Last week, I talked about how I let a sore on my toe get infected, sending me last Sunday morning to the urgent care for some antibiotics and a couple days off from work. The doc had very specific instructions: Take all my antibiotics, stay off my feet for three days, and if the infection moves up past my knee (in a little phenomenon called “branching”) or I run a fever, go to the ER. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Go. Right. That. Instant.
I came home, parked myself in the recliner, and thought, “Hey, tomorrow’s blog post!”
So I spent Sunday and Monday in our recliner. Plenty comfy, but I remember I got sick of it when I had my wisdom teeth pulled a few years ago. I got sick of it now, too. At the same time, I noticed Monday that the redness had not spread, and the foot was easier to walk on. Just the same, I took hourly temperatures. My normal temperature is actually in the mid-97’s, and there it stayed all day. After dinner Monday night, I settled in with a beer and prepared to watch Monday Night Football. About then, I said, “Honey, I feel funny.”
My wife shoved a thermometer in my mouth which came back 100. Yikes! Off to the ER.
Mind you, a guy with an infected boo boo is not going go ahead of the guy holding an icepack to his head or the pregnant lady in the wheelchair muttering that her contractions had better be real this time because she was getting sick of the trips to Christ Hospital. So I got caught up on How I Met Your Mother in the waiting room. I was even able to walk back and register myself. They sent me back a second time for vitals. Of course, the fever was gone. 97.6. “But honest, nurse. I did run a 100-degree fever.” The nurse just laughed. They see this all the time.
I tried to stay calm. One thing I don’t like is a lot of attention when I’m sick. (Says the guy who’s managed to get two blog posts out of a bad case of cellulitis.) However, my wife had to calm me down because I was talking a mile a minute. Finally, I went back to an examining room and took of my shoe for the nurse, the resident, and the ER doc to see. The resident took a Sharpie and drew a line around the main part of the infection, which was in my foot. When she finished, she said, “Looks like a bunny.”
“An evil bunny,” I said. “It’s eating my leg.” They pumped a bag of some high-test antibiotics in me, and off I went to my room.
I haven’t been in the hospital as a patient in years. I’ve taken Nita there a couple of times since we’ve been married, but I’ve been lucky. My health problems stem mostly from being fluffy, diabetes kicking in during a brief period when I was DAMN! Since 16 of the 22 pounds I’d lost earlier in the year had come back, I worried I was going to be put on insulin for the rest of my life. Nope. “It’s not spectacular, but it’s not bad. A unit after meals should get you through, and you can go back to medication and diet when you leave.”
Yeah, that’s what I took away from that. I was healthier than I thought I was, other than my foot being fire engine red, a bunch of streaks running up my leg, and a wound on my toe that looked like an alien spore had started growing in it.
I spent the night on another bag of antibiotics, this one called vancomyecin. Nothing changed when the resident dropped by the next morning. But when they unplugged me, it was like someone turned on a light. By the time the resident returned with the doctor and another resident, my foot had turned a lovely shade of pink, and the wound started looking more like a regular wound.
“Wow,” said the resident from the night before. “The rabbit’s dying.”
I told my wife that later. She said, “For once, honey, you want the rabbit to die.”
Nita was a miracle in all this. Yes, we expect our spouses to either stay with us in the hospital, at least during the day, or to stay with our kids. When Nita had chest pains a couple of years ago (acid reflux, but it was nasty), I went home because AJ was still in high school. Since I was the step parent, and there could be custody issues, we thought it best I stay home part of the day so it did not look like we abandoned him. Besides, AJ doesn’t do hospitals well. Can’t blame him.
But this was her birthday week. She took the week off and was going to rest up. Instead she spent several hours on Tuesday eating bland hospital food with me and watching the limited selection of daytime scream fests and judge shows on cable. I read when she wasn’t there, and dozed half the time.
With Wednesday came liberation. The resident came in and checked my foot: Black and blue from bruising caused by the swelling, but no redness. To quote Jar-Jar Binks, “Mesa going home!”* She said, “Looks like we got most of it.”
“Yes,” I said, “The evil bunny is dead.”
Which was good. I was ready to leave. My agenda for the day was, after leaving, 1.) a long, hot shower, 2.) an ice cold beer, and 3.) a bacon cheese burger. Technically, I was still on bed rest, but we went to our favorite bar for dinner anyway. Daddy needed his burger. Mama needed a crown-and-Coke for all she’d been through. AJ needed to kick his best friend’s ass at pool, which he did three times in a row.
That was one tasty burger.
*Oh, chill. I hate Jar-Jar, too, but that’s a great line for getting out of there.