The Bunion Bugle: Stage Six

The Darco Nightmare, Jimmy Choo Fantasy And The Ethel Reality

Foot At Day 40 Post Op

Still Not Pretty But It’s Getting There

Day 40:

What with scabs and dry skin falling off (and big toenail refusing to grow much at all) and Bio Oil rubbings and foot-elevation (yep, still), this bunion op stuff remains a questionable subject. Not one for the dinner table or party, is it? But hey, I committed to talking about it on my blog and that I’ll do although there’s not much to report this week and I imagine there won’t be much more to say after I’ve seen Mr. Fabulous at 7 weeks post op.

I’m delighted to say that the pain has been almost non-existent this week, except for the odd times I’ve trodden on the ball of my foot by agonising accident, like when I tripped over the computer lead as I moved from the sofa the other day. Then I tried a mad all-of-60-metres outing with the dog (him doing a slow-march heel again) and managed to trip up a low pavement on returning to the house. So those things caused more swelling and pain the next days and I refrained from making any exciting little sorties. Well, nothing more exciting than to the kitchen or bathroom.

View From Bench

My View From Bench. Paul calling ‘Harry, come here!’ while Harry runs amok, generally in the direction of any other dogs

On Thursday evening though, almost unhinged by cabin fever, I said yes when my OH offered to take us to Bedfords Park, if only for me to watch from a safe bench as he walked the dog. Or rather as the dog went into a frenzy, running madly everywhere, while OH followed. Then we would go to the small Tesco Express to buy something for dinner that night.

At the park, I realised I hadn’t accounted for how lumpy, bumpy and full of mini-potholes grassy and woodland ground can be. For a woman with a Darco shoe, crutches and potential pain. I could only give it a go, however, and once we found a bench, I was sorted for observing other people and their well-behaved dogs, while Harry careered round madly, and the colours and states of the trees as they changed into autumnal dress. All of that was a true delight.

But Tesco was another matter. I can’t stand supermarkets but, like someone returning from holiday, I was keen to see ‘if there was anything different’.  Despite the rare enthusiasm, I still flinched every time someone hurtled mission-style towards me with a list and a trolley; I’d tense and try to fling myself to one side. This is difficult on crutches and at a hobble. Then we’d only covered about half the shop’s floor area when the foot began to hurt badly. I looked about for a handy bench or stool but there was nothing of the sort. Once again, I empathised with the elderly, injured and disabled.

So what else have I been doing? Stuck to my diet, despite the eternal temptation of the fridge when constantly at home. Seen visitors. Seen neighbours. Watched a lot of tv. Read books. Knitted. Written. Been strict (no, we haven’t ventured into BDSM). I’ve tried to be more disciplined (and I’ll do another post on my efforts there) about the internet and about working on my WiP. And, of course, counting off the days until I see Mr. Fabulous, not only because he is rather gorgeous but because he should be ordering me to finally cast off the dreaded Darco Shoe of Death.

Shoes I Miss

Nothing Flash Or Expensive But I Miss These Shoes

Mr. Fabulous (who is now a character in my WiP) had said that I would see him ‘around six weeks after’ the op and, piecing info together from the internet and information sheets I was given, I gathered that would be the time I could change from the hideous Shoe of Death to Jimmy Choos. Okay, okay, I don’t actually possess any Jimmy Choos and finances are such that I’d be lucky to simply try a pair. But I took him to mean that by then I’d at least be able to wear some fitted shoes, say, with a delicate shape and a few feminine features.

However, checking all available information, it seems that I may initially only be able to wear the kind of comfort-range shoes I’ve had no choice to wear whilst bearing up with a painful bunion! And the truly convalescent-type shoe at that. At least for a few months. And, as it turns out, I’ve received my appointment with Mr. Fabulous – for Day 49. A whole week more to tolerate the Darco shoe. So, barring any miracles, I’ll report back on that (and whether Mr. Fabulous remains so) at the time.

Nightmare Darko Shoe

The Darco Nightmare Shoe

I will mention I’ve tried to get my screwed and stapled, bionic foot into an old but pretty pump shoe and the foot simply felt crushed. I’ve also tried to put my foot flat on the floor and it won’t have any of it. It’s always slightly raised off the floor because it’s still swollen underneath and at the toes I’m just about able to twitch, whereas the healthy foot lies flat. It’s also painful to press on it. I guess it’s going to be agonising when I first start wearing ‘normal’ shoes, so perhaps it’s best to swallow any Essex-cool-pride I ever had (even Converse are too narrow) and wear something unfabulous until the foot settles down.

