Thursday, April 22, 2010

Myth Informed

Ah, Robert Asprin was quite an influence on me many, many moons ago. However, the title of this post, although never used by the aforementioned author, is fitting. I was believing in a myth, but was informed otherwise today.

On my left foot, there are officially THREE ulcer sites...

The first, directly on my ankle, was the product of wearing sandals when I lived in AZ. I was just enough of a nerd to wear socks with my sandals, but they proved no protection from the ankle strap. It sawed into my skin and created an ulcer that took between a year-and-a-half to two years to heal. (I know I've mentioned it deep inside this blog, but no longer recall how long it took to become the scar it is today.)

The second ulcer is one that appeared a couple of months ago. I have no idea where it came from, but I treated it as I normally do, and it seemed to heal.

The last ulcer is the one I wrote about yesterday.

Back up to ulcer number two a moment, and understand that this was the "myth" part of this post's title. It was NOT healed. Oh, it was faking it rather well, but it turns out that it might well be the cause of the new ulcer. And here are the details of this knowledge and how I came to have it...

I mentioned yesterday that I was to call a wound care specialist today and make an appointment as soon as possible. Monday, I thought. That's probably the best for which I'll be able to hope. And so I made my calls to the specialist to get in to see her...only to end up listening to a ringing phone with no one around to answer. I mean, it's a specialist. Someone should pick up by ring number five, shouldn't they? And various answering devices used by doctors and the like tend to pick up on ring number one. So I was kinda screwed in making my appointment.

Luckily, the wound care specialist was handed a reminder that I was in the ER yesterday, and she called me! What's more, she claimed to be able to see me today, which I believed wasn't necessary. I was treated at the ER yesterday. What could she possibly do for me today that would change my treatment? So rather than agree instantly to be seen today, I was willing to wait until Monday, as I'd originally thought.

But while chatting with her, she mentioned that she was called at home for a consultation yesterday evening, and that put me on pause immediately. Wait...The doctor called another profession AT HOME for consultation? That probably means this is as serious as I'd been imagining. With that thought sinking into my mind, I agreed to come in today and have her examine my new ulcer.

I learned upon my arrival that I was what the specialist's office called a "preferred patient." This is their way of saying, "Not only do we want to see you, but we want to see you NOW!" In fact, I wasn't even permitted to finish my paperwork that most doctor office's require before seeing patients. I actually sat in a recliner while the Certified Wound Care Nurse (CWCN) attended to my foot.

The very first thing to happen was to have the myth disproved. The second ulcer had not only not healed, but was deeper than the new one! Instead of developing skin properly over the ulcer, I developed a callus. A rather DEEP callus. A rather deep callus that has to be DEBRIDED so it could heal properly. This involved a fine-tipped scalpel and careful work by the specialist. (While she consults a doctor before releasing patients, this nurse does all of the real work.)

I don't have one active ulcer...I have TWO!

What's more, the "fake-healing" ulcer may be the cause of the new one. With all of my complications, there could well be something lurking within that caused the new wound to appear. This wound may have come about from an infection that started inside and worked its way out. And this explanation best explains why my foot swelled like a balloon.

So what now?

The CWCN gave me new instructions on how to treat the wounds. Photos and measurements were taken so a visual record can be kept of the infection. I am to continue my antibiotics, as well as follow up next Monday with another visit. If there's no improvement, or if it seems that it's getting worse, she will want pictures to see what's going on INSIDE the foot. (Yay...more x-rays and/or MRIs.)

And that's it. That's the update. Until there's more news, or I think of something more entertaining to speak about, I'd ask my readers to say a little prayer that this works out for me...because, although some of my fears were dispelled, I remain terrified.

No comments: