Well, I’ve had an interesting week. We went to yoga class last Wednesday morning. I have to admit that I have a long way to go in that department. Wednesday afternoon, the top of my right foot began to itch. It kept itching on Thursday and was driving me crazy. I put cortisone on it, but that didn’t help much. On Friday, it felt as though I had something in my shoe. I check, but could only find some lint. By the end of the day, it was really hurting. When I took my shoes off, there were blisters on my big toe and the one next to it. On Saturday, my foot was beginning to swell. Andy took me to the emergency room. The doctor said it was a bite or a sting and prescribed antibiotic and pain killers, which made me sick. My foot had swollen so much it looked like a football with toes and felt like plastic, the skin was so hard. First thing Monday morning, we went to see our guy, Dr. O’Connor. He looked at it and said “Brown Recluse” and for me to go check in at the hospital; he would call and tell them I was on the way. He wrote a long list of instructions for the nurses on two prescription forms. They wheeled me into a room and put me on antibiotics through an IV. All day Monday and Tuesday. IV, pills, heating pad wrapped around my elevated foot. Tonight O’Connor came in and said it looked good enough for me to go home. I’ll see him again on Thursday. It is gross.
I was still concerned with my foot this morning when we went to see Dr. O’Connor at 0900. He took one look and expressed concern too. He made an appointment for me to see Dr. Torregrosa, a foot and ankle doctor at 1700. Dr. Torregrosa, however was not concerned. He said it looked to be healing nicely. He cut off the dead flesh to reveal a clean wound. Then he used a swab to collect four samples for the lab. I go back tomorrow for a change of dressing. Tonight we are both relieved.
Things are looking up when I am looking down at my foot. I was back at Dr. Torregrosa’s office in Tavernier yesterday. He said I am continuing to make progress and prescribed an antibiotic ointment for me to change the bandage at home over the weekend. Then it is back to the Doc on Monday. He thinks I can stop the doc checks next week.
Emergency Room Doc – spider or insect bite
Dr. O’Connor – Brown Recluse bite
Dr. Torregrosa – Brown Recluse bite
Dr. Toomey – something else
Dr. Schiff – not Brown Recluse
Wikipedia – probably something else
I’ve learned more about Brown Recluse spiders than I ever wanted to know these past two weeks, most of it from Wikipedia. It’s a good read.
I didn’t see a spider, but a brown recluse has a violin pattern on its back. It has six eyes rather than the usual spider eight. And, according to Wikipedia, they are not in Florida. The exception is when they get transported in wood or cardboard, but they have not established residence here. Wikipedia also says that 80 percent of the cases diagnosed as brown recluse bites are wrong.
There is a whole list of other things that can cause necrosis, meaning your flesh rots.
- Pyoderma gangrenosum·
- Infection by Streptococcus·
- Diabetic ulcers·
- Chemical burns·
- Squamous cell carcinoma·
- Lyme disease
- Toxic epidermal necrolysis
- Localized vasculitis
- Toxicodendron dermatitis
- Fungal infection
- Infection by Staphylococcus
All that aside, my wound seems to be healing nicely. I have stopped bandaging it and wearing the big awkward post-op boot. It is still red and still hurts.