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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Infected Me

I'll forewarn readers that this post involves a somewhat graphic description of life with my holiday delivered skin infection.  You've been warned.  First, I'll back things up a bit.  After my surgery I was put on a corticosteroid to help bring down the inflammation in my shoulder so we could forcefully break up the scar tissue.  Yes, that is as fun as it sounds.  One of the side effects of the steroids is a suppressed immune system.

I quickly started having what appeared to be aggressive breakouts on my face.  Acne is another side effect.  There may have been a little acne but what I was actually getting were small infections.  Friday after Thanksgiving my body evidently had more than it could stand and the infection went full scale.  The side of my face swelled into a rock hard mass by Saturday evening.  Sunday morning the swelling was so severe that the shape of my mouth is distorted and I could barely open my mouth to eat.  

Monday morning came and it was getting worse. I was going to go to the doctor or the emergency room.  It took five or six calls to get a single Dermatologist's office to actually answer their phone after 9:00 a.m..  I'll save that frustration for another post. I got in Monday morning and the doctor gave me three injections into the abscess...also as fun as it sounds.  I was sent home with antibiotics, antibiotic ointment and told to apply warm compresses to facilitate drainage of the abscess.  I was also warned at least three times that if my fever spiked or the abscess got worse...even a little...that I needed to go to the emergency room immediately.   I started realize that my doctor was very concerned.  Turns out this was a serious infection caused by one of the same bacterias that cause staph or strep (these little bugs are everywhere).  ...and it's highly contagious.  ...and can become a widespread infection.  Ick! 

Gross out warning!  After lunch on Tuesday the drainage began.  This was nasty gooey never ending puss.  I've never had such a thing on my body. I've never seen so much puss.  It is difficult to describe the volume effectively.  Nasty and disgusting.  This stage has settled for one area but I still have another that has yet to subside or drain.  Joy!  It feels like I'm about half-way through this phase.  The remainder will be for my skin to recover, which is a complete disaster at this point.  I also expect that I may be placed on a second course of antibiotics.

So the picture below is a bit exaggerated...but not by much.  This is however exactly what  it has felt like.  That's my post Thanksgiving in a nutshell.  I'm happy it happened on Friday because I had a great Thanksgiving with friends where the food ran from traditional American to Haitian family recipes to Chinese.  It was also the first time in three months or more that my friend Xiaoyan and I were able to talk for more than 15 minutes.  Were it not for Moseby (he needed to be let out ), I would have been there well past 2:00 a.m..  She and I never run out of conversation.  Never have.  We live more than 2 hours from one another and don't have lots of opportunities to meet up and are only able to get short calls during the week.  So I'm happy the infection waited until the day after Thanksgiving. 


©2009 Cindy K. Shaw All rights reserved.

1 comment:

geek said...

Oh...wow!

You seem to be having a good time in going to the doctor. Yeah, fun stuff at the hospital, huh?

I remember, our thesis in high school was about gumamela as cure for Staph. You might wanna gather some. Don't know if you have them in your side of the world, though.

Well at least you had an awesome thanksgiving! By the way, are you feeling any better now?