Post Surgery Post – The Toe Tails

I haven’t written in awhile. Part of that was because I didn’t know what to write about, and the other part was because I was too anxious to write, and was afraid that by writing I would feed my anxiety. I had to undergo a very minor surgery on my foot in hopes that it would FINALLY fix whatever the heck it is, that was wrong with my “sore toe”… Those who know me, know that I’ve had this annoying and extremely painful problem since I was about 10 years old. I can’t actually remember a day completely pain free since then, perhaps that has helped my anxiety disorder run rampant, or my depression take root.. I wonder.

Anyway it’s not important now, what IS important is that the surgery is DONE so I finally feel free to write. I wish I could say that none of my fears were founded, that it went a lot better then I was expecting, and that everything is coming up roses… but who are we kidding…. this is MY life remember? I don’t get to have a happy ending most times.

I’ll start with the negatives so that I can end on a positive (because yes there IS a positive after all this crap… at least I think there’s one) but to get it off of my chest and hopefully out of my head so I can finally sleep again, here it goes.

If you are a doctor, or nurse, or deal with anyone in a health care professional / patient capacity PLEASE take what I’m about to divulge to heart…. I know your jobs are hard, and I know that MOST of you are AMAZING… and believe me when I say that I have the utmost respect for everything you guys do and know that I could NEVER EVER come close to doing half of the shit I see / hear y’all do on a daily basis. I tip my metaphorical hat to you sirs and madams.  With that said though… not ALL patients are troublesome ones… not everyone is out to get more pain killers or drugs or to cause you to have a bad day. Please keep that in mind.

As you already know I have an anxiety disorder, as well as depression. It is something I battle every day, and something that I think I’m doing better at dealing with, but better does not mean perfect, and it is still a struggle.

Leading up to my surgery, I was told to relax, that everything would be fine, to stop dwelling on the “What If’s” because it couldn’t be as bad as I’d been building it up to be in my brain… that if I told the doctor / nurses of my anxiety disorder they would probably give me a drug cocktail just to help my nerves during the procedure… and that since I know freezing doesn’t like to take in my body, I simply had to tell the doctor this and he would take it into consideration.

Seriously, those were my two biggest fears… A) That I would have a panic attack during my procedure and end up hurting myself more from an involuntary movement, and B) that the freezing would wear off as it always does for me during procedures… now normally it’s during a dental procedure or during something a bit more minor like removing an abscess so although it hurts like a mofo, whatever they are doing is usually almost over soon after and the doctor always tells me “Next time warn me that the freezing doesn’t take well in your body”… every time I warn them, and every time they don’t give me enough… Cue more anxiety for whatever comes next.

This time, I thought I was prepared… I thought that because it was actual minor surgery, and not something tiny, that they would pay more attention to my pleas… I couldn’t be more wrong. I’m actually debating going to my family doctor to complain about the guy he referred me too and warn him about how cruel he is to patients.

First of all EVERYONE up until the doctor was very nice to me…. Though the nurse did not believe me that I should probably have some sort of drug to help with my anxiety, nor did she ever try to defend me while I fought with the doctor… and yes, I had to FIGHT with him during a full blown panic attack which probably made me look like a lunatic. Leading up to the panic attack was me sitting in a chair talking to the nurse, do I have any alergies.. yadda yadda. I calmly told her that I didn’t, but that my heart was racing and I felt dizzy and I was trying very hard not to have a panic attack. I explained to her about my anxiety disorder and that I’d take my prozac but it wasn’t actually doing anything right now and I wasn’t sure if I was going to pass out or what… I felt like my face was going to explode, it felt like all the blood was rushing to my head and I was either going to pass out of have a heart attack. She just looked at me like she was bored, and told me to get on the table.

Being that I don’t like to let anyone down, I did what she asked… the whole time shaking and wondering if I’d gone pee lately because what if I passed out and wet my pants? I could barely get up onto the stupid table, and it was like I forgot how to walk… she just kind of stood there and waited for me. Being a “good girl” I managed to get up there agian, but told her again I felt sick and like I was going to pass out and I was terrified and trying not to panic and that I’d heard maybe there was something she could give me to help me calm down… She just looked at me and said Calm down, the doctor will be here soon.

Cue Mc. Asshole. He walks in, barely acknowledges me, points to the WRONG TOE and says, so this is the one we’re removing right, sorry but I don’t actually remember. Here I am terrified and doing my best not to be annoying in my panic and he actually was assessing the wrong toe and went to grab it, and hit the sore toe in the process. That is when I started to panic even harder. I begged him not to touch it, that it was the wrong toe, that he’d actually hurt my sore toe and that he’d told me in our previous meeting that he wanted to remove the nail bed, plate, and nail and that I would never have a nail again…. Let me tell you, I know these guys are busy and all… but it doesn’t re-assure a patient that you know what you’re doing when you’re coming in and asking the patient what he’s supposed to do to you!  I got weirdly calm while telling him this and even said “It is the index toe on my left foot… not my right foot… my left foot, not the big toe, but the one next to it. It’s the one who’s nail is oddly shaped and looks purple… not the normal nail” Once I gave him that speech I felt my panic taking hold again and I told him about my anxiety disorder. I apologized for crying (because at this point I was pretty much bawling my eyes out uncontrollably) and told him I was doing my best to not have a panic attack but I’m pretty sure I’m having a panic attack, either that or I’m going to pass out.

