Life in Da City!

Another use for a leg abscess


So, I spent some time pulling calls in and around “Da Corridor”. One schedule, early in my time on da street, I was working days at Medic Eight, and found that we had what might be described as “frequent fliers”. One such soul was a young woman who evidently worked what might be termed “The Entertainment Industry”. The first time I met her, I was amazed at the abscess on her right thigh, which appeared to be as big around as my fist, and a couple of inches deep. For all the hugeness of the wound, it appeared remarkably clean. No redness, no pus, simply pink moist tissue in the wound depths. It looked like a pink crater in her leg.

A convenience sample, with no rigor to the study whatsoever, suggested that IV drug use was really, really common among these folks.

We transported her for whatever the malady-du-jour was, and went back in service. I was surprised when the same woman was in my ambulance several weeks later, crater still there, still appearing uninfected, for some other illness. I asked her, “What have you been doing for that wound? How come it isn’t healing?” She rattled off some answer, and I let it go. Report to nurse, patient on cart, inservice, and away!

Yet again, the same woman several weeks later yet, another not-persistent-leg-ulcer-related nature of call. Yet again, same ulcer, same tremendous size, same did-not-look-infected appearance. I asked her, again, what was up with the persistence of the wound.

Her answer was astonishing. “Well, when I go to do my do (administer my heroin), I can just sprinkle it in my sore, here, wrap it up in saran wrap, and I get my fix. It’s about as good a rush as shooting up, and no needles!”

Life Lesson: Ostensibly poor life choices do not necessarily map directly onto “stupid”.


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