Monday: Paul said, “I think I’m getting ANOTHER cold, my nose is all stuffed up.”
Tuesday: Paul’s nose was red and puffy, like the proverbial drunkard.
Wednesday: Paul’s nose was still red and inflamed and his cheeks puffed up, too. His lymph nodes were swollen and he felt terrible inside and out. He went to the doctor.
You know how it is with doctors, they speak quickly and if it isn’t a word you already know it’s hard for you to decipher. So Paul came home with antibiotics and what he thought the doctor said he thought it was. We googled every incarnation of what he thought he heard and repeatedly got “did you mean reticulosis?” Reticulosis. A form of lymphoma. But I tried not to panic because we clearly had it wrong: the doctor would obviously have ordered a biopsy instead of casually sending Paul home with a prescription for antibiotics. (He did call the office later to confirm what the doctor had said, but he hadn’t updated the chart yet so all he had written on the chart by the time Paul had called was “lymph” which was not reassuring.)
Yet, NOT panicking was really difficult. Especially because his face looked so wierd, and the puffiness spread to his eyes by Thursday. And he was sick, really really sick. Now we aren’t sickly people and Paul typically functions on two thirds the sleep I get a night, so to see him sleep all day, sleep all night, not want to eat, and complain of pain all over (not to mention the swelling!) It was wierd. It was unnerving. I woke up in the middle of the night to make sure he was still breathing and I didn’t even do that with my babies. He was so sick. And I had lingering in the back of my mind the whole time, what if he died?
With days, the antibiotics slowly showed improvement. The inflamation went down in the order in which it had come, and by Sunday evening he had a little bit of energy in his voice. Today he went to work. After that he went back to the doctor to make sure everything was healing up well, and to answer a few more questions. During his visit he clarified the name of the bacterial infection he has: erysipelas (which, when pronounced, sounds similar to reticulosis and since we had no idea of the spelling, we were nowhere near the correct search results, not to mention that many of the symptoms are similar…) It’s still a pretty serious infection, and things would have been bad if he had waited to go to the doctor, but we are very greatful for this diagnosis, and for a doctor that identified it immediately, even if we didn’t know what he said.
Of all the weeks for me to worry about my husband dying in his thirties, this last one was not a good one! But we survived, and Paul is back, and all is well.