Sell your what?

No, cellulitis. That’s what I’ve got, with a touch of thrombosis thrown in for free. And no, that’s not cellulite, either, the spongy, pitted skin that larger ladies of a certain age often suffer from. I’ve encountered so much ignorance about this condition – and indeed, I knew nothing about it myself before I became a sufferer – that I’ve decided to explain precisely what I’m going through, in the hope that if you ever recognise any of the symptoms in yourself or a loved one, you will seek medical help immediately.

My left leg. The line was drawn around the infection by the doctors.
My left leg. The line was drawn around the infection by the doctors.

Cellulitis is a potentially very dangerous bacterial infection, usually caused by a tiny puncture of the skin, or athlete’s foot, where the skin cracks and bacteria can enter. I don’t have athlete’s foot, which leaves the mysterious, microscopic injury. The effects, however, are far from microscopic. My temperature shot up to nearly 40 degrees, and my CRP (blood infection count) peaked at over 200 (it should be 5 or less – yes, five). I spent two days with uncontrollable shivering and fevers (like a very bad case of ‘flu) and felt pretty bloody awful, I can tell you. My GP visited me at home, then sent me straight down to A&E for intravenus antibiotics, which continued for four days, followed by an extended course of oral antibiotics. I’ve also been into hospital for regular blood tests to check that the battle against the infection is being won. Until my GP pointed out the connection, I had assumed I’d come down with some kind of virus and suffered a leg injury separately.

My left ankle showing the swelling and discolouration
My left ankle showing the swelling and discolouration

For those with an interest and strong constitution, I’ve included a couple of photos of my leg taken last week: in fact, the redness and swelling subsequently got worse, and early this week there were fears that I may also have developed thrombosis in the knee, which swelled up to the size of a volleyball. Fortunately, ultrasound scans revealed that there were no dangerous blood clots.

Apart from the initial feverishness, which has largely subsided thank goodness, the main symptom is a constant throbbing and soreness, like a combination of bruising and sunburn, when at rest. The main problem, however, is that whenever you have been resting, as prescribed, with the leg elevated, and then go to stand up, it feels like you’ve just plunged your leg into hot coals, an intense and searing pain that can reduce even a big, butch feller like me to tears. It is at its worst in the evening and at night.

TTT special
TTT special

The doctors tell me that with luck, the infection itself should be beaten by the end of this week, but the swelling in the leg and associated pain may take until Christmas to recede, which is not what a grumpy, impatient patient like me wants to hear! Being a driven, self-employed publisher, this is all a bit of a nightmare, because I’m having to striclty ration the amount of time I spend at the keyboard. Because of the intricacy of the design and layout work I do for the magazine (and the Table Top Teaser Special currently in production), a laptop is no substitute for my monster 23-inch Mac screen, so I’m inevitably a little behind my planned schedule. I had hoped that the TTT book would have been with the printers on Monday just gone, but I’m afraid it will now be next Monday. I’ll keep you posted if the celulitis flares up and causes any further delays.

Meanwhile, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to those many well-wishers who have sent kind “get well” messages which have, in the nicest possible way, added to the mountainous backlog of emails that I am making every effort to catch up on. To those wags who imagine that I’ve suddenly got an opportunity to deal with all that unpainted lead, I need to remind them that if I can’t sit at the computer to work, then I can’t sit to paint either! Trying to paint when flat on one’s back leads, in my experience, to messy results, and it’s the work at the computer, not the painting, that pays the bills…

With luck, the next blog entry will be altogether more cheerful, but until then, I’ve got work to do!


  1. I know this was an old post for you but thank you. You described the pain to a “T”. My husband has just been diagnosed with cellulitis and his leg looks the same as in your pics. I think he was grateful for an acknowledgement when I described the “hot coals” feeling when you put your foot on the floor after elevating your leg.

  2. Thank you for this story. My daughter found it after me suffering with this condition for over a year now, with no help from doctors and now her son, father in law and husband have it. Our infection started in the sinus cavity, and spread from there causing first ulcers and then cellulitis. We have to use an ointment called bactroban (an antibiotic) on q-tips in our nasal cavity to try and kill the original infection.

    I have gained over 80 pounds of water weight, and have been on a water pill for over a year now, and cannot urinate without it. I have massive scars from the ulcers, the water was so much more than my skin could handle, that the water leached out of my skin as if I were bleeding, but it was not blood. The ulcers have taken over a year to heal and some have still not healed, and have the sorest scars left behind, as if there is no skin there. I started taking echinechia, a herb used for the immune system, and it has helped the fire and redness, but have no feeling left in my feet and ankles, and still have about 10 pounds of water I carry all the time.

    God bless, hope you get better and stay better. This is very contagious!

    • Judy Ann, thank you for your message. Obviously, with the ulcers in addition to the cellulitis, your case has been much worse than mine. I wish you a speedy and fill recovery.

  3. That sounds and looks horrible, get well soon

    the magazine should be the last thing on your mind at the moment

    mind you no painting and no computer sounds pretty bad take care of yourself

    Dave Tuck

  4. Hi Henry

    Sorry to hear you have been laid up; I’ve been dodging the flu
    and other assorted ailments at work for the last month, but you
    do have a genius for coming up with ‘interesting’ ailments, don’t you? I take it this hasn’t helped the diet either….

    Seriously, mate, all good wishes from your humble correspondent
    and the SEEMS mob. Hope to see you in the pink at Tonbridge in



  5. Hello “H”
    First of all Seasons greetings to you and your family. Thanks for the sterling work you have done on the mag and long may you continue.
    Also I would like to wish you a speedy recovery from your very painful illness. I know it is painful as my wife is currently recovering from the same complaint. However she has a rare blood condition called neutropenia which caused complications and consequently she had part of her leg removed below the knee some 18 months ago. Fortunately she is on the way to recovery. My sympathies to you.
    Look after yourself Buddy. I am sure that your subscribers would agree with me that your health comes first and should you wish to put the mag on the back-burner for a while it would be most understandable.
    Should you need a little help with your backlog of figures to be painted, I’m quite willing to take a few on for you. How about it guys. Give the “Guvnor” a helping hand.
    Best Wishes

  6. Get well soon, Henry. Hope you have a great Christmas.

    For any pharmaceutical advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch – may rates are very reasonable 🙂

    Best wishes


  7. Hello there Henry,

    Sorry to learn of your recent health troubles and wishing you a speedy recovery.

    Best Regards,


  8. I had the same condition about 4 years ago, but I don’t remember the pain or fever that you mention. Maybe I caught it in time, but it took the General (i.e., my lovely wife Frani) to command me to go to the doctor after I showed her the leg. I had an ultra-sound to see if the infection was going to my heart, which it wasn’t, and was prescribed an anti-biotic which eradicated the problem in a week or two. From now on, I don’t scratch my legs if they itch due to dryness during winter months, but immediately reach for the moisturizer. Take care, Henry, and good luck.


  9. I echo Jeffs words- I had it last February or so and it was awful!!! I had never heard of it before. Since then I have come across quite a few cases .
    Do take time to recover and do not over do it too soon- work can wait. I teach and I had to leave my class in the hands of another for a week – it was hard but vital I rested!!
    best wishes
    p.s I really enjoyed the last issue of the magazine it has given my hobby enthusiasm a great lift-thanks!

  10. Henry,

    Do take care of yourself . . . this is nothing to take lightly (as the doctors can tell you). Do NOT rush back . . . “ease” back into work.

    We’d rather have an issue be slightly late than to lose you.

    — Jeff

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