I’ve had circulation problems with my legs for a long time. It’s never stopped me doing stuff, other than wearing shorts (something I’m sure everyone is grateful for!). They tend to burn constantly with a cold heat and are so sensitive to touch, I tend to keep away from dogs and toddlers because the slightest brush against them can make me wince in pain.
They also tend to be worse in winter – goosebumps are incredibly painful – but I’ve walked 20+ miles and for a guy my size I’m not exactly inactive.
This was my first winter in the new house. It’s old and drafty and I get a lot of goosebumps. It’s probably the worst winter I’ve had with them since I first started getting issues. The bad weather hasn’t helped, which coupled with a recovering back problem has meant I haven’t been able to enjoy the lengths of walk I have in the past.
Last week they were particularly painful. I got a sharp stabbing pain in my shin. I’ve got a high tolerance for those dull ongoing pains but when it comes to spiky pain, I’m a complete wuss. That said, this did genuinely hurt.
I’d not changed my doctor since moving almost a year ago but I decided to do that and just get them checked out. Yes, they’d probably tell me that they were caused by being overweight but it still wouldn’t hurt. My landlord told me they would need my passport to register you and so I spent a weekend trying to find where I had put it, before discovering it in the first place I looked.
They’d eased off a bit over the weekend, but during a busy Monday my boss and I agreed I still should still get them checked out and I arranged to do so the following day.
It was late Monday night I was sitting at my desk when I noticed a terrible smell. I stood up and felt my leg wet. I had to double check as sometimes it’s difficult to be sure through than constant cold burn, but yes my trouser leg was soaked and it smelt… well it smelt bad.
It still seemed to be weeping and so I dabbed it with a baby wipe (oh so painful) and loosely wrapped an old towel round it and went to bed. I didn’t want to look at it, but keeping it level should ease the pain. The weight of the duvet and towel was excruciating though.
The following morning, it still hurt as bad, and the towel, whilst not soaked, had absorbed a lot of the weeping. I ran a very light shower over the leg, to try and clean it up but just the pressure of the water was painful. I glanced down and saw a hole, a big hole. I also saw white, and looked away before I could tell if it was bone or not.
I have to say the Doctor’s surgery was brilliant. I turned up and they let me register and see a doctor and subsequent nurse that day. I could tell it was bad when the Doctor apologised profusely before taking a swab. I wasn’t asked whether it hurt, I was just told that he wasn’t going to mess and throw every antibiotic he had at this. The nurse even told me that I was to take painkillers every four hours whether I felt I needed them or not.
It appears, and everything is subject to lab analysis, that my bad circulation caused / masked a deep infection in my leg. This could have been caused by knocking it although because of the sensitivity, the only thing that I’ve bumped into in the last few weeks was an empty cardboard box (and not even a rigid corner). The ongoing pain masked the infection, although that was probably what the stabbing pains were, before exploding out my leg on Monday night.
I’m left with a hole. I’ve said fist sized but it’s probably approaching the size of a small tea saucer. And as much as I’ve joked that I have somewhere new to keep my keys, it’s not very deep, just wide. And the swelling in the leg probably made it worse. And no, I’m not taking pictures. The bandage that was glued to me is about the size of an iPad.
It’s probably going to take a few months to heal although I’m hoping my overactive immune system will pay off here. I have been warned there’s a chance it will never heal.
I’m OK. I might be walking with a stick for some time just to try and take some pressure off the leg, and I doubt I’ll be doing anything more than drive-bys for Geocaching for a few months. There was a danger that the infection might spread rapidly up the leg but I acted fast and that hasn’t seemed to happen overnight. Little more than fifty years ago, they would have probably sawn my leg off. Today, I feel groggy and have a pounding headache and neck ache – probably from the adrenaline spent and feeling tense yesterday.
I’ll still be at Eastercon (to be fair, I’ll be there with or without the leg) although I’ll now be arriving later on Thursday due to a scheduled dressing change.
But I’m going to make it sound glamorous and tell everyone I was shot or something.