Friday, June 18, 2010

More surgery on the horizon

Ron is not doing too great. He sounds better and I think that most days the confusion is not as bad. Some days he still takes "PM" pills instead of "AM" pills, or he doesn't take any because he says he can't figure out the pill system. We've used this pill system for months so when he says he can't figure it out, it concerns me. He's managed to lose about 20 pounds in the last month or so, actually trying to. He is not eating as much and has had some very low blood sugars. I have to remind him to eat and some days he just doesn't feel like it. He says he does not get hungry.

We visited the foot surgeon today and the guy is really nice. He's honest and tells it like it is. He says Ron has rampant infection in bones in his foot. He had surgery on the lateral side of the foot in May and had one of the bones removed. He is going back in on the 24th to have further cleaning and probably will be removing some additional bones - as much as necessary to salvage as much as possible. He says he wants Ron to walk as much as possible and to get as much exercise as possible. He says that with the years of experience he has, he does not see that this will ever heal and it's not a matter of "if" he has to have it amputated, it's a matter of "when" he has to have it done. The goal Thursday is to not have to do so at this point but we don't know how bad the bones are. After shedding many tears today - by both of us - we are mentally preparing ourselves for what the doctor most likely will  find next week and the knowledge that things may be worse inside the foot than they appear on the outside of the foot.

It still drains and I still have to make my day revolve around changing the dressing. It should be done twice a day but there are some days that I just can't get it done twice. One of the problems is the drainage (and blood) is causing problems inside his shoe (when he wears it) or on the carpet. The nurse suggested today that I buy sanitary pads because of the liquid proof backing they contain. It's been so many years since I've had to buy stuff like that, that I will have to really examine the boxes to make sure that what I'm getting will solve the leakage problem.

Part of Ron's bone problem is that he has Charcot foot and the little bones crack and crumble over time. As they break down, they lose the ability to support weight on the foot, and then it perpetuates the cycle. He's trying to save Ron's leg as long as possible but says sometime within the next two years - at the outside, probably sooner - the leg will just be so infected that it will have to come off. At that point, maybe Ron's overall health will be better, they may have better diabetic treatment, etc.

The bad part is that his overall health is bad. His heart is bad, his kidneys are bad, and the Parkinson's is making itself known. He may not even live long enough to lose the foot and as terrible as that sounds, that is something that is always on my mind. Honestly, I come home from work and if he's sleeping in bed, I check to see if he's breathing. Every morning when I get up (if he is not up before me), I check to see if he's breathing. If I bring Isaiah home with me and I think there's something going on with Ron, I make sure that Isaiah stays out of the room while I go "wake up Grandpa." I never send Isaiah in to wake him up unless I can see for sure that his chest is moving up and down. Sad, stressful, but true.

I would really like to have an Independence Day celebration here. We don't know how many more good days or months he's going to have and traveling any distance is out of the question for him. We are not moving to WA for a host of reasons, most of which has to do with his health. Our primary care physician says that with his health the way it is, things could change very quickly. I'd like to think that things could change for the better as well, and I still believe in miracles, but I'm also trying to prepare myself for the eventuality that things may never get better.

I'd like to create as many positive memories for him and as his memory diminishes (which it will and it is in some areas) then he'll have something to look back on with fondness.


SkippyMom said...

No words Teresa. I simply don't know what to say.

I am right here and will be there just say the word.

My love to you both. Thinking of you tonight. Hugs

Humayraa said...

I am really sorry that you and your husband are going through this. I can't imagine what it is like to be in either of your shoes right now. Maybe the doctor's suggestion (for him to walk as much as possible) may help things. I don't know. My thoughts and prayers are with you. (((mega hugs)))

RV Vagabonds said...

A cousin had trouble with non-healing wounds on his foot (long story) and finally tried VAC therapy which has made a world of difference. He's now up walking around instead of being in danger of losing the foot. It was suggested to him by a nurse friend instead of by his own doctor.

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

Vagabond - we did wound VAC on his heel in 2008; 11 months worth @ $50,000 in expenses. We still owe them $3600 so not only will they not put one on, the doc says because of the bone infection, it will trap the infection inside. I did suggest it to him yesterday to see if he thought it would help in this instance.

thanks for the suggestion, though. never know which one is going to do the trick.

Pat said...

I'm just wondering, would it be better to amputate the foot now, before the infection spreads up the leg and then they'd have to take the leg? It seems like there is so much going on with the foot, and it isn't getting any better. I know that amputating seems like a drastic measure, but isn't that going to be the outcome, anyway? I don't mean to sound cold, by all means, I really don't. I'm thinking of all that you are going through caring for the wound, what Ron is going through, the pain, the bills, etc. CAN he survive the surgery in the stage he is in now?