I’m Home. Not Quite Okay, But Home.

I’m home from the hospital. This back yard was my welcome home present from my wonderful wife Lillian. I think I’ll just sit out here in the shade for a couple of weeks.

It’s not easy being an athlete at my age. More about that in a minute.

First, an update on my adventures in Medical Land.

Generally, my morning routine in Spring, Summer and Fall is:

Get up between 6 and 7 (I’m retired—don’t need a schedule)

Drink coffee

Head for the Y

Find my locker, take off my clothes, put on swimsuit

Walk to the shower and then to the pool


Repeat in reverse order 45 minutes later.

I usually don’t do that in the winter, because I remember the words of my Mother: “Don’t go outside with a wet head.”

That’s pretty much the same routine as a whole bunch of other mostly old, mostly overweight, men. Most of us have become friends, in passing. Most of us don’t wear shoes during that routine.

That shit’s gonna change. For me, at least. Because . . .

Last Sunday I woke up a little later than usual. I don’t go to the Y on Sundays—church day. I woke up shaking and shivering like crazy—I was freezing. And I had intense shooting pains in my right leg.

Uh-oh, I said. The Cellulitis is back. Damn.

I got up, took a hot shower to try to warm up, took some Tylenol, made some coffee, but couldn’t quit shaking. And the Tylenol didn’t affect the pain.

I went to church, but left early, right after the sermon. Sorry, Father.

Came home and said, “Lillian, I’m pretty sure the Cellulitis is back. I’m going to the ER.”

I went. I saw a doctor within an hour. He confirmed my diagnosis.

It was just three days short of two months since my last trip there in early June, when the doctor said I had Cellulitis. That time was just a couple days short of two years since June of 2020, the first time I was diagnosed with the damn nasty leg infection they call Cellulitis.

When you get it, your leg swells up about half again its normal size, turns fire engine red, and burns like a sonofagun, with sharp shooting pains. Until pills control the pain, it is miserable.

My right leg today. Waaay better than Sunday, but still pretty painful.

The doctor said he’d keep me there, but they didn’t have a room right away, so I could hang out in my ER bed. They gave me some pain pills, which really helped once they kicked in. 12 hours later they found me a bed. They started antibiotics in an IV. In the morning they found me a doctor, who said they were just going to keep pumping me full of the antibiotics until they kicked the infection’s ass.

Well, five days later, after a pretty much continuous IV drip, the doctor said they were winning the battle, but hadn’t won the war, but they were comfortable sending me home with strong pills instead of the IV drip—about a week’s worth. Big old “horse pills,” we used to call pills that size. I’m home. I’m taking ‘em.

My antiobitic “horse pill”

In the meantime, the nice lady doctor had been trying to figure out where the disease had come from. It’s a mysterious disease, but the infection usually comes into the body through some open wound. I didn’t have any.

But during one visit, she asked if I had any other foot problems. I said yeah, I had kind of a sore spot on the bottom of my foot, which had been making it kind of hard to walk. I usually walk for about an hour a day, 3-4 miles, depending on my energy level, and I had been limping a little because of this sore spot—just kind of a little bump, like a callous.  

She lifted up my foot, took a look, and said “Uh-oh.”

Now when you’re the patient, the four letters you don’t want to hear from a doctor are “Uh-oh.”

“Uh-Oh what?”

“Athlete’s Foot.”

Well, my first thought was to puff up my chest a little, because I hadn’t been thinking about myself as much of an athlete lately, but, well, I suppose . . .

That thought didn’t last long.

“Can Athlete’s Foot cause Cellulitis?”



“Can you think of a place you might have picked it up?”

“Well, I walk around the Y locker room and shower and swimming pool barefoot five or six days a week . . .”

“You probably should quit doing that.”


So they found some anti-fungal crème and started treating my athletic foot.

Last night when they sent me home, they sent a tube of that along. I’m using it.

So now what?

I slept pretty well last night after a pretty strong pain pill. Took my antibiotic horse pills. Today the leg still hurts, and it’s still pretty red, but it looks a little better. And now I’ll slip back into my June and early July routine.

I was hospitalized much of the first half of June, then spent much of the rest of the month, and into July, in my recliner, with my leg elevated. Not my favorite place to spend nice summer days, but the Twins were winning, and between them and the January 6 hearings, and good afternoon naps, I was pretty well entertained.

Now it’s August, not usually a good month for the Twins. I was surprised at how many Twins fans I encountered in the hospital, especially among nurses, as I lay in my bed watching them on TV this week. They’d stop and check the score, and we’d have short baseball conversations. One of the nurses even warned me, “Don’t get too attached. They’ll break your heart in September.”

Yep, she was a true Twins fan. She knows ‘em. She’s right.

They’re still hanging onto their Division lead by a thread, but a couple more games like last night, and that’ll be over. We’ll see. I’ll be watching more than a few games for the next week or two. Or, if they get real bad, fishing shows.

The January 6 hearings are gone, and Jeopardy’s in re-runs, so this recovery time could be a struggle.

For now, I guess I’ll just run over to the Dollar Store and buy a pair of flip-flops for the Y.

5 thoughts on “I’m Home. Not Quite Okay, But Home.

  1. Hi Jim,

    Interesting blog. I can relate to this as I got cellulitis right after knee replacement surgery a couple years ago. The pain in my ankle and leg was way worse than in my knee. And my knee hurt like hell. Spent a night in St. As ER, morphine is a wonderful drug but when it wears off it wears off instantly. Constant IC drip with antibiotics. Then a couple days in the hospital before heading home with more pain meds and heavy duty antibiotics.

    My doc told me the cellulitis was triggered by the knee surgery. Double whammy.

    Those of us who have had it know how painful it is. Fortunately it has not come back and I hope it never does.

    Rick Nelson Bismarck



  2. Best wishes for a speedy recovery from both your ailments. Your garden is lovely, so I’d definitely move a comfortable chair out there!!


  3. Starting in August 2019 my fil experienced cellulitis with the regular regiment of iv with antibiotics and fluids, several days later discharged with antibiotics. Three weeks later same cycle, responded to regular regiment again, four weeks later once again always with hospitalization and antibiotics, gets home after 2-3 days in hospital, now the fourth time he was way too sick for me to transport to the ER so I had to call the ambulance and he arrived at the hospital in his pajamas without socks and shoes. The er doc came in and as we went over the past episodes he pushes up the sheet and examined the feet and between the toes and shows me the athlete foot infection, I asked him is this it?? The cause of months of sickness and cellulitis??? Yup! So a regiment of meds treating the feet finally eliminated the source! And we are diligent in our observation of any changes in those size 14 feet!!!


  4. Jim,
    Thanks for your cautionary tale about getting cellulitis through athlete’s foot after working out in a public swimming pool. I work out at a public pool and use the shower, so now I know I need to take some precautions.

    Also, you have time on your hands. This might be the ideal time for you to read Sarah Vogel’s book about her 1980s successful class action lawsuit on behalf of 9 North Dakota farm couples against the USDA, The Farmer’s Lawyer. The book is well worth your time. Vogel can add historian to her resume after writing such a well put together book.
    Remember, eat a peach!


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