We Really Have Made it to Central America!

by Rose

I apologize for my long absence from our blog, but it has been a very busy two months, since our arrival to Panama at the end of August.

My first priority was getting settled into my parent’s home. We helped to prime and paint much of their house and to get it organized, prior to the coming of the shipping container of Smith and I’s household goods and the numerous household goods and farm equipment we had brought down for my parents.

Smith unloading the 48 ft dry van.

Last item out of the dry van was the sawmill!

Mom cheering on the work crew!

My second priority was getting to the doctor and having my leg assessed by someone who had a clue as to to what was going on with it. On the 11th or 12th of August, I had found it a little painful to walk. I also noticed swelling and some redness in the right back leg area.

My leg prior to it being cut into three different times.

The right back leg area continued to swell, with continuing redness and hardness and pain-particularly with walking.  I also had been having low grade fevers and with chills several times.

I had went to an urgent care Dr and he was unsure of what was happening. He thought possible abscess, and/or possible DVT and possible muscle necrosis in the leg from an injured muscle. He had recommended an ER evaluation and ultrasound of the extremity.

So I went to the ER.

The ER medical doctors ordered a duplex and ultrasound of the right leg. The duplex was negative for a DVT. The ultrasound tech called the radiologist to see me during exam because he was not sure what the image was on the regular ultrasound.

The radiologist thought it was thrombophlebitis of a superficial vein, which was around 4inches and 1 inch wide.

The medical doctors then called the surgeons to evaluate. The surgeons thought possible abscess vs hematoma vs thrombophlebitis of a superficial vein.

The surgeon then performed an incision and drainage on my leg-leaning towards the idea it was an abscess, however no pus or fluid was drained from this procedure. They were disappointed. They felt an abscess should not have been deeper than the depth they went. So they decided to send me home with antibiotics and Lor-tab for pain and to perform wound care daily to the incision, to be seen in their clinic in one week and to call if it got worse.

So needless to say, my leg got no better and after a week of being in Panama, I went to my parents family doctor. He took one look at my leg and deemed it a muscle abscess and told me I needed surgery that night. So I ended up in the hospital that night, starting on IV antibiotics and postponed surgery until the next day.  After eight days of painful “washings” where the doctor scrubbed out my gaping leg wound, he deemed it ready to be stitched back together. So I went back to surgery for that procedure and was sent home the same day.

Unfortunately, my leg was continued to swell and a week after being sent home from the hospital, I went back to his office and he stuck a needle in my leg and drained off over 30mL of lymphatic fluid off of my leg. I had to repeat that one more time, a week after that.

Three weeks later, my leg started to swell, become red and hard again and I ran a 100.0 fever for 24 hours. I knew what was coming, so I packed a bag and went to see the doctor once again. Sure enough he said once again I had a muscle infection and I had surgery that night. This time he opened me up about ¾ of an inch below the first incision. I only had to stay in the hospital three days this time.

Currently my leg wound is hooked up to a device called a wound VAC. The wound VAC is a machine which puts a negative pressure on the wound and drains off the excess fluid out off of the wound, so the wound can heal much more quickly. I have worked with these in the states and found them very impressive, as far as speeding along the healing of wounds and in healing chronic wounds. So hope abounds for my leg!

The night I was admitted for my second surgery, my Father was also admitted for a scheduled surgery of his right carotid artery, which was 100% blocked and to remove a tumor which was in his neck, near the carotid artery. His surgery went uneventfully and he was back at home after a week. His only complications from the surgery were some laryngeal edema from an endotrach tube, which has caused him some excess phlegm, difficulty speaking and persistent coughing. These symptoms continue to improve each day.

He also has some left arm weakness, which occurred two days after surgery. The doctor does not feel it was caused by a stroke, but rather a pinched nerve to the best of his knowledge. My Father has been to physical therapy several times, where they have used a TENS unit on his arm and each time, he has more control of his arm and movement in his hand. He still has a ways to go to gain complete control of his arm and hand, but we are very thankful to the Lord-for the great progress he has made and that he is still here with us today.

My Father the day before discharge, looking good in his hospital gown!

I send all of my love to my dear friends and family, please know that you are near to my thoughts and in my prayers.

Blessings to you all,