At great risk to myself and the poor SOB who offered to transport my disease-riddled carcass along Illinois highways, I’ve seen the nerve specialist, and am now the proud owner of something called a Type 1 RSD.
According to the doctor–a wizened Chinese man, likely a sage of unknowable renown–this effectively means that my ankle injury confused a nerve in my leg. My brain, like a sugar-infused five-year-old overreacted and went on a killing-spree. Effectively it thinks I’ve catastrophically savaged my foot, and the only way to save the rest of my body is to remove my leg at the knee. The signal from the nerve is so intense, that my brain has reacted by reducing blood flow to my leg in an attempt to starve it. Of course, the human body is incapable of carrying out this cunning plan, so instead of a clean amputation, my leg has simply transformed into a nexus of discomfort.
What I thought was just dry skin from the cast (though I wondered why showering didn’t remove it) was actually my leg slowly dying. The skin discoloration, swelling, dry skin, muscle spasms, and pain extending all the way to my knee are all symptoms, and if I agitate it further, it could progress into a type 2 RSD. Had I gotten surgery? The surgery itself and the required weeks in a cast could have easily worsened the nerve and put me at a type 3 RSD, in which case the nerve corruption is so complete the leg is a loss.
Yes, boys and girls, a mysterious ankle sprain I don’t even remember acquiring could have cost me the lower half of my leg. Luckily my cardiologist suggested I see an orthopedist due to my high risk factors in general, or I would have had the surgery a month ago. So what comes next? The only way to reset the nerve is to inject a nerve block… into my spine. Awesome! Fortunately, this is not a motor nerve, so according to the doctor, my leg will only feel “a little warm” until the block wears off. Afterward, my foot should repair any incurred affects from the diminished blood supply, at which point my orthopedist can accurately assess any necessary therapy or surgery to fix the ruptured tendon which caused all this. I do suppose it’s difficult to construct a corrective regimen when my foot is basically rotting off.
In effect, I’ll have to wait a few days after the shot to ensure it was effective. Then I either endure physical therapy, or surgical intervention and physical therapy, putting me out of commission for at least another month. Being told my body was actively attempting to kill my leg was not exactly good news, but at least it’s finally an answer that seems plausible. I feel like I should be an episode of House or something after seeing four doctors before starting the path to true recovery.
And I’m never, ever going to look at a guy with a cane the same way again.