Saturday, January 29, 2011


So, the hand?

It was MRSA.

It snowballed, big time.  It got worse throughout the day on Friday the 21st.  Went to the ER that night when Derek got home from work.

The doctor frustrated me... not because he was a bad doctor, but because he didn't listen to what I was saying.  He felt a second course of antibiotics was the best choice.  That is pretty standard when an infection recurs.  He also felt that since the first course did impact it, he'd use the same kind again.  I disagreed, but he is the doctor, not me.  I repeatedly voiced my concern that this was eerily similar to the progression my leg initially followed this past spring, but he assured me this was very different.  However, he did refer me to the wound clinic.

Monday, things were not any better but hadn't worsened drastically, either.  Talked to my doctor, told him how I felt, and he told me I needed to be seen that day.  I told him they'd refused to work me in until Tuesday.  He called them, and then called me and said that the infectious disease doctors said it would be fine to wait.  He told me to go in if things got worse quickly or significantly. 

Overnight Monday, my fever went back up to 102.3, which is not the 103.9 that it had been.  I didn't sleep at all, until about 4:30 or 5:00 AM.  I slept through until noon, then got up to get ready to go to the wound clinic.  I freaked out when I looked at my hand - it had grown a lot in the 7.5 hours or so I'd been sleeping, and I felt super crummy.  I knew they'd probably admit me or at least run a dose of IV antibiotics, so I brought my backpack with my phone and charger, my favorite pillow, and books to read.

The doctor initially seemed very calm - rude, but calm.  He sent me for blood work and x-rays - I've never walked into the lab with red-edged orders before.  It gets you to the front of the line.  (Note to self - if ever in a hurry, bring a red sharpie for lab appointments.  Kidding.  Mostly.)  In the 30 minutes it took to do those things, the redness visibly darkened and the swelling increased.

My appointment was at 2:00.  At 4:00, I was getting settled into my hospital bed after having seen the infectious disease doctor and the orthopedic/hand surgeon and having had really big, long, painful needles jabbed into my hand in an attempt to aspirate "infectious matter" for pressure relief and culture.

It got worse throughout the evening Tuesday.  Wednesday, the put me on a PCA pump (pain control) with fentanyl, and I was getting pushes of tordal and taking hydrocodone by mouth.  My hand was so swollen that the skin started getting dark red lines where it was starting to tear.  My temperature was fluctuating up to 103.  They had me on rocephin and vancomyacin.  Plus the zofran and benadryl and pepcid to control the effects of the vanc. 

Yesterday, things started to pick up pace improvement-wise, but the pain changed and worsened - the smaller my hand got as the swelling went down (and the bigger my forearm and elbow got as they continued to sell), the worse it hurt.  The doctor on call was a fairly new resident, who insisted that there was no reason for the pain and chose to discontinue the PCA pump and cut the amount of pain-relievers down to 1/16th of what I'd been getting right up until she made rounds.  Talk about a loooooong night.

This morning, the regular attending came in, took one look, and got me some hefty doses of the meds I'd been given previously, and they didn't really help.  I saw my hopes of going home slipping out the window, and slipping fast.

Neurology came in and found that my ulnar nerve is very displeased with all that's gone on and has ceased proper function starting just above my wrist.  I was told it will recover, but it'll take "up to two months."  Two months... I can handle two months.  I don't like two months, but it's better than forever.  Besides, I have a God who is bigger than one tiny little nerve.  And they gave me... something... for which I can't remember the name.  It's a medication that was made to treat seizures, but didn't work for that, but someone noticed that in people with nerve damage, it really helps that sort of pain.  That medicine, paired up with hydrocodone and ibuprofen (and zofran) got things under control.  I went to occupational therapy, got to sit with my arm in a whirlpool and then get a thorough massage, and then they gave in and let me go HOME.

It feels so good to be here, in my house with my cats and ready to crawl into my very own bed

And it turns out, the infection was MRSA.  I've got five more days of oral antibiotics and then in a week I follow up with infectious disease.

