I've spent the last six months suffering from cellulitis. Well, perhaps "suffering" is a touch of an overstatement - it's not like it's been off slaughtering my pets or violating my civil liberties or anything. Call me old-fashioned, but "ankle is a touch on the puffy side" does not true suffering make, though that's about as symptomatic as it's been 98% of the time. But the cellulitis has been there nonetheless, wreaking its intermittent havoc on my humdrum existence.
Every once in a while, it becomes jaded with the ennui of mere ankle puffiness and develops delusions of grandeur, blitzkrieging against my bodily systems and bringing on overwhelming fatigue and a massive rise in body temperature. These attacks have always proven foolhardy, though, as I possess the Power of Technology, with antibiotics merrily cratering the cellulitis back into the Stone Age. My immune system frolicks and cheers and waves its little Antwon flags in ticker tape parades; the cellulitis retreats to its hideaway and goes back to brainstorming dastardly Rube Goldbergian schemes of Twon-domination. It's an exciting little fight I have ringside seats for, if slightly inconvenient ones.
Anyhow: my local doctor, unhappy at the lack of results he's been getting from handing me pills and frowning sympathetically at my leg, has sent me off to a different doctor, presumably one with better pills and the ability to frown more intently. A specialist this time - sure, my general practitioner might have the wherewithal to keep the demon cellulitis at bay, but clearly, a specialist should be able to scheme up some super-bad-ass solution that'll finally eradicate it once and for all.
So I've had a whole new squadron of individuals swooping down upon me, performing vaguely medical procedures seemingly at random. They feel my leg! They take my blood! They listen to me breathe! They frown! They scribble things on clipboards! Lord only knows what they're doing to me, much less how they're trying to divine a rational solution from all this data... but I figure that the end will justify the means. The specialist will dream up some sort of mega-cool solution to my woes, and whatever it is will work like a dream, and then I'll be free to put on my socks every morning without encountering so much as a puffy ankle memorial to remind me of the hardship.
But then finally, at long last, the proposed solution to my problems? "We think that you should wear Birkenstocks. 'Cuz we, uh, don't really know what's wrong, but maybe it's an externally-sourced reinfection... which is caused by breaks in the skin on your feet... which you're getting from having sweaty feet during the day... which would be alleviated if you wore Birkenstocks."
So... that's it? That's it?!? That's the answer I've been patiently looking forward to for all this time?!? You had every medically-schooled entity you could get your hands on poke and prod me, inquiring about my life history and constructing baroque hypotheses that make deciphering superstring theory look like glancing at a YOU ARE HERE mall kiosk... and a brief critique of my footwear is the best you can come up with?
I don't mind them not knowing what the hell is going wrong with my body nor how best to fix it, really I don't. I just figure that at the salaries they're collectively making, they could be troubled to lie at least a little more convincingly, y'know?
So now you know what those of us on the other side of it know - medicine is an art, not a science. Unless it's something so glaringly obvious that even a first level med student could handle it, the truth is that a lot of conditions get marked down : 'cause unknown.' Good luck.
by BtC at February 10, 2002 12:01 PM
Not that you'll mind if it works, right?
by Muad'Dib at February 10, 2002 1:52 PM
I'm no doctor, but you know what I've always heard is a pretty good treatment for cellulitis? Amputation.
PS: Don't you mean "Rube Goldberg"?
by mg at February 10, 2002 2:55 PM
They can recommend voodoo, a self-esteem workshop, and token offerings to Ba'al as far as I'm concerned - so long as it works, hey, I'm all for it. (Amputation too, I suppose, but I'm going to tentatively label that "Plan B" for the time being.)
And yup, I meant Rube - oops. Thanks.
by Antwon at February 10, 2002 6:55 PM