So I’ve looked at shoes online. At ‘comfort shoes’, no less. I have almost summoned up a shred of enthusiasm about, and nearly decided upon, the Dunlop ‘Ethel’ slipper with outdoor sole. I mean, who couldn’t be comfy, even after a bunion op, in these delightful numbers? Look. They have a stunning rubber wedge sole, a soft seamed upper, and flowers inside like my favourite pumps! They’ll so accessorize with my jeans, skirts and winter jackets! Everything goes with black! I’m sure I’ve noticed stylish women strutting about town in their Ethels!

Ethel Outdoor Slipper

My Post-Darco Reality: The Ethel Outdoor Slipper

Hmm. I’m willing positive thinking, here. Unsuccessfully. Yes, I can see that they’re a step up from the Darco Shoe of Death. Of course I can! And I can see that for some people these Ethels may be a fantastic blessing in (a very heavy) disguise. And I, too, could find myself actively choosing these for Christmas when I’m 70. But, right now, they’re a bit of a come-down from the Jimmy Choo fantasy. Ah, heck, I can at least try a Jimmy next year. That’s if I can make it uptown in my Ethels on public transport without being forced home owing to jeers and tomatoes from the Cool Shoe Police.


If you swear by your Ethels, please accept my apologies for mocking your favourite footwear. I may love them when I try them! I have seriously ordered some more Crocs, in the hope that they are one shoe that will fit. Soonish. But they’re not exactly suitable for winter. Can anyone recommend just the shoe for this stage after bunion surgery? Some soft trainers, perhaps? Maybe some soft loafers or moccies? Cheers…


About Tessa Tangent

I write and I often go off at tangents. Tessa Tangent's my nickname and, at home, I'm called Tessa more than I am my real name, Heather. In the 90s, I had short stories published in magazines like Ludus and For Women. I also won a cherished second prize in a BBC travel writing competition, was the writer of a newsletter for a dry ski slope and had a newspaper article about the slope published. At the same time, I wrote half a first draft of a novel then, for reasons I may reveal, I stopped writing. After a long fallow period, I am writing again - and not a moment too soon...
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4 Responses to The Bunion Bugle: Stage Six

  1. Hi Tessa, you’re wise to order Crocs and as for the “Ethel,” I feel your pain. I’ve been there with a size 12 foot with a bunion my surgeon said was one of the largest he’d ever seen. I’m still not able to wear anything close to a Jimmy Choo five years post surgery. But about 6 months after surgery (I also had a hammertoe repaired) I had a wedding to go to and eventually settled for a stretchy 1 1/2″ heeled sandal by Lifestride.

    The best shoes I found for the first three months after surgery were athletic shoes by New Balance and Saucony because they have a wide toe box. No pain. If you’re feeling pain wearing a shoe, you’re not ready to wear it yet. Really. That’s one of the reasons so many women have bunions – they’d rather wear painful shoes than deal with the fashion police. Ethel knows better and probably has a lot more fun.

    A friend of mine who has bunions made a list of good shoes for bunions for me on my Bunion Survivor website. You can read the article, which also has some great tips for how to choose a shoe, as well as best brands for bunions at:
    Bunions and Shoes: Avoiding the Agony of De Feet

    Here’s to the smart and sassy Ethels of the world,


    PS. I’ve added your blog to my recommended links at You have a helpful and humorous perspective on bunion surgery recovery.

    • Hello Mary, Thank you so much for the truly helpful comments. I’ve had a look at the Bunion Survivor website and can’t for the life of me think why I never found it before. It is amazingly informative! That shoe article had a very large list of possible appropriate shoes and I’ve also looked up Saucony and NB, which can both be bought here. Life Stride, I could get from the U.S. But what with the list, the suggestions of friends and your own choices, I’m now more hopeful that there’ll be more than a Croc or Birkenstock to fit me when winter comes.

      I’ve added your website to the list of very useful websites at the bottom of my Stage Two post and I’m going to feature these again when I write after seeing my surgeon on Monday. There is so much great help and bunion stigma-busting on your site that I think everyone with a live bunion or who’s going through the surgery process could so benefit from taking a look there. Thanks for adding this one, although it was never meant to be a dedicated bunion site and I hope soon to be writing about some other things. To be honest, just after surgery, there’s not much else I could think or write about 🙂

      I wish I’d seen your site (with its questions for the surgeon and other vital info) before my initial visit with the surgeon because I struggled to find a single question to ask him. And that wasn’t just because he was devishly good-looking. I really didn’t have much a clue about surgery and what to ask. Hmm.

      All the best and I’ll keep dropping in on your site (as well as keep tracks on that emerging left-foot bunion of mine!)

      Heather x

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