Footarama Drama – Day 79

Two feet! In shoes!
Two feet! In shoes!

Yesterday I had what will likely be my last follow-up with my surgeon. I had many questions and areas of concern, but he was very happy with my progress and alleviated a lot of my worry.

My main area of concern was the continuing pain, especially pain that gets worse when I am not using my foot, mostly when driving with the left foot flexed at a 90 degree angle, and when lying in bed. The explanation for this is that when I am walking, the tendon and muscles are being constantly and gently stretched. When I stop moving and set the foot in one position or lie down, everything responds to the recent movement and stretching by tightening up, which causes the pain. Also, the blood flow to the site is lessened, which leads to more tightness and more pain. So that’s normal, he says.

Pain and tenderness on the scar are to be expected, and numbness that might last forever, but will likely be gone in a year, he said. I have to be careful what shoes I wear, so I don’t rub the scar raw without feeling it.

My other concern was just that the pain was still THERE at all, that it wasn’t gone now. He said that actually with my activity this past month (stomping around hospitals much of the time) he would have been happy if my progress had held steady, but I have actually improved. He thinks that I am back on a normal recovery pattern/pace and that in about one month (mid August) I should be able to do household tasks and chores and make trips to the grocery store without significant pain. Maybe even walk the dogs for a few minutes a day. He said that October (six months post surgery) is when I should expect to just walk around without thinking about it, just walk out of the house and not remember that I had surgery. So that’s a way in the future, but it’s something to look forward to. I am not happy to be in pain, but I am happy to discover that the pain is not abnormal.

For now my prescription is to rest, take it easy, stretch and work gently on getting back to normal. He said “don’t overdo it” is different for everyone, and while it’s OK to push through “some” pain, it’s not OK to really push hard. So I guess I will just have to see how that goes.  He said that at this point he’s just playing cheerleader to me, and that as long as I am careful, don’t over strain and don’t walk on uneven surfaces, I should be fine, there is no need to come and see him again.

I was so relieved to realize that I had officially Made It Through this process that I sat in the parking lot and cried. When I found out I had to have this surgery I was completely devastated, despondent and anxious for months. I really thought there was no way I could mentally, and perhaps even physically, deal with what they were asking me to go through. Knowing that it’s pretty much officially over, that I did it, I made it, I survived, I succeeded—it was quite a moment. I am glad I recognized the moment when it came, and had a chance to be relieved and grateful.

This will, if all goes well, be the last entry in this particular series. I hope that it’s been helpful for you if you are planning to go through, or currently going through something similar. You can always read my blog to see how I am currently doing, or drop me a line/comment on any of the posts here to ask a specific question, but I do believe I am done with information that might be helpful to those recovering.

If you’re planning something similar, good luck to you. I hope you have the help you need and can access the tools that will make your life easier. I wish you a speedy and painless recovery.

Looking at Bags We Can’t Afford and Officially Overdoing It©

New scarf, as yet unworn dress. Soon to be shown the light of day.
New scarf, as yet unworn dress. Soon to be shown the light of day.

So this week is the first week that I am rolling boot-free. I see my doctor tomorrow, and since I knew he was going to be all “see what it’s like walking without the boot.” I just jumped the gun and started last Friday, so I would have something to report.

He’s told me that my tendon is strong now but not to “overdo it.” I have no earthly idea what that means, since pretty much everything I do hurts in the same way, so for me not overdoing it would pretty much mean never getting out of bed again. I mean, if I stopped when it hurt, I would just not everything. So last night I got home from work and was exhausted, sore and wanting to go to bed at 7 p.m. instead, I called my mom, then went and picked her up from the nursing home (my brother is in “skilled extended care” [nursing home] until he can walk again.) and took her around Brentwood, so she could see how close she was to good stuff. It’s not an area she’s familiar with, so I wanted her to see how to get around. Anyway, we ended up at Nordstrom Rack, where she’d never been before, and we poked around bargain hunting for an hour or so.

