“You people are lucky,” an endocrinologist friend once told me, referring to those of us who have diabetes. “You know when you’re getting sick. Me? I just wake up sick.”
He was talking about blood glucose tending to rise when the body is stressed, such as when you are ill. Or when you’ve had surgery, which is my case. For those of you who are unaware, I tore my Achilles tendon in March, had that repaired in April, then had more surgery in May and July to take care of some complications.
I’m not sick, but my blood glucose started predicting something about three weeks ago. After weeks of trying to get my glucose up and being put on some pretty strong antibiotics, I was told I could stop taking antibiotics. Shortly afterward, I began having problems keeping my glucose down. I kept raising my basal rates. I was doing more correction boluses than giving myself insulin to cover my food. After a period of being sensitive to insulin, the old insulin-resistant-as-all-get-out Type 2 me was returning.
As it happens, part of the bone in my heel is infected. Seems to be right around where I had a screw to hold the Achilles tendon on while it reattached to my heel. Now I get to have more surgery. Oh, joy. And just when I was starting to feel human again.
This happened once before, when I had a “dissolvable” pin put in my big toe as part of a procedure to rid my toe of a bunion and stop it from hammering, or growing at an angle. One year later, the “dissolvable” pin was removed — intact — and the infected part of the toe bone removed. I now have a short big toe on my left foot.
That’s one pin, one screw, and two bone infections. My body apparently does not like having foreign objects in it. (Ya think?) Or maybe it’s just my left foot, since that’s the one that’s had both the pin and the screw in it. At this point, I’m disinclined to have anyone test the theory by having a foreign object inserted anywhere else.
So, one day next week (I don’t know when yet), I’ll have outpatient surgery to have the infected part of the bone removed. Well, as much of it as the doc can see. As he noted, “I can’t see bacteria: It’s too small.”
While he’s at it, he’s going to take care of some overgrown tissue at the top of the original incision and put a skin graft over it. I’m the graft donor, too, so I suspect the donor site isn’t going to feel too good for a while.
On the positive side, I have a comfy recliner to recuperate in and a wonderful husband and grandchildren to take care of me. It also looks like a deck with a ramp is in my future so I can get in and out of the house without having to deal with steps. (Every time I go out, I dread having to climb the steps into the house when I return.)
This is the first time I’ve had so many problems with healing. It used to be I could get a cut or a scrape and it was no big deal. It healed right up. Is it my age? Years of having a chronic condition (that would be diabetes) that I neglected for a long time? After all, I once had an HbA1c of 17.4%. Or was it 17.6%? Either way, it was more than a tad on the high side.
Now, diabetes isn’t all that bad. After all, it only affects the parts of your body that contain blood (she says ironically). Ah, if only I’d figured that out years before I did.
If I sound morose, I’m really not. I’m more in a curious mood, trying to figure out what’s going on and why. It may be a subject to discuss with my endocrinologist when I see him next month.
I also know there are products and procedures available to hasten healing. One product is TheraGauze, which my friend Roger, who’s had Type 1 diabetes for 60 years or so, told me about. He recently scraped his leg pretty badly and was given TheraGauze by his doctor. In a short amount of time, the scrapes healed and, he says, “you can’t tell they’d been there.”
I got mine Monday and applied it for the first time that night. We’ll see what happens. You leave it on for two days, so I won’t get to see if there are any changes until Wednesday evening. My doc says it will be good to use after surgery, too, even over the skin graft.
One of these days, I’ll be rid of the bandages and surgical shoes and casts. After all, it’s been six months already. This can’t last forever.
However, if it gets me the deck I’ve wanted for years, it may be worth it.