If you wanna feel better about your family, just read about ours...

Starring: a dad, a mom, a son & daughter-in-law, a daughter & son-in-law, a teen, a tween, a grandson, a granddaughter, 3 dogs, 2 rabbits, 2 dwarf frogs, an unfortunate number of tadpoles, and a whole lot of love.




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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Half Staph- Part II

When I left off in Part I, by the end of October, the only visible evidence remaining from the Staph infection that had been coursing through the left side of my face was a scar above my left eye.

Fast forward to Saturday December 10th. My 45th birthday. We were on our way to Columbus for a getaway weekend, when I noticed my left eye was aching and I told Ron I hoped I wasn't getting pink eye. That night, it hurt to even have it open and I went to bed early.

Sunday evening when we arrived home, I needed to run back out to the van for something. So barefoot, I tried to jump between snow patches, not realizing the spaces between snow patches was sheets of ice, and I planted my ass straight down into the edge of our front porch.

By Monday morning, when I couldn't tolerate light, or reading, or watching the new episode of Sister Wives because everything was blurry, I entertained the thought of a brain tumor, my ever present silently lurking fear, because look at me. I can't see things and I fall down.

Later that night, through a conversation I had with an extended family member, I found out she has Type 2 Diabetes and was my age when she was diagnosed through routine blood work with no symptoms. Off to Google I went and woke Ron up at 2am.

"I have bad news. I have 3 out of 10 signs of Type 2 Diabetes."

He humored me and asked which ones.

I said, "I pee a lot, I'm hungry, and I have blurry vision."
He replied, "You drink gallons of coffee daily, you're always dieting, and it's 2am. My vision's blurry right now, too."
Me: "I also fell down."
Ron: "What's that have to do with diabetes?"
Me: "Nothing. That'd be the brain tumor."
Ron: "You don't have a brain tumor. Probably just a parasite."

New rules.
I'm no longer allowed to google things at 2am.
He's no longer allowed to comfort me.
Lines have been crossed.

That morning I called my family doctor to request blood work. The receptionist asked why.
Um, because there's like a 3 out of 10 google chance that I have Type 2 Diabetes. Why the interrogation? My blood work was scheduled for the following day.

Then I called an eye doctor, because if I can't watch Sister Wives anymore, what quality of life am I really facing here? They got me in that afternoon.

As I sat in the waiting room, the annoyingly repetitive song 'Hey Santa' cranked through the speakers, causing my eye to throb, and I started mentally making a list of everything I'd say to Carnie Wilson if I ever met her. Then a lady sat next to me and reeked of Pine, and she didn't silence her phone, so the 'blooop' of her texting sounds almost made me forget how pissed I was at Carnie Wilson. That's when it occurred to me. All my other senses are obviously overcompensating for my loss of sight. Oh, lawd, I'm like Mary Ingalls. And my mind flashed to clutching Ron in the middle of the night screaming, "HELP ME, PA, I CAN'T SEE!"

So. My irrational freak flag doesn't just fly at 2am. Noted.

They called me back before I could start groping stranger's faces and I was given an eye exam with the letter chart across the room. My right eye was still my normal 20/20. Then the doctor checked my left eye and all the letters suddenly morphed into Chinese symbols and she finally put us both out of our misery when I guessed the number 9 and General Tso.
Hey, be happy I'm not calling you Pa.

Then we put our faces against a machine, she looked in my eye and said, "Oh my gosh."
Dear doctor's everywhere. Never look at a patient and say, "Oh my gosh."

Then she called 2 other doctor's in and told them, "I've never seen anything this bad before."
Dear doctor's everywhere. Don't say that either.

As it turns out, the original Staph was never gone, and it spent 2 months growing into a 4mm ulcer that had worked it's way through 4 layers of my eyeball and was starting into my pupil. I was put on antibiotic/steroid drops every 2 hours and had to be seen every day to make sure it responded, before deciding whether or not to refer me to a corneal specialist to admit me into the hospital for iv antibiotics. By Saturday, I'd seen 7 doctors in that practice, all of which were excellent. Apparently, what I had was so rare and the risk of rupture so great, that they all took me under their wing to see me through, and I'm officially out of the danger zone and don't have to go back until January 2nd. I'll always have a scar on my eyeball and my vision will never return completely, but should only be noticeable when I drive at night, and it could've been so much worse, so there's that.

So, on a serious note, God was in this big time, I'm extremely thankful for His protection and that He paved the way and led me to the doctors I needed and in the perfect timing. See? Jesus loves hot messes, too.

As for my blood work, all my numbers are (in my doctor's words) "Off the chart perfect."
"You mean I don't have Type 2 Diabetes?"
With a look on his face I'm sure he reserves for all of his most special patients, he replied, "No you do not. So is there anything else I can do for you today?"

Well. Since you asked.
Talk to me about parasites.