Moral of the story?  Apparently, it's that you should go to the hospital every time a blood draw results in more than a super-tiny bruise.

Okay, not really.  The actual moral is that if you jump on top of infections early, like was done this time, and you get proper and prompt treatment... you may still spend hospital time, but they don't have to start chopping chunks of flesh out of your body.  I'm thankful for my friend being pushy and not letting me shrug it off or say "oh, it can wait."  Thankful for my doctor being mean and riding me about getting it rechecked sooner, and calling infectious disease to make them get me in sooner (they were going to give me an appointment Friday, i.e. yesterday).  If not for those two, I'd have crawled into bed and gutted it out until Wednesday or maybe even Thursday before going to the emergency room, and it'd have been a much longer road to recovery, probably involving surgery and permanent damage.

Also, if not for those two, the information board by my bed wouldn't have had the following on it:  APPTS (supposed to be an abbreviation for appointments) - No, she lives in a house.  Get it?  I know, I know... apartments only has one P, but it was funny at the time.  The doctor and friend thought so, especially.

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Sunday, January 23, 2011


So these are low-quality pictures off my cell phone.  Sorry for that.  But here's the deal:

December 17th, I had my blood drawn for a simple test.  They only needed ONE tube.  They stuck me a LOT of times in my left hand, and then a lot of times in the right, before they met with success.

Three days later, my left hand had bruised and swelled and looked like this:

After about a week, it looked like this:

Then it almost disappeared, and then came back and got red and hot, and about the second week of this month, I ended up in the emergency room (because urgent care wouldn't see me... grr...) for antibiotics.  After 7 days, it was better and looked like this again:

24 hours after my last dose of antibiotics, I got what I thought was the flu.  As in, not a cold, but influenza.  Super achy, headache, throat was kind of sore, and I had a nasty fever (103+).  Still have that, by the way.  After a day in bed, I noticed my hand getting more painful.  Friday, over the course of 8 hours, it went from looking pretty decent to looking like this:

I know this isn't my typical post.  But I'm asking, will you pray?  This is exactly, EXACTLY, how things were initially with my leg last year.  I'm back on antibiotics (was on cepholexin last week, this week I'm on cephadroxil; not sure what the difference is, if any).  I feel a tiny bit better today, almost 48 hours after starting this new course of antibiotics (plus the loading dose I got in the ER) and it's supposed to be "a lot better" within three days.  I can NOT go through the surgeries and the wound vacs and hospital stays and skin grafts and all of that again.  I WILL not.  My God IS bigger and better than all this. 

I see the wound clinic (staffed by surgeons and infectious disease docs) tomorrow since the infection recurred so promptly, and also since it's the second significant infection I've had in less than a year.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In Devotion...

There's a song I've liked since the first time I've heard it.  "Our God Reigns" by Brandon Heath.  We've recently started singing it in our church sometimes.  I don't like to sing songs, though, without thinking about what they mean... about what's coming out of my mouth.  What I'm truly saying.

There is a line that I haven't thought about though.  A line I just sort of brushed past, thinking "Yep, know all about that."

In devotion, to His bride.

I guess I sort of let it slide because, well... God is perfect.  Jesus is perfect.  I'm not.  The devotion, comes easy for Him, right?  And even though I'm not perfect, I'm not terrible (at least not always). 

Today, I had an appointment with my doctor.  Nothing major - just needed a new prescription for the pain in my leg and to have him re-check my swollen, clotted, and recently un-infected hand. 

I thought I was going to explode with love, and appreciation, as I sat in the waiting room.

I was a half hour early (not because I'm super-punctual, but because I forgot what time my appointment really was).  As I sat in the chair, my mind sort of drifted to different things.  I watched with disinterest as an old classmate came in with her son (he's almost eight; how does time go by this fast?), and as an irate man came and demanded to see a physician who actually hasn't worked there for nearly a year.  I laughed when the receptionist started giggling on the phone.  Not because I knew what she was talking about (or hearing) but because her giggle is infectious.

