Monday, April 30, 2007

Is That the End of the Tunnel?

Well, I have been to see the podiatrist, and there

According to both the MRI and the x-rays that Dr. Giaradina took toady, there is a nasty infection in the bone of my great toe. On the x-rays it was so clear that even layfolk could easily make it out.

Dr. Giardina described it as millions of little tiny Pac-Men eating away at the bone and cartilage. One joint is totally destroyed, not even any cartilage left, and the Pac-Men are busily gnawing away.

So what does this mean? In a word, surgery. Apparently, infections in bone are pretty well protected from antibiotics and such, so the only way to get rid of them is to cut out the affected sections of bone.

Dr. Giardina is set to move on this; he said to expect surgery sometime next week. I will go in and they will knock me out (with drugs, I hasten to add), and then he will play Hawkeye Pierce on my poor toe. He said he will try to save what he can, but in the worst-case scenario I could lose my great toe entirely.

It's his opinion that the infection has been in the bone all along. In fact, he says that my original pain was not gout at all, it was the infection going to town. We still don't know what happened -- I don't recall any trauma, like stubbing my toe or dropping anything on it -- but he said that sometimes this kind of thing is a complete mystery.

So, where does that leave things? I will continue on IV antibiotics, which at least keep the infection from spreading into soft tissue. Some time next week, I will go in for surgery, and emerge with part or all of my great toe gone. At that point, everything will be sewed up (no more open wounds), and everyone tells me that recovery should be swift (2-3 weeks, but no guarantees).

I feel...relieved. Everyone I've talked to so far has said the same thing: "Looks like the end of the tunnel is in sight." Even though there will be adjustments, and I'll likely have to learn to walk differently, and maybe have ugly orthopedic shoes -- despite that, it will be over. One hopes.

Thomas reminds me a jaunty little song from The Simpsons, with which I will close:

Some folk'll never lose a toe,
But then again, some folk'll,
Like Cletus, the slack-jawed yokel!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad that you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Really glad the podiatrist could see what was happening and determine the next step (pun intended).

Please let us know if there is anything you or Thomas need -