Archive for June, 2015

Kidney Dialysis And Pneumonia

January 2004, the diabetic doctor told me that Charcot was rare and not mentioned much in medical school. That’s why it was missed. The type of surgery performed was just taking the foot to the ankle as it was not infected. This was, sort of, a rare surgery for Charcot, but new procedure. The physician said I was a good candidate.

Though the surgery was a success and was healing well, I developed what was determined as gout. I was allergic to the prescribed med. Vioxx. This was like 4-5 days after surgery. Within 24 hours I started swelling up.

I wound up in ICU. After many tests it was determined my kidneys had failed. I was placed on continual dialysis for 5 days. After the five days, they had removed 100 Lbs. of fluid. I was still taking an antibiotic drip for eight hours, every 3 days to fight the MRSA. I was then transported by ambulance to their health care unit. My kidneys did not operate for eight weeks. So, I was placed on dialysis 3 times a week, 4 hours each session. Normally, it is a three hour session. They transported me to the Dialysis Facility (which had many, many machines) every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening. The session began about 7 PM and it was normally midnight before getting back to the care center. This lasted, just, over four weeks.

During this process, I developed pneumonia. So in March, I was taken back to the hospital as this was my second bout with pneumonia. I was on oxygen for a few days each time and had to use the little breathing apparatus to clear my lungs and expand them. The surgeon had to place a port in my left side about three inches down from my shoulder so all meds were given to me went through it. They were constantly giving me something. After kidney failure another port was placed on the left side just to the right of the left breast so I could be hooked up to dialysis machine. I just about forgot, during the first bout with pneumonia, I was not eating, or would not eat and a tube was inserted through my nose to my stomach for the propose of feeding. I had that in from first part of February 2004 until end of February when I was moved to Providence Health care (Rehab and Senior Living housing)

Before Vioxx shut down my kidneys, I had been given an antidepressant. The doctor and nurses kept asking me questions after surgery. I thought I was doing OK, but they determined from my answers to their questions, and the fact that I was not eating, I was depressed. Again I really don’t remember much about the hospital and the pneumonia bouts. I really feel my poor body had been given so many drugs it revolted and said enough already.

Bonnie’s continuing story

Brought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation

Surgery And Complications

January 10, 2004, the day I arrived at Providence Hospital in Anchorage by ambulance, started a wild roller coaster of four months. I had already spent the past three months at home on the sofa with my foot elevated dealing with wound care and an infection.

Now, the Doctors had to get my immune system and sodium levels up to be able to do exploratory surgery on my left foot. There was the strong possibility of amputation. Amazing that it took 8 days of medications, antibiotic drips and blood transfusions to get me prepared. I can not remember much of that 8 days for some reason, but I just don’t.

Before I started writing this, I called friend Sharon and asked if she remembered how I was responding to all this. She says I was pretty calm and just ready to get it over with. The day of surgery, Tony came in to see me. Since he was owner and operator of his truck delivery business, he had to work. Sharon sat with me at the hospital reporting by cell phone to Tony so he knew how the day was going. The Orthopedic doctor, Dr. Chang, performed the surgery. When he came in to see me, after surgery, he told me he was sorry he had to amputate, but the good news was the amputation was just up to the ankle. So, of course, that made me very happy. (Seriously, I don’t remember how I felt, but don’t remember being happy.)

After surgery, about two days, they had me trying to set up. The room was spinning big time. I was very nauseous. It took a few days of practice to pull myself up with a pull bar. (can’t remember what it’s called) After a few days I made it to the edge of the bed. My muscles were so weak (from laying on the sofa for 3 months with foot elevated). Then the process to learn to use a slide board to get from the bed to chair and back again. This was quite challenging. Again a day or two process, but conquered it. Then about 10 days after surgery, the attempt to stand using my right leg and a machine to hold me up. My right leg was like a noodle. I could not hold myself up with the aid of the machine and fell to the floor hitting my stump. Boy, did everyone jump through hoops to get the screaming, hurting lady in bed. Of course, the wound started bleeding, but no sutures were pulled out (a blessing). Sharon asked me if her pastor could come to visit me and I had given her my OK. During this time Sharon was bringing her pastor, Pastor Suzanne Wood to visit and pray with me (note my February posting).

The wound was healing well, but since I had MRSA, the strong antibiotic drip continued. Any visitor had to wear a gown, or mask, even hospital personnel. I was receiving so many calls from relatives and friends wishing me well. My room was full of flowers, stuffed animals and cards pinned on a big board. It was overwhelming to think I deserved any of this. My wonderful friends in the airline industry were working behind the scene on a surprise.

