Carol's Story

I was prescribed Levaquin - 500 mg./day for 14 days - due to a persistent cough. Three days later my left heel became sore; the day after that the right heel joined it. I thought I must be stiff from some exercise I had done and let this condition persist for two weeks before I returned to the subscribing physician. He looked at my feet, saw they were swollen and prescribed a diuretic to reduce the swelling. Four days later I experienced excruciating pain in both legs as I was pushing a grocery cart containing my Thanksgiving turkey. My husband took me back to the doctor - he looked at my feet and said, "My God, this is an adverse reaction to the Levaquin I gave you. I've never seen both legs affected, but I did have one other patient some time ago with minor tendonitis from the drug." I was sent to a surgeon who sent me to get an MRI. That confirmed that both tendons had ruptured, and on December 3rd I had bilateral surgery to reconnect the tendons. I was fortunate that the tendons could be reconnected - the surgeons (two worked on me) were afraid that they might have to reconstruct the tendons.
After three days in the hospital with non-weight bearing casts on both legs from just below the knee, I went from the hospital to a nursing home where I stayed for five weeks. This was necessary, as our condominium is two stories and my husband had to have an elevator installed before I could come home. I might add that this is quite an expense! After 7 weeks and three cast changes, the casts were removed and I was told I could walk. I could barely stand. But after extensive physical therapy and a lot of work on my part, I now walk nearly a mile every day although I come home exhausted.

Another adverse reaction I've had is in my shoulders, the rotator cuffs. I've had problems with my shoulders for some time, but the Levaquin exacerbated the pain. Now I can barely lift my 4-month old granddaughter and can't lift my 15-month old grandson. This condition seems only to be getting worse, particularly when I am lying in bed. Sleeping is difficult.

I am fortunate in that I do not work, so that is not a problem. Also I have an extremely helpful and caring husband of 47 years and three children who are most attentive. Our oldest daughter came from her home in Hawaii to be with me when I first had the casts removed. Medicare and our AARP supplement have paid most of the expenses except, of course, the elevator.

I have been very active all my life, and this episode has severely restricted my activity. In another few months I am hoping that I will be walking without "looking and feeling funny." I tell everyone I know, DON'T TAKE FLUOROQUINOLONES.

Last Updated 05/03/04