Monday, March 30, 2009

What wasn't on my mind...

Okay...I was worried about my foot. The infection was causing pain where there was no infection to be seen, and I was terrified of a case of osteomyelitis. For those who've forgotten what that is, it's an infection in the bone. Exactly two weeks ago, my doctor increased my pain meds and told me to get x-rays. The increase caused my sleeping to get off schedule, to it wasn't until Thursday that I got the x-rays.

Friday rolled around, and I called my doctor's office to find out if I needed to be in a hospital or not. The nurse was leery of saying anything, as she's not trained to read a medical report in full. The doctor was no longer in the office, so I would have to wait until Monday. But my stress was so high that she got the report and looked for any sentence that contained the word "osteomyelitis." She found one. That sentence also contained the word "Negative." Thus, I was able to relax.

Monday arrived, and someone called me with the official report. There was no sign of osteomyelitis. My mind went into full relaxation mode. Or, putting it more clearly, I stopped obsessing over the idea I had this serious infection. I was SO worried about it that when I went to the emergency room weeks before, I was sure they were going to keep me, and shaved my arms from hands to shoulders. It might seem strange, but I often tell people that it hurts more to have an IV removed than when it's put in. All that tape and hairy arms equates to a great deal of pain.

Okay...So far, so good. With my greatest fear set aside, I delved into a computer game, as I reported in my last post. My brain was fried, and it needed rest. Thinking creatively instead of being overwhelmed with concern was quite restful.

Oh, but good news can't hang around me for long. If I won a million dollars in the lottery, I'd manage to be taxed 99.99%. In terms of illness, that's how it tends to play out. Osteomyelitis would have meant a brief hospital stay, followed by many weeks of IV antibiotics. Compared to what I was told today, that would have been good news...

I had my followup visit with my doc today. I was able to report some semi-good things. Like the fact that the place where my toenail once was is no longer draining anything. It's not even worth putting a bandage on it, because there's nothing open for foreign matter to get into it. Also, the size of the wound is visibly smaller. *I* can see it, and that remains a good sign. I still have a case of cellulitis around the site, which is painful...but I'm not screaming in agony, thanks to decent pain management. In fact, my morphine dose was reduced today, because I seem to be getting better.

Oh...that includes my shoulder. As the temperature here in AZ has done a bit of bouncing, I've been able to see a correlation between my pain and weather fluctuations. Yes, my shoulder still hurts, but it hasn't been the tear-inspiring experience it was before. What's more, the two week supply of morphine he gave me has lasted longer than that.

Overall, things seemed to be looking up.

Then he gave me the results of the x-rays. As I said, a bone infection was riled out at this time. He wants me to be careful, and come running back if there are any severe changes, but my doc told me we can go back to scheduling me for when I simply need medication refills. But the x-rays also confirm I have Charcot foot. From what I know of Charcot's Joint, it showing up in an x-ray means it's advanced enough to show that my bones aren't lining up the way they should. It's why my ankles give out from time to time. It's why my feet swell and hurt so much when I've been on them too long.

It's why, at this very moment, I'm in tears. My feet have become hazardous to my health. The lack of sensation in them means I won't know there's a really problem until it's too late. And because I'm trapped within the realm of what I call "poor man's medicine," I'll have to wait until there's a severe issue with them until I can have surgery to correct any problems, and then I'm right back at the beginning, fretting over my lousy healing and infection.

Once upon a time, when I would complain, it was about the common things that weight on the minds of everyone. There was nothing terribly out of the ordinary about the things I'd gripe about. When I was done, someone was usually there to say, "Well, alt least you have your health."

I don't even have that anymore.

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