Sunday, May 18, 2008

Update on the foot

We finally got some encouraging news on Ron’s foot. He had two tunnels (we had only been told about one but I read in the doctor’s notes that he actually had two) and only one of them was healing. Now it appears as if they’re both shrinking in size. Ron’s also dropped nearly 40 pounds since he went into the hospital on March 22. He’s finally had a wake-up call and has decided that he’s going to do whatever it takes to get himself back mobile again and healthier. He said it may be too little too late but he’s going to give it his best shot.

The kidney doctor really gave him a talking to the last time we were there and said that his current lifestyle was killing him and that his prognosis was not good if he didn’t make some changes. He has really gotten with the program since then. He’s on maximum of 1,000 mg sodium a day (that’s hard and some days he goes over but never over 2,000 mg), 32 oz fluid a day (again, sometimes a bit more but no more than 64 per day), and low potassium. That is a bit harder to do without checking the potassium list all of the time. I do know some things that are higher and he’s not eating any of those.

Since he’s not been taking as much medication lately he has gotten a lot more “clear” in his thoughts and talking. He said his memory is coming back and he feels like the fog has lifted. He said he didn’t realize how foggy he’d been for the past several years and I know it’s from pain medication. He’s not on any narcotic pain meds any more and just has a pain patch that’s supposed to be replaced every 3 days but I only do it once or twice a week. He’s on a new medication, Lyrica, that’s specifically formulated for peripheral neuropathy and that seems to be helping him a lot.

Speaking of medication, he’s also on a new oral antibiotic. He’s got MRS-E so the infectious disease doctor discontinued the Minocycline and added Zyvox (Linezolid is the formula name), in addition to the Flaygl (Metronidazole) that he’s also taking. He asked if we had good prescription drug coverage and I said we did. He said this was quite expensive and a lot of companies refuse to pay for it. I asked if it was something I could buy outright and then file major medical claim on and he said no, that it was thousands of dollars. I just about dropped my jaw on that. The nurse called and got it pre-authorized before he’d even write the prescription for it. Our cost for a 2-week supply was $30. Insurance cost was $2,109.21. That’s unreal. He’ll be on it for two cycles so that’s over $4,000 for a one-month supply of medication (the IV antibiotics were over $20,000 for eight weeks). While he’s on Zyvox he’s had to quit taking Cymbalta and Zyprexa, which were both prescribed for peripheral neuropathy. The Cymbalta is an anti-depressant by design and by chance they discovered that it helped some peripheral neuropathy patients (I don’t know what Zyprexa was for initially). Ron had been on Zoloft for a long time, so they discontinued that when the Cymbalta was started. Since he’s not on Cymbalta right now, he’s very emotional. Everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING makes him cry. We tell him that he’s having a “Kleenex moment” and that it will pass. I was teasing him the other day and said, “This Kleenex moment brought to you compliments of no Cymbalta” and it’s stuck.

He is feeling so much better though and getting around the house more on his scooter. He’s still supposed to keep his foot elevated most of the day but he’s washed up some dishes and washed two loads of laundry. That was a big help just in itself.

He was feeling so bad about his condition and the fact that he’s ignored my urgings for the past several years to change his eating habits and way of life that he made me a promise that he’d do what it took to get back to where he should be. I don’t know if he’ll ever be healthy enough to return to work but he said if he does improve enough to do so, he wants to. He said he’d had a taste of sitting around all day and he’d rather not do that.

His next appointments are Monday with the orthopedic doctor and next Friday with the kidney doctor. The next week he has a stress test and echocardiogram on Wednesday morning, followed by an appointment with the infectious disease doctor. Then, the first week of June he has another heart test and I’m sure after that we’ll be hearing from the cardiologist about Ron going back in to see him. With the cost of gasoline on the rise it’s sure biting into my monthly budget. I’m putting a lot of miles on my car driving to and from doctor appointments.

Oh well, you do what you've got to do for those you love.

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