My left foot, part 3!

Well, that last post was a slight detour from the current subject matter. It’s been a week since the whole steak incident, so we now return to your scheduled programming – the ongoing saga with my bloody foot! Anyway, I’ll continue where I left off. You’ll have to read below if you want a recap

July 30th came. It was a dreary Tuesday. Once again, the trip was made to North Tees.. The specialist was a jolly man. who spoke with a news-reader type voice. I entered the office, took my shoes and socks off, and he had a play around with my toes. After lots of umming and ahhing, (the type you get when a builder is inspecting your boiler (oo-er), and thinks the job is going to be rather costly), and it was decided that the best decision was to cut part of my toe off.

Well, the beWHAT? THEY’RE GOING TO WHAT? Admittedly, the next few minutes are a blur, as I had to come to terms with actually losing a body part. Thankfully, he dictated what he was going to do, and sent me a letter with it all on. Basically, there were lots of technical terms referring to lobbing off a bit of toe. It did start, however, with him calling me “This chap”. But, in a nutshell, my toes appeared to be “clawing”, as in, they’re permanently clenched in, and the tip of the toe had been rubbing so much that it probably wasn’t going to be able to be saved. There’s probably a technical name in that letter, but I can’t be arsed to look it up.

He also berated my choice of footwear. Apparently, walking boots were crap for this type of foot problem, which was entirely contradictory of what I was told by another foot specialist, who measured me up for my insoles just a few months before. For fuck’s sake.

A lady from orthotics came in and measured my feet, while the specialist went through his extensive checklist of what could happen during the operation. Strangely, a lot of bladder related stuff and not much else. It was arranged for me to have my pre-op assessment now. This was basically because it’s a 30-mile round-trip to get from the leafy grounds of Mercuryvapour Towers, to North Tees hospital.

All this entailed was a lot of box ticking, and a quick examination. “Your blood pressure’s a little high…” said the nurse. I felt like saying “Well, so would yours be if you’ve just been told you’re getting part of your toe cut off…”. A second reading was lower, so it was probably just my white coat syndrome kicking in.

On the way home, I began to concoct some jokes, after all, laughter is the best medicine. This lasted all of about half an hour, before I began to think of someone I know who started off losing a toe, then all of his toes, then his foot, then his leg below his knee, and eventually died. Sure, he had other health problems, but I began to think “Is this how it starts…” Depression certainly kicked in for a few days I certainly wasn’t in a good place for this time. It was a case of waiting for the letter to plop through the door with the date of when I was getting the chop.

The date of my operation came through, and it was exactly a week from when the letter was dated. I genuinely can’t work out if this made me feel better or worse. I had the date. It could all be over, or it could just be the beginning.

I filled the time with a few trips out. The Sunday consisted of a rather disappointing Redcar car boot sale. I’m guessing this may have just been because of the time of year, but thankfully, the walk around Redcar more than made up for it. There was one store called “Goodwins” that had an metric shit-ton of random CDs, listed for a quid.

Despite being a quid a pop, I didn’t bother getting any. There were far too many to look through, and there was far too much crap to contend with. “Top Musicians Play Sting And The Police”…. Maybe my heart just wasn’t in it.

I returned from the car boot with literally a handful of CDS and a few records. There just weasn’t very much at all. I needed something to pass the time while I was off, and cataloguing an absolute pile of CDs would have been ideal. Oh well.

This day was the penultimate day before the operation. The next day just involved work, and telling everyone that I’ll “see them when I see them”. The rest of that day was then spent going around the town, grabbing the finer essentials, namely a pair of slippers and a dressing gown for the hospital. This was also the day that I received some devastating news about the death of Rab, an old work colleague. This put things into perspective a bit. I was losing a bit of a toe. Some people have much worse problems.

All there was left to do now was to attempt to get some sleep and hope that tomorrow, and the stay in hospital would come and go quickly….And so will part 4!

My left foot, part 2

A quick round-up for those who missed part 1. Back in 2016, I went walking, got an ulcer in my foot, which didn’t get seen to until 2017 Fast forward two years later, I no longer have a hole in my foot. That’s all sorted. Hurrah, huzzah, and other noises in the similar vein. That was no longer a concern. What WAS a concern however, were my toes. I can’t remember how far through the blog I got, but about 6 months after getting the problem with the base of my foot, I also started getting problems with the toes. I remember it starting with an absolutely massive blister under the nail of my 2nd to biggest toe. This came as a shock to me, as I didn’t even know if was there, thanks to the lack of feeling in my toes. It’s somewthing that has a name, but I don’;t have the “documentation” to hand.

This went through cycles. I’d go to the one-life. The base would start to get better, then the toe would start. The toe would get better, tyhen the base would rupture, and I’d end up with this never-ending cycle of pus coming out of my foot. Occasionally, there’s be an infection, and I’d get a dose of tablets, usually, Flucloxicillin, or however it’s spelt.

At some point during the summer, it flared up again. It went all red and puffy, so just on the safe side, the lady took a swab, and it did indeed come back with some type of infection. I remember clearly that the tablets started with M, and I was to receive a call from my doctor when they were ready to pick up. Nothing. No phone call. Had she changed her mind? Had she forgotten? Now, I probably should have checked myself but I didn’t. I waited until the next week, and confirmed there should have been some tablets. Alrighty then. Off to the chemists, aaaand… 4 boxes of Flucloxicillin. Waaaait, that doesn’t begin with M.

