Local Heart, Global Soul

November 25, 2014

Plugging In The Electrodes And Counting Down The Days…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The “Frankenfoot Saga” continues. As you will know from my other posts under this heading, I am searching for solutions after the expected recovery of my foot injury didn’t materialise.

The latest development is a different Pain Clinic than the one I had been previously attending and a new attempt at reducing the pain levels.

The new treatment is called “iontoforese” in Dutch (“iontophoresis” in English) and is where the anaesthetic Ketamine is injected into a blue pad which is then placed onto the most painful part of my foot.

Then a separate pad is put further up my leg and the two are connected with an electric current via little electrodes on each pad.  The Ketamine is drawn sub-dermally  from the blue pad to the white one and can be a very effective treatment for pain.

The treatment involves travelling to a hospital outside of the Hague twice a week for the forty minute treatment. The first six sessions in the first cycle of treatment  were beneficial to a point.

I’d describe my pain level as 8 put of 10 in intensity and the treatment reduced it to 4 out of  10, but not consistently throughout the treatment and not enough to significantly reduce the morphine based pain relief I am taking.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m delighted for the relief that the treatment is giving and very grateful for it since every little bit helps, I’m just not convinced that this is the treatment is a long term solution. I’m looking for something that will get me off the pain killers, not just  a slight reduction in them.

I also struggled with the side effects, I was dizzy and very sleepy to the point that after one treatment I came home and slept for nine hours, and still slept a full night’s sleep after that. The extreme sleepiness lasted every day for between two and three weeks, but  I was told that once I was used to the drug these side effects would pretty much disappear, which they did… kind of.

One EXCELLENT  piece of news has arrived in the meantime:  at the end of October, Himself and I travelled for an appointment with one of Europe’s top foot surgeons (who for the purposes of internet privacy we shall call “Dr X”) . We’d been on the waiting list for this appointment since March 2014 so it was a big day where we could get an expert opinion regarding options and a possible ways forward.

This Dr X said during the physical examination of my foot that I had an unusually high degree of pain  and confirmed that there are two pain sources: the dystrophy and the displaced bones. After going through various options said that he would be willing to operate and outlined what could be done. Of course there are risks and a few disadvantages to surgery and we are under no illusions that it will be a cure-all, but the situation at the moment without surgery has become intolerable so it appears that surgery is still the lesser of the possible evils.

The bad news is that this specialist has not only a long waiting list for his first appointment, but also a surgery waiting list of four to six months so we came home expecting to be notified of a surgery date for around  March / May 2015. The excellent news is that one his staff telephoned the next day and asked:  “Would I be available for surgery in January 2015” ?  (Stupid question, I was available yesterday!!!). My  “Yes, Yes, Yes please”  response  went down the phone line at light speed.  It’s fabulous news, just two months to wait!!!

I can only assume that Dr X  saw how much pain I had and when there was an earlier theatre spot available decided that he could let me jump the queue a little. Whatever the reason I am most appreciative that I don’t have to wait another four or six months in this kind of pain.

In the meantime we are working on the iontoforese treatments and counting down the days!!!



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