Category Archives: Get well soon!

November 18 – Ah Eff It

This is the only time I hadn’t been able to make it the 30 days of blog posts. It wasn’t that I was too busy (hello?? unemployed!”) or that I didn’t have anything to write (you can hardly shut me up on Facebook). It’s just that drive wasn’t there and you know what? That’s OK.

Aitch was diagnosed with a yeast infection. By the time the pediatrician examined her that afternoon of her appointment, blisters had formed down there. BLISTERS!! Can you imagine? As for the areas on her face, he doubted that the two pimply looking spots were impetigo, however there was a suspicious area under her nose that might have been, but meh, what’s the point of testing since he’s putting her on an antibiotic for the infection. The pediatrician explained how impetigo manifests when kids rub their runny noses with their sleeves (Aitch had a minor cold about a week before) which then causes the smallest abrasions under her nose, resulting in the infection that can easily spread across the surface of the skin.

I remembered a couple of years back when she had all the mysterious skin rashes that he said that she’s a carrier of latent staph. I asked him if it’s possible that she’s still carrying it. He said she could for the rest of her lift, so yes, any bacterial infection could very well be harboring MRSA. With that being said, he said the spot on her hip was NOT bacterial but indeed did look like a spider bite that was thankfully disappearing and healing very quickly.

He also said that he wasn’t going to test her for that either, since it just becomes a logistical nightmare, which I concur. The antibiotic he prescribed would be the same as if she had MRSA. Other than that, we were given instructions to use an over-the-counter athlete’s foot cream (we opted for the Desenex powder as she said the Lamisil ointment “burned”) and to treat the blisters with an OOC antibiotic  topical. Within three days, all signs and symptoms except for the blisters had vanished. She’s been very good about taking her medicine, which luckily is only twice a day, but I know it can’t taste good.

In a completely unrelated note, today was my first day that I didn’t go to my office. I’ve made excellent headway on converting the catch-all closet in the mudroom to an “office & school” supply closet. It’s been slow-going because as I move schtuff from one nook in the house I realize I’ve created a whole new area to organize. Busy work, busy work.

Speaking of which, I’ve started a private group on Facebook that was inspired by the Annual Holiday Card Exchange. If you want to join the group, which I can’t stress enough is PRIVATE, you can ask through this group address.

November 12 – infection?

Aitch has been scratching at her privates very indelicately claiming she itches down there. To my untrained eye I thought she may have something akin to a diaper rash, which wouldn’t have been a stretch considering she still has problems getting up to take bathroom breaks at night.

I started applying Butt Balm to her but after a couple of days the itching became extremely painful at which point we visited the urgent care.

The doctor there thought the rash was a yeast infection and advised me to apply lotramin. We are now two days into that treatment and yet she’s worse. This morning she has two zit-like cysts on her cheek (face) and another visual inspection of her bottom reveals she’s redder than ever and has broken out there, too. She told me the cream burns, so I didn’t use it. I also scheduled an appointment with her pediatrician tomorrow.

Insult to injury, it looks like she was the recipient of a particularly nasty spider bite on her hip. I’ve been applying Benadryl cream to the bite, but it gives her little relief.

I thought about running her an oatmeal bath tonight, but not sure if she should stew in any water at this point or not. FWIW, she doesn’t take bubble baths nor has she been on any antibiotics. She also doesn’t care for yogurt.

Any suggestions on some easy home recipes to give some relief? She’s pretty miserable.

Sometimes, Cancer Isn’t Cured with Stitches

Yesterday I found out that a young woman who I was introduced to via social networking shortly after I was diagnosed with Malignant Melanoma had passed away from her cancer. She was only 40 and left behind a husband and two young sons, and her name is Dawn.

While my mole was simply removed with a wide-margin surgery, her treatment was to take out a couple of her lymph nodes in her groin to biopsy them as well along with the mole removal. Dawn’s treatment was considered successful after her second lymph node surgery, CT and PET scans in the winter of 2009, a full year before my diagnosis and treatment. She was instructed to get a mole check every three months; I went in every six.

Last February when she told her doctor she’d been having pain, he proactively ordered a scan even though she’d been given the all clear by her dermatologist. That’s when they discovered her cancer had returned. Then after some chemo treatment, they performed surgery just three weeks ago and basically found the tumors were inoperable. Last week she came home and began “planning visitations and playlists“.

Her story is both frightening similar and altogether different from mine. I don’t compare my situation her hers to bring attention to myself, but as a simple reminder to that I don’t believe that fate has anything to do with how our lives turn out. It’s simply luck, whether good or bad. I didn’t “deserve” getting cancer, and Dawn certainly didn’t “deserve” to die. A roll of dice has left me cancer-free (as far as I know), but her death has shaken me to the quick. In another six months, my diagnosis could be as equally dire. Like her, I look back on past symptoms (the severe breast pain; the bone-melting fatigue) and wonder if the doctors really did weigh in my past diagnosis.

