Sunday, May 20, 2012

Leg Time

1st Peter 2:24:
Who His own self [meaning Christ] bore our sins in His own body on the cross, so that we, being dead to sin, should live righteously:  By His stripes you were healed.

Healed.  It is with joy and excitement and hope and thanksgiving that I speak that word.  Healed.

For years, I attacked my own body.  I kept it hidden from most of the world, but not from the doctors who worked so hard to help me heal from those attacks.  I received compassionate, skilled medical care; many who admit to self injury are not so fortunate.

But medicine and time can only heal so much.

My right leg has been hurt quite badly, many times.  A few years back, it caught up to me.  Requiring yet another set of sutures landed me in the hospital.  Hospitals are good places to go if you are sick.  Hospitals are also good places to go if one wishes to be exposed to a plethora of hurtful bacteria.  My leg got infected, and for the first time in my life, the medical care I received was sub-par.  It festered and deteriorated for months before I had the first of too many emergency procedures.  At that time, it was found that the years of injury had caused significant vascular impairment.  In other words, you can only wreck so many arteries (big and small) before your foot simply doesn't get enough blood.  Because of the circulation problems and the effects of stress on my immune system and the unfortunate combination of resistant bacteria, it has been a rocky road since then.  I have spent more days either in a walking boot or on crutches, than I have spent walking normally.  I've got very limited sensation.  Lasting muscle weakness.  Pain, all the time.  And when stuff happens - little stuff, like a scuff on my heal from the stairs or a scratch from one of the cats - it doesn't heal like it should.  It can't. 

Last fall, things cascaded downhill really quickly. 

I am proud to say, though, that I have not done anything to deliberately harm myself in any way since the beginning of 2010.  I've been taking care of my body; seeing it as a gift from God.  It has been a fight.  A difficult, frustrating fight that has been worth it every second of the way. 

But it is in my medical record that I used to hurt myself, deliberately.  Every time a professional has entered the picture to try to help with my leg, it has been assumed b y them that I am still doing things to hurt myself.  It's led to ineffective and unprofessional treatment.

I am now three months into a process of trying to heal the ulcers that broke through the surface of my skin graft and proceeded to worsen and deepen for weeks as wound care specialists treated me for infection.  Infection that isn't present.  And it has been three and a half weeks of daily (yes, every day) appointments with my family doctor.  Three and a half weeks of finally having someone acknowledge that this is not something within my control, and it is not something I have caused.  Three and a half weeks of compassion and the best medical care that my doctor and the nurses working with him can provide. 
And healing is happening.  All the fancy solutions and ointments have been abandoned in favor of simplicity.  Pain relief has been not only provided but encouraged.  Nobody is wasting time trying to place blame.  And the wound that physically should not be able to do so, is healing.  Rapidly and well.  Skin is growing where skin can't grow.  I am completely without signs of systemic infection, and there is also no evidence of bacterial colonization.  Some of the defects that were present even after reconstruction and grafting surgeries have been filled in with healthy tissue.

It is nothing short of amazing.  Even miraculous.

And instead of a future full of continuous appointments and frustration and pain, there is an end in sight.  The day is not so far off when I will be able to leave the clinic and know that I don't have to go back any time soon.  Don't get me wrong; my doctor and the nurses and even the receptionists are wonderful people.  People I care about, people who are uplifting and kind, who are the sort of people I would choose to spend time with simply for the sake of their company.  It's just that the daily appointments, the constant need for said appointments, and the amount of energy, time, and attention being devoted to me, feels suffocating.  I'm the sort of person that prefers to fly under the radar.  Solitude doesn't feel lonely to me - it feels peaceful.  There are times when I am not sure what I look forward to more - being healed or the simple reality of not needing and not receiving this sort of intervention every day. 

Eventually though, I will be well enough to just pack a bag and go stay with my dad and family without having to worry about making it to my next appointment.  Eventually, my time and energy will be put into something more, something better.  Eventually, I  won't require so much as an Advil or Tylenol for pain relief, let alone narcotics.  Eventually, I'll walk into that clinic on two feet with no crutches in my hands, and I will undergo the recommended yearly physical exam, and there won't be any problems.  I'll smile at the nice people and walk back out the door.

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1 comment:

Monica said...

I have been free from cutting for 31/2 years...Praise God!
I am so gald to hear you're healing inside & out. :)