Hobbled but still cheering wins by the Buffaloes, Lady Buffs

A bacteria found in a crawlspace tried to take one of my legs. No way. That damned bug kept me from photographing the Lady Buffs win over Glenvar in the Regional basketball playoffs Monday night. Sadly, the boys lost to Radford but their semi-final win gave them a spot in the state tournament.

As many of our friends know and others have learned from on social media, I am down right now with a severe cellulitis infection, edema, and a blood infection that could have resulted in the amputation of my left leg, but work by doctors of Carilion Clinic is bringing it back with massive doses of antibiotics and other treatments.

Still, I am down most of the time with my leg elevated and limited to only short, careful walks while my leg is a mass of red infected skin, peeling dead sections that are, thankfully being replaced by infected cells and a lot of pain

The infections have kept me from covering regional basketball tournament games by the Buffaloes and Lady Buffaloes, including qualifying for the state Virginia High School League Section 2C tournament. It’s been a while since the boys have made it to state playoffs but they have earned their position there with great play this season.

The Lady Buffs are frequent visitors to state tournaments. They beat Glenvar 54-36 at Radford University on Monday night for the Region 2C win but the boys lost to Radford High 57-46 in the second game. Under VHSL rules, both teams have qualified for the state tournament because of semi-final wins in the region.

Tests by Carilion on Monday showed improvement in my left leg and hope that I might be able to get out and about to cover Courts and sports for The Floyd Press by next week. Have my fingers crossed.

This is the third time in my adult life that injuries have brought threats of amputation of one or both legs. The first, more than 50 years ago, came in a helicopter crash at a place I should not be been in a role that I cannot discuss but others died in that crash and I had multiple broken bones and other severe injuries that brought a permanent limp and some missing body parts.

The second, was in a motorcycle collision with a black steer on dark U.S. 221 between Cave Spring and the bottom of Bent Mountain in 2012 while returning from shooting football tournament photos of the Buffaloes near Staunton. The surgeon working on my right leg, which had multiple fractures, torn muscles, and ligaments, told my wife that he would try to save the leg and she refused to give him permission to amputate without discussing it with her during surgery. He saved it, but my height which used to be 5-foot-9 is now 5’5″.

In this current case, the general consensus of the various doctors who have examined my badly-infected leg says the cause was probably some bacteria I encountered while replacing most of the water pipes in December and January amid the severe cold and rotten weather.

“No way,” I said when the possibility of amputation came up this time. “I am not going to lose a limb because of some bug in the crawl space of our home. Fortunately, the doctors got to work on the leg in time to prevent the infectious tissue from becoming gangrene.

“You’re lucky,” said one of the Emergency Room doctors who treated my leg. “That was one of the worst infections of skin, tissue, and blood I have seen.”

As noted earlier in this report, the treatments have resulted in the infected skin peeling off like a bad sunburn with new skin underneath. It’s not pretty, but it doesn’t hurt as bad now as it did a week ago.

My congratulations to the Buffaloes and the Lady Buffs for their excellent play in the regionals. Sorry I missed the chance to photograph the games. It would have been a pleasure to be there.

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