I was supposed to get a boot last Thursday but it didn’t come in until Friday. So on Tuesday 12/06 I visited Drake White to have my cast removed and the boot fitted. White’s nurse cut off the cast (begone!) and gave me a few washcloths to clean up my foot before fitting the boot. I thought I was prepared mentally to see some atrophy and change, but wow. My foot looked like hell. On the surface, scabs made my incision look like a stereotypical scar from a cartoon, and dead skin gave my leg a mottled look. But it was the shape of my foot which surprised me: laid down, with my ankle flat and the curve below my ankle nearly gone. The end of my foot which had stuck out of the cast looked huge compared to the rest of it, and my first and second toes stood about half an inch apart. My calf wasn’t withered as much as I thought it would be, but all the muscle tone was gone. Soft and squishy. However, White and his nurse both thought things looked great, and he was pleased that I could move my foot and push down using my repaired Achilles. So I kept my “Club foot!” exclamation to myself. For the non-squeamish, head to the bottom of this post for a photo.
Like my cast, the boot positions my foot in plantar flexion, pointing my toes downward to keep my Achilles from healing too long. It’s a lot heavier than my cast. But who cares; I can take it off! As I write this, I have my foot up and the boot off and next to my chair. Tuesday night, I rubbed down my leg and foot with lotion, massaged it top to bottom, and moved things around to see the range of motion I had to work with (answer: not much). Wednesday morning, I took a shower without my leg hanging out the side of the tub (for the first time since October 15), scrubbing off much of the old skin and again testing my range of motion. This morning, after pushups, I did the same thing. I’m still showering in a lawn chair, but that’s no big deal. Better than trying to balance or taking a bath.
White asked me to wear the boot at night and during the day when I move around campus. Makes sense. But when in bed or at my desk, I can loosen the boot and change the position of my foot. I’m not bound to one position as I was with the cast. Between that and the glorious washing, I’m a lot more comfortable, and I’m sleeping better. After a day and half in and out of the boot, my foot already looks a lot less funky. The gap between my toes is gone and my foot looks much more evenly proportioned. My ankle is starting to return to normal–I can see my ankle bone now on my instep, not only on the outside of my foot. (Again, if you are not squeamish about scars, scroll down.) Though my color looks good, I still have some numbness and tingling in my toes and the ball of my foot. If I’m still feeling that after a few days, I’ll head back to White to see if there’s anything we need to do.
No rehab yet–I have to get my range of motion back first. Not to mention my confidence: right now, frankly, I’m quite reluctant to do anything with this foot when it’s out of the boot. This Saturday, I’m hoping to swim, as long as I can work out the logistics of getting in and out of the pool. Crutches and wet floors don’t mix, as I’ve found out the hard way a few too many times this past seven weeks.
So, things are looking up, physically and mentally. I was pretty down the week before Thanksgiving break, and Thanksgiving week too. The past two weeks have gone a lot better. I thank everyone who called, wrote, or otherwise helped me out. Especially Erin. She’s been great. But you knew that already.