I truly have been to deep deep dark places and it has taken me a considerable time to be able to even face writing this. I don’t even know where to start explaining what I’m feeling right now.
On 2 July I was admitted to hospital to unblock my femoral artery in my left leg. At that stage a full bypass was not needed, the blockage came out. 7 hours in theatre.
10 days later, the pain returns. It is suspected that the blockage has returned. No one knows why this has happened the first time, never mind why it has recurred again so fast. I was advised to go to ED straight away.
17 July, Full fem-pop bypass taking 1.5m of vein from my right leg to use to bypass the damaged vessels. The damage is much worse than anyone thought. The bypass had to go right to my ankle into a vessel that was really too small if they had a choice. There was no choice though. From there I was transferred to the High Dependency ward for careful watch (One step down from Intensive Care.) 10 hours in theatre.
18 July The following afternoon, sudden agonising foot pain returns. I asked them to call the surgeon immediately. After being rushed to the Cat scanner they discover the ankle end of the bypass has blocked again. Everyone is devastated and still has no clue why, or why again so fast. 3 more hours in theatre. And back to high dependency again for careful watch.
Close watch on BP and pulses in the foot for the following 48 hours suggest the graft is holding. Finally after 5 days in the high dependency unit I’m transferred to a main ward.
Because I had now been completely bed bound for all of those 5 days in a stable-yet very unwell condition, an air mattress was ordered – for fear I may start to get pressure sores.
With the support of nurses and a physio the intention was to stand me up for a very brief moment to get the mattresses changed over. This didn’t go well – I feinted. Following that my foot suddenly felt intensely cold as it used to. The surgeon was called down immediately and the pulse was checked. Yes, it has re-blocked… again.
At this point both the surgeon and I hugged and cried. I was absolutely distraught. She thought it was worth trying – one more time. She now looked as totally devastated as I was.
Mark and I had a conversation. We had 5 minutes to decide. Yes, we will give it one more try. Just one more. The surgeon agreed with me that even though she would do this as many times as needed if it meant saving my leg, this was probably the last chance, because repeated interventions would just end up making it a million times worse. 30 mins later I was taken down. 3 more hours in theatre. And straight back to High Dependency for 3 more days of close watch.
23 July I was taken from high dependency to the main ward, take 2. I was truthfully absolutely terrified. That was 2 days ago.
All we can do now is wait, and hope that it holds.
And then, rehab the heck out of this leg as best I can facing certainty that there will now be permanent functional damage. Then decide whether I will choose to accept that or not as an acceptable quality of life.
If I cannot accept what I am now left with, or if the graft should go down again, there is only one more option left: below the knee amputation.
The waiting game begins. 😓