‘Tis the Season to Have a Bunionectomy Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la!
Seriously! The holidays are upon us and it seems like everyone in Grapevine, Texas, is on my operating schedule or is having some kind of elective surgery with one of my surgeon friends. My family always wonders why my schedule gets completely crazy just when the rest of the world is taking a vacation? Why is it that we do more bunionectomies in November and December than the first two quarters on the year? You may think it is because they have family around to help them, but that’s really not the main reason. It is a little invention of the insurance companies called the deductible.
It used to be that no one wanted surgery over the holiday season. That was when deductibles didn’t exist. Now, policies are written with high deductibles and co-pays. Imagine that if you have met your deductible and your out-of-pocket for your health insurance, any elective procedure is free until the end of the year. January 1, you have to pay again! This has caused the mad rush to the podiatric surgeon as well as any other surgeon in town. Even the plastic surgeons are affected, because people have money in their flex spending or health savings accounts that they lose if they don’t use it before the end of the calendar year. Crazy!
So, you decide to join the masses and have your foot fixed that has been annoying you or out-right crippling you for years. What should you do to survive the holidays and not end up with a bad outcome?
Listen to your doctor. Non-weight bearing or partial-weight bearing means just that. Stay off your foot! A short trip to the mall or football game is not a good idea.
Ice, ice and more ice! Ice and elevation are your friends. They will decrease your swelling and ultimately keep your pain under control.
Limit holiday parties. Just because you are invited to a billion parties does not mean you have to go. Pick one or two small parties and send regrets to the rest. People will understand, even your boss!
Shop before surgery or embrace the internet. I did all of my holiday shopping in one night on the internet last year. A quick side tip is that if you do binge shop, don’t be surprised if you get a call from your credit card company. They just want to make sure it’s not fraud. Using Pay-pal will avoid this.
Order a catered holiday meal or teach your children to cook. Almost every nice grocery store can cater a meal your family will love. As for cooking classes, do it from the couch and turn off the smoke alarm!
Don’t over eat! You are resting, so your portions should be smaller. Most people gain 2-5 pounds over the holidays. Inactivity makes this worse, so be diligent about what goes in your mouth!
Rest and relax. You have taken care of your family for years. Pull out the tiara and a little bell. It’s time some one waited on you. If you live alone, invite a friend to stay for a few days after surgery so you have some help.
And last tip, listen to you doctor! Patients who follow their post-operative instructions are much more likely to have good to excellent outcomes!
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