This is a blog post with a difference. I thought I would share the lighter side of trying to work after foot surgery. Not 18 months ago, yours truly was recovering from an ankle break and soon learned that when you are on crutches and non-weight bearing on one leg, you effectively lose three limbs. Unfortunately that fall revealed what was long-standing hypermobility in the left forefoot and a developing bunion in danger of rivalling Victoria Beckham's (and no, I don't wear high heels). So, being a glutton for punishment, I made the decision to consult a podiatric surgeon with a view to putting things right before 'my left foot' splayed in all directions and I fell over again. Here's a bit of a diary of how I am coping so far and how marvellous my pupils have been...
I am now 9 weeks post-op, 8 of which were completely non-weight bearing, after a Lapidus procedure and Akin osteotomy. I won't go into details about those because you can find plenty of testament to their brutality online... Anyway, after having a lovely little neon pink ankle cast, I am now at the stage of trying to walk through the pain barrier in an aircast boot. My ankle cast was much admired, but this 'little' number is very different. As you can see from the photo, Jimmy Choo it ain't.
Operation day was early March, with four pupils due to take AB exams between grades 1 and 8 just over a week later. Bearing in mind it's virtually enforced sofa rest with the foot well raised in the first two weeks after surgery, this meant some careful planning so that I could see those pupils before the exam; I started teaching others at home again after the two weeks. Duet playing was out for a while; piano stools were swapped about so that the bad leg could rest up on a pillow on the duet stool and the pupil had the solo stool. Luckily all my files and resources are normally within easy reach of my teaching chair, so there was a lot of swivelling going on. You have to mind your back!
Luckily we live in a bungalow with one step into a porch, so the swivel technique has come in handy when getting out and about (which wasn't often in the first few weeks). Goodness knows how people with stairs cope - I should think I'd have to shuffle up and down on my bum. You have to think carefully about every move you make and take your time. It certainly adds another element to forward planning and time management...
Crutches - oh my goodness, they are the tools of the devil. You can't manage without them, but it's a challenge showing pupils in and out of the house without hubby the doorman. Pupils have been working their social skills - excellent 'meet and greet' techniques, bless 'em. They have been finding music, games and sight reading exercises on the shelves and become masters in annotating their own music, some for the first time. (They say that necessity is the mother of invention) One important thing I learned very early on: moving around on the crutches requires absolute focus. Don't do anything except concentrate on the manoeuvre - if you try and chat with a pupil on the way out, you risk wobbling and falling over. Funny and scary at the same time. Now I can put the foot down it's better, but you have to heed the advice about choosing a shoe on the good foot that has a platform high enough to accommodate the aircast with a sole about 3cm above the floor. Trainers or Granny lace-ups, then.
Most importantly, I am extremely lucky to have a hero of a husband who has been chief cook, bottle washer, driver, doorman and emotional support for the past couple of months. I couldn't have done it without him.
More good news is that my pupils came through their exams fine, including a Distinction at Grade 8. Onwards and upwards (or should it be downwards?).