While I’m on the subject of sicknesses, let’s review the other times I’ve had trouble. It was while I lived in Minnesota that I had something called an umbilical hernia. An umbilical hernia is a bulge in the abdominal wall within the navel. They had to go in and do surgery on it and basically closed up my belly button. It wasn’t a big deal, but I no longer have to pick lint out of my belly button.
One winter in the 80’s (I don’t remember exactly when), I was out in the back clearing snow off the driveway. I remember coming in the back door and feeling this burn on my right ankle. I showed it to Karen and there was this bright red band that extended all the way around my right ankle. It really hurt. We thought a doctor should see it, so we went in. He said it looks like some sort of virus, but no one could tell me where it had come from. They thought I had hit my ankle with the shovel when I was shoveling snow, but I don’t remember doing that. The red band started to widen.
They put me in the hospital and put me on antibiotics. I think they tried several different antibiotics before they found one that worked. They had no idea what virus it was or why it was attacking me like this. By the time they got it stopped, my entire right leg from the knee down was bright red. It hurt, but they had me on pain medication, so it wasn’t too bad. When they found the right antibiotic, they finally got it licked and I began to get better. I spent about 5 days in the hospital.
When I got home from the hospital, I noticed that my right leg was swelling up. It didn’t hurt and my first thought was that they hadn’t gotten all the virus. So, back to the doctor we went. It turns out that they virus was gone, but while it was there, it had killed the lymph system in my right leg. The lymph system is what the body uses, basically, to fight disease. Without that, my leg is prone to all kinds of problems, number one of which is that it fills up with fluid. The lymph system keeps that from happening in a healthy body, but my leg was dead and so those who know me, know that my right leg is three times bigger than my left leg. This is called lymphedema I spend the next 2 or 3 years fighting it and trying to find ways to keep it under control. Finally, I gave up. Today, I just let it blow up and live with it. They’ve told me there is nothing that can be done. I’m looking forward to an after-life where I hope to have two legs that are the same size.
Other than minor illnesses (like the annual bronchitis), the only other time I was in the hospital in Rochester was when I had my appendix out. Now that and the umbilical hernia are both childhood problems. The hernia usually happens to babies and if you’re going to have trouble with your appendix, you usually have it when you’re a kid. But both happened to me after I was an adult and both happened in Rochester. Of course, it just may be that I’m getting older. Everyone knows that I have had my share of problems in the last few years.