♥ 2nd Lupus Hospital Stay – 5 days (December 30th-January 3rd) ♥
So, I probably did too much going out to Hershey’s Park and all the shopping around the city (outside)…. but I ended up with bronchitis. And so I went to the ER (because there are NO Urgent Care clinics in Philly) Friday the 29th, to make a quick stop for antibiotics, Xray, etc. They told me my Xray was good, I had bronchitis (not to mention a cough that sounded like a SEAL). They ended up giving me a nebulizer breathing treatment, and a prescription for antibiotics and an inhaler.
The next day I felt a hundred times worse and since I had family in town, after Physical Therapy, I snuck a quick appointment into my primary care’s office. They snuck me right on in direct admittance to the hospital….. I practically had a room and a bed ready for me before I crossed the street to get there. So that was fun. I had a nice view of city hall out my window, and NO roommate!
Once they saw me (and heard my SEAL COUGH) they started me on 3 IV Antibiotics (Azithromycin, Vancomyacin, and Zosyn– in case anyone cares to know which) and pulled me off the Bactrum Antibioitic the ER had given me the day before. They also started me on nebulizer treatments every 4 or 5 hours, which was later changed to every 8 hours when they put me on a 24 hour masked 50% Oxygen cool mist humidifier. That was pretty much it the whole time I was there. Vital signs, pills for lung pain and coughing, other pills, respiratory therapist visits. The end. No, just kidding.Luckily I had given my sister and her family a big hug goodbye, because they were heading back home to sunny Florida that afternoon. Anyways, I had a room and a bed on the Med/Surg floor really quickly, but I don’t think I saw a doctor or my nurse for probably 3 or 4 hours. Strange.
Other than my bronchitis, they were concerned about two things. 1) A possible blood clot in my lower right calf- which had been super painfully cramped for a few days — that turned out fine, after a 3 hour ultrasound and all. But they told me to watch it, because it was a little swollen and I had tiny leg veins for clots to hide in. And apparently lupus gives you a higher for chance for blood clots. 2) My ‘abscess‘ thing on my stomach. It started out as a little white dot surrounded by a red circle like the size of a ‘big’ quarter, surrounded by a white circle. However by the time I was actually in the hospital it was a small black hole, surrounded by red skin, probably the size of a large tablespoon spoon. [Check out the photo on the left] And some of the parts in the ‘red zone’ were rock hard. Oh AND IT HURT LIKE THE DICKENS! The weird part was if you pressed on the side of my stomach, or way below the spot on my stomach, it still made me literally scream in pain–at the location of the red spot.
An infectious disease doctor came in, and touched it and stuff, and told me he thought it was a PHLEGMON. I asked if he could spell that, and he DREW me a picture!
So, here’s a picture of my re-draw that explains it a bit—>
But basically instead of an abscess or pocket of pus/infection under my skin, most likely from an infected hair follicle, I just had infected tissue. Like, the fat skin, whatever tissues it touched were infected. But don’t worry, the surgeon came in my room all by himself with his kit, sliced me open and pulled it right out!!! Part of it had actually become necrotic [DEAD]. Fun, that’s probably why I had a fever.
[♦◊♦ WARNING - - - if you get grossed out easy, you might want to stop reading- and then I'm going to show you a picture of the incision- so stop reading here maybe? But really..... don't! It's not that bad. AND this IS a lupus blog ♦◊♦ ]
I got to watch the whole thing, thanks to local anesthesia. It was crazy- he cut it open, maybe an inch wide
, but he went deep. INCHES deep
He cleaned it up and then reached in with his clamps and PULLED out gross, infected, interesting stuff. Not too much, but enough. It was rather amazing how he dug around in there so grotesquely
His scissors were the clampy
kind and he essentially reached in the hole he cut, and did this circle type thing feeling around in there under all the red stuff to make sure there was no more. And in the end it looked like a small stab wound, next to the ‘folliculitis’ spot that originated the infection. Then he didn’t stitch it or anything because he said it needs to drain and heal from the inside out- wouldn’t want to keep any more infection in there! So he bandaged it up with a simple piece of gauze.
That was pretty much the most exciting part of my stay. Oh, and New Years Eve!!! LUCKILY, I was awoken to have my blood drawn at 11:55 pm, so I turned on the hospital tv really quick and watched. I even took a picture. I heard one or two fireworks, but being in center city, surrounded by huge buildings made it kind of hard to hear (or see) the show in South Philly.
I didn’t actually get my mini-surgery on my stomach until the next day, January 1 2012. Then after they determined I didn’t have the flu, my fever went down, and my blood cultures were alright, they let me go home late in the day on Tuesday the 3rd!!!! They told me the blood work indicated I am NOT in a “lupus flare”! (Good news- however, this makes me realize how much I still don’t know about the technicalities of lupus- such as when you are in a flare, or remission, or just normal? )
The docs released me basically saying I just need to be careful with my skin and airways in general. They wrote me prescriptions for Bactrum (antibiotic) 2 at a time, twice a day, 5 days. And, morphine pills. Only 14 pills, but I’m pretty sure my lungs and/or won’t hurt enough to need more. Hahaa.
Here is my ‘owwie’ now, looking pretty good. Smaller in size. I put a size comparison pencil for fun
I will make the two photos thumbnails in case you get grossed out. You can click them if you’d like to see bigger!!
On a separate note, I have a little bad news. It’s a new symptom that started in the hospital. I didn’t think anything of it, it was maybe the last day or two I was in there that it started. My right forefinger and thumb- at the very tip have sensation loss. It’s almost like I burned them, or shocked them or who knows. Or, it feels like I have superglue on the tips! [Really the tips, like you have to lift your hand and point your fingers directly downwards onto the table to feel the part I'm talking about.] I tried to ignore it, figuring it would go away, but now I have slight sensation loss in the tips of the rest of my fingers– on both hands. It’s most severe still on the first two. I called my rheumatologist and he said he’d like to see me tomorrow (even though I have an appointment in 10 days). So we will see how that goes. I get to use my KAFO leg brace tomorrow again at physical therapy… I’m hoping I get to bring it home!!!!
That’s all for now.
“The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be.” ~Shakti Gawain