I found a couple of good things, and so did she. Of course the highlight of the trip (and the thing I was most excited to introduce her to) was the Nordstrom Rack Ritual of Looking At Bags We Can’t Afford – which she delighted in, as I had known she would. The most unaffordable bag that I encountered was a black and cream Chloe number for $2200. I don’t really get that, because most of the Chloe bags I see online are about $2500. If I am a person who can afford a $2200 handbag, I bet I am a person who can afford a $2500 handbag, and then I can get one that’s nice and new and not scuffy from being on the showroom floor of Nordstrom Rack.

Kate Spade, why you got to be so cute?

We both ooohed and ahhhed at $200 Kate Spade Villabella bags, I loved the fuchsia, she loved the cream and black, and then we both decided we didn’t really need super expensive handbags. At all.

I ended up with some nice scores, especially considering I went in there not needing anything.

I got this amazing scarf from The Free Press for $14.95, in blue and cream. I had recently bought a cream lace dress from ASOS that I love, and I was wondering exactly how to style it. (ASOS Curve Swing Dress in Daisy Lace) Now I know! I love the way these fabrics/textures look together. Now I am almost sad I didn’t buy this scarf in a second color. It’s an infinity scarf, but I never wear those double looped on me, I just let them hang down to my waist (so they don’t sit atop my boobs like some strange fabric bird’s nest.)

ASOS cream lace dress, The Free Press scarf from Nordstrom Rack
ASOS cream lace dress, The Free Press scarf from Nordstrom Rack – I can’t wait to wear these together.

I also got a lightweight striped sweater with a very open weave, perfect for layering on cold evenings, over sleeveless dresses or camis.

Loose weave striped sweater.
Loose weave striped sweater.

This was on clearance for like $13.50, and I loved the open and light feel. I won’t be wearing this with this dress, but embarrassingly I am out of hangers in my closet, and had none left to display it on. I really need to do a purge. With as much as I’ve bought lately, there are definitely some non-favorite things I can let go of.

Sweater weave close up.
Sweater weave close up.
Stila Smudge Crayon in pink/violet
Stila Smudge Crayon in pink/violet

The last thing I got (of any interest) was a Stila smudge crayon in this pinky/purple iridescent color. It was $4.40! Original price $22, and still selling for $16 on Stila’s website.

Sidenote: I love going bargain cosmetics shopping and recognizing why all the things are leftover. “Oh, that’s the 2013 Holiday Stila Palette with the cheap packaging. No wonder that ‘s here. Oh, here’s the lip gloss that had no pigmentation, no wonder that’s here. Ha, they’re still charging $38 for that palette? Good luck, you can get that online for $10.” It makes me feel so in the know.

Anyway, the color looked pretty and I am really glad I bought it as this stuff wears like absolute iron. Once it’s set it does not budge. I am wearing it as a one-shadow look, smudged softly on my lids today, and it’s a very flattering color for me. A good buy.

Anyway, by the time I got home my foot was throbbing like crazy, so I took extra Vicodin, compromised by not washing my hair (too much standing in the shower) and said “fuck it” to the concept of not overdoing it. If overdoing it is walking around a store with my mom for an hour, then fuck this whole tired-ass recovery process entirely. I just can’t do it anymore. Hopefully I haven’t done myself any harm, but I am just done with sitting around not doing anything because I am afraid of hurting myself. I want to be a person who does things, again. So let’s do that, and see how it works out.

Happy day, and may all your sales be 80% off.

People Talk to Me: Pedi-curious Edition

These are my feet. Today I paid someone to touch them.
These are my feet. Today I paid someone to touch them.

Saturday I went for my first post-surgery pedicure. A milestone by anyone’s accounting, as I walked out of the house in two shoes, and went to a public place. I still have handicapped parking, thankfully, so I didn’t have to walk too far, and I parked at the entrance of the mall closest to the pedicure place. I am unreasonably paranoid that someone will challenge my handicapped parking status, because I don’t look too handicapped on the outside, although walking is still really painful. I walk across parking lots with a head full of pre-loaded angry and insulted retorts, in case of challenge, and I vow not to judge people who don’t look handicapped when they use handicap places or assistive devices.

