If you remember, last winter I got really sick with a chest infection and flu. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t do anything. Even writing my weekly column or appearing on The Saskatoon Afternoon Show was exhausting. Shortly before this, my doctor just quit his practice and disappeared without anyone from his practice telling me. I was left without a family doctor (he wasn’t that great) so I went into a walk in clinic and saw someone who prescribed me some serious medication (that would come back and haunt me later). On the same day I went into the doctor, I noticed my foot was badly infected. The doctor assured me that the anti-biotic that she was giving me for my chest would kill that as well and as far as I realized, it had.
I eventually got better in early January but in late January I was out and slipped on some ice and really hurt the ankle. It swelled up and has bothered me for months. I have badly sprained things before and never thought that much about it. A doctor looked at it and thought it was tendonitis which seemed to make sense to me.
The swelling continued and got worse for weeks. It would go down at night and return in the morning. During that time I was having some of the worst fevers and chills that I have ever had. I would get some cold that I would violently shake for hours at night and then get so hot as I would be burning up. My night table still has gloves and toque in it when I would be trying to get warm. Wendy thought it was something more serious but I just shrugged it off as a flu.
It wasn’t. I woke up one morning to large ulcer on the bottom of my foot one morning. It was almost an inch deep. I had no idea how long it was there but there was a trail of blood that followed me from the bed to the tub. Long time readers of the blog know that I suffer from neuropathy quite badly. When your feet always hurt, you tend to ignore the pain to cope. Excruciating pain in my feet is the norm, not the exception but I knew right away I was in deep trouble.
My mother lost her right left to an ulcer just like this. It took years but the ulcer won. Here I was without a family doctor, type II diabetic, and freaking inch deep bleeding ulcer on my foot.
So I went back to the walk in clinic. I got lectured by the doctor over not having a family doctor. I snapped back for him to recommend me one because the web thinks that many of them are quacks. He looked at the list and said, “I wouldn’t recommend any of these to you.” I know, I had been phoning and searching for months. It’s hard to find a good doctor. I have horror stories of being the only one in a waiting room but still being left for an hour. Another one couldn’t remember basic things about me despite reading my chart in front of me.
The walk in clinic doctor referred me to the wound clinic at City Hospital. I would start to go down there regularly were they would dress my would and tell me to come back in a couple of days. I would be back with a different dressing. Since I shower every day of my life and the dressing needs to be dry, I kind of would dress it again myself. For all of the areas in my life where I am incompetent, this is the one thing I do quite well.
Since then, they have done some circulation tests and a lot of treatments on the wound. It is slowly healing but the foot was still infected.
During this I finally found a good family doctor. The web likes him. The nurses that I see almost all of the time all approve of him and he has updated magazines in his examination rooms. He has put me one some extremely powerful antibiotics. They were so powerful the pharmacist that we go and see was uncomfortable with them. The good news is that they seem to be working. I can see my ankle and foot tonight. This is a big deal.
The bad news is that they make me really sick. I am taking pro-biotics to counter the negative effects of the anti-biotics but the reality is that the rest of my body is hating these things as much as the infection in my foot is. Another 12 days of this round of anti-biotics and then the hope is the diminished swelling the lack of infection in my foot will lead to some healing.
And some sleeping in. I am back at City Hospital early tomorrow morning. Hopefully things keep healing. It has almost been six months of this and I am getting tired of it.