My doctor keeps jamming on his commitment to fork over the shots he took in surgery, the ones showing the necrotic tissue spreading across my leg. Fuck it; I’ve kept you waiting too long (only partially due to the above reason, granted; I’m also still comatose for a good chunk of the day), and I would be remiss in my educational mandate if I put this off any longer.
But I also seem to remember the occasional squeap from ‘crawlers who implored me not to present these epic photos, protests that the mere sight of (let’s be honest) such ultimate beefcake shots might provoke reactions too visceral for mere mortals to withstand while retaining their cookies. In deference to such candy-asses I will invoke, for the first time ever, this little “Behind the cut” option that hides the rest of the post from the squeamish.
(Credit for the following photographic excess resides both with Caitlin Sweet and Yours Truly.)
Here is what is left of my right leg after the estimable Dr. Beber burned it free of enemy strep:
That is not a striped bass embedded in the flesh; that is my calf muscle. It pulses and twitches and slides like some kind of terminator part when I wiggle my toes.
Here is a closer view. Note the gap between muscle and sheath, a wide broad cave into the flesh almost big enough to spelunk:
That gap stretches halfway around the perimeter of the limb. You can tell because the wound nurses stick long-handled Q-tips into the space and they almost disappear before jamming up against solid meat.
This is after a week or so of chaotic regrowth: the striations have disappeared and the meatscape has been redecorated in a kind of “early Hamburger” motif:
Here is s0meone ripping stuff off the muscle (this hurts):
Here is someone jamming stuff back in (this hurts more):
And as a bit of a break from the unrelenting gruesomeness, here’s my main cat, Banana (not a Scottish Fold):
Some have called him “Adequate Cat”, but he is really so much more.
Here is Felicia, one of my home-care nurses, presenting her best Stephen Colbert “My Space-Disease-Afflicted Friend” pose:
That’s 3-in-1 oil she’s squeezing into the wound. Keeps it lubricated.
Now we get to the high-tech stuff. My leg was open and oozing and stuffed full of paper towels only for a couple of weeks, but the other day they brought in this VAC system. You start by jamming various bits of white and black foam into the hole (it comes all sterile and shrink-wrapped and whatnot like it’s this magical elven healing-foam, but actually I think they get it from the same guys who make that foam rubber padding you find in boxes containing home electronics):
Then they tape up the hole until it’s airtight…
Fasten in this shower-drain thingy to a plastic aquarium hose…
Hook it up to this wearable battery-operated Hoovermatic that hangs around my neck like Darth Vader’s breastplate…
Then hit the switch with power cranked up to “Maximum Suck”:
The foam collapses down into the wound. The wound itself sucks inward (this hurts like hell for about 30 seconds — then you just kinda forget about it). The vacuum draws blood from surrounding tissues in to the site of the injury, which speeds healing, and after about two hours of continuous operation the first clots and globs of gore make it through the Land of the Foam and get slurped up through the hose into the 300-ml canister locked into the right side of the VAC unit (above). That canister then fills slowly with chunky V-8 juice. I do not know what they ultimately do with it, but I myself will be sticking with OJ from here on in.
And that’s pretty much it, until the whole thing springs a leak at 3a.m. and starts beeping alarm signals at you. Home-care folks come by every three or four days to swap out the foam and to take the filled cartridges off to VersaFoods Cafeteria Services or wherever they end up, and I’m left to do very painful physio exercises to try and get my injured leg straightened out so that someday I can stand on it again. Which is what I should do now.
Richard Morgan sent me balloons in the hospital. I repurposed them back at the Magic Bungalow, as follows:
They make surprisingly effective tracking devices.