I haven’t been online so much of late because I fell ill, got worse, and spent eight days in the hospital receiving IV antibiotics. My recovery is slower than I’d like, but I’m glad to be back home. At the time of this writing, I can’t walk well and have to spend most of my time reclining, which is pretty much hell for me.
Like I like to say, it sucks that it happened, but it’d suck more if I didn’t learn anything from it. Hopefully you won’t make the same mistakes I did if you find yourself in a similar situation. If nothing else, it’s nice to be an example for wiser people not to follow.
One last bit of preface: I am amazingly lucky to have fallen ill during the 21st century in an American hospital. All of my healthcare providers have been professional, efficient, and kind, and have taken excellent care of me. Any complaints I have are minor, at best.
A couple of weeks ago I started to feel sick: sore throat, tired, headache. I figured it was a cold coming on until, a day or two later, my left leg started hurting. A lot. Weird. It hurt so much that I couldn’t walk on it: only lurch. Couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat. So I went to the local urgent care medical center, and after less than a one minute assessment of my leg the physician’s assistant declared that I had shingles. I’m younger than the average age for it. She sent me home with an anti-viral drug, an antibiotic, and instructions to go to the hospital if things didn’t get any better by Friday.
Things got worse. The pain increased. A day later my foot swelled to grotesque proportions. Do you remember in Big Trouble in Little China when Thunder got so angry he swelled up and exploded? It looked a bit like that. I should’ve gone to the hospital right there and then, but I blindly trusted the physician’s diagnosis and advice. That was a mistake. Always question everything. Even doctors. Even diagnoses. When conditions change that you can independently verify, like your foot and leg swelling horribly, go get that second opinion. So days passed in agony and blind trust, and I went to the hospital on Friday, days later than I should’ve.
They put me in a wheelchair because I couldn’t walk, wheeled me into the emergency room, and set me up on a gurney in a hospital gown. This is when I began to get scared. I’d been to the hospital before: a couple of times as a kid, and a few times as an adult when my son had to get stitches in his face for various booboos. I’d been fortunate. Not anymore. What was going on? Thank God my wife was there. She helped.
They drew blood, did tests, and told me I’d have to be admitted. Some kind of infection in my leg. Nobody could point to what the infection was, exactly. Maybe I’d scratched a bug bite on my calf. Maybe our new cat scratched me and I didn’t notice. Maybe Extraterrestrial Biological Entities stuck a needle in my leg instead of probing my anus. We never found out what had infected me. But it wasn’t good. And it wasn’t shingles. Red lines were traveling up my thigh toward my heart. Hours later I lay in a private room (luckily) with an IV in the back of my hand, pumping antibiotics into my bloodstream. I’d stay like that for eight days straight.