(Last Updated On: July 4, 2009)
I swear, sometimes the stupidest things happen to me…. This is a story of one of these incidents.
On Wednesday, I was picking something up from a friend’s house. His driveway has a slight incline and the winter left it with small patches of dirt scattered over the asphalt surface. On my way back to my car, I slipped with my right foot on one of these patches of dirt. My left knee gave out immediately, since the muscles are still week from ACL surgery, and the leg buckled beneath me. My knee and shin took the brunt of the impact as I went crashing to the ground. I was wearing flip-flops and capris, and the crash left me with a hole in my pants, several scrapes, and a lager gouge on the top of my foot near my ankle.
The fall scared the crap out of me. All I could think about was, “Is my knee okay? Do I have to go get it checked out? Will I need to have surgery all over again?” As I checked myself, I determined my knee was pretty much fine. Aside from the scratch and bruising of the impact, it didn’t hurt, and there were no signs of instability. I’ve torn enough ligaments now that I know the signs. My knee was likely fine.
So, my attention turned to the scrapes. I immediately went home and washed the dirt out of the scrapes. Then I put Neosporin on the cuts and covered a couple of the bigger ones that were likely to continue to ooze and be annoying. And back to work I went.
That night, the scrape on top of my foot hurt more than most other road rashes I’ve acquired in the past. I choked it off to it’s unusual location, thinking it was just a sensitive area. But, when I woke up the next day, the area around it was red and swollen. As the day progressed, the redness continued to spread. Some obvious signs of infection were there, but I decided to wait and see what happened through the night.
When I woke on Friday morning, the top and left side of my left foot were red and had a raised swollen area. This continued from my ankle bone to the front of my foot where my “flip flop” line seemed to keep it from spreading to my toes. I knew something was wrong. So, I went to the Crested Butte Clinic.
A nurse there diagnosed me with ease, saying I had cellulitis. Cellulitis is an infection of the skin and areas just beneath the skin. Apparently, it can be caused by even the smallest of cuts, is most common on the foot, and can spread rapidly. Cellulitis can be very serious- life and limb threatening depending on the strain. Although most strains are caused my staph or strep bacteria, we all know that there are different forms of these bacteria, some of which are resistant to bacteria. Although I may never know, my symptoms seem to indicate an infection described by strep, described by medicinenet.com as “spreading hot, bright red circumscribed area on the skin with a sharp raised border.”
The nurse sent me home with not just one antibiotic, but with two: Keflex and Septra. She wanted to make sure we were aggressively treating the infection as the infection could be aggressive itself. She was very insistent that I keep a close eye on it. She said that if it begins to spread up the leg or if I feel feverish go to the emergency room right away, where they will likely give me intravenous antibiotics. She warned me of the “flesh-eating bacteria” and told me that this could be potentially very serious. The nurse even marked the border the raised red area with a marker so I would able to easily see if it was spreading.
As the day progressed, I began to worry as I watched the swelling increase. It became so swollen that I could no longer see the ankle bone on the left side of my foot. But, the red area hadn’t spread- just the area of swelling. The pain increased as well, which was really only noticeable when I was walking on the foot. But, the infection did not seem to be spreading into the leg. I was hoping that the antibiotics were just taking a bit of time to work.
I was thankful when I woke up this morning saw that the swelling had noticeably decreased. I could see my ankle bone! The red area had not spread, but had stayed within the marked sharpie line. But the red area had decreased swelling as well. Those antibiotics must have kicked some butt while I was sound asleep 🙂
Infections like these are kind of crazy too me. I hear about them all the time, but never really thought I would become a victim of one of them. It’s crazy to think how such a minor injury could become life-threatening only days later. And it makes me realize how lucky we are to have drugs to treat these infections now. Just think, 150 years ago, I probably would have had to have my foot chopped off! Scary thought.
Like I said, I always seem to be prone to silly occurrences such as this. I mean really…. What idiot falls on a sunny dry day in a driveway? Then, here I am, worried about my knee and the $5000 that was required to fix it while these little bacterial organisms are unknowingly wreaking havoc on my skin, causing an infection that in another day and age would likely cause me to loose my foot altogether. Life is crazy sometimes the way it always keeps you guessing with it’s twists and turns…