The inappreciative patient and my lost summer pleasures
I have mixed feelings towards people who are too positive, too optimistic and expect too much when there is no good reason to do so. It is twice as bad if your doctor sees things for not what they are, but assumes them way better than the real condition shows.
This is my stormy summer
The surgery itself went quite smoothly. We cannot escape unpleasant feelings and sensations with lots of cutting. However, I was very shocked when they quickly dressed the huge wound and told: ok, let’s go. I wasn’t really able to walk because one part of incision was fairly close to the ankle while the other which did not cause that much discomfort was under the knee. This leg has grafted skin since 1992, so this type of skin is unable to hold sutures. The doctor told there was no need also to apply something else. He proudly announced we would expect this to heal quickly by second intention which simply means: wound that is extensive and involves considerable tissue loss, and in which the edges cannot be brought together, heals naturally from the inside out. I certainly was concerned when they told me to walk right away, but my head was very foggy, and so we drove home.
I was wearing loose long pants, so only when I fall in the bed and lifted up the fabric, I noticed blood spots. They became larger and more and more intense until I had to cover this up with a few more layers of gauze. The blood was literally streaming through the gauze. I called the doctor’s office. They told to send a picture. It’s needless to say, my exhaustion was insane and pain was increasingly stronger, so it took me big efforts to send a picture over the phone, sounds funny, but it was like that. Well, they said: I had to go to emergency. Emergency was quite surprised how they had let me go, but after some 3-4 hours they were able to fix the issue and stop bleeding.
I am always careful with medications I am prescribed or signs and symptoms which occur. The pain was just stronger and stronger. The ankle area was totally swollen. I had fever, too, and that was pretty much an indication of infection. All surgeries have 2 main complications: bleeding and infection. It looked I was getting both. If my head was clear and I had my normal brain sharpness, I most likely had noticed what antibiotic I was prescribed. I did not pay attention; I just took a pill from the small container and watched the clock not to miss some dose. On the next day, I was fairly sure, things are not right. I have had so many surgeries in the past that I am able to feel when something is getting out of control. Some so-called home care doctors came; they took vitals and had a look at the dressing. I had to go to emergency again. The doctor who checked the wound at emergency seemed to be really in shock. It’s infected, he stated. Well, I knew it already, but nevertheless, when I looked at the wound myself, I almost fainted. Necrotic spots were visible; the look was so terrible that I started hysterically crying. The part that hurt me most was: so much of viable tissue was lost. I needed it, I needed it so badly in order to heal!
Thankfully, they had sent a wound swab to the lab. Meanwhile, I was given i/v and attached to an i/v antibiotic infusion pump. It’s a fairly uncomfortable thing, if you are not familiar with it. They had initially attached it to the vein in my right arm, straight below the elbow, so for a few days I couldn’t use my right arm. This pump stays with you for 5-7 days, so one is very limited in mobility because the long infusion line gets caught everywhere and sleeping with it is scary.
On Monday I received a call that I have to return to emergency immediately. Why? That was the third time within 5 days. The antibiotic I was receiving was not able to handle the nasty microorganisms, they didn’t give anything about this particular drug, there was a complete resistance.
3-4 more hours at emergency, and finally I was given another i/v, another antibiotic which supposedly would be working. Therefore, I had lost more than 4 days, and for type I diabetic with extensive surgical site infection, that is like eternity. 3 more days with my friend infusion pump. This time I knew how that feels to have this pump attached day and night to the vein, so I got the line inserted in the left arm, on the outside and not directly under the elbow. If only my head had been clear enough to follow-up on these antibiotics which I was given! I had told the doctor: cephalosporins DO NOT work. The previous doctor had already found out that. I really regret there does not exist a unified online database with patient records so that any treating physician could see sensitivities, intolerances and resistances right away, BEFORE MAKING SUCH TERRIBLE MISTAKES, before causing conditions which are absolutely preventable. Nevertheless, he had prescribed exactly cephalosporin. Did he think I had no idea what I was talking about? His ignorance caused me abnormal troubles, pain and resulted in severe complications. It’s hard to understand, but it seems every doctor in Ontario prescribes cephalosporins as a first choice medication, and most likely that is causing the resistance. They are overprescribed and over-applied.
The doctor? He told everything was fine even when I sent the black and blue necrotic and infected wound pictures. Is that even possible that somebody can be so wrong with the evaluation? Does this somebody have zero experience? Is he so sloppy and negligent that he does not want to admit things went so wrong because of lack of ANY PREVENTIVE MEASURES? It looked bad and shocking, and it was clear the healing will take much more time. Not to mention the stress, anxiety, worries, frustration and despair.
Meanwhile everything is blooming outdoors
I do regret I did not try harder to raise funds for having this surgery done in Latvia. I had never such a bad experience before, and quite honestly, I would not have survived the injuries back then if treatments were like this one. It makes me feel as if patient does not matter. It all comes down to money eventually. The doctor said if he was even ok with me staying at a hospital, they did not have enough beds for such “easy” (?!?) surgeries.
The only thing I still hope for is: this has a good end. This wound heals without any other complications.
Summer goes on with colors and heat
Meanwhile, my lovely summer disappears with a speed of light. I love the crisp mornings after rain, I love the exhausting heat and sipping cold lemon water in my backyard. I love watching my flowers and vegetables blooming and exploding in beauty. I love the saturated colors of ripening vegetables, and I miss the garden work so much! The last good year for me was 2013. That was the year of my daughter’s second wedding, the year of traveling and pleasure. My biggest goal is now getting this finally fixed and forgetting everything that happened this summer like a bad dream. I haven’t painted for a fairly long time. I feel so exhausted, so drained and so helpless at the moment. When I’m seeing quotes and wise advises on what’s life, what’s success and what’s happiness and similar intellectual pearls, that makes me laugh and cry at the same time: just stop pretending you are not aware how things do not depend on you. Living in the moment is fine, as long as this moment is tolerable for you. Nobody asks or ever will ask you whether you are ok with pain or struggles that are inevitable. Everything has a very logical cause and a very logical effect. I am mobilizing all my internal energy and strength at the moment to overcome the side effects and to bring the wound to a good healing stage. Well, it’s already looking better.
Catalpa tree has made beans already while I was sleeping inside