ever again. I left the office in more pain than I walked in with and endured it for 4 days on simple painkillers at home.

day 5

On day 5, I’d had enough. My mouth was so angry so I tried another nearby dentist to see if they could help. Taking a cab in once again, he noted my gums appeared to be the issue. He was gentle and kind, however this attempt also didn’t fix what was broke either. Goodness!

What sore foot again?

day 8

3 days later, I hit my pain limit. Imagine me trying to write this story then taking long hiatuses in between. It’s because I simply couldn’t do a thing with all this going on.

I took pictures of my achin’ mouth and swollen gums and emailed them to the dentist that pulled the tooth. He immediately referred me to a specialist in my area this time. Not a dentist. It had become urgent.

On this particular day, my sister was in town and had planned to take me into the next town to get my foot stitches out. Bless this girl because right after, we hightailed it back to my town to the specialist. Foot and mouth all in one day!

And know what he did?

He had to redo the tooth area all over again, like it was day 1 except without the tooth. This was entitled surgery at this point. I won’t get graphic but I will say, when they offered me laughing gas, I took them up on it after enduring 2 solid weeks of intense mouth pain.

Turns out the area was super infected with 3 dentists missing that fact. How can that even be?

However I’m happy to report, this specialist was the BESSSSSSST experience ever! He insisted I see him in a week. I liked that. AND I could accommodate this with a cab ride in myself!

Here’s what helped…


Laughing gas

Laughing gas is administered through a face oxygen mask. They let you breath in oxygen first, then slowly release the gas. Because it’s a gas, they can crank up the amounts or reduce it with you feeling the effects nearly instantly.

It feels like you’re a little drunk. Or a lot drunk. Depending how strong it’s dialed in for.

When they noted how antsy I was due to the pending procedure, they recommended it. I was very hesitant, however I resolved I’d never know how it could have helped me or others if I didn’t try it.

They started with a tiny amount just so I’d feel the effect. When they noted I was having a pain issue or ? that they couldn’t reduce further through freezing, they upped the gas.

I could feel immediately when they had it too high. I waved for them to turn it down, and they complied immediately. I instantly just felt relaxed again, as in, I didn’t really have a worry in the world. If I raised my arm, it wanted to free fall down again.

Once the procedure was over, the stop the gas and replace it with pure oxygen. A few deep breaths later, the gas is completely gone, even leaving you able to drive.

Honestly, my preference would not be to drive after. I was a little giddy after. Or maybe it was due to no pain from the freezing? I don’t know for sure. If I had driven home, I’d have requested a little more time on just oxygen.

I’m not one to want to feel high or stoned or drunk. I love a good, clear sharp mind. However, with the way it relaxed me, I am sold. It was a just good move for all the right reasons. 

boy's bedroom, with ikea floor to ceiling storage against a black wall

See the boy’s bedroom HERE

That night, sis ended up staying the night and we had the nicest visit ever. We were so overdue.

And as much as I wish my ‘then son’s room now now guest room’ was pretty, only this one side was ‘nice’. The other side has turned into a storage area which resembled a long forgotten attic full of misfits.

It was then that I resolved to place finishing this room so it would be nice for son AND guests!

boy's bedroom, with enhanced simple closet and sitting area

And perhaps even a section for perhaps a sewing machine / FB live backdrop / office extension… hmmm…

And no. It was not this clean. I could only wish.

faux barn door headboard made with barn wood and rusty junk

During all this time with the mouth issues, I was generally hunkered in bed with my sore jaw on the pillow and sore foot elevated, watching Heartland. A whole LOTTA Heartland. There was really nothing else I could do.

I was getting spoiled with Janette’s dinner visits and calls and messages from family so I did not feel alone at all. It really was the perfect epic mix of needs being met and loads of healing time in between.

So where are we today?

It’s now a month after the mouth and foot scenario. I have officially returned my knee scooter and am driving! And my mouth is still being overseen by my now specialist. It’s taken a lot of money getting my mouth reworked, and a lot of time for the foot to heal enough to finally get around again. But I am starting to feel normal again.

And would you believe, things improved once my personal life drama levelled out too?

Interesting, isn’t it? Very.

So I am currently rotating my rest days with busy days. One day may be in town, but by the time I get home, my foot is asking to rest. The next day, I may stay in pj’s all day. This is something that just can’t be rushed upon desire, so no need to get all fancy.

Just stay home and heal. Guilt free.

Lessons learned

Despite all the drama, I can now see a lot of value in what transpired.

Over the years, I turned into a workaholic, just staying home and doing my thing. Now I can’t wait to be able to drive out of town to visit family! And I will. The workaholic syndrome has stopped. Balance is now being dealt with at long last.

