In a cosmic game of Mystery Challenge we were given the quest to try to meet our [new, higher] health insurance deductible before our first paycheque of the year.
Well played, Universe. Well played.
Please let our next quest involve a financial windfall.
Today is the first day I’ve been well in this new year, or rather I should say this is the best I have felt all year because I am still too medicated, groggy, and uncomfortable to qualify as well. It’s the 13th and my tree is still up. I haven’t worked in a month. I haven’t even responded to emails in weeks.
It all started with a fake sprain.
The new year rolled in quietly, but I awoke with a sore finger. Assuming I had a sports injury from extreme sleeping I buddy taped it with a frozen ketchup packet between the fingers and kept it elevated. After three days of RICE treatment and no improvement I started to wonder why it wasn’t bruising. Being swollen for a few days from a sprain is normal for me, but I was red and not purple.
Friday night my friend had a long stern talk with me via text, freaked me out that it may be broken, scolded me as a pianist for not taking better care of my hands, and convinced me to go to urgent care. I promised to do so the following day after our family went to the museum. (Priorities.)
What we thought was urgent care was actually a stand alone emergency room thing. (This US health care system never ceases to confuse me.) But we went there anyway because the urgent care associated with our medical clinic was not equipped with X-rays which we thought I may need and I was not paying for an unnecessary visit. It was also closing soon.
The place was nice, efficient, and pleasantly staffed, and as soon as the doctor saw me she declared cellulitis. I had dismissed infection early on as a possibility because I did not have a fever, but they had no doubt. They took blood and ran cultures and prescribed me some heavy antibiotics and asked me to return the next day to check my progress with the warning that I would be admitted if the infection did not make a significant, positive, and immediate improvement. They were worried the infection would get to my blood before the drugs got to the infection (it being day four of symptoms and all…)
But improve I did and all was well. As I approached the halfway mark in my treatment I had a day where I was even able to finally fold laundry and do the dishes before I took a turn down a very drowsy path. At my follow up with my GP she assured me that napping more than four hours in a day is probably my body fighting off the infection, or recovering from the job it had even doing before the antibiotics, and that so long as I didn’t develop a fever, and that my newly developed cold symptoms remained mild, that I was fine. But to call her immediately if I developed a fever.
The next day was worse. I had chills, I had a headache, I could hardly stay awake, but my cold wasn’t worsening and I didn’t have a fever. So after fielding a question early in the day as to why I was still sick if my hand was no longer swollen I avoided everyone and wallowed.
My family, it should be noted, was absolute perfection through all this, at great personal (and professional in Paul’s case) sacrifice. Paul had erysipelas several years ago so he understands how skin infections take a lot out of you.
Finally yesterday, mid day, the rash appeared straight out of nowhere and covered me from bum to head. We called the GP who advised us to go to the ER immediately if it started to look like a sunburn about to peel. (We had no idea what that looked like.) She also said to stop the antibiotics immediately because we were right that I was reacting to them, and to take some Benadryl. Two hours after the Benadryl, and still three hours before my first dose to skip of the antibiotics I had a fever. Back to the emergency room we went. Me and my medical trifecta.
To make matters worse, of course, we had searched for images online for the rash we needed to identify and discovered the very scary thing our GP had us looking out for. We all know that google should be disabled while under any medical care, and this was no exception. We were sufficiently freaked out.
Fortunately the trained professionals quickly deduced that I was not suffering from the fourth leading cause of death from medicine side effects, but the similar-looking but mild drug rash. However my fever and cold symptoms combined with everything did heighten their alarm and they proceeded to test me for anything they could think of.
Ultimately they brought down my fever, pumped me full of fluids to decrease my heart rate, cleared me of all manner of diseases, gave me some steroids that’ll stay in me for three says, and told me to take Benadryl at home. Short of an allergy to sulphas and an upper respiratory infection I am a healthy woman.
(I’ve since learned that my mother is also allergic to sulpha drugs; when I asked about her reaction she summarized simply 1975, Toronto, hallucinations I am grateful all I got was a rash!)
As of writing this I am 36 hours since my last dose of antibiotics and 24 hours into these steroids. This is the best I have felt all year. I even made it through the day resting without falling asleep. I am hoping to actually get something done tomorrow.
So long as nothing progresses to the scary but doubtful scenarios they now have me watching for, and that I have no reactions to the steroids and Benadryl, and that I do not have a heart attack when the bills come pouring in, I am a very healthy woman. Or so I believe tonight.