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Thread: Swollen Legs After Meth Injection

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    Swollen Legs After Meth Injection 
    #1
    Hi everyone,
    I hope I am posting in the correct area and if not I am sorry.
    I used to come to BL frequently a couple years ago but decided to clean up after a year of daily meth injections and stopped visiting as often. I am happy to say I was safe, always used clean sticks and NEVER experienced any complications.
    Anyways to my point. About 2 weeks ago a close family member, who has been shooting for years got an abscess from meth. She refuses to get help because we live in a small community and she is afraid of people finding out. She reuses and bleaches needles and has hep c. The other day she came to my house and showed me her legs which were both extremely swollen. Her shoes are no longer fitting and it keeps getting worse. Sun I offered some antibiotics I had left over from an infection from my wisdom tooth I just had pulled since she won't see a Dr. I last seen her Sun (I usually see her everyday with out fail) and she was very spun. I was mad the last couple days because we share a family plan and she hasn't paid her bill causing disconnection of all of our phones. She is a junkie but at least always has paid. Then it clicked with me today how swollen her legs were. I went to her house 2 times today with no answer and obviously has no phone.
    I am worried. Could something of happened that caused the swelling and getting her extremely sick or worse? BTW she obviously shoots in the legs because her arm veins are ancient history.
    Sorry it was so long.
    Thanks so much for taking the time to read.
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    #2
    Swelling of the legs isn't something I associate with meth use, but whatever the cause she needs to bite the bullet and GO TO THE FUCKING HOSPITAL.
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    #3
    Bluelighter WorldWarMe's Avatar
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    There's the possibility of losing her leg from blocking the circulation, GO TO THE HOSPITAL.
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by fryingsquirrel View Post
    Swelling of the legs isn't something I associate with meth use, but whatever the cause she needs to bite the bullet and GO TO THE FUCKING HOSPITAL.
    The reason I am associating it with meth use is because her legs are where she shoots dope and where she got the abscess. Its the IVing of the meth I associating the swelling with not just the use of meth itself. I am sure if she was eating, smoking or snorting she wouldn't swell lol.

    She wont go to the hospital so I hope maybe showing other people's advice will help. Im heading to her place right now again.
    She also mention Sunday she was feeling some tingling. If anyone else has an opinion of what is up or how to convince her to see the Dr please resond.
    Thanks again for the help and stay safe
    Last edited by safe&sane; 10-06-2010 at 21:04. Reason: made no sense
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    #5
    Bluelighter BabyGurl3171's Avatar
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    That is definitely not normal. As other posters have said she's going to have to bite the bullet and be seen. If she's worried about such a small community, go outside to another city and use a fake name if necessary. But it's something I wouldn't mess around with.
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    #6
    Bluelighter fm1983's Avatar
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    yep, nothing to add. She needs to seek medical attention. The swelling has been getting worse, which is not a good sign, nor is the tingle. There is a very real possibility that she can loose her legs.

    If she doesn't want to be seen at the local hospital, drive a hour or so away to one not so local. but regardless, she needs to seek medical attention asap~
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    #7
    Thank You for the help, She wasn't home when I went there but I will try again in a couple hours.

    The way you describe swollen up like a balloon is exactly like her legs. When I searched about this before posting something came up with a picture of a guys hand looking like a blown up rubber glove. Well that is her legs and feet.

    I will update when I find her. This is way out of character for her to disappear for 4 days. Thank You
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    #8
    do you know if she has any other symptoms?
    such as fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or dizziness?

    how many days have passed since the swelling began?
    the last time that you saw her, did they appear more swollen then when it began?

