Sunday, June 24, 2007

Back to Work

I've been back to work (half time) for two weeks now, and it's getting easier each day. I will continue working 4-hour shifts this week, then on Saturday I will start back fulltime.

My foot still hurts most of the time, but nowhere near as bad as it did. I can actually foresee a time when it won't hurt at all. My major challenge now is building up my strength after being flat on my back for the better part of three months. For example, I've noticed that when I've been sitting up in a chair for a few hours, my back starts to hurt. The first week, I finished four hours of work totally exhausted; the second week was better.

I've been on light duty at work, mostly doing stuff in the back room and easing my way back into working on the Info Desk. (Fortunately, the Info Desk is low and we do most of our work sitting; I could not be on my feet for even one hour.) On Friday, I did my first 4-hour shift entirely on the Info Desk. Light duty will end on Saturday June 30 -- then, I will be back to my normal schedule.

I went to the podiatrist and got measured for my new prescription shoes (which my health insurance will pay for!) -- the right one will have an insert to fill the space where my toe used to be. Dr. Giardina says that these shoes will make a big difference; I certainly hope so. They should be done in another week or two.

It's been a long, hard journey -- but with any luck, it will soon be over. And a year from now, I'll be wondering which foot was infected. :)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

No More IV

The big news is, I am done with the IV antibiotics. After about ten weeks, I am no longer receiving intravenous antibiotics. Today we went to see the Infectious Disease Doctor, and she cleared me to go on an oral antibiotic for a few weeks. She also removed my IV port (or "midline" in medical terminology), which was a 20-centimeter catheter in my left arm, attached to a screw-top valve that connected to the IV tubing.

It is quite a relief to be rid of the midline. It is a relief to be rid of the weekly home nurse visits to change the dressing on the midline. It is a great relief to be rid of the thrice-daily antibiotics.

Originally, my IV was scheduled to end on May 31. In the week leading up to then, we called and called to get an appointment with Dr. Infectious Diseases -- we never got a reply, but on May 30 the pharmacy people called and said, "We just learned that your IV has been extended to June 5; we'll make an emergency delivery of supplies tonight." Soon after that, Dr. Infectious Diseases' office called to confirm my appointment on June 5 (first we'd heard of it!)

My theory is that Dr. Infectious Diseases dropped the ball on scheduling me to come in before May 31, then decided that she couldn't terminate the IV without seeing me. June 5 was the first day that was convenient for her.

I've been joking that my IV was extended for five days for a perfectly valid medical reason: to provide coverage for this Doctor's ass. :)

In other news, on Monday I started wearing my regular shoes. Up until now I've been using a sort of velcro boot with a flat board as a sole. Dr. Giardina said that the foot would feel better once it had some arch support, and he was right! There is still some pain, but nothing like before.

Before today's doctor appointment, Dad came to get me and we went to breakfast at Denny's. This has been our Tuesday morning ritual for almost two years now, although we stopped going when I went in the hospital. Now this is the second week in a row that we've gone, so I feel we're back on schedule. (Dad turned 80 this year, so I really treasure these breakfasts.)

And after today's appointment, Thomas and I went to Cosmic Comix in Catonsville, where we picked up some comics that I've missed over the last few weeks.

Finally, the big news is that I am scheduled to go back to work on Monday, June 11. I will be working part-time at first, sort of playing it by ear, but I suspect that it won't be too long before I'm back to full time. I have mixed feelings about this -- I'm coming up on 27 years with the Library, and will be eligible for retirement in 3 more years. Much as this enforced sick time has been a pain, if I look at it as practice for retirement...well, I think I'm ready.

One thing is sure: I have come to realize that there are many more important things in life than a job. But more of that later. For now, I'm going to luxuriate in the thought that I don't have to worry about my next IV.