20 June 2021

Michelin man is still alive and kicking

Well, two weeks on from my last post and I'm accumulating more plasters and making Michelin man look positively naked! The broken toe continues to be bound up with the adjacent one, but is not too much of an inconvenience. I have mastered the art of going up and down my five flights of stairs to even get a cup of tea without putting too much pressure on it. Thankfully I can still drive too. I have not been out walking to get fresh air, as I don't think I could manage too far a distance without it telling me it's there, but, all in all, I am managing well.


the cyst on my back has not been so compliant. It started to erupt more and more and become so painful that I could not comfortably lean back on a chair, bed or car seat. The 7-day course of extra-strong antibiotics I had been prescribed at my local urgent-care walk-in centre had done nothing to deflate it.  In desperation, I went back to the urgent-care centre last weekend to get some more antibiotics. The doctor I saw decided surgical removal of the cyst was the only option, as cysts can build impenetrable walls around them, making it difficult for antibiotics to penetrate, as was obviously the case here. He rang the surgical team at the parent hospital to warn them he was sending me. However, as it was late on Saturday evening, they told him I would only be waiting around all night, as they were extremely busy and likely to be on Sunday too, so advised I best turn up nice and early on Monday morning.

A neighbour kindly agreed to take me, as parking can be a nightmare at the hospital and I did not have a timed appointment nor know how long I would be. On arrival at the Surgical Assessment Unit I seemed to be the only one there and was seen very quickly by the consultant surgeon. He was very odd and proceeded to deal with me in gesticulations and grunts. His English was not brilliant when he did speak and by the look of him, he should have been long retired. He was not very forthcoming on explaining things or giving me a management plan, so I had to drag information out of him which tended to be monosyllabic. To cut a long story short, a much younger man did the procedure of cutting out the cyst, on occasion advised by grunts from the consultant. Despite six needles of local anaesthetic circling the cyst, the whole procedure was extremely painful and I ended up digging my fingernails into my palms to get through it. (My daughter later explained that the cyst walls again can prevent anaesthetic reaching the area to numb it). For ten minutes or so, although it felt like ten hours, the young surgeon snipped round  perimeter of the cyst to remove it. 

They packed the open wound with gauze and asked me to return the next day. I spent the most excruciating 24 hours not able to get comfortable. The pain was 15/10 Not even codeine could suppress the pain and I was not a happy bunny. However, on Tuesday when I went back, they removed the packing and the relief was instantaneous. The pain immediately plummeted to 0/10. They did not stitch the wound but instead Manuka honey cream was put into the open wound to help it heal from the inside outwards. I was advised to have the dressing changed every other day at my GP surgery. That in itself has been problematic as my GP surgery could not do that for over a week. There is no way I can do it myself as it is on my back below my shoulder blade and so difficult to reach. However, I have been able to bully to get appointments (not easy in these covid-restricted times) at the urgent care centre and also the hospital again to get the dressings changed. I am pleased to say that it looks as if it is on the mend. 

Now I just need to sort out the broken toe....

Before - swelling to the size of a walnut
Picture taken by Kay

During - showing the packing

After - wound healing nicely.
Picture taken by consultant

09 June 2021

Michelin man

Back in April, I mentioned that I had hurt my right foot whilst sitting at my desk. To this day I still don't know what I did to it. I recall resting it on the pedestal of my desk chair and curling my toes slightly and then came the pain in the ball of my foot spreading down into my second toe. Seven weeks on it is still not right. Then last week I did an injury to my left foot. 

Kay had come over to see me for a few days to help me sort through some things in her room with a view to clearing it. There are some major cracks appearing at ceiling level on her walls and I need to get someone in to look at them and advise me if there is a problem. Since she moved out last August, her room has been in a semi-state of devastation, waiting for her to come back and sort through it. But, of course, the poor girl has been up to her eyes in saving lives in Intensive Care and the clearance job took a back seat. Finally last week she was able to devote some time to it.

While she was with me, I decided to dig out a very old Karchner power cleaner that had been hiding in the garage. The patio hasn't been deep-cleaned in about 15 years - the last time was when Greg used it and he's been dead 11 years. I have never used it and, given its age, was a bit worried about electrocuting myself, so waited for Kay to be on hand to administer CPR if I needed it! It worked of sorts though was painfully slow (I think I had the wrong attachment, but, with no other to hand, I persevered.) Kay joined in too as she found it therapeutic watching the stone tiles change colour from a grimy grey to a light pinky terracotta. I think the machine needed a new washer as there was water spraying out from the side of it. As we had to keep it close to the house to reach the power switch inside, it meant some water did get inside the kitchen, as we had to keep the door slightly ajar to allow the electricity flex through.

All was going well until the very last when I went inside to turn off the water supply. I slipped on the wet kitchen floor, both my feet went up in front of me and I landed on my back. Kay rushed in to help me up slowly, fearful I had broken my back or hip. Thankfully I was fine, apart from a painful toe on my left foot. I can only think I must have thwacked it on something as I landed. After two days hobbling around on both painful feet, I took myself to our local walk-in urgent care centre (or in my case hobble-in). After a delightful two-hour wait surrounded by limping, bleeding adults and a toddler throwing up in a sick bowl, I finally got to see a doctor who announced that I had broken my toe.  It is now bandaged up with its neighbouring toe. I am gradually beginning to look like Michelin man.

What with a very painful recurring cyst on my back for which I am now taking antibiotics, I look a sorry sight and am chair-bound. Just in time for the lovely weather we are at last having and all the gardening I intended to do!