I got into the blessed air-conditioned cool of the mall, and I was so looking forward to a relaxing experience, feet soaking in warm water, a gentle massage, head tilted back, eyes closed, blissful daydreams. But alas, it was not to be.

The pedicure place wasn’t crowded, I only had to wait for five minutes or so. I brought my own color (Number One Nemesis from the 2012 OPI Spiderman Collection. A neutral metallic if there is such a thing. Goes with everything.)

As I waited, I perused the laminated card that explains the services offered by the salon. It doesn’t make sense to do this, I get the same “spa” pedi each time, but it’s something to do rather than stare at other people. A woman comes up to the counter, asks for a pedicure, is directed to the shelves of polish bottles in the back. “Pick a color!”

“I just want plain.” she waves distractedly at her feet.

We wait. Like me, she picks up a laminated card describing the various services. Unlike me, she puts the card in her left hand, then reaches back and uses it to scratch her ass.

“No judgment. No judgment.” I think desperately. “Let other people do as they please.” She places the card back in the plastic holder, and I leave her behind as I am seated.

I slip off my sandals, and the floor underneath my left foot is icy cold. To my right foot, it feels normal. Same when I slip my feet into the churning blue water, the left foot experiences the water as boiling hot, the right finds it comfortable. I ask the woman working with me to turn the heat down a bit. “I just had surgery on that foot.” I say “If I am a little sensitive today it’s not your fault, my foot just feels very tender.”

“Did oi hear ya say that you had serjury?” A voice next to me asks. The butt scratching woman has been seated next to me. She has an accent that is impossible to identify. Aussie? Kiwi? She’s been a long time in America, so the accent is soft around the edges. She later speaks of going to visit her family in Edinburgh, so the origin is explained. She speaks to me of many things, the 7 (SEVEN) surgeries she’s had on her left foot. The combined years she’s spent in crutches. Her work as an EMS driver. She had a lot of stories, and she had an inclination to share them, despite my inclination to be left very much alone.

When you go for a pedicure and you’re wearing a shorter skirt, the workers will offer you a towel to gracefully drape across your knees to preserve your modesty (or more likely prevent themselves having to stare at your panty choice for half an hour. Either way.) I always wear bike shorts under my dresses when I go, having long learned that lesson. EMS lady’s worker offers her the towel to gracefully drape, but she chooses to stuff it determinedly into her crotch area like a wadded diaper, then to rest her Starbucks cup atop the new construction. “You can put your glass here.” the worker indicates a shelf attached to the arm of the chair.

“Nah, s’fine here!” EMS replies. “Saves you having to clean that off later!”

Her conversation returns in my direction, more about her surgeries, her marriage to a podiatrist, the extreme good looks of her surgeon, and how after one surgery for the addition of stabilizing hardware, she made a joke to the nurses that he’d “finally screwed her” and it got back to him. This woman had been through it all, multiple times, from what she had to say. She said she’d never seen anyone with a scar like hers (my doctor says it’s one of the more common procedures he performs) and wasn’t it a coincidence? She was having French tips done on her toes, and wanted me to agree that it looked “so fresh and clean.” I nodded vaguely. I hate French Tips on toes. So hideous.

I closed my eyes and laid back, jumping each time the woman working on my feet touched the left one with a pumice stone. I tried to relax.

“I had an accessory bone break off and insert itself into my tendon,” she said “And then it started to spontaneously regenerate. It was unheard of, all the doctors couldn’t believe it.”

“Mmmmm.” I said, staring at the television.

“You know, I think you get treated in life the way you treat other people.” she continued. “If you’re nice, you get niceness back, and if you’re not nice… Well.” she said “It’s amazing to me how people call us out and then get rude with us. I think to myself ‘well YOU called ME.’”

