Thursday, January 9, 2014


In my recent 'Stent' posting I mentioned that my surgeon at the Limoges hospital had booked me in for a check-up at the end of December. This was to see if the op to insert a 'stent' in my left thigh had had the knock-on effect of renewing the circulation to the toes in my left foot, thus saving them from being amputated (same condition as frostbite). At the time of the appointment being made I was horizontal in hospital with a useless left foot. This ruled out driving the 70 miles to Limoges for the December check-up. Looked like the only way to get there would be by coach and cab. However, Donnie very kindly flew out to spend Hogmanay with us and, at the same time, drive my car to and from the Limoges hospital. By the time the appointment had rolled around, a semblance of life had miraculously returned to my big toe, but the adjacent one remained dead as a dodo. For that reason I fully expected to be kept in hospital for a quick op to remove said toe before being sent limping home a few days later. However, the surgeon seemed encouraged by the big toe's recovery and so decided to allow a stay of execution for the adjacent toe. Another appointment was made for a final check-up. The poorly toe now had thirty days to recover, or it was due for the chop. With that, Georgie, Donnie, Jock and I piled back into the car and headed home. That was ten days ago. Twenty to go.

Since that Limoges trip, life at home has become a sort of dull routine of lazing around doing bugger all apart from popping pills and feeling extremely guilty about Georgie being carer. Have to admit I'm a rubbish patient. Having been virtually immobilised for about a month now I'm beginning to notice a distinct drop in fitness levels. Whereas before I used to think nothing of an hour or two's stroll over the hills with canine company, I now feel knackered after hobbling about a hundred yards. And that's despite giving up the fags and booze three weeks ago. Surprisingly, giving up the fags was easy. Always is when you have to. Well, I presume I had to. After all, some of the medics reckon it was smoking that originally caused the chloresterol build-up in the left leg artery which nearly killed me. Could have been diet of course, but test results showing 'normal' chloresterol levels suggest otherwise. Must be saving around 40 quid a week by kicking the nicotine and whisky. Or maybe a bit less. Pricey stuff these addictions.

Can't really comment on how things are going in the toe department. I get occasional jabs of pain which I presume is blood blasting its way into dead areas of flesh, but I might be wrong. Maybe it's just nerve endings on their last legs having one final fling. Who knows. And visually, there's not much to see. The big toe is now pink (was black, but a nurse pulled the old skin off - a bit like a snake shedding its skin) but remains a bit swollen. And it looks a bit of a mess (blackish) where the old toenail fell off - a new one will apparently grow back, according to Laurent, one of the nurses. However, the adjacent toe remains stubbornly black in its upper half with no apparent signs of new skin growth. I only get to see its condition briefly in the mornings when I remove the bandage and dressings in order to soak the foot in warm water before the nurse arrives at around 10am. Not a pretty sight. The toe that is, not the nurse.

All we can do is live in hope. Maybe that toe will suddenly shed  its black coat and return to full fitness, but I remain somewhat pessimistic. And although the big toe seems to have escaped the chop, I have my doubts. Still, we'll just have to wait and see. Fingers crossed.