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My first hospital stay 
31st-Mar-2011 11:46 am
I came back from spring break with an extra souvenir: acute cellulitis, a deep and nasty skin infection. If left untreated, it could turn septic, enter the bloodstream and kill you. The doctors decided not to mess around. I was in the hospital for this from Tuesday night to Thursday morning. Here's the deets:


From an email to my bestie Ms. Tofu Fairy
That basically translates into an ankle the size of a baseball, scarlet red skin, swollen and inflamed everywhere around my ankle and spread really rapidly up my leg and onto the rest of my foot on Tuesday evening.

Who knows where exactly it came from, but it probably entered through open blisters I had on the back of my heel from new shoes I wore last Monday. (Blisters are unavoidable for me anytime I go sockless. My skin is like paper.) In many cases where the patient is young, a hot tub is involved. My mother swears up and down she cleans her hot tub, and I believe her, but that doesn't rule out the bacterial stew that is a hot tub. Or stomping around dirty puddles in LA. Or having to walk around barefoot for awhile at LAX security. Or being overweight. Or the excessive drinking at a party on Saturday. Mom said this might be life's way of telling me to slow the hell down. I'm nearly 30, so maybe she's right.

I started noticing it Saturday, but figured I just twisted my ankle or something, then things got bad Sunday night. I couldn't stand up because all the blood would rush into my foot and made it feel like a balloon filled with boiling liquid. Went to urgent care on Monday, where they gave me the right diagnosis but apparently the wrong drugs, because it flared Tuesday night. I called a nurse hotline, and they said I may be on the wrong antibiotics, and since the infection had spread, I'd better go to the ER.

The ER docs confirmed I had the wrong prescription and started me on IV drugs. The drugs helped, but not quite fast enough, so I stayed from Tuesday night until Thursday morning, taking IVs every six hours or so. I got almost no sleep the first night, but was much more comfortable once I had a room with a fancy bed. Having a spigot stuck in your arm is pretty uncomfortable, though, and I get cabin fever just being in my own HOUSE for a day. You can imagine how I feel being in the hospital, even with my laptop, textbooks, magazines, gaming system, music, noise cancelling headphones and cellphone.

The blood tests all came back pretty normal (except for low potassium and slightly high white blood cell count, which is expected when you're stressed and fighting infection, respectively). They didn't do "full bloodwork," just the tests they needed, but this also revealed normal cardiac enzyme results and normal thyroid function, which is good to know, since shitty thyroid runs in my family. I got some tetnis and flu shots, too.

I missed my first week of school. Only one of the profs seemed not to acknowledge my absence, so I hope I'm still in his class when I return (on crutches) Tuesday. I've got assignments and reading to catch up on, but since I have to keep this foot elevated, I'll have no problems finding time to finish my work for Tuesday, I think.

Excuse the essay. I think I'm going to just repost this to explain to people who are curious to know my sordid medical history.
Comments 
3rd-Apr-2011 05:02 am (UTC)
glad you're alive!... hope the ankle feels better soon
(Deleted comment)
4th-Apr-2011 03:45 am (UTC)
That "wrong meds" thing turned out to be a much more complicated story than I thought. The ER doc who initially saw me misread the scrip and thought it was just for amoxicillin, when it was actually amox. and a few other agents that are actually effective (just not effective enough for me at that point, I guess). The daytime doc who saw me re-prescribed the same thing upon discharge, causing a very confusing, dramatic, and angry moment at the pharmacy when I tried to fill it and the tech told me it was too soon for a refill. So I guess the only mistake made was by the ER doc :P

But yeah...man, how I do not envy that job. And yes, recovery seems much swifter in the comfort of your own home.

I think I'll probably be OK with school. Profs just like to drop you from classes when you don't show up for the first few sessions. If that's what happened, I'll just show up and ask him to add me back in. I've had the prof before, and I doubt he'll say no, even if he doesn't have the seats anymore.
6th-Apr-2011 02:16 am (UTC)
Scary stuff. Hope you don't need the crutches for too long. Things melting out there at all? Grillin' weather is just around the corner here.
6th-Apr-2011 02:20 am (UTC)
I recovered pretty quickly once I got home. Walked briskly around school all day today with no need of crutches. Still avoiding stairs and long periods of standing, though.

Weather's pretty cold, but it's been all melted for a few months now. I'm looking forward to a Chautauqua summer -- western NY is supposed to have some of the mildest, most pleasant summers in the country :3
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