    from the sound of it, my guess is that she has acquired a bacterial infection from her gear. swelling of appendages is a very serious issue. not only does it lead to pulmonary and vascular problems, but it can be fatal. i'm trying to get some further information so i can give you some possibilities of what is occurring systemically for her and what further complications and outcomes it can potentially lead to.
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    #9
    She has complained about dizziness and tingling was starting in her legs. She has been complaining of not feeling well and having some pains for a week of two. She got the abscess like 2 weeks ago. Its been a really long time. She told me she was concerned about the swelling about a week ago but I know she kept shooting. Her legs had doubled over the weekend. On Sunday she had to wear slip ons with out the straps together at the velcro.
    She reuses her needles, bleaches needles, sharpens them with matchbooks, ect. I use to buy mine in boxes of 100 and when I got clean last year I gave her almost a full box. She is still using some of those needles (I swear I am not exaggerating). We used to use together and I always would give her new ones but now that I am clean she has no clean rigs. She is to scared to ask the pharmacy or go to the needle exchange because of being exposed. I don't know what to do to get her to go see a Dr.
    I know she is avoiding me at this point because I have paid her phone bill and she is never home when I check. I just want to help and she knows I won't judge her.
    BTW I am in school earning my AA to become a chemical dependency counselor. So she knows I have a desire to help addicts.
    Thanks (sorry for the ramble I am just getting really worried)
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    #10
    Bluelighter fm1983's Avatar
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    If she is fear of someone in town finding out or a doctor she goes to see, take her to a out-of-town hospital. She is in very real danger. She could be at risks to loose her legs, and possibly her life if things get bad enough in the infection and/or her circulatory system gets fucked up.
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    #11
    Bluelighter artaxerxes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by safe&sane View Post
    She is to scared to ask the pharmacy or go to the needle exchange because of being exposed. I don't know what to do to get her to go see a Dr.
    Damn, I really feel for you. This must be excruciating, worrying about what's going on medically and knowing she's probably avoiding you because of guilt, shame, fear and whatever else the drugs are telling her at this point. I'm really concerned by proxy because this sounds like potential amputation and possibly worse. As if amputation weren't bad enough.

    As far as convincing her to go to the doctor, she should be scared enough to do it by now. But the drugs + her natural fear of exposure (avoiding the needle exchange, too ashamed to buy new rigs at the pharmacy) may still be stronger than her fear of losing her legs or dying. The shame can be a far more powerful motivator than any other concerns, even if it seems pretty unbelievable to some people. I understand it though.

    So if you can manage to talk to her in person, I would start out by telling her that your first concern is her privacy and that you will take her to an ER in another city. Come up with a solid story to explain her legs being swollen.

    Gout is plausible even if she's young. My totally drug-free and healthy 24-year-old friend developed it working as a server. The kitchen staff fed her on foie gras for 3 months and her body rebelled. No lie.

    If I were in your position, I would call hospitals out of my area (not the ones you'd take her to, just to be safe) and ask them how they would handle a patient like your relative, ie. her condition, her fear, her usage and her track marks. My HMO has "advice nurses" available who are perfect for answering these kinds of questions. They don't judge and they're usually really compassionate.

    I would do this so that I'd have more concrete information to offer her when she starts asking questions. If you can answer her questions in a calm, matter-of-fact way, and even lay out what she can expect when she gets to the hospital, I think that will reassure her that you have checked this out and are committed to protecting her. Plus it will help you decide how to approach the ER doctor. Maybe I'm over-estimating her potential resistance, but I don't know.

    I hope this works out. You're a strong person with a good heart and I wish you the best of luck in dealing with this. Please keep us updated.
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    swollen meth legs 
    #12
    WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR FRIEND? I hope she is OK.

    Gout is caused by diet, I'm sure you cannot get actual gout from drugs, though you might get some of the same symptoms.

    I'm not sure dental antibiotics would be any good for leg infections. The standard one of choice for abscesses/etc is flucluxacillin (sorry if this is misspelled). It's sometimes just called "fluclux".

    The swelling sounds like it might be cellulitis. This looks like pretty severe sunburn with the skin going bright red + swelling. It's very painful. The right antibiotic treatment can make this go away in days, but cellulitis can also go chronic, so it needs rapid attention.

    It could also be deep vein thrombosis, in which case she will probably need Wharfarin.

    I know 2 people who have lost legs due to drug injecting. If you get ill it ain't the time to mess around. She needed qualified medical treatment ASAP. I hope she got it.

    Be safe ...
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    #13
    Bluelighter punkftl's Avatar
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    i am sorry to hear about your friend...i hope you guys find out what is wrong and hope she starts feeling better soon
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    #14
    I cant believe people would let shit like this go on with themselves for fear of being exposed. How about a little down the road when they're askin her why she's got two stumps where her legs should be? Try explaining that w.o getting found out.
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    #15
    Bluelighter Violenza666's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by safe&sane View Post
    The reason I am associating it with meth use is because her legs are where she shoots dope and where she got the abscess. Its the IVing of the meth I associating the swelling with not just the use of meth itself. I am sure if she was eating, smoking or snorting she wouldn't swell lol.

    She wont go to the hospital so I hope maybe showing other people's advice will help. Im heading to her place right now again.
    She also mention Sunday she was feeling some tingling. If anyone else has an opinion of what is up or how to convince her to see the Dr please resond.
    Thanks again for the help and stay safe
    If she won't go to the hospital then I would call her an ambulance if shit gets bad. She could easily lose her leg over this.... Good luck!
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