In my May column, I disclosed that a virulent infection from a pressure sore on my ankle threatened my life. In June I wrote of the underlying cause — peripheral artery disease. Now I’m going to document the medical response.
The infection knocked me flat. A day later, when a doctor did not return my call, I self-prescribed an antibiotic I had on hand for cellulitis. It was the best thing I could have done, the right drug for the job.
It took several days for the antibiotic to harness my high fever, sickness and wooziness. During that time, nearly my entire leg became involved. From my calf down to my foot swelled tremendously, heated up, and burst out with multiple sores. I dressed the lower part of my leg daily with Silvadene, gauze pads, secondary absorbent pads, and Kerlix wrap. A week later I went to a wound care clinic.
A team of nurses freaked out when they saw my leg. They re-dressed it exactly as I had been dressing it, gave me a protective bootie to wear, and sent me home with instructions to make an appointment with a vascular surgeon. They didn’t wash, disinfect or debride any of the many wounds. In other words, they punted.
The earliest I could get an appointment with a vascular surgeon was two weeks away. During that period, in my weakened conditioned, I had a difficult time washing, debriding, and dressing my leg with no help. It took me three hours per day. I was still sick.
The vascular surgeon scheduled me for imm