My Left Foot
“How are you today?”
“Doc,” the neighbor says, wincing in pain, “my foot hurt so much. I can hardly stand up. My left foot has serious pain!”
“Well, let’s take a look and see,” I say.
As we unlace the old, mostly holey sneakers and peel away the equally holey and soiled socks, I am repelled by the stench, not the normal odor you might encounter from someone whose feet have not been cleaned in a while, but rather the stench from the abscesses and dried blood that have built up over time. Every touch educes a loud wince from our patient.
It is clear that our neighbor needs to have his feet disinfected, treated, and bandaged. He also he needs a regimen of antibiotics to help with the abscesses. We clean and bandage his foot, and I give him a half dozen pairs of clean socks. I promise to bring him a new pair of shoes on the next visit.
I also give him a 14-day supply of antibiotics, along with strict instructions on how to take them. I explain that not taking the medication as prescribed will mean that the infections will not go away. I tell him that I will come back to visit in a few days.
When I next return to the street and see him, there is improvement. I ask if he has taken every dose of the medication as directed, and he tells me, “Mostly. I forgot a sometimes.” I explain gently how important it is to take the medicine on time. He nods in understanding and swears that he will.
I visit again during the next several days. Improvement every time.
By the end of the two weeks, our neighbor’s foot looks 100% better, though there is some scarring from where the abscesses had burst. He looks 100% better, too, and tells me that he is not in much pain at all when he stands on his feet and walks. He promises to take better care of himself so that it doesn’t happen again. He puts on his new shoes and walks toward the setting sun.
This is a typical situation for MedStreet. We see it all – hypertension, diabetes, respiratory problems, psycho-social issues. But, caring for our neighbors – no matter the situation – is all we do. One person at a time. One place at a time. Our all-volunteer teams bring healing and hope to those who are less fortunate, those whose access to medical care is slim, if nonexistent.
At MedStreet, every call is a house call. With your support through CFC, we can continue our mission to heal, educate, bridge, love, and bring hope to our less fortunate neighbors.
Dr. William J. Mazzella