Being stuck at home had many other valuable benefits too. There had been some personal life drama during this mix, in which I was not able to run out and save the day. Being in lockdown mode at home was indeed needed. It’s like God knew if it was only my mouth, then I’d still be driving. And if it was only my foot, I may not drive but one thing wouldn’t stand in my way for long. NO. I needed both issues to hold me down tight.

cheerios

And boy, did it.

So, the benefits of all this trauma? MANY. My life has actually been changed.


I learned the cab system so I no longer feel stranded.

I reconnected with family out of need. Now I want!

I found a GREAT specialist near me.

I learned the benefits of a knee scooter. SO big.

I’ve been through my first surgery, which is simply another experience I can share to encourage others.

My forced soup diet changed the way I feel. Although a little weak from not moving too much lately, some aggravating stomach issues have resolved and eating clean did it.

Being down and out broadened my focus of others in similar or worse circumstances, as well as my own aging future. I’m much more aware of being disabled and what that could look like in the future. I do believe my next home will not have stairs.

I was forced to stay home for bigger reasons I had no way of foreseeing. There is always a bigger plan than we are aware of, I’m certain of it!


And with that… 

I’m so anxious and ready to start living this newer, better life!

I am so close to being full-time back!

But perhaps not so full-time this time… 🙂


Any profound takeaways from this story for you?

Read all Foot to Mouth entries HERE

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Categories: Foot to Mouth Story, Junk Drawer
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  1. Thank goodness your own dentist sent you to the specialist and you got the re-do on the surgery without the tooth. Gum infections are really serious. Laughing Gas – good thing.

    Thanks Donna for finishing the saga of foot and mouth. Relieved for you that the worst is over.

    Hugs.

    Joy

  2. Great going on the analogy of where you have been, where you are and where you are going. I have learned that lesson as well on rest and try something and reevaluate. Just take it easy, do a little and you will be good to go in the future.

  3. Wow……

    God Bless you my precious friend and He truly has to get you through this..However I can very well remember (sorta..kinda) years back when I faced similar health issues and how overwhelming it is….Some corrective foot & toe surgery but the very worst of all these is when the Mouth is involved….
    Ouch!!!

    I starting praying as soon as I started reading this today and I want you to know I am still praying as I type…..And will continue to uplift you with my Love & Prayers.
    As they used to tell me when I helped Pick Cotton (feeling I would never get to the end)…..”Your’re In The Short Rows Now”…(Hopefully)…
    Have a Blessed day….Love ya….Praying…

  4. Dear Donna

    How insightful. I am sure writing it all down even helped you see it more clearly. The Lord has a way of orchestrating beauty out of ashes for those He loves. The impact of what you have gone through and have gleaned from it may be even more far reaching than you realize.

    Blessings. Brenda

  5. That’s quite a lot to go through! Just think about how much stronger it has made you and I love the part about how you’re going to make time to visit more with family (that warms my heart). Isn’t the gas at the dentist the best? And when they’re done, your head clears up and no lasting effects. I think its the best way to deal with the anxiety of dentist visits. I’m so grateful that you’re on the mend now!

  6. Oh Donna! I am so sorry you had to go through all of this! But, I am glad to hear you are on the road to recovery. Too bad I am on the other side of a different country or I would have been there with soup too. 🙂

  7. So glad to hear you are well again Donna. That was quite an ordeal. What is up with all those dentists not being able to see that you had an infection? Shame on them. I too have to admit that tooth pain is the worst, even worst than childbirth. Haha! So glad to have you back full time. Sometimes we need to go through things like this in order to see the other side of the coin. My dad who is 88 is having problems with his sciatica nerve and he is walking with a cane for the first time in his life. You cannot imagine how miserable he is after being fit all of his life.

  8. Donna I am so happy you are feeling better, what a tough go of things! The only good I can see is both were at the same time, imagine spending a month laid up with your foot, then…having the tooth looked after and suffering for another month with your mouth? It’s awesome you have reconnected with family, social isolation can be so harmful. Onward and upward using all your new life skills you have learned! Take good care, spring is almost here. You are so brave.

    Sandy

  9. Glad to hear you are recovering! I was thinking of you just the other day. In fact, I looked to see if I missed an email on the rest of your story. Sometimes God takes us out of commission to teach us dependence, on Him and on others. We are meant to serve others and to be served. That’s a hard lesson for those of us who are fiercely independent! Thanks for sharing your story!!

  10. Boy, you went through the wringer!!!! Recovery takes a while and lots of patience. I had great difficulty with my last knee replacement, ended up on bed rest for 2 1/2 months prior to surgery. During the time I lost lots of muscle. Then the knee surgery happened and the next morning I had a mild heart attack! Luckily I was in the hospital so had help right away. I was in a rehab center for PT for 2 1/2 months, now so weak as I had lost 65 lbs, mostly muscle! Total time from injury, through rehab, going from wheelchair to walker to cane to walking on my own was 9 months…9 long hard months. But I persisted and am now doing quite well. Still working on muscle strength, but thankful, appreciating every day and loving my life.
    You will get through it all. It definitely teaches you patience! And renewed my faith.

