The Infection That Wasn’t

The story of my “infection”.

Saturday morning three weeks ago I woke up and said to Dorsey, “I think I have broken my toe.”

As per standard “Real Man” operating procedure I ignored it that day. The next day, Sunday, it was red, warm and it hurt a lot so I went to the emergency room. They took X-rays and said, “it isn’t broken, it’s infected.” I was sent home, told to keep the foot elevated and prescribed oral antibiotics.

14079687_10207230264857485_454685058864755405_nOn Friday of that week, after laying low and elevating my foot a lot, we decided to get on our boat and head to Block Island. I mean, if you’re simply going to lay low, where better a place than Block island? At that point the foot was definitely feeling better. I began walking just a little…

We spent the weekend in Block Island mostly just hanging out on the boat with just a little walking to keep life interesting. My foot swelled up and began really hurting so on Monday it was off to Block Island’s walk-in clinic. Dr’s #2 and #3 changed my antibiotic and said “classic infection, wonder how you got it, keep the foot elevated.” Back to the boat for more R & R with the foot elevated.

We came home a week later and the foot was looking better again.

The following Monday (now more than two weeks in) I visited my own doctor who said “Let’s schedule an MRI just to be sure. This is taking too long to heal. Stay off the foot as much as you can.” I went home to the ever familiar couch…

Tuesday was the last day of my antibiotic prescription and I took my final dose at 8:00 am. By 11:00 am my lips were swelling from an obvious allergic reaction. Saw another doctor (my doctor was busy) who said “Allergic reaction.  No more of that antibiotic ever again, go home and take 50 mg of Benadryl every 6 hours for the next 24.” I slept most of the next 24 hours.

Wednesday evening I walked around a little as I’m beginning to feel like a caged animal. Thursday morning my foot hurt a lot and although I was scheduled for the MRI that afternoon I went to see my doctor to see what was next. She said that although all of my blood work indicated no infection and I was not a typical candidate (I’m healthy, I’m not diabetic, I have great circulation, there were no obvious spots where an infection could enter my foot, etc.) the next step after the MRI was to head to the hospital for IV antibiotics.

Skip forward to the MRI,  then off to the hospital Emergency Room.  There I learn that the MRI shows a bone infection. Now I’m in the hospital and my foot hurts a lot (I’ve been walking on it a lot today). They begin me on a powerful IV antibiotic — the stuff they treat MERSA with — and say that a doctor from infectious diseases will be by to see me. I am officially admitted to the hospital and eventually I am carted off to my own room.  Thursday evening I spent my first-ever overnight at a hospital.

IMG_3483Friday morning comes and turns into Friday afternoon. Finally the infectious diseases doctor shows up and says…”hmmmm, nothing about your blood work or exam suggests an infection…” I’ve been hearing this a lot this week but my foot hurts! I can’t walk normally without limping and if I’m not careful it really hurts! She leaves and goes to consult with the podiatrist who concurs that it is unlikely that I have an infection.

They decide that they will bandage my foot up and send me home without further antibiotics. They are 99% sure I have a stress fracture. Apparently both an infection and a stress fracture present the same image in an MRI… More blood work, x-rays, a pair of crutches and I’m out of there!

IMG_3507Now I’m home (thank God!). My favorite couch in the man cave never felt so comfortable!!! The foot feels better unless I put weight on it (something I’d never do because they told me not to!), Dorsey is fixing me yummy things to eat and I’ll go get a cast on Monday.

Who knew it was so difficult to diagnose a stress fracture?  I even told them what it was when I first went in to the ER that very first day three weeks earlier…

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