Under Pressure

John Connor avatar

by John Connor |

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There’s always something.

The trouble with a mélange of complex medical issues is that one good action often can lead to a bad secondary one. It’s like a game of consequences that unfortunately not only injures your psyche, but also leaves a mark on the body.

In my case, it was a pressure ulcer. Yes, I’d heard of them. No, I didn’t know I had one.

It started small — I thought I’d just nicked myself on something because my feet often pick up small injuries. Being a tad numb in that area, it takes a few moments before I notice anything wrong. A month ago, I inadvertently ripped off a toenail getting out of the shower, and I barely noticed. If nothing else, this would get me through the first round of torture in WWII France!

A sore point. (Photo by Jane Davies)

A small plaster should do it.

But the plasters kept getting bigger and bigger.

I was losing.

The ulcer is at the join where the foot meets the leg. Right on top.

How did that happen?

MS also has possibly given me lymphedema. Sure, inaction itself can induce it, but I was starting to get a puffiness in my feet years ago. A solid swim or an afternoon playing wheelchair tennis would diminish it somewhat, but never completely.

I now attend a lymphedema clinic, and the consultants there think MS might be a possible cause. Or, at least current research is looking at this hypothesis.

I’ve been wearing compression stockings for about a year. Six months ago, when I joined the lymphedema clinic, compression wraps were added on top. All was swell, or not quite as swell as it otherwise would have been.

Then something changed and a small wound just kept getting worse.

I attended the six-month checkup at the lymphedema clinic a few weeks ago. The nurse said it was a pressure sore. So, immediately I stopped wearing the pressure stocking and replaced it with a liner one that just protects the leg from the compression bandages. This leads to the foot puffing up more and consequently helps to rip the wound apart.

I can see why the medical profession features so heavily in Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22.”

Daily dressings didn’t change the situation.

I also was being swathed down by two separate urinary tract infections (UTIs) in three weeks, so now I was housebound. The lymphedema nurse recommended I needed a district nurse. This required phone calls and an email.

She turned up last week and told us it was a pressure ulcer and that we were using the completely wrong dressings.

She was supposed to be back just after the weekend to see how things were progressing and supply us the right equipment, as it’s not something you can just get at the local pharmacy.

Unfortunately, she got ill and didn’t turn up.

So, my foot is in a holding pattern till she turns up, hopefully at the end of this week.

And as I wrote the above line, my doctor phoned to say the urine sample my wife dropped off two days ago as a check at the end of the UTI farrago still showed signs of “mixed growth!”

See, there’s always something.


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Adrian avatar


Thanks John:
I appreciate your attitude and humor.
I too have MS, have had it for 25 years and finally stopped being a family doctor 18 months ago. Life goes on!

Peggy avatar


Hopefully this will be healed up soon
I have had swelling issues and stopped taking Gabapentin (causes dizzyness suddenly) recently which has helped my swelling feet tremendously! My feet tremor and do 'rain dances' which was what I took it for but the swelling being gone is ok, I'll just keep dancing....of course that's only when transferring from toilet to wheelchair:))


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