Saturday, February 15, 2014

Health care on the road

Nurse Jon at work
Our excellent adventure is on hiatus. Oh, we're still having an adventure, it's just not excellent. We are in Yuma now and will be for the foreseeable future. Our plans to tour the United States have been put on hold, pending resolution of my health problems.

When we left Kennewick in late December, I was told the infection on the middle toe on my left foot was cured, and there was no infection in my right big toe, but that we should check in periodically with a wound care center to they could look at it and cut away the dead skin. Something happened in the month it took us to get to Yuma' the infected area on my big toe grew and the bone in the middle toe got infected.

Coming down, the best I could do was go to a walk-in clinic where the doctor said she wasn't a wound expert, but did prescribe antibiotics. I'd tried two wound centers along the way but they weren't interested in seeing anyone on a one-shot basis.

The bone infection, called osteomylitis, is being treated by the medical community here. Curing a bone infection is hard work. We must make two 25-mile round trips a day to the Yuma hospital for IV antibiotic treatments. Because of traffic, it takes about 35-40 minutes one-way. The 8 a.m. session is the longest, about 90 minutes, because they drip two antibiotics into me; only one is used at the 5 p.m. session. This is seven days a week for six to eight weeks, because that's how long it takes for new bone to grow. If the infection responds well to the treatment, they may reduce it to one treatment a day. The alternative is to have my toe amputated, something I'm not too keen on having done.

In addition to this, Jon must medicate and bandage my toes twice a day. He is getting very good at this, so good it looks almost as professional as what the wound care nurses do at my weekly appointments.
Moral of this story: Keep that damn cholesterol under control High cholesterol leads to poor circulation in your feet. Poor circulation in your feet means infections in your feet won't heal properly.

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