Sunday, March 08, 2020

Timeline of #ToeGate "It Could Have Been Worse!"

Rather than writing out a long synopsis of the whole ordeal, and if you don't feel like reading my two previous posts, here is a timeline of what happened: with my toe bone infection, my allergic reaction to vancomycin, the antibiotic I was on intravenously, and the amputation of the tip of the bone on my big toe. This whole saga started right before Thanksgiving and will hopefully end by St. Patrick's Day. Notice how everything happened around or on holidays and my birthday.

My arm with my allergic reaction to vancomycin.
November 22 (Right before Thanksgiving) - Saw the podiatrist for the first time. I thought I just had a fungus in my toe nail that wouldn't go away. He gave me an x-ray to make sure the infection had not gone down to my bone but said it hadn’t.  He did an ingrown toe nail surgery on me. I went to NY for Thanksgiving the next week.

December 27 (Right after Christmas) - Went back to podiatrist for a follow-up visit and he was worried that the toe still looked red and hurt me. He did another x-ray, didn’t see anything, so he did an MRI.

December 31 (New Year’s Eve) - Nurse called to tell me there was infection on the bone and that I had to go see an infectious disease doctor.

January 7- Saw the infectious disease doctor for the first time. He told me the treatments for a bone infection were intravenous antibiotics and that I had to go into the hospital to have a picc line put into my arm.

January 9- Went into the hospital and had a picc line put into my left arm. After they finished with me at the hospital they sent me straight to the infectious disease doctor’s nurse to instruct me on how I had to give myself the vancomycin antibiotic twice a day.

February 4- Three and a half weeks in and three days before my Vegas trip, I started having an allergic reaction to the vancomycin.

February 5- I woke up with the rash spreading from my chest to my face. I went to the emergency room and I was transferred to the hospital. The infectious disease doctor came to see me and thought that I should spend one night at the hospital and that I’d be better the next day.

February 6- I woke up worse and was transferred that evening from an observation room to a regular room. I stayed in the hospital until February 10. They changed my antibiotic from vancomycin to daptomycin.

February 11 (My 50th Birthday) - Went to see the infectious disease doctor the day I got out of the hospital. He mentioned that he would like to see another MRI to see how the toe was doing. He sent me back to the podiatrist for this.

February 14 (Valentine’s Day) - Had a second MRI.

February 18 – The podiatrist nurse called me to say that the infection was worse and they were going to have to cut on the bone. Initially I didn’t know how much and this made me burst into tears. The doctors both discussed my case and the infectious disease doctor called me himself the next day and explained that it was just a tiny bit and that I wouldn’t lose my toe. He said he would keep me on the antibiotics through my picc line to ensure that I healed.

February 21- Saw the podiatrist and he showed me the MRI and explained that the infection was at the very tip of my bone. He said he would just cut that tip off and would take out the infection.

February 27 (Beginning of Lent and I'm not even religious) - Had the surgery and it was successful. The doctor didn’t have to cut off any more or less. He went in from the top and left my toe and toenail intact. Thank goodness!

March 3- Saw the infectious disease doctor and he said that he would most likely take me off the antibiotics on Tuesday, March 10. I may have to take antibiotics orally for a while. 

March 6 – Saw the podiatrist who did the surgery and said the toe was healing well and that my stitches will come out on Friday, March 13. 

As you can see, I'm exhausted.

The recurring theme in all of this has been that so many people went on their gut feeling. Nobody insisted that I go see the doctor. It was just suggested. I went on my gut feeling that something wasn't right. The podiatrist went on his gut feeling that the toe didn't look right after five weeks and he decided to do an MRI. The infectious disease doctor went on a gut feeling that he should do a second MRI after I was in the hospital for a week fighting off the allergic reaction.

If you can see a bone infection on an x-ray it's basically too late. It took an MRI to see the infection in my toe. Everything was caught early because of these gut feelings and instead of losing the whole toe, I only lost the tip of the bone. Horrible I know, but not as bad as it could have been. It definitely could have been worse.

I can now see the light at the end of this long tunnel and the light looks bright. I have so much hope for the future and how I'm going to change my lifestyle. More on that later. 

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