Friday, November 02, 2012

Melanie Joins the ER Club

Amazingly, I find myself with a moment to write this blog post. What started off as a fun week turned into something of a disaster. Sunday was Creegan’s birthday. It started off well enough, but by Sunday evening, Melanie was feeling very ill. She was acting very distraught and as though she had a fever, with chills and complaints of freezing. But she didn’t actually have a fever, which was strange. However, when she’d calm down and start to say she felt too warm, her temperature was up to 102F. She started taking Tylenol, etc., and ended up sleeping fairly well on Sunday night. When she was awake in the night, she said she felt much better. On Monday morning, she assumed she was getting better and laid off the drugs. Then she started feeling awful again. To make matters worse, her right leg was swelling a little bit. That was disconcerting to me, as it seemed an unusual accompaniment to fever-like symptoms. But Melanie wasn’t panicking. She thought maybe it was an allergic reaction to something and tried an antihistamine. It didn’t help. She decided that if she weren’t feeling better on Tuesday, she would go to the doctor.

I went to school on Tuesday morning, and when I got home, Melanie still wasn’t feeling better. Her leg was also getting much worse and getting darker and darker pink. She finally went to an Urgent Care facility. They ended up sending her to the ER, and she hasn’t been home since. After many hours, they admitted her to the hospital. After many more hours, Melanie was told they would have a “doctor of infectious diseases” come look at her. That didn’t sit too well with me. I had no idea what that meant or how panicked I should be. Wednesday was a somewhat hellish day for me, emotionally. My anxiety was through the roof, precisely because I didn’t know how much anxiety the situation called for. To top it all off, they were saying that Melanie would likely be in the hospital multiple nights. When she went to Urgent Care, I just assumed she’d be coming home within a couple of hours with a prescription antibiotic. I was devastated to learn she’d be kept overnight, but when they started saying things like, “seven to ten days” and “up to two weeks,” I was shocked. How could they possibly not be thinking the worst?

With a great sigh of relief, I now know a lot more about the situation than I did. It turns out this is a case of cellulitis. Yes, it does require aggressive antibiotic treatment for up to a few weeks, but it’s not something to panic about. And yes, it’s considered an infectious disease. But I didn’t know what that term really meant or included. I was thinking worst-case scenarios, like something from a mosquito that inevitably kills you. Thankfully, that’s not the case. And second only to the fact that Melanie’s not going to die, she is unlikely to remain in the hospital beyond tomorrow afternoon / early evening. She’ll likely have to receive a “PICC line” IV that will remain in her upper arm for two weeks while she makes daily visits to the hospital for antibiotic treatment. That’s a nuisance, sure, but it beats living there.

Melanie’s lower right leg. The blue lines are the pen markings made by the doctor to track improvement.

And so, for the last few days, I’ve been living much like a single parent. Melanie’s the expert in this department, but I’m pleased with how well it’s gone. I had to bail on school, which I shamefully feel sheepish about because I recently stayed home so Peter could have surgery and then so I could deal with gout. I can’t help thinking my professor will think I’m making things up. Oh well. I did take the boys trick-or-treating on Halloween, and believe it or not, I’ve done some cooking. I’ve also done my first couple of loads of laundry since at least 2011. I guess those are some neat things to come out of this. Oh, and Melanie finally got to join the club to which Edison, Peter, Creegan, and I already belong—having spent our time in the emergency room at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. It’s one of the only things to do here in Tallahassee, so I guess it’s good she’s had a turn.

1 comment:

  1. Ben, what a week, eh? I sure hope things continue to improve. What a challenge for you. Keep us posted.