The bandage was changed every day and healing going well. My pain levels were not too bad. Plans were being made for me to start thinking about rehabilitation, and going home to a three story condo. I was getting stronger and stronger. About the 10th of February, I awoke to incredible pain in my left thumb and forefinger. My right thumb was swollen, red and also, in tremendous pain. Now, a big rush to find out what was causing this. After tests, it was diagnosed as gout by Dr. Lee. She prescribed Vioxx, an inflammation reducing medication. Vioxx was fast acting. That’s for sure – pain subsided, as did the swelling. But in a matter of 24 hours, I was having major problems. I started swelling up, could not urinate, had a very high temperature, and listless. The heart doctor and kidney specialists called for all kinds of tests. They moved me to ICU without calling Tony, or Sharon. It took several days for them to realize it was my kidneys. The tests started rolling one after the other and the doctors not agreeing on what was happening. I don’t remember what was going on, but with kidney function gone, my body was filling with fluid fast. I remember being taken to a room with a huge machine and being hooked up to it, and all of a sudden feeling like I was freezing cold. I didn’t realize it was a Dialysis machine. I did not realize that those who loved or cared about me had not been told where I had been taken. It took the hospital staff awhile to figure it out as there had been a shift change. Needless to say Tony and Sharon were quite upset.

Continuing Bonnie’s story

Brought to you Charcot Awareness Education Foundation

Blood All Over the Bed

Anchorage, in 1962, was pretty frontierish, but beautiful. I fell in love with the city and surroundings. In a very short time, I found a bank teller job at the bank on Elmendorf Air Force Base. Loving the outdoors, we did camping, fishing and sight seeing. In 1963, I became pregnant with our first child. Pregnancy was easy for me. I felt good and continued to work, but in February my doctors visit confirmed that the baby was breech and not showing any signs of turning. I was put in the hospital for observation on March 10th, so I could be monitored. This was to see if I could have a child naturally, or by C-section. March 17th the baby decided he would meet this world feet first.

The decision to do a C-section was made quickly. We were very blessed with a perfect 7 lb. 3 oz. boy, Shannon Duane (had to be an Irish name of course). Back in those days C- section patients were kept in the hospital for a week. Well, being different, I acquired an infection in the incision and had to stay longer. Finally, the good Lord decided it was time for me to take my baby and go home. However, at 5:36 pm the Great Alaska Earthquake shook things up pretty badly. It was classified at 9.3 on the Richter scale. The 7 story hospital sustained a lot of damage, but not a patient, nor baby was injured. I was scared to death, afraid I would fall and break open my incision, I did fall several times, but was not injured.

Life settled into a busy family life of baby care and working to restore community. I went back to work in a month at the bank. Many wives returned to families in lower 48 (USA). I did not want to leave and found a retired nurse to take care of Shannon. In 1967, I went to work in the airline business as an airport ticket agent. In order to work at the airport, part of the uniform was 2 inch heels. My feet were always hurting, probably from concrete floors with very thin carpet on them.

I became pregnant again in 1970 with 2nd son, Chad Eric, another perfect little boy 7 lbs 8 oz. Since I had first child C-section, the doctor decided to do this pregnancy the same way. However, Chad was in the normal position for birth. Delivery by C-section went very well. As you can see the births were 7 years apart. Yes, I had gained weight. From age 23 to 30 I had gained probably 40 Lbs. When I was pregnant, both times, I was working and gained the normal weight, but after each pregnancy I could not lose that gain. I was always fighting to lose weight . (my height 5″ 2″) Tried all the fad diets. I would lose and gain.

In 1972, Gary and I separated. We were divorced in 1974. The break-up was very difficult for me, as far as mentally, felt I was a failure as wife/mother . I continued to work and take care of the boys, but the one thing that had been lacking in my life the previous 15 years was God. This continued into my single Mom life. Busy with two active boys, working and keeping a house, I took the easy way, or so I thought. I did not include God in it except for occasional prayers.

Except for my weight problem and swelling achie feet, I did not have any major health problems. Gary remained a big part of the boys lives. Our oldest son, Shannon, lived with his father from age 12 to adult. With both parents living in Anchorage it made it easy to be involved with their growing up.