He walked up to my face (as at this point they’d made me lie down… I can’t remember exactly when that happened.. but I was lying down now, and crying, and I felt like I was suffocating because I have huge boobs and they had me lying down too flat and so my boobs were practically crushing my throat… )and he walks up to me and says “Stop freaking out! If you freak out you’re going to think it hurts when it doesn’t!”

After that he walks back to my foot and starts prepping it for the freezing. I tell him that freezing doesn’t take in my body, and that I will probably need more. He says that’s “Impossible”… he then performs a test.. where he scraped my big toe with a needle or something I have no idea what…. to show me how much that hurt… once I’d gotten the gist of how much he was hurting my big toe without freezing he moved to my sore toe with “freezing”…. it felt almost identical… sure the pain was LESS because obviously the freezing was partially working… but I could still feel it. He told me “NO, that’s impossible, stop freaking out already! You feel me pushing on your foot but you don’t feel anything, just preassure” I begged him to believe me, still crying, still freaking out… wondering what he’d do if I just kicked him in the face and went running through the hospital… After going back and forth begging him and telling him it wasn’t impossible, that every time I get freezing done the doctors always have to give me more because it doesn’t take… he finally gave me more… still I felt it… less than the first time, but less… he wouldn’t believe me. I was begging everyone in the room (OK by everyone I mean him and the nurse, but OMG) I was pleading.. crying, apologizing to him for crying, for my panic, begging him to understand that I could actually feel it… that this toe really is that sensitive, that he hasn’t given me enough, or else it hasn’t started to work yet… he gave me a third needle and FINALLY I could only feel the pressure that he said was impossible for me not to have felt after the first. (Did I mention I’m phobic of needles too.. Oh yeah, fun stuff).  Once I was actually frozen my panic gradually lessened.. I mean you can’t panic forever. I think at this point I’d been having a panic attack for about 20 mins … it felt like longer, but I think the actual time was about 20 mins. 20 minutes of pure hell with an asshole telling me that everything I was feeling was impossible and treating me like I was some kind of drug addict trying to con the doc for more pain pills or something. Being that I’m as broken as I am, I spent the rest of the time trying to figure out a way to make him happy… I kept my mouth shut, I apologized a few more times, I tried to make small talk about the procedure.. but you could tell he didn’t like me, nor was he impressed to be there. It felt like he was rushing to get me out of there as fast as possible… So I stopped talking, I just stared at this one dot on the ceiling and I waited and I tried my best not to make a sound… not to make him more angry at me. He spoke to the nurse in french as if I wasn’t there… I understand some french, so I picked up a word or two… but he never translated.. At one point he asked me where the lump on my toe came from… I told him that it had always been there since the injury… that I’d told him (and every other doctor I’ve been too) about it… and they took xrays and couldn’t find a cause for it. Apparently this was the wrong thing to say because then he angrily told me that Obviously they wouldn’t find it on an xray because it wasn’t bone! … so I shut my mouth again. He then told the nurse (in french) that he was removing a “mass” and then some french medical word I have no idea what it meant.. and I think I heard him saying he had to send it to a lab for analysis…. He never did translate what he meant, or what he thought it was, or if I should be worried, or if it is probably nothing. Just chopped part of it off, put it in a bottle and handed it to the nurse. She never told me either.

Finally he was done, and he left, I don’t even remember if he said goodbye… He told the nurse to make sure I had the pamphlet that told me how to take care of the dressing. I think at some point he’d told me how to care for it.. I remember the nurse did.. but a lot of the panic part of my procedure is fuzzy except for the fear and me begging them not to hurt me and to please believe me.

I was then wheeled out to the hallway where my love was waiting and told to wait for 10 mins to make sure the bleeding wasn’t horrible.

What have I noticed in the days that followed? Well for 1, I have some sort of injury under my sore toe from I think where whatever he used to stop the blood while he worked was put, I also have the same sort of injury on my big toe, and I’m not sure where that came from because I don’t remember him putting anything around that.I also have what look like burns around my sore toe, which I’m hoping is just the skin healing. The toe itself looks weird… and ugly.. but then again, I’m still healing.. so I’m going to reserve judgement until it’s healed… but I feel like he did a shitty job. Maybe he was having a bad day, maybe he just really didn’t like me and wanted me out of there as fast as possible, I have no idea… but I do know that I’ve been having nightmares every night since that stupid surgery… And I do know that I am now even more afraid of hospitals and medical procedures… and I do know that I never want to go through anything close to that again.

So what, might you ask, is a positive after all of that?? Well… I haven’t had pain in the last few days… not from being too hot, or too cold, or because a cool breeze touched my toe. Normally that would have had me in pain.. but right now it just hurts to touch. I can even walk for a little bit… Eventually my foot spasms because it’s mad at me for hurting… the bottom part of my toe hurts like a bruise or something but that pain makes my toe spasm which in turn makes the nail part hurt… so walking sucks after a little bit… but I can do it! I even got some housework done!

AND My love has been an amazing rock who’s been taking care of me and pampering me and loving me through all of this. Without him I’m not sure I could have done it.

I love you Honey! <3

 

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