While I was down in Minneapolis a few weeks ago visiting our new grandson, I bumped the shin of my right leg on the end board of his futon, twice. First on Monday and then again on Tuesday. Since I bang myself up quite a bit and bruise easily I thought nothing of it, except how clumsy I had been.
By Tuesday afternoon I noticed my leg was swelling and getting really red and blotchy, and felt really “out of it” that night when we went out for my birthday celebration with our daughter and SIL on Tuesday night. Everyone knows I’m sick when I can’t even finish eating a simple small salad and cup of soup, and I passed on the wine!!!
By Wednesday night it was really inflamed and hot to the touch. The RN that I was staying with tried to convince me to go into the emergency room in Minneapolis before driving the 300 miles home on Thursday morning, but I told her I’d be fine. Well, it’s a good thing I went immediately into the doctor’s office on my return home up north on Thursday morning, because I had a really bad case of cellulitis.
Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the deep skin tissue and can turn life-threatening in a short time. The doctor said that had I waited any longer and I would have been in the hospital with antibiotics given by IV. As it was, I was put on strong antibiotics (500 milligram cephalexin) that I take four times a day for 10 days.
This is nothing to mess around with as I found out after doing more research on the Net, and can be a precursor to the flesh-eating disease if not caught in time. I watched the thing spread as it took over all my ankle and went around the back of my leg, and that was just in 24 hours! It felt like I had an alien invasion of the body snatchers for goodness sake.
As we age and our bodies can no longer rebound like they once did from injury, so we are susceptible to cellulitis and other types of infections, so be cautious in all that you do! I get so many small cuts, scrapes and bruises that if I went to the doctor’s office every time, I would be living there–but believe me, if any of them get the slightest bit red now, I’m outta here in a flash!
Something as simple as a break in the skin from athlete’s foot, a cut with the toenail clipper, scrape on the shin, cat scratch, pin prick with an awl, poke or slip of the scissors, all of these things can be life-threatening when you are over 50 or your health is in some other way, compromised.
The docs also said my edema on my ankles could have contributed to it, if the skin had stretched and broke anywhere, but I think it was from the scrapes on the futon end bed boards. My son, DIL and grandbaby were using it as a bed in the small studio apartment and when I went to pick up little Johnny, bumped into it.
I’m almost at the end of my antibiotic treatment and my leg is looking more normal, but is still discolored and will probably stay that way forever. It still hurts from the bruising and throbs all the time, so I still elevate it. But at least now I can walk again like a normal person and can even stand long enough to do the dishes. Wheee!
Here’s another link besides the header at the top of this blog post, about cellulitis that you might find interesting reading. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/cellulitis.html
Like my mom said, “Cathy, you’re going to have to quit being so clumsy.” And mothers know best, don’t they? Anyway, take care of yourself everyone. Life is precious and too short!