Lapiplasty and the road to recovery

As I mentioned in the last post, our wings have been clipped in more ways than one. The COVID-19 pandemic took us and our rig off the road literally. And since we were going to be home indefinitely it seemed like a good time to address a long-standing problem I’ve been having with my feet. Let’s go back…

After nearly 30 years of leading management workshops while wearing (beautiful) high heeled shoes and then running over a dozen half-marathons (not to mention high arches, thanks Mom!) my feet were trashed. I was hiking fewer and fewer miles before the pain hit and running has been out of the question for awhile. Since retiring four years ago I’ve sought relief from numerous doctors, received shots in four different places in my feet, tried massage, physical therapy, chiropractic, and acupuncture treatments. Nothing seemed to provide relief.

Earlier this year I found Dr. Jeff McAlister at the Phoenix Foot and Ankle Institute. After multiple diagnostics he determined that a bunion was creating the pain in the balls of my feet. However, rather than treating the issue with a traditional bunionectomy where they shave off part of the big toe joint, he recommended a Lapiplasty 3D bunion correction. This procedure realigns the toes at the base and thus straightens and stabilizes the entire joint. Of course it’s more technical than that, but you get the idea. This picture isn’t my x-ray, but you can see the hardware I now have.

Having elective surgery in the age of COVID-19 created a few challenges. First, the surgery was delayed for about a month until the Governor lifted restrictions. Then I could not have the procedure without a negative COVID test two days prior to the surgery. Luckily the hospital mobilized quickly to make sure the tests were available and processed in a timely manner. P.S. the nasal swab is NOT fun.

On the day of the surgery we went to the outpatient facility and got right in. In fact there were only a few other patients that day and it felt like I had the place to myself, along with plenty of nurses , technicians, and doctors. I was in and out of surgery in about an hour and home before 4:00 with a wonderful thing called a nerve block. I couldn’t feel the lower half of my leg for 24 hours and I was tricked into thinking this was going to be easy!

Now that the nerve block has worn off and the post surgical pain has set in I’m managing with ice, elevation, and pain medication. My hope is that the pain begins to subside in the next few days. However, so far it’s not been easy or fun. Poodles, neighbors, and a wonderful nurse named Steve are getting me through. I’ll go back to see Dr. McAlister in one week to hopefully have stitches removed and to receive a walking boot. Until then I’m non-weight bearing and learning to get around on my cute pink scooter.

Thanks for reading and I’ll post an update when something noteworthy transpires. In the meantime you can find me either in bed or on the couch, but wishing we were on the road again!

Austin amidst COVID-19

On this spring road trip our ultimate goal was to attend South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin. We were looking forward to attending thought-provoking presentations by world leaders, perusing the wellness expo for new fitness approaches, and listening to music from artists around the world. A week before the conference was set to begin, and days before we were to arrive in Austin, the event was cancelled. What a let down!IMG_7737Of course, when you are traveling you have to be flexible. You never know what’s on the road ahead, but none of us had this on our radar. We decided to continue on to Austin and use this as an opportunity to just be Austinites. Little did we know that Austin, and the rest of the world, was going to change dramatically during our time here.IMG_7755In the first few days here we biked around the popular Lady Bird Lake, which has a 13 mile trail that encircles the lake at the center of the city.  Taking us through downtown, Zilker Park, a lengthy boardwalk, and other highlights, we biked the trail several times. We did a little city exploring, too.IMG_7730Like most people, we’ve spent quite a bit of time following the developments of the pandemic and with each day our game plan has changed.  The signs of the times are all over Austin, just as they are across the world.  Shelves emptied, events cancelled, and even the gym at our RV Resort has been closed until further notice.  Today the bars and restaurants were shut down and we stood in line to get into the grocery store. We are grateful to be feeling fine with the ability to practice social distancing in our little home away from home.

One day we got out of the city and headed to Pedernales Falls State Park to enjoy the nice weather and have a picnic.  We bought a Texas Parks annual pass way back in west Texas, and it’s definitely paid off and encouraged us to visit places we might not have otherwise checked out.

After visiting the falls we stopped in Johnson City to check out LBJ’s family home and more interesting Park Service displays. Johnson left an indelible mark on this part of the world and it’s commemorated in many ways.

Of course, this was at the time when the bars were still open, so we stopped at another of the Hill Country’s great breweries.  Mia enjoyed another patio adventure.IMG_7767We’ve been looking for opportunities to practice social distancing while still making the most of our time here.  One day we visited an area called the Veloway, a city-managed, bike only path. IMG_7775The three mile loop had plenty of hills and curves challenged us for awhile.  We were able to get some exercise, see a new place, and not be in contact with other people. Another day we hit McKinney Falls State Park with the bikes.

The hike/bike trail there took us right up to the meager falls but also gave us a chance to see the start of the Texas wildflower season.  We are a few weeks from the peak but it was still nice to see the colors and imagine what it will be like in full bloom.

Originally we had planned to stay in Austin for another week but the world has changed.  We have a choice in where we hunker down and outside of a busy, congested city sounds like a good idea.  Tomorrow we’ll hit the road back toward a more rural area.  So far the State Parks are still open and provide an opportunity for us to keep our distance while still enjoying the outdoors.  For now, that’s our plan.

We hope you are feeling well and are making the most of these difficult times.  Let’s stay in touch.