I wonder if my mom is nice to the EMS people she’s called twice in the last four weeks to come and pick up my brother. Probably so, my mom is nice to everyone. I think of how stressed she was each time she called, and how it would be hard to always remember to be polite under stress like that. I don’t explain this to the EMS lady, because I don’t want her to take it as a sign to continue talking. It doesn’t matter, she talks the entire time anyway. The experience I wanted and paid for has been taken away by this nice-enough (I guess) but much too chatty woman. I curse the social conventions that won’t let me say “I prefer not to speak to you.” Then I would be the rude one, right? Even though she’s intruding on my space without invitation, subsequently denying her entry to that space makes me the one in the wrong.

We finally finish and are of course sat next to each other in the drying area. “When a cop asks a person how many drinks they’ve had that evening, you know they always say…”

“Two,” I interrupt, holding my left hand up in a peace sign.

“What do you do, that you would know that?” she asked, somewhat incredulously.

“I minored in CJ,” I explain, though I don’t actually know where I picked up that bit of trivia. Doesn’t everyone know that?

She continues her story “Only one time did I ever hear someone give a different answer. I was called out to a report of someone laying in a ditch. We arrived at the same time as the police, and found a man drunk, just sleeping it off. The police asked him for ID and he searched his wallet, scattering different cards all around. ‘How much have you had to drink tonight?’ the cop asks him, expecting the same answer, you know, two. ‘As much as I wanted!’ the guy said – and then he found a five-dollar bill in his wallet and turned to me… ‘want to run up to the 7-11 and get us a six pack? I’ll split it with you.’”

“As much as I wanted.” I replied. “I like that. I might have to start using that.”

“It was a good answer, I thought. He wasn’t doing anyone any harm, so we found him a place to sleep, a friend in the next county said he could sleep in the cab of his truck for the night, and the cop drove him there. I thought: what a good friend,  to let him sleep in his driveway. People can be generous.”

I admit, I didn’t think much about generosity then, I wanted her to go away and leave me alone. I wanted to be at home, I wanted to be where there weren’t any people, and no one felt like they could talk to me, or relate to me, or share my thoughts. I did like her last story, though, it was a good one. As much as I wanted.

I don’t have a way to apply that concept to my life yet, but I hope to use it soon.

People talk to me.

Ole! Ole Ole Ole…

Kind of the best GWP of all time?
Kind of the best GWP of all time?

I needed a new bottle of “medium” CC creme (damn you, summer.) and I usually order my Ole Henriksen things from Sephora for free shipping and points, however, the Ole Henriksen site sent me an email that said they had free shipping over $50 and a “free $100 mystery gift bag!”

I assumed, despite the photo they showed, that it would be kind of crappy, but since the CC creme is $36 it wasn’t too hard for me to get to $50 (I added the oil-free pore-refining wipes, my favorite indulgence of the moment, see my review at that link.) and I decided to see what they’d send me. Whoa! All kinds of good stuff!

  • Mini packs of the makeup removing and pore refining face wipes
  • Mini jars of their walnut scrub, eye gel, night gel and moisturizer
  • A full size tube of their roll-on acne medicine (I’ve actually purchased this before and it works wonderfully, warning, it will bleach your sheets if they are not white.)
  • A power peel set (cleanser, peel, aftercare stuff.)
  • A mini face cleanser

Plus the bag is really a good size, much larger than most free bags with purchase, actually the right size for travel. I am really pleased with it! They’re not doing this particular deal anymore, but if you follow this link, you can get $15 off a purchase from their store (full disclosure, I will also get $15 off. And use it in good spirits.)

Tendon Surgery Recovery Day Six Million and Five (71)

No updates lately because things have been progressing mostly the same. Still in PT, although I had to skip some sessions because my brother has been in ICU and I have been there with him and my mom. My flexibility is now basically the same in both feet/ankles. I can balance much better and for a longer time. I can lift my body weight with my foot and my calf gets tired of it before my ankle does. That’s all good stuff.

