There are some things I don’t talk about on my blog or social media. It’s not that I’m embarrassed or ashamed, but they don’t fit in with my brand. Some of that will be changing, but there’s some that still won’t be talked about much.
One of the things I don’t talk about is my health. On one hand, it doesn’t fit with what I want to be known for and what I do. On the other hand, it definitely does because our health directly impacts everything.
I am diabetic. I have been for 14 1/2 years. I am a mosquito magnet. I always have been. About four years ago, I got a mosquito bite in the middle of my left shin. Instead of welting up like most mosquito bites do, this one turned into a blister.
I had what is known as skeeter syndrome.
As blisters do, it popped. Then it turned into a sore. I put Neosporin on it and took care of it myself. But it kept getting worse. I kept hiding it. I wouldn’t even think about wearing shorts, capris, or skirts. Keep in mind this is probably in the middle of summer and I’m only wearing jeans or long pants.
This went on for about six months. Maybe longer. My mom caught a peek of the bottom edge (which was, at that point, near my ankle) and made me go the emergency room. I was angry. I shouldn’t have been, but I was.
From there, they referred me to Wound Care. I went to Wound Care twice a week for almost three years. It would get smaller, ultimately to the point where it closed, but it would open back up. I was on strong antibiotics on multiple occasions. They talked about out-patient IV antibiotic treatment and even admitting me to the hospital for IV antibiotics.
Finally, with all of the medications, compression wraps, staying off my foot, getting my blood sugar under (much) better control, and keeping my foot elevated as much as possible, it closed. At this point, it has been closed since the first of February.
To summarize what all happened and what I learned while I was going through Wound Care:
- The doctor who first saw me called me after lab results came in and asked if I was still on the hospital grounds. (I wasn’t. I was at another doctor’s appointment.) If I had been, he would have had me admitted because my blood sugar was so high.
- You can develop an allergy to Neosporin. It causes skin breakdown, which can make sores and wounds grow and get worse instead of heal. This is what was happening to me during the time I thought I was taking care of it myself.
- You can also develop an allergy to Bacitracin. Yes, I can no longer use Neosporin or Bacitracin. I have no idea what I will use if/when I need it.
- I had MRSA three times in my left leg. That’s why I had so many strong antibiotics.
- Some absolutely wonderful people work in Wound Care. I have made some very good friends.
- I am so very glad my mom made me go to the ER. (For the record, I’m also legally blind so I don’t drive. She literally took me herself.)
- I feel fortunate to be alive.
- I feel fortunate to still have both legs.
- Never assume ANYthing as a diabetic.
While I was going through this, I had some very low times. I had times where the only creative thing I did was crochet because I could do that with my foot propped up. That’s also why I learned to knit. (There’s a knitting/crochet/weaving/all-around fiber-y group that I go to once a month that was definitely a sanity saver.) I didn’t do much writing. I did some, but it was difficult to sit at the computer with my foot up.
Why am I telling all of this now?
I’ve been going to Wound Care for the past three months as a kind of maintenance strategy. Everything has been good in those three months.
Yesterday, I had my last appointment. This has been an emotional journey. I am grateful for the people who helped me on it.
(Phileen, Misti, Stephanie, Sparky, Vicki, Barb, Dr. Boren, Falisha — yes, I mean you.)
I hope nothing like this ever happens again, but I know if it does, I will not let it get bad before I get help.
Don’t take your health for granted. It literally impacts everything. Even your creativity.