I have hated this time of year for the last two years. This weekend I am going to write and file two columns for The StarPhoenix. Not a big deal but it wraps up my 2016. Since I know what I am writing for my first column for 2017, I’ll probably write that as well. I just wrote on Saskatchewan drunk driving problem and I am probably going to shoot a video talking about some of the issues that didn’t make it into the paper. I’ll post the video and column here on Monday.
To go back two years ago, I told my editor that I would fire off some columns for him in the same way. Then I got sick. I didn’t know it at the time but it was the start of the infection in my leg spreading rapidly and my body was trying to fight it. I was so sick that I couldn’t function at all or write the columns which was the first time it had ever happened. I couldn’t get warm. I’d be buried under ten blankets while wearing a toque and gloves to stop the pain in my hands. I kept thinking I would go to bed and I would be fine but it never happened. Finally on the 22nd, I went to the hospital and was loaded up with antibiotics. As we know it didn’t work that well. I was on all sorts of antibiotics. I had picc lines going into my hands (You write a column for several weeks where every single key stroke in your left hand caused you to experience great pain). I was injecting myself at the dinner table. I was taking so many antibiotics at one point where the new pharmacist refused to fill the prescription.
Last year after being on antibiotics for months, I was declared cured and good to go about this time in December. Within 72 hours I was as sick as I was the first time. I can’t remember why but in the middle of the night I got up to get something and I passed out at the top of the stairs. I remember laying at the bottom of the stairs and thinking that I have broken something when Wendy gasped and said, “Look at your leg”. It was bright red enough I could see it brightly without the lights on and it was giving off an incredible amount of heat. The infection was bad and had spread. The next morning I was back at RUH being pumped full of antibiotics. I remember the doctor saying, “Another couple of days you may not have made it.”
So again back to my column. I had written my editor saying I wouldn’t file that week that I was too sick and needed some time off. Anyways there was a miscommunication over whether it was that week or the next week and to make a long story short (I never did look back at my email but I assume the miscommunication was mine) I wrote my column in the bowels of RUH hooked up an IV drip in like 30 minutes. I took some time off of work but came back just before Christmas but I was still wiped out from the infection and the treatment. I slept through pizza on Christmas Eve and was too tired to hand out gifts that night so I had Mark do it.
Luckily by Christmas morning I felt better, the antibiotics had started to beat back the infection and for that time, the worst was over.
It is hard to believe that two years later the infection is still there. It is shrinking though and seems to be getting better. It’s been two years of antibiotics, side effects, IV’s, tests, and doctors appointments. There has been a lot of pain and more fevers than I care to think of. I still am exhausted at the end of most days and the plan is for another year and a half of antibiotics but it is nothing like it was the last two Christmases. That’s a good thing.
So as weird as it is, when I sit down with a cup of coffee and write 1200 or so words over an hour or so, it will feel like a huge step forward. None of you will enjoy reading those columns as much as I will have had writing them.