Thursday, December 2, 2010

A real pain in the foot

I wish I knew exactly what was going on. I mean, my foot hurts, and I have some good ideas as to why, but I seem incapable of keeping my paranoia to a minimum, and the worst is seeping into my thoughts.

As I reported in my last post, I got another shot to my foot on Monday. This is a good thing, as far as I know, as it will help me deal with the pain. But the level of my pain is so "up there" right now that it's making me worry. Did the doc simply exacerbate those areas of my foot that cause me discomfort, or did the shot he gave me allow just a little bit of bacteria inside, and now an infection is growing?

This is the way it always seems to go when I get any kind of hole in my foot. I freak out and fret that another case of osteomyelitis is on its way. I've actually mentioned this before, calling it, I believe, "osteomyelitis on the brain." It's what my old podiatrist called a logical illogical fear. It's logical because that chance does, in fact, exist. It's illogical because not every cut is going to result in a bone infection. Thankfully, I've received a kind of confirmation when it comes to said infection. At one time, I started off with, "I had osteomyelitis once..." and the doctor I was seeing finished, "and never want it again."

Really, it's quite difficult trying to explain the pain to someone who's never experienced it. The infection hurts rather badly at all times. I was on a steady diet of percocet when I was hospitalized for that one official case of it. Two maximum strength percocets every four hours as needed for pain, to be exact. And I needed it. And then, just when I thought it couldn't get worse, I said one day that it felt painful enough for the bone to actually be broken. Sure enough, an x-ray revealed that what was left of my third metatarsal, which appeared to be somewhere between 30% and 40% of the bone, had snapped...from walking on it. For all the time that I spent off my feet, it was probably a stroll to the bathroom that did me in.

I didn't get a cast on my foot. There was really nothing to cast. You see, a cast is used so a bone can be set and then held in place so it will heal properly. When more than half of the bone has disintegrated from infection, there's nothing to really set. What was left of the bone would have to heal and grow back on its own.

And little did I know, even back then, when I was following the progress of the infection, that it had affected the second metatarsal as well. The head of both bones, closest toward my toes, didn't heal up with the nice, rounded edges they normally seem to have. They grew back with what appears to be sharp, flattened edges. I almost wish they could remove those two pesky bones and replace them with stainless steel. Maybe - just maybe - they wouldn't hurt as much.

Meanwhile, it's day three after the shot, right around the same time when the last shot kicked in and I was receiving relief. Instead, it still hurts. It hurts a great deal. I have to "prepare myself" to wander off to the kitchen to refresh my diet root beer. And I keep popping my painkillers in the hopes of accidentally getting some relief, but know that until the shot starts working, the pills are practically placebos.

And then there's that fear. That fear that when the doctor poked a few holes in my foot, he allowed something to get inside. Just a microscopic thief of health that could cause so much harm. Oh, he cleaned my foot well when he injected me, and covered up the holes the same way he did on the first shot. But that nagging fear is there, tainting my hope of getting pain relief.

This all started yesterday, when I awoke and felt such pain in my foot as to make me worry. It's probably the fact that the weather is getting colder, but it coincides with the shot, too. I immediately had visions of leaving to see Becky on the 17th, getting there on the 18th...and then landing in the hospital shortly after because of some bizarre, extreme pain inside my foot. I would then find myself stuck in PA, if one can truly call it "stuck." But here's how I imagine it would play out. I end up in the hospital for about 10 days. In that time, I become a pain in the butt, demanding a chest catheter be installed so I don't have to suffer through blown veins from the antibiotic. (I've had Vancomycin collapse a vein after only one dose!) A chest catheter would also allow me to leave the hospital so I can set up the IV on my own. And because it would be impossible to travel by bus, as that would mean more than 24 hours of doses missed, I'd have to stay at Becky's, setting up my own IVs at her place until a total of six weeks of antibiotics was completed. Afterward, I'd need minor surgery to remove the chest catheter. Then, and only then, could I head back to Kansas.

The only up side to this is that I'd be with Becky. And that's a pretty big upside. It would almost be worth getting sick, except I don't want to actually BE sick during my visit. That would make it three times in a row that we were together and I had some health-related issue. The first time, my knee blew out. The second time, I developed the cold from Hades. This third time...? I'd like to stay healthy during the whole visit, thank you very much.

I pray all of my concerns stay in my head, and that the shot kicks in soon.

No comments: