Discussions that mention arthrotec

Foot & Ankle Problems board

If I might beg your indulgence, I’d like to join this group (surely the senior member) and thank you for all I have learned from your brave, humorous and well written posts.

I was painting a second story bedroom when I fell off a ladder in July 2003. In addition to the fracture, there was a long (instep to heel) deep gash in my right foot. I wrapped the foot in paint rags and literally ‘butted’ (no great feat – I have an extremely ample butt) my way to the tiled bath, tied a towel around the foot for absorption and tourniquet
and waited for help. My husband arrived a bit later (he’d been at the golf course), almost passed out from the gore and proceeded to (I kid you not) look for crutches. I held out for a trash bag. We wrapped the toweled foot in the bag and I butted (but you already know how easy that was) down the stairs and (thank heaven for tile floors) scooted to the front door. Getting into the car was not easy, but we managed, and we made it to the emergency room.

We don’t have any details, but I’m guessing the intern in charge of ER had no idea what this injury was. I didn’t care. The minute the Demerol hit, I was Perfect Patient. My bad. We spent five hours in ER while ‘almost-a-doctor’ puzzled about what to do. The foot was wrapped and we were told to visit an orthopedic surgeon in two days.

Two days later we saw the ortho guy. He was a bit taken aback. Apparently, when ‘almost-a-doctor’ had consulted, surgeon had advised, “Take a couple of stitches and send her to me in two days.” ‘Almost’ took 1.5 stitches – in a very deep gash over 5” long. By the time Ortho Man saw yours truly, there was a very large, open, ugly wound, more pain than childbirth and a rather unpleasant infection. The result was 4+ months of encasting (with holes cut to change dressings), enough antibiotics to render yours truly impervious to anything costing less than $100 per dose and intense foot pain.

[I do apologize to anyone who is bored beyond comprehension. It won’t last much longer.]

Ortho Man is adamantly opposed to surgery. He also opposes runners (I was one, once – 10Ks and half marathons, hoping for at least one marathon before I got too old). He advised that not only were my running days over forever, but my ‘walker’ was broken and I should not plan on doing that for exercise. Also verboten were high heels, dancing, standing for long periods.

We had just moved (I had lost my job and my husband had been forced to retire). We bought a house in a beautiful neighborhood with lots of running space, close to beautiful hiking trails. We’d planned to utilize all, and I’d hoped to get in to amateur theatre.

It is now 15 months later and I am miserable. Ortho Man’s answer to everything has been meds. He advised I should take no more aspirin (I’d refused all the pain Rx’s and had counted on aspirin to get through the hard parts). Everything he prescribed (Piroxicam to Arthrotec and everything in between) resulted in problems… which he resolved with another Rx. The pain reliever screwed up the stomach, so take Nexium. The Nexium causes bloating, so take a diuretic – and on and on and on. When I began losing my hair on top of all the other crap, I decided to stop the meds.

So now I have given up on the MD, given up on the meds and pretty much given up on life as I knew it 16 months ago. I am 60 years old and feel 80. I can spend perhaps 4 hours on foot, then must keep the leg up for the next 8 – 16 hours. Driving is limited (we hope to have my van adjusted for left foot pedals). And there are horrid, inexplicable shooting pains, whether I’ve walked or not, that can be so severe as to immobilize. In addition, my left knee (right foot was hurt), both hips and lower back are now constantly miserable from my awesomely awkward (but incredibly amusing) walk.

Lest anyone think (and who could blame – this certainly sounds like the prelude to a lawsuit) I want to sue anyone, I do not. We truly believe anything gained from that type of thing would be bad karma. All I ask is advice. Am I too old to get this thing fixed? Are there alternatives to what I am doing? (I tried some herbal remedies – much as I wanted them to work, they were pretty much as digestively problematic as the ortho man’s meds.) Has anyone tried pain management (our next step when we save the $ -- my sad little insurance policy doesn’t cover same.)

To those of you who could tolerate this diatribe, thanks. It’s been very therapeutic to write.

Wishing you all the grace of better health and the joy of recovery from what you have endured, and very grateful for this place to emote.