Here I lie in a hospital bed in Emory Orthopedic and Spine Hospital. It is March 8, 2017. Yesterday I had surgery on my left foot to clean up my surgery of November 7, 2016.. Dr. Bariteau performed a debridement and removal of all hardware, He also gathered cultures for Dr. Kraft, the infectious disease doctor.. The previous surgery was done by Dr. Hiensch. Going with a local doctor for this seemed logical because I hate driving to Atlanta. Huge mistake in hindsight.
Here’s the Deja Vu part. Several years ago I had double knee replacement surgery at the Hughston Cliniic, but ended up at Emory for clean up and repair. . So here I am, back at Emory for clean up..D is not letting go of the I told you so’s. But at this point, I cannot blame him.
The infectious disease doctor is going to analyze the cultures and decide on specific antibiotics. In the mean time I am bound here, pumped with antibiotics and other drugs. The pain block is wearing off and foot is beginning to come alive with pain. But I am under pain management, so I can’t complain..
On every post op visit to Georgia Bone and Joint, I complained the foot was not getting better and the pain was worsening at an exponential rate. On one post op visit he prescribed a mysterious drug. He said I could only get this drug from a specialty pharmacy and it would be mailed via Fed Ex. I left with a sample. After consulting my son, the pharmacist, I learned this drug, Duexis, is merely Advil 800 mg. and Pepcid. It was also about $500.00 for 30 pills. I don’t even know what my co pay would be. I declined the prescription. The doctor knew I was already taking 800 mg Advil and it wasn’t keeping the pain at bay. I just wanted a solution.or explanation for the edema and constant pain.
The initial surgery was to correct my Haglunds Deformity, or pump bump. This bump on my heel was stressing my Achilles and was causing pain and difficulty walking. I began experiencing those issues about two years ago. I thought it was plantar fasciitis until an MRI revealed the real issue. The doctor said this surgery would correct the deformity and I should be pain free in three months. Free of pain at last! But it didn’t work out that way.
At my final post op visit I was asked to have another MRI to see what was going on. It should be well, not swollen and immensely painful. More painful than it was before surgery! So after the MRI, I called to make an appointment for the reading of the MRI. I specifically asked the receptionist if this would be considered a post op visit. There is no copay for post op visits. If the surgery had worked, I wouldn’t need this appointment. I was frustrated because I was in so much pain and this doctor had not laid out any plan.
I signed a request for the release of records and left without seeing the doctor. By the time I got home, the office had already called asking me to come back and they would consider the visit post op. I politely refused the offer. Later that day, the doctor called and explained the MRI. He said I had a lot of inflammation. There might be damage to the Achilles and I may need surgery to fix it. He was very nice and seemed sincere when he told me to stick with him he would fix the issues. He also mentioned there could be an infection, but he would need to order blood work. I already had orders from my primary care physician. I had the blood work done the next day. When results came back I called the doc to tell him I had the results and find out about his treatment plan.. I left three messages that week with his nurse When I didn’t hear from them it was my cue to collect my records and move on. I contacted Emory and made an appointment.
I took all my records and MRI discs. Dr. Bariteau came in the room, introduced himself and cut to the chase. He said I had an infection and should have surgery right away. He was concerned and so was I! He would remove the hardware and possibly leave open if a significant amount of drainage. Fortunately he was able to close it and refer me to an infectious disease doctor. I have been taking fluids and antibiotics for a couple days and will go home tomorrow and remain on powerful antibiotics for a month or so. If the cultures taken from my bone begin to grow, my antibiotic could change.
The scary part of this is, if this had gone unchecked, I could have lost my foot, or maybe my leg! I may even need another surgery on my Achilles if it doesn’t attach properly. As nice as the first doctor seemed, he never saw the urgency of this situation. He allowed me to go three months with never any improvement. Only more pain and edema than I had prior to surgery. My Emory doctor saw the same MRI and blood work. He examined my foot. Noticing the edema and warmth of the area. He was able to diagnose and make a plan to solve the issue.
Emory is a huge team of very professional medical experts. They were so thorough in preparing me for the surgery. I am very impressed with the staff.
I appreciate all the support I have received from friends and family. I feel loved.
Perspective: Last week I left the house to run an errand. I saw a man in a wheelchair exercising on the track at Moreland cemetery. This guy was moving that wheelchair around that track at an impressive pace. With what he was missing in lower extremities, the upper extremities were compensating. When I returned from my errand, he was still tearing up that track! I’m optimistic my issue will be controlled. I will be walking normally in a few months. This guy has no legs.
It is cathartic to blog about things like this. As I get older, time can cause facts to become fuzzy. So I have to write them down as they happen. .