About three days ago I idly scratch my leg, hear a small little pop, and look down. Oh - was that a bug bite? Perhaps a slightly infected hair folicle? Well, in any case, it had just painlessly discharged a small zit’s-worth of pus, but no pain, no volcanic eruptions, no redness… I went off to the bathroom, squeezed a generous gob of OTC antibiotic gel over it and covered it with a bandage.
Rinse and repeat for three days (the gel and bandage part - I kept my fingers away from it). It wept and oozed slightly but seemed to get neither better nor worse.
This morning it hurt. Anything that moved that skinny muscle that runs right along your shinbone, you know, the one that lifts the front of your foot when you take a step, hurt. But it didn’t look any worse, so maybe I had just bumped it or something in my sleep. I reapplied antibiotic goo and fresh bandage and got on with my day.
Things didn’t improve.
After I got back from the grocery store, where my limp had grown more and more pronounced as I wound my way through the aisles, I decided another bandage change was in order. I trumped off to the bathroom, assembled my supplies, rolled up my pant leg…
… and noticed I could no longer see the ankle bone on the right. Huh. I compared it to the left, with had a nicely defined ankle bone in the inside of the ankle. Checked the right - still not there. Oh, dear, my ankles never swell.
I peeled off the bandage. The semi-innocuous bug-bite like thing and swollen into a little red cinder cone with a purple-rimmed caldera and a pool of lava-pus.
Well, after the obligatory 10 minutes of twitching I woke my Other Half up from his nap and bravely expressed my concerns - naw, I whimpered and fretted and gushed out my fears that this was a Bad Thing.
I called the doctor. The receptionist offered me an appointment for tomorrow. I told her I wasn’t sure this should wait 24 hours. I then proceeded to describe in graphic detail both the wound and my concerns. She gave me a 6:30 pm appointment for that very night.
We got out the Tools of Cleansing and Bandaging and while I yelped, moaned, and shrieked he cleaned up the wound and bandaged it up, then I limped out to the truck and braved the roads. Of course this would happen after a natural disaster with literally half the roads in the country closed due to flooding and the rest gridlocked with traffic. It normally takes 15 minutes to get to this guy’s office but this time it was 45.
I limped into the office, thanked the lady profusely again for getting me an appointment, reminded them I no longer have health insurance, and limped over to a seat to wait.
Which is why I always bring a book to the doctor’s office.
Well, finally I see the nurse who takes my vitals (who looks at today’s BP and pulse rate, looks at my chart, and says “So, you’re in some pain, right?” Yes, I was. Still am, in fact.) then some more waiting and finally the doctor.
I pointed out the swollen ankle while giving him the three day history of this new adventure in infection and telling him what I’d been using on it.
I peel back the bandage.
The wound obligingly burps up a wad of pustulent grossness and a small miasmic cloud of rot-stench. Doctor raises his brows. He says “We’re going to assume that’s MSRA, since you’ve been using antibiotics on it already. We’re going to hit it hard with an antibiotic that’s usually effective against it and hope that takes care of it.”
I said good, because I so do NOT look forward to surgical drainage.
That’s when he gets the Really Concerned look and starts talking about IV antibiotics being a possibility, and hospitals, and —
Well, I agreed to take anything he prescribed exactly as prescribed in order to have a chance of avoiding that. He sent me on my way with a script, told me Meier’s would fill it for free (which they did)
So I’m not at home with a very sore right shin, a fermenting abcess, and I just took my first dose of Bactrim like a good little patient. The pharmacist told me lots and lots of fluids and avoid direct sunlight. Just as well I’m not working for a couple days because the jobsite, like a lot of Northwest Indiana, is under a couple feet of water. Thank goodness we did NOT get flooded out, as I shudder to think of what might have happened had I been forced to walk through knee deep (or deeper) floodwaters with an open wound like that on my lower leg.
The office visit was $80. I can live with that, particularly if it lets me avoid the hospital.
I just had to share this with ya’ll.