Then the elevator doors opened again, and a dapper, older man (I'd put him around 70) came out pushing a wheelchair.  And a tiny, tiny wisp of humanity was folded in that chair.  Literally folded.  In half.  Chest resting on knees, head lolling to the side, tongue protruding.  There were stumps instead of fingers on her left hand, and the right hand was gnarled and curled.  She wasn't wearing shoes.  Her right foot was visibly swollen, even through the heavy wool socks she wore.  Her left foot was clubbed, and I'm reasonably sure there were no toes left.  Her hair was tangled and gray, skin wrinkled.  Her skin was nearly transparent, but she was still clearly of Mediterranean decent.  Her brown eyes were vacant and unfocused, and her face without expression.  There is no way she weighed any more than about 70 pounds... and that's if her clothes was maybe not as baggy as I think.  She looked to be about 200 years old... or more realistically, probably the same age as the man.

She was, in so many ways, not what I picture when I imagine a beautiful woman.  Bear with me here... I'm not being rude, or mean, or prejudiced.  I certainly didn't view her as ugly - far from it.

The man pushed her chair to the desk, and was quietly checked in and handed a pager.  As he slowly wheeled the chair in my general direction, he started talking.  He told her how he felt the doctor would help her today, that he thought this would be a good day.  He told her that her blanket was folded up in the pocket of her wheelchair, so it wasn't cold when he wrapped her up in the car.  He took her over to the fish tank they have there... it's full of very large goldfish and a couple plicostomouses (I know I butchered that spelling, by the way).  He knelt carefully beside the chair, angled toward the woman just a little.  I had wondered up until then if he was close to the woman, or merely providing transport.  I noticed that he was wearing a wedding band on his left hand... and a smaller one on a chain around his neck.

He began to talk in earnest to the woman, as if he expected a response.  I tried not to stare, but I couldn't help it.  As he looked at her, it was enough to melt any heart.  Such love.  His eyes danced as he told her about the fish, about what kind they were.  He started talking about a trip he'd taken, to Australia.  He'd gotten to go scuba diving, and saw "the most beautiful, beautiful fish you've ever imagined.  Thousands of them."  As he talked... an amazing thing happened.  The woman's chin lifted just a little.  Her eyes opened a tiny bit wider and began to shine.  Her tongue quit moving side to side.  A dimple - an actual, real dimple - appeared in one cheek.  The man held her hands - the one gnarled and useless, the other missing all five fingers - and spoke to her, leaning close.  I watched as saliva started to run down her chin... and I hated it.  I hated that something so basic, so natural, was interfering with the beauty of this moment.  The man never paused.  He released her left hand, and used a towel that was folded carefully in the woman's lap to wipe her face.  He let the towel fall, and cupped her chin in his hand.  Gently, sweetly, he kissed her forehead.

He began to talk to her about his plans for having the men in their youth group stay overnight one Friday, and the women the next.  About how a particular speaker had agreed to do both weekends for them.  About campfires and sleeping bags and s'mores.  Her eyes shone even brighter, and that dimple reappeared.  So did the saliva.  She must have felt it - she grimaced.  He wiped her face again, gently, carefully.  His fingers caressed her cheek.  He asked her if the medicine he'd given her at home had tasted okay, or if it was really terrible.  I didn't see a response, didn't hear anything... but he did.  He laughed - a deep, rich laugh - and said "It was that bad, was it?  But at least you didn't get sick in the car, right?"  The dimple reappeared. 

This man knelt there, in front of this folded up, mangled, helpless woman, and told her he was going to take her camping.  Because she always seemed so happy outside, and he wanted her to see all the beauty he got to see.  He was going to ask the doctor what extra things he should bring.  He told her how they'd put their tent near the water, and he'd set their air bed up with extra pillows so she could see outside while he built a fire.  Then he would hold her, and they'd have marshmallows and watch the fireflies and the stars.

