It has been an interesting week.  On Wednesday afternoon, I was admitted to the Hospital of Central Connecticut (formerly New Britain General Hospital) for foot surgery.  It was not major surgery, the doctor made a small incision in my right foot between the second and third metatarsal and removed scar tissue and the tiny object (still unidentified) that caused all of the scar tissue.  Most interesting part of the surgery was that I woke up during the middle of it.  Rather than have general anesthesia (I do not do well with general anesthesia, both time I’ve had it I woke up vomiting) I was given a sedative.  Mid-way through the surgery the IV line into my left arm fell out, I have tiny little veins, and I woke up.  I thought it was interesting that I got to watch the surgeons work, but I don’t think the anesthesiologist found it as amusing as I did.  I ended up getting pricked in five different places before they finally found a vein that worked in my right forearm.  I guess its good that waking up mid-surgery doesn’t flip me out.  I ended up with a few internal stitches and five external stitches in my right foot that will come out in a week. 

Feeling good in the recovery room

Post-op I felt really good, chirpy might be the appropriate word and I was quickly discharged from the hospital. Per the doctor’s orders I needed to keep my foot wrapped for a week and use crutches until my follow up appointment (talk about a good ab workout).  Luckily I’m good on crutches after a broken leg, too many ankle sprains to count, a torn MCL and reconstructive ankle surgery, crutches are really no big deal.

While I initially felt good, once the pain killers wore off on Wednesday night I was in pretty intense pain.  I can’t even describe it but for several hours on Wednesday night and Thursday morning I felt as if my foot was being ripped open from the inside.  I would literally stare at the clock waiting for time to move so I could take another Percocet.  I never thought ujjayi breathing would come in handy to help with post-op pain management.  In the moment the pain was unbearable but now, only a day later, I can’t really remember how bad it actually felt.  I think in a lot of ways we’re programmed to forget pain quickly and only remember the positive.  Maybe that’s why I keep going back to long course triathlons, as painful as they may be in the moment, afterwards I remember the good and forget the pain.  I was finally able to get the pain under control at about 4 a.m. on Thursday morning.  The pain coupled with an almost complete lack of sleep made for a pretty miserable Thursday. 

My foot, post-surgery

Today (Friday) the pain is much better. I only woke up twice last night due to pain and I’m thinking I can make it through the day today without Percocet (although I will be using ibuprofen and getting acupuncture this morning to help with the swelling).  While the physical pain is dissipating, I’m now struggling with the mental aspect of the surgery.  Today I should have been picking up my bib number (#447) for Ironman Mont Tremblant.  Instead of driving the bike course and getting in my last easy workouts, I’m hopping around on one foot trying to figure out how I can carry a cup of coffee from the Keurig to the table without spilling it.  To make matters worse many of my friends and a few of my athletes are racing in Mont Tremblant this weekend.  While I am super excited for everyone who is racing, I’m also jealous.  They get to race and I can’t even stand on both my feet.  I know this was the right thing to do, my “A” race is Florida and postponing surgery or being less aggressive with treatment would jeopardize that goal.  Even though it was the right decision, I still feel grumpy.  I just need to keep reminding myself that training and racing is a privilege and I’m lucky enough to be able to do what I love on most days, so a few days of recovery are just a drop in bucket. 

Mont – Tremblant Swim Course
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Kelly Burns Gallagher

mccarter english employment litigator / oiselle team runner / coeur sports triathlete / sonic endurance coach & race director / writer / dartmouth '02 / emorylaw '05

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