Saturday, June 20, 2015

Bad Toe--the Rest of the Story

So, for all you Paul Harvey fans out there, here is the rest of the story.  Back on Memorial Day weekend, when Roger Thompson​ and Rick Reynolds​ were visiting, Rick noticed that my left foot was terribly swollen.  He suggested I see my doctor about it.  I scheduled a full physical with my doc, Clancy Cone​, but Clancy couldn't tell what, exactly, was going on with my foot, so he referred me to my podiatrist, Flynn Sherick.  Now me, being of a mind to put things off until I can afford to pay for them, neglected setting an appointment with Dr. Sherick.  That is until Thursday night, when getting ready for bed I noticed that the middle toe on my left foot was bright red and the skin was peeling off it.  Since Kevin​ wanted to drive into Missoula on Friday anyway, I called Dr. Sherick's office, and when I described the situation, April said it sounded like an emergency and got me in to see Dr. Reed that morning.

One of the side effects of diabetes is that you can develop neuropathy, especially in the extremities, and you may not feel what is happening with your feet.  I certainly have no idea why my toe got in the shape it did--I know it didn't look that bad when Clancy saw it or he would have done something.  But, long story short, there is an infection in my toe that led Dr. Reed to clean the wound, i.e. cut off the tip of the toe and the peeling skin.  He told me I had two options:  1) stay off my feet, keeping the left foot dry except for daily cleansing of the wound and redressing it, and take massive amounts of antibiotics for 6 to 8 weeks; or 2) amputate the toe.  I chose 1.  With proper care and any luck at all, the toe will heal, the lost skin will grow back, and I can return to a more or less normal life.  Well, the new normal, which includes a complete foot inspection every day. EVERY DAY.

Dr. Reed also took x-rays of my foot and found 1) the bones aren't exactly where they're supposed to be in a normal foot, and 2) there are lines that may or may not be hairline fractures in some of the bones.  The misalignment of the bones may just be a genetic variation, but in any event, Dr. Reed felt that the matter called for an MRI to get a clearer picture of what is going on with my left foot.  (Sounds like a movie title to me.)  (And just why should the bones in my feet be normal--the rest of me certainly isn't.)  After cleaning and disinfecting the wounded toe, Dr. Reed put me in a walking cast to protect everything, including the possibly broken bones in my foot.

Dr. Reed's staff was very helpful and worked to get me an MRI appointment that very day so I wouldn't be driving back and forth to Missoula every couple of days.  Bless them all!  I was out of Dr. Reed's office by noon, but the MRI wasn't scheduled until 4 pm.  After lunch at the Montana Club, we headed to Costco to get my new prescriptions filled (they would need at least a half hour and standing around with that walking cast just wasn't cutting it), so we left Costco and headed to WalMart for some quick shopping, then to the Verizon store, where even though I knew exactly what I wanted, it still took 2 1/2 hours to move from my old iPhone4 to a brand new LG G4.  (And just like at Costco, we ended up leaving the Verizon store without our new purchases, because it was going to take another hour and a half just to move the photos and contacts from the old phone to the new one--not an easy task if you're going from Apple to Android, apparently.

We got to Advanced Imaging, the MRI place, about 15 minutes early, and they got me in very quickly.  There was one fellow in the machine at the time, and a woman in line ahead of me, but they took me to the back, took a blood sample, and put a needle in the back of my hand so they could insert dye into my veins for the MRI.  And then the real wait began.  I had not had the foresight to bring a book or my Kindle from home, but I took advantage of our stop at Costco to pick up a new book, Paris Match by Stuart Woods as I knew there would be some waiting time.  The assistant at Advanced Imaging showed me how to turn my arm chair into a recliner, and brought me a heated blanket, which was helpful as the place was air conditioned to near arctic temperatures.  I was told that I'd be waiting for about 45 minutes and then would be in the MRI machine for another 45 minutes, so I asked to speak with Kevin, and when he joined me, I suggested he head back to Costco and the Verizon Store to pick up our purchases, rather than sit in the lobby and wait while I was also sitting around waiting.  He agreed, and left.