In June of 1978, at a garage sale, I met my second husband, Tony. We were married in Las B:Tony Jan'90Vegas February 24, 1979. Tony was from Texas and worked at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, his work shift would vary two weeks on two weeks off, or 30 days on, two weeks off. Life was still very hectic, and we decided I would work part time and see if, at age 39, we could have a baby. He did not have any children of his own. I became pregnant but miscarried twice, OB/GYN doctor advised at my age/weight (180) should not try again.

1984-1990 I was property manager for Boomfield Company. I managed 12 buildings meeting with the tenants and relaying their concerns to the owners. This was a lot of walking up and down stairs.

1990 I went back to work full time, Customer Service Teacher/Computer Trainer teaching classes of new employees for airport customer service. I worked in the airline industry 40 years. I was on my feet long hours including in the early years (60-70’s). In my late 30’s early 40’s I started having swelling in my feet/ankles. They became very painful. My OB/GYN Doctors blamed my weight and really checked no further. In 1990, at age 49 I was diagnosed with adult onset type 2 diabetes. I was able to control it with diet and pills, but my feet and ankles just kept getting worse. I could not walk easily. My weight and the fact I was on my feet all the time was blamed for my discomfort. while working, still in airline industry. In 2003 pain/swelling was to the point I could hardly walk. Diabetic doctor sent me twice to a pulmonalogist who said my blood flow to feet was perfect, last time I saw him was August 2003. Diabetic doctor was very perplexed as to the problem and why the pain was increasing. Walking was very difficult. First part of October 2003, I woke one morning with blood all over the bed and a hole in bottom of my left foot.

Continuation of Bonnie’s story.

Brought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation


It is with great pleasure that I will be able to share Bonnie’s story with you over the next few weeks. Bonnie will share her experiences with Charcot Foot, how it changed her life and how she dealt with this devastating disease. It isn’t enough that Bonnie has to deal with Charcot Foot, but life becomes very complicated because of it and also because of news she and her husband, Tony receives.

P7310525 copyBefore I start my story, I need to acknowledge several people who helped me tremendously to continue living and not become a recluse. My dear husband Tony, mentor/friend Sharon McKenzie, dear friend Bonnie Jackson ( met her after my first surgery) and my extended family and friends, without them I would not be here today. The reason I mention these friends is because my immediate family lived in the lower 48, however I am living proof of the power of prayer for that was their gift to me, plus hundreds of cards and calls. I was raised in a Christian home and felt I was a Christian although had not been a practicing Christian since moving to Alaska in 1962. During this illness I renewed my faith and believe it is God’s will that I am able to have a very normal life.

I was born and raised on a western Nebraska panhandle farm. Being raised on a Riding Diamondfarm you normally have a few bumps bruises etc. Well, I was fortunate, no broken bones, but falls from riding horses many times. No major illness or surgeries, just tonsils and appendix.

My teenage years were great (1950’s), I attended the same school from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Graduating in 1959. Good old Lyman, NE., a town of about seven hundred population. The school had about 300 pupils. My graduating class of 1959 was 16 students. You knew everyone. You were able to participate in so many school functions. There was a place for everyone in multiple activities church and school. I participated in band (playing the clarinet) in marching band (I was drum majorette), chorus, school plays, county government days. Outside of school church youth leadership, Jobs Daughters (part of Masons). In my spare time (ha ha) worked on the farm with family. Never thought of this as a special lifestyle, but oh how I do now.

B@11, Donna-QueenieAfter graduation, I worked in a nearby town of Morrill, NE. (pop 900), started as bookkeeper at a local Pontiac car sales, where my father always bought his new cars. A year later (1960) became a telephone receptionist at Chester B.Brown CO, now Kelley Bean CO. (a dry bean company) .

May 1961, married my high school sweetheart, Gary Foland, from Morrill. He was working in Denver, CO. at the time. We moved to Denver. In November of 1961, Gary joined the Air Force. I stayed in Denver working as a bank teller. In March of 1962, I followed Gary to Wichita Falls, Texas. In June of 1962, he was assigned to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Anchorage Alaska. I stayed in Morrill until Gary could find an apartment for us. By August of 1962, I had prepared a pickup truck (which Gary had purchased and built a camper for carrying our belongings). My brother Jerry (age 18) and I drove from Morrill, NE to Seattle, WA. (Oh, yes, my little Pug, TyeTye, was with us). Quite an experience for two farm kids. Believe me, God was with us all the way. Brother Jerry returned to Denver on his first airplane ride and I flew on my first plane ride from Seattle to Anchorage, with dog in tow.

Bonnie a personal friend will be sharing her story over the next several weeks.

Message by the Founder Annita

Brought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation