Many years ago I remember going with Rick to Granny McCoy's house. When I stepped out of the car, I could hear her groaning and moaning. Walking into her little house, I could see her sitting in her chair, with her legs up on her ever present blue bucket that had a pillow on top.
Kneeling beside her, I wrapped my arms around her and asked her what was wrong. She said her legs were hurting, like on fire, but hurting deep inside.
I took the cloth from her legs, and to my eyes, I saw nothing that would cause such distress. Her legs did not look "perfect", but sure didn't appear to be so painful.
But I did what I could, with a cool wash cloth, and a band-aid. Loving on her, speaking soft words to her.
There were a few times that I remember getting to Momma's house and she would be sitting there with a grimace on her face, and tears in her eyes that she refused to let fall. I would sit beside her on the couch, and ask what was wrong.
Her answer was that the bones in her legs were hurting. And they felt like they were on fire.
I would get a cool wash cloth and lightly lay it on her legs. Sit with her, and talk about all kinds of things to take her mind off the pain.
When leaving either of them, I would think that perhaps they simply were lonely, and this was a way for them to get a little attention. No offense intended to them - but a shame on me for not being there more with them.
Years later now, and both are gone. But to both I owe an apology.
Before I had cancer and the subsequent surgery, I have struggled with edema in my lower legs.
At one point, a couple of years before the cancer & surgery, Rick and I were on the truck (long-hauling) and I slipped getting into the truck - scraping both of my shins on the steps of the truck. For a couple of weeks it was horrible - pain, swelling, oozing. I did what I could - but being on the road in the truck, there was only so much that I could do. We got to our son's house for a visit, and he noticed that I was walking "different", and he caught me crying early one morning. I told him what was going on - he took a look at my legs and said, "Momma, if this was a horse's leg, I would say it is proud flesh." We talked about the treatment, and decided to try it - since in Rick's words, "She is an old nag anyway!" LOL
The treatment was to use peroxide on them, and when the bubbling stopped, rinse it off. Then to put black pepper on my legs, wrap in gauze and leave the wrapping on for 12 hrs before changing.
It was amazing to me - the first change of the bandage I found the black pepper to be snow white. Joshua said that was the pepper pulling out the infection. We did the treatment again - every 12 hours until the pepper was as black as when applied.
When I saw my oncologist for a follow up to the surgery he said that I would be dealing with edema the rest of my life - because part of what he took out was the controller of blood flow up and down my legs. Small price to pay for saving my life was my answer to him. He said that when my legs began to feel heavy or tingling when I was sitting or laying, that I was to get up and walk around. And if I was standing or walking around when they began to feel heavy or tingling, then sit down and put them up. He also prescribed me Lasix and Potassium to take when the swelling would not go down with either resting, or walking.
In these 10 years since the cancer & surgery, I have had a few times of the blisters appearing due to the edema swelling, but for the most part - just swelling. There have been a few times of something scratching or hitting my leg - or me bumping into something - and causing a place that would "weep" for a while. Another treatment round of black pepper and bandages - and the issue was handled rather quickly.
Until this time.
About 3 weeks ago, a couple of very large blisters came up on my legs. Did not take long for them to burst, and the weeping to begin. But this time - it was different.
The pain was incredibly intense. My legs literally felt like they were in a fire ant mound and being eaten from both inside and outside. Nothing I did seemed to relieve the pain for longer than a few minutes at a time.
There have been hours sitting in the recliner, with my feet up - bored out of my mind! Not a lot can be done sitting with your feet up, and with tears streaming down the face. The pain so horrible that even watching something was not enjoyable. Just breathing. Just searching for a spot of comfort and ease - and when I found it, go to sleep! Escape the pain for a few minutes at least.
Severe nausea has been a constant companion.
Thankfully, there was no fever in my legs. No pus appearing either. Even the swelling was less once the blisters burst.
But the pain! ! ! ! !
About a week ago I told myself enough was enough! After trying everything else, I was going to try ONE more thing - and if it did not work, then I would make my way to the doctor's office.
I took antibacterial cleanser, a hot shower, and washed my legs - with many tears.
Then, I propped them up while they dried, letting the fan blow air on them.
I used the antibacterial bandages on them.
Waited 24 hours.
Then, I made a paste of baking soda and water. Sat on a stool in the bathtub. Put that paste on my legs until every spot was covered. Sat there until the baking soda was pretty much dried. Used warm water to rinse it all off. Again, propped my legs up until they were dry.
I then took baking soda and 100% cornstarch mixed in equal parts - and put it on my legs. Put a gauze bandage over the concoction, taped it all around the edges. Left for 24 hours.
Washed it off after the 24 hours, and did it again.
What an amazing difference!
After only 2 treatments, there are NO open places on my left leg! NO bandage needed!
And after 2 treatments, my right leg looks so much better! Smaller bandages can now be used!
Rating the pain like they do at the doctor's office - a week ago, it was between 9-10. Today, after these treatments, the left leg is at 0, and the right leg is no higher than 3!
I know this - I will NEVER again be without 100% cornstarch and baking soda! Add gauze and surgical tape to that - and I am good to go! No matter where I am, I will have a supply of this in my bag!
No more $$$$$ spent on all these other meds that haven't worked!
I can even walk better now!
And I can be out of the recliner! Granted, I still have time in the recliner with my legs up, or on a stool when I am sitting at my desk - but more as a preventative measure than the pain!
I know that because of all this I will never have "pretty" legs again - but you know what? I don't care! My scars prove that what tried to take me down didn't win! I have survived yet again!