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As expected, this first week was not the nicest period and especially the first few days were difficult and painful. Normally I would take care of this by taking a cocktail of painkillers and some wine, but somehow my stomach was not too happy with this combination and even without the wine I would feel like throwing up from the pills. I managed to do the whole anti-biotic cure of 5 days and tried to skip the painkillers as soon as I could (but that would also not be before 5 days (others report to stop the painkillers after 2 days already). One unanticipated inconvenience was that I could not sleep with the side of my feet resting on the matras or having them covered with a sheet so I had to put them ‘overboard’.

After 10 days I had a check-up and the stitches were taken out and the bandage was renewed. After another 2 weeks I had another check-up and again I was glad that I was still in Alicante and was provided with new bandages as they had become too loose. After an X-ray, the confirmation that all went well made me happy as well. Those 2 weeks I had been going around slowly, able to walk but not too far and I felt lucky that I could keep the wheelchair from the clinic for my friends to push me around on the boulevards nearby. The last check-up should be after 6 weeks but as I was leaving Alicante already after 5 weeks I went for the last physical check-up and X-ray then. Apparently, the bone healed well but the bandage still had to be on for another week. At that last consultation I gave back the wheel chair to the clinic and it did help that I brought crutches to tour the boulevard after the visit to the clinic (which is located at the main boulevard of Alicante).

All the while during the check-ups, provided free of charge because they are included in the price of the operation, I tried to find out if I should not have taken something to calm down the nerves before or during the operation. The discussion proofed a bit difficult because of the doctor does not speak a whole lot of English and the assistant was very busy and not around the whole time during check-ups. Besides, it seemed that the doctor was not very much in favor of taking anything before the operation. In the end, when the son of the doctor who is also learning to treat Hallux Valgus and speaks English well, was present, it turned out that the doctor wanted his patients to be as ‘sober’ as possible so that there would not be any side effects with the pain medication and antibiotics that he provided. The whole discussion about medicines, or the lack of it, was a bit annoying to me, but I understood that the philosophy was to keep it as natural as possible and let the body heal itself. A view which I certainly share. The doctor actually joked that ‘medicines are for selling, not for taking’.

A little more than a week after leaving Alicante I had another X-ray done at my local clinic and asked them to take off the bandage. This turned out to be much better than taking them off by myself at home because the skin was so tender that it needed some care with cream. The X-ray again proofed that the bones were healing very well. When this was sent to the Clínica San Román it did not take long before an email was received to confirm that indeed everything was healing very well and to give a few last post-operation instructions.

After taking the bandages off and only putting some skin protection, I could also take off the post-operation shoes but my feet and skin were still much too tender to walk with normal shoes again. At this point I started to wear the silicone toe dividers for between the big toe and second toe on each foot. I am wearing them during the daytime and sometimes this creates muscle pain in my forefoot. I can see that my big toes want to move back (although they can never move back all the way again) so I will have to wear the silicone dividers for some time if not forever. However, every day it became less painful to walk and the skin was finally strong again after around 3 months. The nerves remained very sensitive until after 4 months and are still improving going into the 5th month after the operation. Currently, in this 5th month, I still have stiff toes when I wake up and I walk a little like a wooden puppet, part of it caused by the silicone dividers. I did start to sleep with my feet under a sheet and even part of the night resting on the matras. However, when I walk a lot during the day, I still have to put my feet ‘overboard’ to be able to cope with the sensitivity. It is sometimes still difficult to have anything, like a sheet, touching the big toes. I had lots of massage done and every day I self-massage the toes. Also I was given some Chinese medicine for the blood circulation and nerves and things are improving slowly. As the doctor wrote back in an email, through the administrative assistant, when I asked about the sensitivity ‘the skin may be sensitive for a few weeks or even months but your feet will continue to improve over the coming year’.

Also physiotherapy was recommended by the clinic and they wrote the recommendation for it when I asked, so that this could be paid for by the insurance company. And again, I appreciated the clinic’s approach of having to be patient and that ‘the feet will set the pace of recovery’. As they wrote: ‘you should not force your feet into shoes when it causes pain or discomfort but just try little by little’. In the end, I am sure my feet will heal and I will be much better off than before. I might not walk high-heeled but then, I never did, and at least I will be without fear of not being able to walk at all

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julio 28, 2017

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