It’s cold, very cold. Outside, the freezing fog has solidified and draped the trees prettily with hoar frost. The pond is frozen, still and quiet.
If a thermal camera happened to be passing over the Ugly Bungalow today the operator would see deep cool blues, then a rectangle of warmer turquoise as the camera moves over the building. All as to be expected. But if the operator were paying attention he might suddenly see in the north west corner of the rectangle a glowing spot of brilliant yellow orange. He might even be concerned that a small fire was burning. But there is no fire..it’s just my left foot.
It’s day 3 after surgery. The healing process has begun. Bone knits with bone, tissues seek to reunite and nerve ends reawaken with electric results. There is no need to put the heating on as the foot is keeping the whole room warm.
It’s only a small, common, operation but does involve knives, saws and needles and perhaps if you are particularly sensitive you should not read any further..but it is also fascinating.
From an art and design point of view anything to do with bones is interesting…structure, function, design, articulation etc. Consider these lovely Leonardo drawings from the Royal Collection.
The wonderful foot. A highly sophisticated structure of 26 small bones, criss crossed with levers and pulleys which have to bear the weight of the body, as well as forces many times that, during movement.
We don't really think about our beautiful feet while all is going well, do we? But painful feet are just a misery and over 20 years my “great toe” joints have been grinding to a very painful halt.
Elective surgery..unless you are completely mad.. is not an easy decision but when the pain outweighs the deep primeval fear of saws and local anaesthetics then it’s probably the right choice. I will find out in a few weeks if all is well.
The Operation.. An adventure for the Senses.
So what did they do?
Firstly, the administration of the local, which I think is perhaps like being tasered in the back of the knee. You wait and hope it’s going to work (reassuring noises from nurse).
Then they decompress the joint by taking a piece of bone from the metatarsal, (sawing), they remove the bony collar which had developed (more sawing), and generally clean things up in the joint (some deft knife work) then stitch it all back up (neat sewing).
As I lay on the table I felt only apprehension, and the strange vibrations from the saw reverberating up through my leg bones and deep into my pelvis.
I heard the surgeons talking, the radio playing The Who and some gorgeous Latin music, some loud clipping as in wire cutters and the whine of the high speed saw.
What did I see? Well, that really depended where I looked. A large green sheet protected the immediate view. But as I lay, looking up at the ceiling, I realised the strip light to my right had a bevelled reflective interior strip which neatly mirrored the gloved hands of the surgeon and my pale foot. I wonder if they know. And yes, I did watch now and again. :) How could you not.
Now I am under orders to rest, properly, with my feet up, and for quite some weeks. This is not easy for me at all, especially now the brain has now fully emerged from the comforting opiates. A short spell of very deep and profound pain has given way to annoying visits by vicious demons who stick pins in my foot, tug the stitches and sprinkle itching powder under the bandage. I am clubfooted, surgically booted and very clumsy on the crutches…and I have a root canal next week if I can manage the dentist’s stairs.
But tomorrow I will bring pen and paper out again and sketch out some ideas and notes for next year. It will be exciting, busy and productive. I spent the last two weeks up a ladder, trying to get a coat of paint on the garage and its new windowed doors which is going to become the home of a small etching press in the New Year…hurrahhhhh