  11. This is kinda personal,but you have shared personal info with us. I noticed in the picture that the toes on your left foot are curling under and the second toe is going under the big toe. The reason I noticed this is that tomorrow I am having foot surgery. My toes have curled under and has become claw-like and mostly unusable. I do have some arthritis but my Dr’s say that is only a small part of the problem and that there is something else going on and they don’t know what. So…I’m wondering if you know why your toes are doing what they are starting to do. Im looking for any clue for myself,and I saw your picture and thought perhaps you might give me a clue. Sorry for such a long comment. Thank you and wishing you healing and blessings.

    • Wow Jill, I hope you aren’t in pain. I don’t have any issues with curling I don’t think. I didn’t even notice they did that! haha I do have bunions on the insides of both feet however they aren’t stopping me from living life so I pretty much ignore them.

      I hope your Dr. can help you figure out what’s up!

  12. I am just so very glad that you are better and continue to be better. I was given Tramadol after my breast cancer surgery. I had no trouble with this drug, in fact when you had mentioned they had given you Tramadol, I thought good you will not get sick from this particular drug.

    I guess your body just didn’t like it. I only took it as needed, so maybe you did over medicate accidentally.

    Just so glad your better. Keep resting, spring and bike rides are on the horizon!

    • Oh, that’s so interesting you did well with it! I took the minimum amount (was assigned double) and boy my system did not appreciate the mere suggestion of it! haha

      I also had issues with penicillin and changed that out to something else too.

      I’m just one of these non-vitamin non-medication non-oil people. That makes things hard when you do need a little extra help for sure!

      • I am the same way Donna, I can’t take vitamins, penicillin etc., etc. I guess those allergies etc. will only make us stronger women! I like that scenario. Good thing we know our bodies better than some of these doctors, who knows what would happen if you took double the dose you were told to do. Yikes!!

        Still very happy your doing well. Thanks for your story, I’ve been dealing with many doctors having had breast cancer so I’ve learned to not let them intimidate me. They work for us not the other way around. LOL!

      • Our bodies and reactions to drugs are all different. I had a hip replacement last January and was prescribed Oxycodone and Tramadol. I did not want either, but they insisted I needed both. I had a very similar reaction to the Tramadol, the first night home, it knocked me out. I fell into a scary, deep sleep that I struggled to awaken from. My body felt like lead and I couldn’t will it to move. Needless to say, I didn’t take any more. I have never liked prescription meds, and I didn’t stay on the Oxycodone the prescribed time either. Moral of our stories, listen to what your body is telling you…the doctors do not always know better.

  13. So glad to hear your happy ending. Thanks for sharing. When I think I’m down & out, I think about someone who is fighting a greater battle. And then I realize how blessed I am. Good for you for being strong,keeping positive and letting others help. Best wishes for full recovery at both ends!

  14. What a time you’ve had. The health adage, “be your own advocate” certainly applies here. I was in the hospital recently and was treated very, very well, but I was also extremely clear on my issues and my expectations. I’m still doing followup, but I’m guessing that the full-page letter of commendation to the staff at the hospital and the doctors has certainly helped with my followup visits.

    Having said that, it took over a year of visits to doctors and specialists to figure out what was wrong. It’s hard to get a doctor….or dentist to really “listen”. It sounds as if you went through hell with those dentists. I’m happy you’ve turned the corner on your “foot to mouth” problems

  15. I’m glad you’re looking on the bright side of things now, Donna, but I feel so bad that you had to endure all that! I hate the dentist and am sure I will need gas in the future; I’m so tense the whole time I’m there! Last time I took a brisk walk before, didn’t have any coffee that morning and took some extra strength tylenol before I went-it totally helped!Get better, girl!

  16. Your dentist experiences sound just so awful, Donna. I’m glad you finally found someone who knew what he was doing. It’s great that you have such a sweet caring neighbor and that your siblings helped as well. Hopefully all is well now. Take care and stay warm!

  17. Oh. My. Gosh. !!!
    What a story! Too bad it wasn’t fictional. 🙂 However, the lessons learned sound very powerful, and life changing. Thank you so much for sharing your healing journey Donna!

  18. Oh no, that sounds just awful Donna. I can’t believe the dentists didn’t pick up that there was a problem. UGH, it makes you wonder. Thank goodness it’s been sorted out though and for laughing gas. I’m real glad to hear that you’re on the mend and that the whole experience helped in so many unexpected ways. Wishing you all of the very best