Monday, April 27, 2015

Leg Update

Just as I thought I was on the mend, just as I thought things were getting better, and just as I thought everything was slowly going back to normal, things took a turn for the worse.

I was receiving great at-home care from my nurse, getting my wound gauze changed every day and slowly starting to walk more and more naturally. I got off all my pain meds. I sat outside enjoying a few sips of beer with Kyle. I was starting to make plans again. I was organizing the house. I was sleeping better at night. I was starting to regain my happiness. 

About a week ago, I noticed that my knee was starting to ache. I mentioned it to my nurse and other people and everyone said, "Oh! It's just sore from walking on it again." And that made so much sense. I was used to resting in bed for so long that I hadn't fully used those joints in weeks. 

Every day, my knee started hurting a little bit more. So much so, that I hardly slept at all on Tuesday night. My mom came over on Wednesday and we took the kids to the park. I didn't want to keep complaining because that's all I had been doing the last few weeks. I did keep mentioning to my mom how cold I was though. She thought that was odd because it was so hot outside. We brushed it off. Kyle helped put the kids to bed on Wednesday night and I sat down on the couch in so much pain. Kyle went to bed and I kept sitting there feeling the pain escalate rapidly. I started feeling really warm and achey and eventually I was rolling around on the floor in so much pain. It felt exactly like the pain I felt in my shin. And I knew it was something more than just a sore joint. I decided to call my mom and she came and got me immediately and drove me to the hospital. 

We went back to John C. Lincoln-Deer Valley and they got me back to a room. They took my temperature and I indeed had a fever. They drew some blood and my white blood cell count was super high. Everything pointed to one thing: I had another infection. The doctor took a look at my wound and thought it looked "angry" and made the decision to start me on antibiotics and admit me overnight. I was hoping and praying that the antibiotics would kill everything and I would start to feel normal in no time. That was not the case. I continued to be in pain and my orthopedic surgeon finally stopped in to see me the next morning. He decided to go back in and clean out my wound even more to kill any infection. He also thought my knee pain was a referred pain. Something you feel in result of an infection somewhere else. He thought the pain from the infection could be shooting up my leg. He didn't feel any fluid in my knee which made him sure that the infection didn't actual spread there. Thank goodness! Then I would have had two open wounds on my leg! We scheduled the surgery for Thursday evening and my main goal at that point was just to keep my pain under control. 

I was so anxious as they wheeled me off to surgery. Kyle and my dad were right by my side (which made me feel a lot better). They decided to be more aggressive this time and open my wound as much as needed. They also made the decision to put a wound VAC in there (which is a machine that sucks out of the pus and drainage). 

After surgery, they were confident they removed all the infection and that I was not going to have to go through this awful experience again. I immediately felt so much better than the pain I was feeling hours before. 

They decided to keep me 2 more nights. Besides being restless and ready to go home, I was happy to be taken care of and monitored so closely. 

A few hours before my release, the nurse informed me that she needed to remove the wound VAC because they would be sending me home with a smaller, more portable one. Nothing in the world could prepare me for the pain I was about to experience. Luckily, my dad was by my side while they removed the foam and VAC that was inserted into my wound. Every single nerve in my leg shot through my entire body as that nurse plucked, prodded, and pulled that large foam out of my wound. According to my dad, I turned ghost white, my eyes rolled in the back of my head, and I almost passed out. That's how much pain I felt. It took me a long time to calm down after that. I was extremely shaken up. 

Now I am sitting here, waiting for the at-home nurse to call to tell me when she is going to put that wound VAC back in. My anxiety is through the roof. I don't want it done. I am dreading it. My nurse promises that it won't be as bad as the hospital experience but I don't even want it to be 1/4 the pain I felt in there. 

I am trying my best to stay strong and stay positive but I would be lying if I said it came easily. I am struggling. I have had a few breakdowns because I hate not being able to be there for my kids. I hate that I am putting so much responsibility on my mom, dad, and Kyle. I am restless. I am in pain. I am impatient knowing how long it is going to take for me to heal. But I know in my heart, I need to change this attitude. I need to feel thankful for all the help I have received, lucky that my infection was caught in time, and happy to be alive and on my way to recovery. 

I am a work in progress. 

Next step: Keep seeing the at-home nurse every couple days, then visit a wound care center. I also need to check in with my orthopedic doctor, infection specialist, and physical therapist. The last step will be visiting a plastic surgeon. My ortho thinks this is necessary since my scarring will be pretty bad. One day at a time and this momma will be up and running (well, maybe not running). I am completely fine with a fast-paced walk from now on. ;)

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