American living in Gent, Belgium who gets to travel the world for work. Food lover, daily adventurer, complete wanderluster.

Surgery Recovery: Day 3

Surgery Recovery: Day 3

On Monday, I had maybe the most intimidating expat adventure to date--surgery. As I've explained before, I've been battling autoimmune-related arthritis in my feet for over a year now. I went and saw the doctor last week and he said there were no more non-surgical steps left to take. He said the recovery would see me off my feet for about three weeks and the full recovery is six months. Looking at my upcoming travel schedule, I knew I needed it done ASAP. So I booked surgery for Monday and spent the weekend basically trying to minimize total fear and still enjoy walking out in the sun. I think I had my own form of nesting take over, and I started making soups and muffins. Anything to direct all that nervous energy.

Waiting to get wheeled away. Every person questioned what foot and they kindly drew this arrow on my left leg.

Waiting to get wheeled away. Every person questioned what foot and they kindly drew this arrow on my left leg.

The surgery was to take out my big toe joint, clean things up in there and add in screws. We showed up at the hospital at 8:30am, figured out the whole Belgian registration system and then sat in the day surgery waiting room for about an hour. After that, everything went quickly. I was rolled back by 10:15am and was into the post-op room by around 12:30pm. All the doctors and nurses were fantastic and made sure I understood everything that was going on. By 3:30pm, we were getting back to the apartment. 

All smiles heading into surgery. I was just eager to get it all over with and hopefully be on the path to less pained feet.

All smiles heading into surgery. I was just eager to get it all over with and hopefully be on the path to less pained feet.

I won't share a picture of the actual wound because I think it'll gross out too many people. But I have about a 4-5 inch scar down the inside of my left foot starting up at the top joint and stretching down to about the arch. There are 10 stitches. I'm hoping it looks like a good shark bite once it heals.

All I've done for the past three days. It's getting old....very, very old.

All I've done for the past three days. It's getting old....very, very old.

Since getting home, I haven't left. It is starting to wear on me. I've spent all my time either on the couch or in bed and I'm antsy to move. There is only so much Netflix I can watch and Flipboard I can read. I'm pushing to get out later today but opinions are still mixed if that is a good idea. 

All that nesting worked out and I've been enjoying some amazing late summer corn chowder (link to recipe).

All that nesting worked out and I've been enjoying some amazing late summer corn chowder (link to recipe).

I was on a fair amount of pain meds the first 40 hours, but the pain started to decrease by yesterday afternoon. As of now, I'm only taking pain meds at night. That's when the pain is by far the worst. Feels like lashes of pain. Icing has actually proven to help with pain more than the actual pain meds, so I've been trying to ice it as much as possible. Pain meds and my stomach don't go together well, so I'll be happy when I'm totally off them. How people get addicted completely confuses me.

It is a look of fear and trepidation every time the nurse removes all the dressing and cleans it out. It hurts but I know it'll help with healing. I also like getting a chance to look at the wound and see how much its healed since the previous day.

It is a look of fear and trepidation every time the nurse removes all the dressing and cleans it out. It hurts but I know it'll help with healing. I also like getting a chance to look at the wound and see how much its healed since the previous day.

One massive benefit of the Belgian health care system is that they send a nurse to the apartment every single day to check on me, clean up the wound and change the dressing. It is absolutely amazing and I look forward to seeing her every day and knowing my wound is being well kept. The first few days, it was bleeding so much that I was told I had to stay bedridden. But today, she said it looked fantastic and that I might be allowed to actually get out and about!

So far, so good on this crazy expat adventure.

Day in the Life: Getting a Chinese Visa

Day in the Life: Getting a Chinese Visa

Six Months Gluten, Dairy, Peanut and Banana Free.

Six Months Gluten, Dairy, Peanut and Banana Free.