After a year of planning, selling their home, moving their belongings and putting everything into storage, they made a final visit down in April to buy a house and find new jobs.
Everything was going as planned. Aaron started his new job at a Myrtle Beach hospital in mid June. A couple of weeks into his new job he started having a lot of pain in his left foot. At first they thought it was a combination of new shoes and a new job, being on his feet more than he had previously. They bought new shoes that eased the pain some and other than a callus that had been on his first toe since he had a small cut on it back in March during a trip to th Dominican Republic, there were no signs or symptoms of anything going on.
The first week of July that callus needed to be shaved and a small opening appeared. There was no drainage or redness but by the following week the open area had gotten larger so Aaron was cleaning often. There was no sign of infection but it began draining.
By the end of the second week some redness appeared and progressed from the toe to the second toe and began spreading to the top of his foot. His foot became swollen and the pain increased. They went to urgent care and was diagnosed with cellulitus and was given antibiotics and told to elevate it and that it should be fine in a few days. However, the following day his toe had turned blue so they headed for the ER. Same diagnosis. Cellulitus. Skin infection. They took an x-ray to be sure that it hadn't traveled into the bone and that was clear so more antibiotics, keep it elevated and out of work for two days... should be fine in a few days.
Aaron went back to work on July 23rd and could only handle half a day because of the pain. For anyone that knows Aaron, you know that the pain was bad if he couldn't take it. The first toe was dark blue so they went back to the ER. At that point Linda told me that she was "scared". I've known her nearly my whole life and not much alarms her so to hear her say those words, I knew that it was serious.
An Xray showed a gas formation half way down his foot, the infection was severe. They admitted him and called in a vascular surgeon. The next morning the vascular surgeon told them that they would have to amputate the toe as the infection had impeded circulation. They also said that they would have to cut into the foot to remove the infected areas to prevent it from spreading system wide. At this point they were figuring he would lose his toe and there would be a divot in his foot.
The surgery was scheduled for July 28th and they had his on pain meds and IV antibiotics in the mean time. The meds were making him very sick and the pain was terrible so the pain meds were heavy enough to keep him pretty sedated.
On Tuesday, the 25th his temperature spiked and his white blood cell counts started to elevate indicating increasing infection. The vascular surgeon came in early on the 26th and said that they were taking him in to surgery right away. Unfortunately he had eaten a graham cracker at 4am so they could not put him under for the surgery. Think about the shot you get to have a tooth pulled... they amputated his first toe and a wedge about 2" wide between the second and large toe, starting past the middle of his foot. The infection was much worse than they had thought. Aaron was awake through the whole procedure. we knew he was a tough guy but...
By July 28th the second toe and his large toe were turning dusky so circulation was no good. The vascular surgeon came back in and planned on performing a trans metatarsal amputation (taking below the toes) and doing a circulation study on Monday, July 31st. If the study showed a decrease in circulation and they felt that a trans metatarsal would not heal then they would go ahead and do a below the knee amputaton. It was a very long weekend for Lyn and Aaron, not knowing what Monday was going to bring. It had been one bad turn after another and fear was getting the better of them both at that point. For two people who always manage to stay positive, it was getting tough for even them.
On July 31st Aaron came out of surgery with more than half of his foot gone. They had to go further down the foot to make sure that the infection was gone and that they had good circulation. They put put a wound vac (it is a sterile enclosure witha vacuum that promotes circulation and bloodflow for healing) and gave it 5 days. At the end of 5 days they would make the determination if they felt that it was healing or if they would have to do the below the knee amputation. Five days later the wound vac came off and he appears to have decent circulation!! FINALLY some good news!
On August 7th, after 15 days, Aaron came home from the hospital with a wound vac on to continue the healing process. His vascular surgeon estimates 6-10 weeks for the wound to heal over and he may have to return to surgery to graft and close the gaping hole that was once his foot. Eventually he will be up and moving with prothetics but for now it's a wheelchair and a walker and trying to keep the tough guy from going stir crazy!
Not only has Aaron gone through this horrible experience and is having to adjust to the changes that it has brought but it all happened before their health insurance had taken affect at their new positions at the hospital. He hasn't been there long enough for short term disability. The medical bills are astronomical and they are looking at months of Aaron being out of work. They have always been the first ones in line to help anyone in need so I wanted to set this up to help them out with medical expenses and ost of living expeneses while Aaron is out of work since they are now down to one income for a while.
Thank you for your support! Look for updates here!
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