My grandmother and father gifted me with  long, skinny, and bony feet.  That alone would have eliminated being a foot model as a possible career choice, but I also inherited a matching set of bunions.

Those bunions have been a sore spot.  They hurt throughout any preteen and teenage growth spurts.  Just accidentally rubbing one foot on the other would send a burning pain up my foot. Later, they didn’t bother me much as long as I stayed away from shoes that put pressure on them.  Right.  As long as they didn’t touch my bunions a certain way, they were okay to wear.  Shoe shopping was not fun.   Tennis shoes were about the only kind that I could always wear comfortably.

It wasn’t until I began working as a nurse that my feet started to hurt regularly again.  After three 12-hour shifts, I would feel that familiar ache.  After a year on the floor, I was only able to wear my tennis shoes and one pair of flats comfortably.  A couple of years later, I was talking to people who had a bunionectomy done.  Five years later, I was ready to get it done. I met with the doctor to get x-rays and discuss my best options. I just needed to call her nurse to schedule.

There never seems to be a good time to schedule a procedure that will require months off work. A couple of months after that appointment, an afternoon motorcycle lesson left me unable to wear even tennis shoes without a lot of pain. That eventually subsided after a couple of days ,but the pain never completely left. I finally made the call.

The surgery day went smoothly.  My sister took the day off to take me.  Pre-op teaching was done, the IV was started, and fluids were hung. I remember nothing after the Versed except for a fuzzy memory of them strapping my arms down.  I woke up crying in the recovery room. “Is it over?”  “Yes, it’s over.  Are you hurting?”  Again and again the nurses asked if I was in pain.  I couldn’t feel anything, but I couldn’t stop the tears.  They wiped my face for me.  I looked around at the monitor, but I couldn’t see since I had no glasses or contacts.  I asked how the monitor looked.  She told me my heart rate.  “How’s the rhythm?”  Sinus.  I started shivering, and someone turned up the warm air that flowed through my surgical gown.   I heard one nurse ask the other about my toes.  She said she was going to call my doctor. “I work in telemetry.  What are you calling the doctor about?”  My toes were dusky, and they just wanted to make sure that was to be expected.  It was.  I asked to be sat up and for my glasses.

I was moved into another recovery area without all the extra monitors and oxygen mask.  My sister was able to meet me there, and it wasn’t much later that we were able to leave.

My mom met us at my house, and together they helped me get into bed.  The power was out.  My sister lit some candles.  We had forgotten to buy ice packs prior to the surgery, so my mother left to get them and came back with some Taco Bell for me – two bean burritos with no onion and extra cheese.  I got out of bed later to watch Parenthood. And then I went back to bed.  Still no pain, for that wonderful nerve block lasted over two days.

Moral of the story: nerve blocks are awesome.