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Legs, knees, and other pains
blaisepascal
For a few weeks/months now, my left leg and knee has been bothering me. It feels like whenever anything goes wrong that'll hurt a leg, it's my left leg that gets it, and that includes slipping and falling on ice during this brutally cold winter. I went to the ER earlier the year where they ruled out blood clots, broken bones, arthritis, etc. They gave me Tramadol and told me to keep it elevated, and follow up with my doctor. The extreme pain resolved itself.

I had a scheduled doctor's appointment two weeks ago, and I brought to his attention the problems I had been having with my knee. Among other things, there was a noticeable swelling difference between left and right knee, although at the time of the appointment it wasn't much. He referred me to an orthopedist, and I have an appointment with him in a week.

But over the past two weeks my calf and leg pain got worse, and I ended up using a cane a lot just to walk -- although I did find that walking on it felt like it was stretching it out and making it more bearable. I tried calling my doctor on Thursday to set up an appointment to see him about it sooner than otherwise, but I called too late, after the office had closed. Calling again on Saturday got me a 10:30am appointment to see a Nurse Practitioner.

My 10:30 appointment got me recommendations to keep it elevated, take pain meds, apply warm compresses, etc -- and to go to the hospital to get a doppler ultrasound to rule out DVT.

At the hospital, we checked in with admissions for the ultrasound, and after 5 minutes in the waiting room, the admissions clerk came in and apologised: she can't book me for an ultrasound on the weekends, only the ER can do that.

So we trundled to the ER, expecting the ER admissions clerk to do what the regular admissions clerk could not do. Instead, I was given the full ER treatment: triage, placed in an ER room, visited by ER staff, etc.

The physician's assistant managing my case was fairly certain that I had a skin infection/cellulitis, given that the back of my calf was bright red, tender, and inflamed. She pumped me full of IV fluids, Vancomycin, and Cefalexin (I think), and prescribed me 10 days of two oral antibiotics.

I did get the ultrasound to rule out DVT. No DVT, but there's some mass/lump/pocket of fluid in my calf muscle that they don't know exactly what is. The ultrasound tech mentioned it could be from a ruptured Baker's Cyst, it could be a haematoma. The physician's assistant managing my case in ER was concerned that it could be pus, or possibly an abcess that needed to be drained. I got a CT scan to help figure out what it was. They ruled out a drainable abcess, but did not (to me at least) clearly identify what the fluid was. They want me to follow up and keep an eye on the situation.

Overall, I spent about 7 hours in the ER for what was supposed to be a simple diagnostic test ordered by an outside doctor.

But something seems to have worked. Sunday morning my leg was looking much better, and I can walk with only a small amount of pain now. I am in danger of leaving my cane behind by accident when I do use it.

I have a follow-up appointment with my PCP this afternoon, as per ER instructions.

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Gah. I hope you continue to improve... despite the fact that you may someday take up Morris Dancing again.

Oh, my. How tedious and frightening. May a cause be determined and may you heal well.

IANAD, et cetera, but I think they seriously over-medicated you with antibiotics, especially since cefalexin and vancomycin are two of the last-ditch drugs for treating bacteria that are resistant to all the more common antibiotics. And then they gave you two other antibiotics to take orally?

If they injected cortisone or some other anti-inflammatory steroid into the painful area, that would explain why you're in much less discomfort now. (And oral NSAIDs would make more sense than yet another antibiotic.)

Whatever it is, I hope they find out what it is, and tell you, and then get rid of it permanently.

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