The foot is still painful, not as much, but pain definitely still there. My heel hurts like I am walking on broken glass sometimes, the bone hurts like it’s re-fractured, the ankle hurts, the scar hurts. Still taking pain pills, though not every day. The foot doesn’t hurt so much when I am using it, as after I have used it. So I can do things all day, but at night the pain keeps me from sleeping. Or I can walk around fine at work, but driving the car home just kills me, when my leg is resting. I don’t understand it. I see my doctor next Wednesday, and as of today I am (I think) formally retiring the boot. (The knee walker got retired to the basement last weekend! Hooray! Milestones!)

I need to walk in shoes for awhile so I can report to him what it’s like walking in shoes and if I am able to do so. I don’t want to go in there next week, have him say “Oh, all sounds normal, try shoes.” and then have to wait another month to report any problems. If I am still not able to walk in shoes after two and a half months, something is wrong. So tomorrow I have the day off work, I am planning to spend some time at the hospital with my brother so my mom can run home, then I am going to go to the mall and get a pedicure, and hopefully I will be able to do this without the support of the boot, and without too much pain. Sometimes I think the boot is causing as much harm as it’s preventing; yesterday my foot felt like it was being squeezed in a vise, and the boot was no tighter than normal. I think my whole leg is just sick of this shit.

I know I am sick of this shit. I want to go do things. Walk the dogs. Go to the park. Go to the farmers market, go to the grocery store or Target or anywhere. Walk up some stairs. Just BE NORMAL and move like a normal person. I feel like I have missed so much. I feel like life is happening all around me and I can’t play. I am at the end of my rope with this shit, and well beyond. It’s depressing, it’s soul sucking, it’s demotivating, it’s whatever harmful mental thing you can think of. This has been almost a year of fearing to move, basically, and I really need it to be done.

So that’s what I know for now. I will update you if there’s news.


First Impressions Tarte Rainforest After Dark – EDIT

Tarte Rainforest After Dark ($38) Sephora/Ulta/
Tarte Rainforest After Dark ($38) Sephora/Ulta/

Tarte Rainforest After Dark

I bought this on a whim last week because I liked the packaging, and because it seemed like a great neutral and work ready palette. The pricing ($38) is actually reasonable when you consider the cost of the blush alone is $26, and this is a larger blush than they sell stand-alone.

First impression: It’s good sized, and although some people had issues with the lightest eyeshadow color being hard to pick up, mine was fine. The colors are pretty, and they swatch well, but is it just me or does Tarte eyeshadow go muddy on everyone?

The colors, they’re so pretty, but they just turn into a mess on my eyelid? I guess maybe that’s Tarte’s aesthetic, just more neutral colors (I always feel like I want to use Tarte products to give my mom a mini-makeover) but I also think they’re odd in the way they contrast their tones, or something. It’s like everything is a different color, but the same tone somehow, there’s not enough contrast.  I don’t know, is that just me?

My palette. I knew it would be neutral/wearable.
My palette. I knew it would be neutral/wearable.

Anyway, this is pretty much the perfect workday palette, and would really make a great office/desk drawer staple, for days when you need to touch up or do your whole look at the office.

I am going to try these shadows over a different primer (today was MAC Painterly Paint Pot) and with a dampened brush, and see if I like those effects better. I will let you know.

Other notes: with this order I got a free mini (30 day supply, they say) Benefit They’re Real PushUp liner, which I am still playing with, and the white version of that Elizabeth & James perfume, which stinks like hell and I had to eventually get off my hand with toner because I couldn’t stand it.

Edited to Add:

OK guys, I get it I get it! These things need a really liquidy primer. They need it BAD. And when they have it, they’re really different in tone.


Top row, no primer. Bottom row, Tarte 360 creaseless eye primer.
Top row, no primer. Bottom row, Tarte 360 creaseless eye primer.

OK see how in the top row the colors don’t pop against each other, but in the bottom row you can clearly see the color difference, and even the shimmer?  That leftmost color doesn’t even show up at all, and the mauve and purple are too similar.

Same pic, with flash.
Same pic, with flash.

So the secret to non-muddy color is definitely to use a very liquid primer, not a thick cream, and definitely not bare skin. All of a sudden these are rich, shimmery and pigmented. Now I am excited to wear them again tomorrow!