Dec 10, 2012

My Week With an Abscess and Staph or MRCA or Botfly or Alienbabieswaitingtobereborn In My Thigh

It all started with what looked like an ingrown hair or perhaps just a clogged pore on my thigh. It ended with it feeling like my leg was on fire, or being grated through a cheese grater. That's when I figured, hmm, perhaps something is wrong. 

I had picked at it a wee bit, but once it got angry and swollen, I conceded and backed off. By day two, it was painful and I was forced to waddle. By day three, I had no idea what the hell was wrong. The inflammation on my leg was about the size of my hand, red, hard, and angry. I decided to head to the CVS minute clinic after work, since I don't have a primary doctor, and even if I did, they'd be closed at that time anyway. I thought if I could get an antibiotic that would be it—end of story.

By the time I hobbled to CVS and it was my turn to see the nurse, my entire thigh was on fire. I could barely move it, because every time I did it felt like I was being stabbed. Not that I know what being stabbed feels like, but I imagine something very close to this. The nurse took a look, and said shocked, "Oh dear, that's bad." It also turns out that I shouldn't have been icing it all day, I should have been heating it. Which I still don't understand since it was on fire, and I was always taught to put out fire with water, not more fire. The nurse was so concerned that I decided to try to see a doctor the next morning. 

You know when you see really old people and they can only walk ridiculously slow? This was me, but slower. A couple of times I had to take breaks because the pain was so overwhelming. Twenty minutes to walk three blocks. Suck. After my slow trek to the new doctor's office, the doctor kept noting that the infection was "impressive" and said I should consider getting it drained (vomit), and that if it got any bigger to go to the emergency room immediately. He also changed my antibiotic to Doxycycline, so I figured, hey at least I can get my skin to clear up. Granted, I'd rather be able to walk. And I still had no clue what was happening. 

But that third night I was so wholly convinced that this thing was some sort of rare infection that was going to get into my bloodstream, make it toxic, stop my heart, and maybe make my limbs fall off, I asked if my boyfriend would drive me to the midnight. Actually, much in the same vein as my grandmother, I said, just tell me how to get there and I will drive myself. He drove me, because he's awesome. The doctor at the ER was equally "impressed at the size of the infection." She poked around, I winced. They wanted to start me on a different antibiotic and attempt to drain it. She noted I likely had a Staph infection, or MRCA and that I may need to come back the next day to be admitted if the infection got any bigger. 

And then, the draining. Unfortunately, it "wasn't ripe" enough yet (nurse's words, not mine). But, they still tried. After poking the wound with needles to numb it and tweezers to try to drain it, they were nice enough to give me some percoset for the stabbing, burning, clawing, deargodwhatthefuck pain. It worked wonderfully, killing the demons within 20 minutes. It also made my brain feel heavy, which was weird. 

So the next day I went to pick up my third antibiotic, Tylenol-3, and topical antibiotic. This was a drug I didn't recall taking before I made sure I was aware of the side effects, since I never know what kind of fun reaction my body will have to new drugs. Especially since after taking one, and then having some yogurt, I threw up all morning. Clearly, I was dying. Or my body was readying to become a zombie. 

The side effects included things like, "You may poop. Pooping may occur weeks or months after taking this drug." Ok, so first of all, no, it didn't say "poop," but you get what I mean. And weeks to months after? How does one go back and attribute it to the drug and not  spicy mexican food? Strange. This antibiotic could cause difficulty swallowing, which it did. But it felt more like that indigestion you get where you feel like there is an apple stuck in your esophagus. Or maybe that's just me.  Also, there may be tongue swelling. After reading that I began to think my tongue may be swelling. How would I know? I guess I didn't pay enough attention to the size of my tongue before this all happened, and now I have no idea if my tongue is swollen and I am going to go to sleep and not wake up because I've been choked by my own tongue. Not cool. 

Well, my tongue didn't choke me. But I was still waiting for aliens to crawl out of my leg. Day seven, the pain was finally starting to subside. Hooray! Ah, but alas, the party was not over. For whatever reason, I decided last night to wrap the wound, so the antibiotic cream could really soak in and not get rubbed off by my clothing. Thank you intuition, thank you. I woke up to find that "it was ripe." And it was disgusting. For those of you who aren't familiar with abscesses, like I now am, go ahead and take a little visit to YouTube and search for draining an abscess. Because, yes, that was my morning. Between dealing with that, body shaking, and stomach gagging, I woke up my boyfriend because I was now convinced I had had enough and was going to pass out at any second. It probably would have been preferable to the endless gifts my thigh was bestowing unto me. I guess I forgot to tell my thigh it was not included in the Christmas gift exchange this year, and let me tell you, after its choice of gifts, I won't be including it ever again. My thigh is kind of an asshole when it comes to gift giving.

It's been one week. My leg hasn't fallen off yet, I have yet to become a zombie, and despite what my dad thinks, I have not located any fly larvae. Maybe the zombies ate them.

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