A Day Of Dougie
Medical Woes & The Future
March 7, 2020
As most of my regular readers are awarel, I’ve recently had a few medical issues take me down and cause a few, as Dusty Rhodes would say, “hard times, if you will”, for your favorite salt-tossing, liquor selling, emo-homo-redneck, internet wrestling journalist and blogger. And it’s time to come clean, fill in some of the blank spaces and let you, my loyal readers, know just what has been going on and more importantly, what the future holds.
I’ll start off with a few months ago back in November and December. My feet were hurting… a lot. I have diabetes and issues with nueropathy (numbness and nerve damage in the feet), but that wasn’t really a big deal with me. I’ve always had a strong tolerance of pain and while it was annoying, I wasn’t too concerned with it. My doctor didn’t act very concerned either so no big deal, right? And it was getting worse and I started to have cramps and occasional swelling. I blamed this on long hours of work and still wasn’t very concerned since, after a night of rest, the swelling would usually vanish and I’d be fine. And then, in December, it all started to change. My feet were hurting more and more, when I could feel anything that is. And then, my right foot decided to swell up. Not just the foot, but the ankle and calves. My right leg, below the knee, looked like the Stay-Puff Marshmellow Man. It was huge. I got around on it barely and continued to work, but did make an appointment with my doctor to get it checked out. The pain was getting so bad, I couldn’t walk across the floor without crying. Any weight or pressure at all on my foot was sending waves of pain through my entire body. I knew then it was something serious and it wasn’t going to go away quickly.
So I made an appointment with my doctor and guess what he told me? It’s my diabetes acting up and I just needed to keep the foot elevated and stay off of it for a while. He prescribed antibiotics and fluid pills. That’s it. He did also set up an appointment for me with a podiatrist in Rockingham, NC and that was about the only smart move. And I went home, still in pain, still trying to walk around and still trying to work and things were NOT getting better. So I decided to go to Urgent Care when I couldn’t take it anymore. And the woman did wrap the foot up in an ace bandage, took me out of work for a few days and gave me some pain killers. That was a big step for me since I despise taking pills of any sort. But I gladly took these and continued to keep my foot elevated as my doctor had said and tried to stay off of it as much as possible until I could go see the foot specialist, the podiatrist, up in Rockingham.
I did try to go back to work a few days after the visit to Urgent Care, but just completing a couple of tasks had me in so much pain, trying not to show it of course, but it was so obvious, my manager sent me home almost immediately. Now let’s fast forward to the podiarist. As soon as he saw my foot, his first words were “charcot foot” as it was deformed, still swollen and a huge lump had formed on the side where the bones had resettled. He took X-Rays, something that neither my doctor or the folks at Urgent Care felt was necessary, and the bones were cracked, broken and were resettling and shifting at the bottom of my foot. For the sake of clarity, let’s define exactly what “charcot foot” actually is.
Charcot foot is a condition causing weakening of the bones in the foot that can occur in people who have significant nerve damage (neuropathy). The bones are weakened enough to fracture, and with continued walking, the foot eventually changes shape.
And my bones were fractured. My foot has changed shape. And the pain is constant. The doctor immediately put my foot into a cast and I wore that cast and a boot around it for three weeks. I continued to work as best I can, but honestly, spent far more of my time waiting on customers and sitting at the register than putting up stock or doing anything too physical. Standing too long, walking too much or pretty much anything of that nature causes my foot to throb and shooting pains to radiate all throughout my foot and ankle. Then I went back this past Monday and had the cast removed. I don’t think that the doctor wanted to, but he had to take more x-rays and also remove the cast so that I could go to a place in Pinehurst that can measure and fit me for what they call a “Crow Boot”. So the cast was removed and the foot doctor said to stay off as much as possible, be very careful and keep the foot as immobile as possible. I decided to wrap an Ace bandage around my socked foot and then wedge it into my shoe to give my foot support and keep the bones from shifting and this seems to be working as a temporary fix until the Crow Boot is ready. That won’t be for a few weeks at best though so I just have to do my best until then. I did go to the place in Pinehurst on Thursday and the man there explained what the boot will do and my options of which there are very few. And then yesterday, I had an apppointment with my regular doctor and that was a total bust. I realize now that he’s a smart man on treating diabetes, but so far as this other stuff goes, he’s useless. He didn’t even look at my foot or check out how it’s healing or not healing as the case may be. I’m loking now for a new regular doctor. He did ask what the podiatrist had said, but after I told him, changed the subject to lecture me about my blood sugar. Oh very.
So that brings us to here and noew and what the future holds. Here is what I know. My foot is messed up pretty badly and will not be healing up. The only treatment for this, especially as badly as my foot is, is use of the crow boot to keep the bones from fracturing and shifting anymore than they already have and to allow me some mobility and support as I try and walk. And eventually, surgery will be required and we’re talking about complex slicing and dicing with a recovery time of several months at the bare minimum. And I really don’t know what to do at this point.
I still have my job and am able to work, but not nearly at the capacity I’m used to and that is expected of me. My boss and fellow employees have been great in working with me and helping me to adapt, but it’s not right or fair to them. And if I can’t do my job, what then? Disability? I accept that my foot is messed up and will never be the same again. Even if I have surgery and the rehab stuff, I’m still going to have to wear the Crow Boot or special shoes the rest of my life. But I don’t accept that I can’t work. I love my job and love the people I encounter daily. I bitch and complain and fuss about dealing with the public, but I’ve been doing this since I was fourteen years old, working and taking care of business and I can’t imagine doing anything else. But I can’t stand for long periods of time, can barely walk and hurt constantly and I can’t handle this and do that at the same time so what’s next? I have spoken with a few people who suffer from Charcot’s Foot and they all told me to go file for disability. It’s going to happen sooner or later and better to get the ball rolling now than to wait until I can’t even walk across the room. But I can’t claim disability if I’m working and I can’t give up my job or else I can’t pay my bills, handle my responsibilities, etc. It’s a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation and I don’t know what to do or which way to go next.And just between us, I’m scared as fuck. If I continue to do as I’m doing, I’m at serious risk of hurting myself even more than I already have and possibly losing my foot. One turned ankle or sore or infection and that could be all it takes. I’m lost and trying to figure out which way to go. I just don’t freakin’ now.
And that’s where we stand now. A lot of decisions will need to be made, a lot of changes in my life lie ahead and what the future holds for me, I’m not sure. I’ll move ahead because that’s what I do and besides, I don’t have any other choice. I’m scared and tense and anxious and wish that things were different, but alas, it is what it is and so shall I be. Regardless, the site will continue. It’s the one definite in my future. The rest of it, my work, my home, my job, my activities, my happiness and sanity, that’s all up in the air and we’re playing it by ear. After all, what else can we do? Have a great day and I’ll talk at you later.