Monday, December 26, 2016

Half Staph- Part I

Funny story for ya. And by 'funny' I mean random, gross, and disturbing, which is basically the same thing. I won't post pictures because I don't hate you.

During the 2nd week of our alone trip to Hilton Head in October, I developed a large bump on my forehead above my left eye. Just out of the blue, boom. Bump. And it hurt like a mother, but what are ya gonna do? So vacation went on as usual. The following day, it started oozing. (I told you this was gross, get that look off your face.) On Thursday, my left ear began to hurt, and on Friday, the left lymph node behind my ear was swollen, and my left gland was protruding out of the side of my neck. Ron suggested I go to the island urgent care, but I refused, because one, we were leaving that night, and two, nobody anywhere on that island ever moves at an 'urgent' pace. I knew I'd lose my last full day of vacation, and I'd be nice and pissed off for the long ride home. It could wait a day, because I obviously had an ear infection and I'm exceptionally good at diagnosing myself and others. It's like a gift, really.

So on our last day, I got a full body deep tissue massage, thus increasing my circulation, and in turn the rapidly spreading infection, as you do.

We arrived home the following morning and I was walking into our local urgent care that afternoon. The receptionist asked me why I needed seen, I told her I had an ear infection, she asked me what made me think that, and I explained because I know things. Please. My ear hurts and I'm not a moron.

An hour later, after a thorough exam and a confusing amount of time discussing the oozing bump on my head, both my ears got a clean bill of health, and I was diagnosed with a staph infection that started with the bump and had worked it's way down the left side of my face and was continuing on down my neck. Hey, I never claimed to be a doctor.

So I left with strong antibiotics, an ointment, and strict orders to stop wearing make-up on that side of my face for 10 days, and I'd be good as new. Except the next day I woke with my left eye swollen shut and an excruciating headache. Now, I'm no headache expert because I don't get them, but this was the kind where light hurt my eyes and the sounds of voices pierced my soul. Ron wanted to take me to the ER, but I wanted to wait it out. He reminded me that my mom almost died from a staph infection a long time ago, but I reminded him that hers was from a hip surgery, so it was a lot more serious than mine. He replied, "Whereas, yours is near your brain...I can see where that's better."

He can be a bit of a smartass.

At 9pm, I caved and let him take me to the ER, because he assured me that Sunday nights are their least busy time. That would be false. It was SO packed, in fact, that I had to share a room with a teenage boy who had a chronic cough and wheeze and who passed the time by watching loud YouTube videos with his dad on their iPhones until I thought my head would either explode or I'd end his cough and wheeze forever when I shoved my fist down his throat.

I'm not proud of who I become when I'm in pain.

Ron, hater of all confrontation, finally went to ask the nurse if I could have a room of my own. He returned and said the answer was no. Five minutes later, I stormed out of my room shared with Wheezy Dwarf and informed the nurses that I'd be in the waiting room when the doctor was ready to see me. Maybe it was my tone. Or the fact that I looked like somebody beat the shit out of me and I'd just referred to a teenage boy as Wheezy Dwarf. Doesn't matter. I got my own room.

Then I had to pee. I told Ron in no uncertain terms that if the doctor came in while I was next door in the bathroom, he was not to let her leave before I came back. My butt no sooner hit the toilet seat when I heard Ron laugh and tell the doctor I was in the bathroom. And then he let her leave as I sat peeing and yelling at them through the wall.

I ask so little of him.

An hour later I was home having learned nothing new. I still had a staph infection, the meds I was given were correct, Sunday evenings are the worst possible times to go the ER, I have a low tolerance for noise, and my husband doesn't listen when I talk.

For the next 2 weeks I did all my normal activities with my left eye bare of all make-up, my eyelid swollen and crusted, a Band-Aid on the bump, and my bangs hanging all casual across my left eye in a lame attempt to disguise the whole mess.

During those 2 weeks, in an unfortunate turn of events, I used a new body lotion the morning of a funeral. It wasn't until we were halfway to the graveside service on an unseasonably warm and sunny day that I realized I'd lathered my body from head to toe in a glitter based lotion and I was shimmering like a vampire off of Twilight...except of course I had one bare eye, a swollen crusty eyelid, and a super-sexy gash across my forehead. Sometimes it's a miracle when I just make it through the day without hurting myself.

Several days after finishing my antibiotic, all that remained of the bump on my head was a scar resembling bruised fruit, but my eyelid was still swollen. Back to urgent care I went, where I was informed that the Staph was gone, and what I was experiencing was residual damage that would eventually go away. And a few weeks later, my eyelid went back to normal and life carried on.

But if you think that's where the story ends and I lived healthily ever after, we haven't been friends long enough.

Tune in tomorrow when, the week before Christmas, things got weird. Like, diabetes, brain tumor, Sister Wives, weird...because Hypochondria should be multiplied, not divided.