So here’s the long story. On Thanksgiving 2017, we went to my sister’s house and had a wonderful time! Jake was feeling a little under the weather. He thought he might be coming down with a cold or the flu.
When we got home that night, he was freezing—so much so that he was wrapped in a blanket all night. When he woke up Friday morning, he got out of bed to realize that he could not put ANY weight on his right foot without experiencing extreme pain! He crawled down the stairs and got on the couch. An hour or so later, I woke up and came downstairs, Jake explained that his right foot was in a lot of pain, and looking at it, his ankle was red and a little swollen. Around 9:00 am, I decided to call his podiatrist since he had previously had surgery on that ankle to fuse a couple joints and repair a broken navicular bone. After hearing his symptoms, the doctor believed that it sounded like gout since the pain was surrounding his ankle joint. Saturday came and went and Jake spiked a fever of 103.7, and I googled if a fever was a sign of a gout attack, and surely enough, google told me that it was possible with a severe gout attack. On Friday the doctor had told us that he would submit a bloodwork order to confirm the gout diagnosis.
Monday morning came, and I called our GP. They told me in no uncertain terms that I needed to put Jake in the car and take him to the nearest ER. They were concerned because he had continued to have a fever throughout Friday afternoon until Sunday evening. So their biggest concern was that he might be septic. When we arrived at the ER on that Monday, we were welcomed by a number of nurses and doctors that reassured us that Jake would likely be admitted and it seemed that IV antibiotics were needed.
After two hours at the ER and 4 doctors, we were told that we should plan for Jake to be admitted, and in all likelihood, we would be there for a few days. Once we had the consult from orthopedics and podiatry, Jake had an MRI and was on his way to the fourth floor of St. Vincent’s. Monday, we met with some podiatry residents that were in contact with Jake’s previous surgeon and were discussing emergency surgery to examine his foot/ankle and remove any infection. The results of blood samples came in and he was diagnosed with an acute staph infection. By Tuesday morning, the decision was made that in order to try and save his foot, they would operate and try to clean out the infection. He also had a great infectious disease specialist that came to consult. He had a wound vac and IV antibiotics for the next two days, hoping that the infection would clear up.
Unfortunately, it did not, and he developed osteomyelitis, so the infection spread to his bone. By Friday morning, we were told that they would need to try again to clear out the infection, and we should prepare for the idea that they might have to amputate below the knee if the infection had spread up his leg. Luckily, Jake came out of that surgery on Friday (12/1) with both feet and hoping that his antibiotics would clear things up. On Saturday his team of doctors did a few X-rays to monitor the status of the infection. Unfortunately, those X-rays showed a gaseous infection pocket in the soft tissues around his ankle. This was the worse news we could imagine. Sunday afternoon we were told after 8 days of being hospitalized with IV antibiotics and two surgeries to clean out the infection…. the infection is winning.
The most shocking moment of our life happens this day (12/3/17). We are told that the doctors that we’ve trusted to solve this infection problem, have run out of good ideas, that the staph infection is winning and Jake’s body is losing the battle. That to save his life, they were proposing that they cut off his right leg (below the knee) to stop the infection—was a REAL reality. That the best option to keep Jake alive was for him to lose his right leg. That is what we are dealing with after the amputation, after the 12 days in the hospital and another 11 days in a rehab hospital … and now three days at home… this is where we are, with a long and unknown road ahead of us. We’ve got great family and friends and we know that we’ve got this!!!