02 January, 2015

Leg update

click here for part I or part II or part III

Well a lot has happened in over a month.  The last post was about going in to the doctor and getting 10 days of antibiotics...well those days went by with the sore seemingly getting better...but a week after that I headed back in to see the doctor.

She took one look at it and said that I needed to see a surgeon because the middle part is black and infected, possibly to the bone.  I felt sick to my stomach, but was glad that I came to see her and didn't keep putting it off.

I went to the hospital she recommended which her fellow Russian doctor friends work at.  The Russian surgeon (who has only been in Cambodia for 2 months) took one look at it and said something in broken english that sounded like 'oh it must come out'.  After the four of them discussed the leg in Russian, I was told by one of them that spoke English that they must do surgery and they must removed all the black part and if it is infected to the bone, then they would have to remove tissue from my thigh and put it over the bone, blah blah blah...that's about all I could stomach before my mind blacked out for a second.  Then I heard him say that it must be done that day (Monday at 2pm) and it was 11am at the time.  

I was kind of in slow motion not fully recognizing what I was to undergo, but was aware enough to call a tuktuk so I could check out of the guest house I had stayed in the night before and then back to the hospital.    I was put into a room (ironically in the Labor and Delivery ward) and soon they were wheeling my bed into the elevator and into the surgical room. 

I thought they would put me all the way under, but they only gave me an epidural (I was seeing a weird pattern here).  They put this blocker sheet at my chest so I couldn't see what was going on and I couldn't feel anything below the waist - a bit unsettling for a person like me who likes to be in control of herself. 

I felt like I was in a scary sci-fi movie - there I was, no feeling below the waist, in a room with the nurses and anesthesiologist speaking Khmer and surgeons speaking Russian. It was a bit surreal and then the doctor said only about 20 minutes and it would be over....

When he was finished, I was told that the necrosis had not reached the bone, YEA!  I was wheeled back to my labor and delivery room and left to mull over what just happened.  They said I had to stay the night and I pretty much slept from then until the next morning.  My leg was in pain, but the worst was when they had to change the dressings.  There was tons of antibiotic cream on my sore, but parts of the gauze was stuck to the sore and I tell you what, I've had a lot of physical pain in my lifetime, but when they pulled the stuck gauze off my new wound, I cried out and jerked my body.  It was ridiculously painful, but I survived to live another dressing change....and another...

The next day I was in limbo waiting to be discharged and when I was checked that afternoon he said I needed to stay another day.  He said my leg "was better, but not the best' and I couldn't go home until it was the best."  

Lucikly I had bought a loaf of olive bread from this French bakery the day before.  The day before was the same day before that I figured I would get some more antibiotics and then head home... so I nibbled on the bread on and off.  In the hospitals here they don't give you food, you have to either have someone bring you some, or you order it take out, but the Khmer menu they gave me did not have anything vegetarian on it.  When I asked for just rice with vegetables, the nurse kept referring to the menu and asking which one.  I finally said "I do not want food".  

Another nurse came to me concerned and said I needed to eat.  I didn't know how to tell them that I just ate 1/2 loaf of bread, so then she brought me a menu from a Russian restaurant...all in Russian.  I said "I cannot read this" and she gave me the number to call the restaurant.  I finally got the restaurant person to understand what I wanted and ended up with some potato cakes stuffed with mushrooms.  It was good, but not worth the hassle...but the nurses were happy that a foreign woman did not starve to death on their shift.  I spent the rest of that day and night sleeping and being awoken when someone had to either give me more IV's or rip the dressings off.  

Wednesday morning at 9am, the doctor said my leg "was the best" and I could go home.  It still took them 5 hours to discharge me.  The Russian doctor said "I am sorry a thousand times", then he said, no "I am sorry a million...no a billion times" (seems he forgot to sign the discharge papers and got busy with other patients).  His russian accent and lack of English was pretty endearing so I forgave him.

So finally at 2:30 on Dec. 11th, one month after I was dethroned  I was signed out of the hospital and on my way to a guest house for the night and then back to Wat Opot the next day

I have been going back in every week for a check up and am told each time that I may need a skin graft...but i'm hopeful I won't have to.  The pictures below show the amazing transformation from a small cut with 2 little stitches, to where it is today.

Went to Phnom Penh to the Naga Clinic. Ten days of injection and tablet antibiotics.  Sitha and Wayne readying my medication

Heading back to the Naga Clinic, and then on to Sen Sok University Hospital.  Covered wound with an antibiotic creme 24 hours a day.

Switched from antibiotic creme to climbOn creme.  Rapid transformation with chemical and pain free healing.

Upon recommendation from my doctor, started using liquid B12 during the day (putting it directly on a small piece of gauze and covering the wound) and climbOn creme at night.

Going back in on the 5th...wish me luck!


Zeana Haroun said...

Oh my goodness Melinda, this is so scary but I am glad you are ok. I can't imagine the pain you went through. I guess you ended up getting your stitches from Wayne.

Charlsie Russell said...

I was worried about that injury from the git-go. Seems hot/humid climates breed such things. Glad you're doing better and I do hope there are no set-backs. Just keep after it!

Melinda said...

Thanks Zeana and Lucy.

Unknown said...

Wow! Nope, I didn't pass the squeamish test just reading this and seeing the photos. Very glad that you are on the mend now. Hang in there! Oh, I can't help but think of the saying "pride comes before the fall" in regards to your reign. :)

janygirl said...

Melinda, what a way to end 2014! I am glad to see that you have kept your sense of humor throughout it all. I hope your leg continues to heal so that you can get back to your morning walks.