So, this is going to be a bit long, sorry, but I wanted to give you guys... the whole
story.WARNING: THE FOLLOWING STORY INCLUDES MEDICAL DESCRIPTIONS THAT MAY BE CONSIDERED GROSS/GRUESOME. I WILL INCLUDE A TL;DR AT THE END FOR PEOPLE WHO WOULD RATHER SKIP IT.
Anyway. My husband Seamus has diabetes, and one of his symptoms is neuropathy. More specifically in his case, he has pretty much no feeling in his feet. About 6 weeks ago, he walked on something (we think) and got a wound on the sole of his foot. He didn't notice, and when I first spotted it I thought it was just a crack in a callus or something.
It got infected though, so we went to the doctor's. He got on antibiotics. After a full course of antibiotics it wasn't better, and he was getting chills and fevers and feeling overall terrible, so we went back and got prescribed a different antibiotic. They also took a culture. A few days later they called us back to say that the new antibiotics would be no good either, his infection was antibiotics-resistant, and gave us a third kind of antibiotics.
This one worked at stopping the infection where it was. It didn't heal but it stopped progressing. It also stopped the fever and chills. But new sores had appeared at the side of his foot in the few days between the culture and the results, and they were infected pretty badly too.
So I cleaned up his wounds everyday, gave him a new dressing, etc, and it was slowly getting better. After the ten days of antibiotics were over, though, he wasn't healed. The course of antibiotics was done so we weren't quite sure what to do. I kept changing his dressing and taking care of his foot like before, but it started getting worse again, and the fever and chills came back. On Sunday last week, he reached a fever of 102 degrees F (39 Celsius) and we went back to the doctor for a third time.
This time, the doctor looked at it and sent us to the ER. From there, Sean was admitted. They did X-rays, cat scans, more cultures... they said that he got MRSA and got him into IV antibiotics. A vascular surgeon, a team of other surgeons, a podiatrist, an infectious disease specialist... they all came and looked at it. By the second day there were talks of cutting off his foot.
Seamus pleaded and bargained with them, asking them to save what they could. They were all pretty confident that the infection had reached the bone to the point where it couldn't be saved, but ended up concluding that it may be possible to only amputate his big toe and the ball of his foot, and leave the rest.
On Wednesday or Thursday (I lost track of time, it was all very tense) he went in for surgery. The doctors repeated that they would try to save the rest of the foot (although the toe was a goner) but couldn't promise anything.
This was all pretty scary.
In the weirdest twist I could have imagined, the surgeon came out after the surgery to find me in the waiting room and let me know they managed to save not only the foot as a whole, but even the toe! The infection did reach the bone, but it mostly went all around it, and they managed to scrape off part of the bone and get read of several pockets of infection and clean it all out, without needing to entirely remove the bone. We were really thrilled and made sure to thank the surgeons profusely. They were as surprised as we were as the X-rays and so on gave a bleaker picture than what they saw when they opened him up.
It's not over though. Because they didn't remove the bone, they need to make sure the infection is gone, and not coming back, or he'll need the toe amputated anyways. So on top of wound care twice a day (it's the freakiest wound I've seen. Well, series of wounds. There are six openings, most of them all connecting together, on the top, bottom and ball of his foot, and you can see the bone through. It's both fascinating and kind of scary), which consists in packing the wounds tight with packing strip and wrapping it in dressing so it can heal from the inside out rather than the outside closing and leaving a pocket inside, he also need IV antibiotics every six hours for 6 weeks.
The insurance needed to authorize the home care, and that took ages because they were closed over the weekend. So we had to stay in the hospital for that extra time, which all the doctors and nurses thought was ridiculous. We used the time as we could though, and doctors and nurses supervised me as I learned to do the packing of his foot, since I'll be doing it twice a day for weeks. He got his PICC line installed for the IV antibiotics and I was taught how to administer them with the pump they had at the hospital, which consisted mostly of a lot of prep time to avoid anything getting infected since it goes directly into his heart.
In the end we were told today that he'll be discharged by the end of the day, and that the insurance authorized a different IV machine which will stay connected to him for the whole time and can be carried around in a backpack, and won't require me to give the antibiotics to him every six hours (which would have been tiring) because it uses cartridges that are only changed once a day and it programmed to administer the meds at the appropriate time.TL;DR:
My husband had a bad foot infection he didn't realise was as bad as it was because he has no feeling in his feet. We were told his foot or at least toe would need to be amputated but in the end they managed to save both. He'll need IV antibiotics for the next six weeks and wound care until he's healed, but he'll be fine. This was scary but it turned out well in the end.
It was a very terrifying experience, and I was so happy that I was there for him. We were in a LDR for years. That would have been so much worse without me there for him (I lived in the hospital for that week. Hospital chairs are less comfortable than beds
It was tiring and stressful but I have never felt better about our relationship.
I need to head out, the doctors are here to discharge him.