The buzz of their pager interrupted my (probably somewhat rude) observations.  The man stood, slowly.  He pushed the chair toward the hallway, and the nurse smiled and said "How are you both doing today?"  The man gave another of his laughs, and said "We are doing very well today.  It's a beautiful world, and I get to spend the entire day with my beautiful wife."  He laid one of his hands on the woman's back.  I caught one last glimpse of her face - eyes once again blank and unfocused, tongue protruding and moving slowly side to side, no expression... nearly resting on her knees.  He smiled down at her then... rubbed her back and squared his shoulders.  And said to the nurse, "Isn't she lovely?"

In devotion to his bride.

Think about it.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tiny Bit of Whining.

So, for a couple weeks now, my battery in my car has been going dead overnight.  It's a new battery.  It's a GOOD battery.  And my alternator is good.  But there is/was a short in the blower (fan) or possibly the heater control switch thingy (don't you just love my technical terminology here?).  Sometimes it would turn itself on AFTER I took the key out of the ignition.  Which was annoying, but I have one of this little plug-in jump start things.  So it was fine.

Well, tonight, the short 'fixed' itself.  My fan no longer works at all.  And with the fan function, I lost my heat.  I live in a cold, frozen land.  Well, it's cold and frozen now.  It'll thaw in two or three (or four) months. 

I don't WANT to pay someone to tear apart my dashboard to find the short.  If it's in the blower motor itself, that's fine.  That's cheap to buy a new one, and I could replace it myself.  But the blower motor is new.  The old one died this summer.  Which is why I suspect the short is elsewhere.  It probably fried the last motor, and has now fried this one.  And eats my battery. 

I suppose I could always plug a space-heater into the inverter while I drive, though that seems somehow unwise.  And yet... tempting.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hee Hee Funny.

My Grampa sent me the following in an email, and I really like it.  I suspect you will too.

Here is a bit of humor to lighten up your Monday Tuesday. Enjoy!

Paraprosdokian humor!

A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to re-frame or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect.

I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn't work that way.
So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness. 

Do not argue with an idiot.
He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather.
Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

The last thing I want to do is hurt you.
But it's still on the list.

If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

We never really grow up; we only learn how to act in public.

War does not determine who is right--only who is left.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit;
wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

The early bird might get the worm, 
but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Evening news is where they begin with "Good evening," - and then proceed to tell you why it isn't.
To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism.
To steal from many is research.

A bus station is where a bus stops.
A train station is where a train stops.
My desk is a work station.

How is it one careless match can start a forest fire,
but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?

Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity,
they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish.

I thought I wanted a career; turns out I just wanted paychecks.

A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don't need it.

Whenever I fill out an application,
in the part that says "In an emergency, notify:" I put " A DOCTOR."

I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars,
but check when you say the paint is wet?

Behind every successful man is his woman.
Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.

A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory..

You do not need a parachute to skydive.
You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

The voices in my head may not be real,
but they have some good ideas!

I discovered I scream the same way whether I'm about to be devoured by a great white shark
or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot.

Some cause happiness wherever they go.
Others, whenever they go.

There's a fine line between cuddling and holding someone
down so they can't get away.

I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure..

I always take life with a grain of salt . . . plus a slice of lemon . . . and a shot of tequila..

You're never too old to learn something stupid.

To be sure of hitting the target,
shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

A bus is a vehicle that runs twice as fast when you are

after it as when you are in it.

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

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Sunday, January 9, 2011


Whew.  That was TEDIOUS.

I had to create another blogger account.  I exported the blog, imported it to the other account, edited posts to remove certain information, unpublished some, deleted some, and then exported it and re-imported it here.

But I'm back now.  And that's good.

And to answer those who commented or emailed...

Yes, things are okay.  Yes, I am okay.  Yes, I plan to continue blogging.  No, I can't really share what prompted the removal, editing, and replacing of my old posts.

By the way, have you ever wasted several hours watching old online episodes of shows you don't even like very much?  Nope, me neither.

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