On November 27 I see a spot on my leg--on November 28 go to the Isles Casino Thanksgiving buffet and leg hurts a bit--get to see my primary doctor on December 2--he sets up an appointment with Dr. Levine for general surgery for Wednesday December 4--that Monday evening I call 911 because my toes are turning black and they send me home with advice to see the surgeon--he tells me to get to vascular surgeon ASAP so I go there December 6 and he sends me to the hospital--meanwhile between black toes, a leg twice the size it normally is and pain that is almost unbearable I had called 911 again and it was almost as if they were afraid to say and/or do anything--I told them I would sign any paper saying I wouldn't sue but that didn't help!
I was in the hospital for 4 nights and days and left Tuesday, late afternoon, with a list of instructions, that I will get back to in a minute. My foot was still swollen, the toes still black and I was still in pain but now I had a big bandage wrapped around and I rationalized the pain as coming from the cut the vascular surgeon did.
It was Allen who reminded me that I sort of 'favored' the holidays for illness-- there was the congestive heart failure over the 2000-2001 New Year's weekend and last Christmas I had called 911 due to an overdose of Warfarin which had me bleeding out of every orifice of my body and was caused by a misreading of the tests. I started questioning whether being good for Santa was paying!!!
Looking over the hospital instructions as I rode home I saw it was a list of the medicines I was taking. list of lab work that had been done and a note to follow up with an appointment with my vascular surgeon and a note that a RN will call to schedule a visit to change the bandage along with 3 sheets of generic information. Nothing about showering, how to keep bandage dry.
After 2 weeks, 2 ER visits, 3 doctor visits, 4 days and nights in the hospital, losing a turkey and finding it, missing the Friday movie and the "We Will Rock You" touring show--hey some things are more important than others!--the only good thing to have come out of this saga, so far, was the staff at Memorial. Thoguh I heard talk and here and there something was mentioned but not stated I didn't know what was wrong with my leg. A hematoma? A blood clot? A cellulitis? They may know but they haven't told me!!! In addition I now had 3 more drugs to take one being antibacterial, another infection fighter and a pain killer. I have a pretty high threshold for pain and becoming addicted to pain killers is something I have avoided all my life. I know some will kill for pain killers but I would rather give mine away then take them but take them I do. Instead of 1 every 6 hours I am taking 1 every 12 or 24 hours depending on the pain.
When I was in the hospital I slipped on Monday and I don't know if one thing had to do with the other but my left knee which had started to hurt a bit the day before now was getting a bit painful, was warm to the touch and the leg looked a bit red. I mentioned it to 4 or 5 different people, including the surgeon, but nothing was said.
Okay back to the RN calling. I was told she/he would call Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. When I got up there were the messages from Babs regarding the Turkey but no calls from the nurse or the company. I called the number I had, getting that annoying 'pick 1' recording and over the afternoon I left 5 messages, none to be returned! Finally at 6 PM I got through to a live person. It seems the one I was leaving the messages for was the head of the company but wasn't in too often and, obviously, doesn't check her voice mail! In any case she said Audrey would call me and she did. We made an appointment for Thursday between 11:30 AM and 12:30 PM. Allen came by to take me shopping and going out to The Cheesecake Factory for lunch and waited with me until Audrey finally showed up at 3 PM, without the supplies she needed. Seems they thought the hospital gave me a kit to change the bandage while the insurance company thought they had the equipment andwould get reimbursed. Luckily I had some of the equipment on hand. Did I mention that Audrey had called and said that she was running a little late and would be here by 1??? When she wasn't here by 2 I called and there was some story about she had run out of gas and was waiting for her boss. What I didn't understand was that when she called me she was 15 minutes away from where I lived.
As she left she said Jennifer would be over tomorrow (Friday) to change the bandage. After speaking to the boss and complaining (not about Jennifer but about the whole lack of commincation situation) she said she would have Jennifer call and come over after 4 PM---okay, okay, I was still planning to go to the Friday movie
It is now Friday and I still don't know what it is I have, the left knee is almost impossible to touch because of the pain, I haven't showered and am ready to throw my hands in the air but I just want to hang in until I see the vascular surgeon on Wednesday so I will take a pain pill or two! The main thing that was getting me through was the concern of the people I knew.
" In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
― Anne Frank , The Diary of a Young Girl
And then Friday at 6 PM, instead of 4 PM, Effie from "Dreamgirls", otherwise known as Jennifer, the RN, looking like Jennifer Hudson and Jennifer Holiday, came in !