I went back to the one-life to see what I should have been prescribed, but nobody could tell me what. I asked the lovely receptionist, though as I suspected, she couldn’t see. I went into the clinic the weekd after, explained the predicament (I hadn’t taken the tablets, by the way, as in my mind, they were the wrong ones, and there’s been a history of me being prescribed the wrong tablets for other things, and the wrong antibiotics can do more harm than good.) She got the manager to check, with it was all academic, as by the time of my next foot check, the redness had gone away, and everything appeared to be back to “normal”.

Fast forward to June 21st. I’d noticed that, once again, there was some discharge coming from the toe, and possibly the base. The lady checking my foot thought that it might have been “tracking”. This was not good. This basically means that the infection is going up into my foot veins, and into my bloodstream. The word “Sepsis” was banded about, and after three people came in to check my foot, I was advised to get myself down to A+E now, for a course of IV antibiotics. I’ll probably need to be kept in. That’s cute. There’s not one of those in Hartlepool, so I had to make my way to North Tees. Daddykins already had plans which he had to bail out of. Pretty important plans, and I felt awful for making him cancel those. It’ll be one of those things that will gnaw at the back of my brain, and will every so often get an awful wave of guilt over. The person concerned will never read this, but still.

Moving swiftly on, I arrive at the A+E. Awful, awful place. There was an obviously drugged-up person in a hospital-provided wheelchair, sat in a dressing gown, screaming down their phone, crying their eyes out at the person at the other end, to come and get them, and that they were not staying in, that they were going to book a taxi, etc, etc. This person went in before me, and muffled cries could be heard from the assessment wing. You get a new found appreciation for the people at the front-line on the NHS, having to put up with scum like that. Anyway, this person continued the conversation they came back… “They said I was being abusive”. Yeah, I bet you were.

I was next. I bet I was like a coffee break compared to the last person. I’m needle-o-phobic, so I look away as they insert what I thought was a needle to draw blood. It’s a standard procedure, and although it’s not one that I’m a fan of, it’s one I understand is necessary. I look down.

Nope, they weren’t drawing blood, they were fitting a fucking cannula. Now, at this point, I’ve never stayed in hospital. Theis pretty much guarantees I was about to break that duck. I’m not sure if they checked my blood pressure before or after they inserted that bloody thing (no pun intended) in my hand, but I’m pretty sure it would have doubled. Somewhere down the line, I explained that I really didn’t want to stay in hospital. I’d came straight from work, I only had the clothes I was stood up in, no other medication, I don’t even think I had money in my wallet. A compromise was to be made.

It was clear that I needed IV antibiotics, at least to start me off. That means I’d be connected to a drip, so I was led to a room. The connection was made, and a line was drawn on my foot to mark out if it was being efrective, and I sat there. I took a photo of the view so I’d remember it for the rest of my life.

OK, so one course of IV done, but still there were more. It was agreed for me to return back to North Tees at 9:30am the next morning for the next course of IV. In the meantime, the extremely uncomfortable cannula would be wrapped up and kept in there. Lovely.

Well, what a shit night’s sleep that was. As the photo shows (if I decided to include it), the cannula was in my right hand, meaning sleeping in my bed was impossible. This meant I crashed on the couch.

Both myself and Daddykins were up for part 2 of this journey. Again, the same streets, the same roadworks, the same entry, the same corridors…. Oh, wait no. This time, I was told to go to the “Ambulatory Outpatients Diary Room” I have no idea what that means, and I had even less of an idea how to get there. I have one rule when it comes to hospitals… If I’m not sure where I’m going, ask someone clutching a clipboard and/or stethoscope. At the time of typing, this has been effective approximately 20% of the time,, and if I’d followed the sihns, I’d have been there. But then again, this is Percy-logic, and I get to speak to nice poeople, so what the hey.

I arrive at the “Ambulatory Outpatients”. Nobosdy there. I examine the desks for sign of life. There’s a half drank bottle of diet coke, and the remanant of a tuna sandwich that had started to curl up at the ends. Nobody there at all. I think I was stood there about 20 minutes before someone came to see me. They must have noticed me eyeing up the rather nice selection of well-worn biros behind the desk.

Eventually, someone comes to see me, and we discuss the next course of action. Another dose of IV today, and a nurse would come out to see me for the next two doses, and the final one will be given the following morning back at the hospital. Phew, at least I didn’t have to stay in.

10 minutes later, I was free to go. I just had to wait for the nurses to come. Indeed they did. Nothing worse than sitting, watching the cricket, while two burly nurses pour drugs through a little hole in your arm. Twice.

Sunday comes, and off we jolly well pop back to the hospital. It was noted that the nedness had already began to go down, so the antibiotics were clearly working. It was agreed that I’d finish the antibiotics in tablet form, and I was fee to go. 80 flucoxicillin tablets over the course of 10 days (and two weeks on the sick) and I was right as rain. They took yet more blood, and while they awaited the test results, I had to sit around in the canteen for about an hour. They gave me a voucher for a free cup of tea, however, so it wasn’t all bad.

The IV dose was completed and finally, the cannula was removed. I was then assigned back to the high risk podiatry again for an appointment during the week to get my proper dressings put back on. This was a blessing, as within 30 seconds of me being in the chair, it was duly noted what was wrong with my foot. It looked like my toes were slightly crooked, meaning that none of the weight was getting put onto my big toe like it’s supposed to, and the little fatty bad that’s on the sole of my foot had either shifted or worn away. I was referred to a specialist for an appointment at the end of the month. And what did he say? Well, you’ll have to wait for the next part to find out!