Let me just say that I am thoroughly enjoying the Stuart Woods novel.  I read half the book while waiting.  Yes, half the book.  It was a long wait.  And in the end, a fruitless wait as the assistant returned to tell me that they had been having trouble with the machine all day, and it had finally given up the ghost while working on the man two in line in front of me.  The could get me into the machine at St. Pat's hospital around 11 p.m., or, they would put Kevin and me up in a motel overnight so that we wouldn't have to drive back on Saturday morning--assuming, that is, that they were able to get the machine fixed Saturday morning.  Kevin insists that Clark Fork Valley Hospital, just down the road from our house, has a brand new MRI, but for some reason, no one in Missoula--not Dr. Reed nor the folks at Advanced Imaging--was willing to consign me to the ministrations of our local folk.  Something about protocols.  Doesn't make sense to me that St Pat's would be OK, but Clark Fork Valley, which is owned by St Pat's, isn't.  But what do I know.  I'm just the patient.

We left Advanced Imaging at 6 p.m. (Remember, we got there at 3:45), and headed to Bamboo Chopstix for a fine dinner with Mike Henry and his mother.  After that we headed home, arriving around 9 p.m., roughly 12 1/2 hours after we left for Missoula.  And I'd been in that damn walking cast since before noon.  I was tired, cranky, and very upset.

Kevin took the cast off, cleaned and redressed the wounded toe, and we went to bed.  The doctor had given me a prescription for Oxycodone for pain, but I know how morphine affects me and I really want to avoid the narcotic if at all possible.  Instead, I took three Advil gel caps and a dose of Nyquil and headed upstairs to sleep by myself in the guest room.  And I did sleep.

Woke up this morning feeling much more chipper than when I went to bed--or in fact better than at any time yesterday, and now I'm waiting for my brand new LG G4 to ring and tell me that the machine is working and I need to come back into Missoula.  If I do go into Missoula today, I will take advantage of being there to participate, at least minimally in Pride activities and also run by the Father's Day Car Show at Grizzly Peak Home.  BUT, and this is the kicker:

For the next 6-8 weeks I am to stay off my feet as much as possible, and wear that damned walking boot when I have to be up.  Not sure how I'll feel after driving into Missoula with the boot on, so I may not make any of the extracurricular activities.  Also, at home, I will have to give up watering the orchard, the flower beds and the strawberries--turning those tasks over to Kevin.  I am not to get my foot wet, and I can't water the orchard with a plastic bag over the walking cast--not to mention doing it while "staying off my feet."  I am to stay away from my loom--at least until we know if any bones are broken, because the project I'm working on uses all ten treadles and each treadle raises four harnesses--a lot of weight, which means a lot of pressure on an injured foot.  I foresee getting a lot of reading done over the next 6-8 weeks.

And worst of all, I have to wear shoes at all times.  My West Virginia roots go too deep for me to be comfortable wearing shoes.  Those of you who know me well, know that I don't wear any clothing if at all possible, but I almost never wear shoes unless I'm out in public.  The doc says that has to change.  We'll see.  For now, I'll be sitting in my recliner, with my feet up, relaxing with the Kindle or a book in front of me.

Oh, and two incidental things I need to remember to tell Dr. Reed when I see him in 10 days.  I spent many years doing Scottish Country Dance.  I'm a life member of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, affiliated with the San Francisco Branch.  Scottish Dancing puts a lot of stress on your feet, and any hairline fractures could well have occurred back in the day.  Wouldn't surprise me at all.  Could even account for the bones not being in the "proper" place.  Also, last October, while in Phoenix, Kevin left me at the hotel while he went to make some last minute purchases before our drive home.  I took advantage of the internet to find a couple of geocaches within walking distance of the hotel, and the first one I tried for (and found, btw), involved climbing a rather steep, very rocky hillside.  I don't know what I did, focused on the goal, as it were, but when I got back down to street level and started walking back to the hotel on the sidewalk, my left foot screamed in agony and I seriously wondered if I'd be able to get back to our room.  The foot hurt off and on for days, but eventually the pain subsided.  I still have no idea what I did, but I suppose it's possible that I fractured a bone by stepping on a rock a little too heavily.  Who knows.

And that's the rest of the story.

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