I don’t want to harp on you, my friends, the seriousness and dangers of tanning, whether by bed or sun, but if my story of survival doesn’t convince you that you need to be sun-conscious, I hope that Dawn’s life and her legacy does.

I’m getting LASIK

It’s been depressing here so I’m going to shake it up with something NOT depressing. However, it may be frustrating as I’m blogging on my droid which usually results in me accidentally deleting everything or the photos not posting.

Friday, I am getting LASIK on my left eye. I’ve been considering it for years now and there’s seems to be no point in delaying it longer. I am near-sighted, which means I can’t see far. Seems obvious, right? However I also need bifocals for the computer.

What makes my circumstances unusual in some ways is that mysuper near vision is very good. In fact I can easily work on the minuscule sliver as long as I am NOT wearing my contacts.

The dilemma I faced when consulting with the optometrist is if I fix my nearsightedness (so I will be able to see far away) it will negatively affect what I can see close up. This is a conumdrum.

That’s when my doc suggested I think about monovision correction, which is when they fix the nearsightedness in the dominant eye, and then fix the farsightedness (to help me see close) on the other eye. I could actually test this by wearing ONE contact for a few days. The surgeon confirmed but had this to add: since the correction to the eye for FARsightedness in my left eye would make it about as good as it is now in my RIGHT eye (my dominant) eye, I should also consider correcting only the left for nearsightedness and doing nothing with the right.

Now I’m sure I’ve lost you, right, I mean CORRECT?

The short of it was to experiment with the idea of monovision. So for a couple days I wore a contact in my left eye and then I wore one in my right eye. The affect is disconbobulating, to say the least, especially for night time driving. I couldn’t handle that for a drive for anything longer than a shot into town. I realized that if I corrected only one eye, I will have to get glasses for nightime driving. On the upside, I would no longer have to wear glasses during the day, specifically when I’m outside, whether doing yardwork or when I take the kids to the pool. This is actually a huge deal for me because I usually have to switch out the glasses for contacts anytime I want to wear sunglasses.

The downside is no matter what, my eyesight cannot be corrected enough or in any combination to avoid corrective glasses in some kind of capacity for nights and days spent in my office. I am fine with that. The other interesting discovery I made experimenting with only correcting one eye, specifically my left (remember, that is my non-dominant eye), is I will have to adjust how I use a camera (no more viewfinder), or shoot pool, or even if I decide to take up a hobby like archery. But as it is, I’m not a professional photographer nor do I participate in any activities routinely that I regret choosing my left eye over the right for LASIK.

And that’s where I am now. I’ve had my eyeballs measured and the topography mapped. I started a short list of topical treatments in preparation for Friday’s procedure. I have not worn my contacts for almost a week, which is required even before the consult so make sure you get the details from the office since it can affect vacations and social events if you are interested in LASIK.

And just in case you were curious about all the steps involved in the process, there have been a few.

1) consult with my routine eye physician. He did lots of measurements and mapping. Then he referred me to the specialist.

2) Consult specialist, who will have his grumpy and cheerless staff leave you forgotten in a darkened room forbidding you to use your smart phone because they want the eyes dilated. They will only remember you when you peek your head out the door into the glaringly white hallway and catch them gossiping with their friend and their new baby. I was also reprimanded for not being able to both open my eyes really, REALLY wide and go without blinking as she tried to get the machine focused on my eyeball. I confess that if the surgeon wasn’t so nice, I would have left and never returned. A million stinkeyes to the staff at the Eye Physicians, P.C. in Columbus, NE. Oh yes, I am calling them out. I was there for two hours, and 90% of that time was being shuffled from one machine to the next, including the wait in the dark room. Oh! And when the tech finally came into the dark room, she flipped the room’s light switch to full on. Dilated eyes? What dilated eyes!

Here’s a couple pictures I took of the machines I had to stick my face in. In thumbnails, they look like fancy toilets, don’t they? I didn’t get a picture of the Dark Room since I was told not to use my phone… Aren’t you impressed by the fact I obeyed?

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3) Surgery (currently pending). I get a valium that morning. Whoot!

4) Next day post op check with my regular eye physician

Ok, so there aren’t a lot of steps, but since I originally started this process in January, it feels like it.

Scarlet Fever is in This Little House on the Prairie

Aitch had been running a fever off and on this past week, plus she complained of a sore throat. I chalked it up to a cold, what with the occasional wet cough and drippy nose that’s been incessant. I’ll admit I was just hoping she wasn’t going to throw up in the car seat (again!) or on the carpet (again!) or the couch (again!!).

She wanted to join her brother at the local Y for Family Swim Night, which was just an extended open swim from the after-school program. I went through the rushed steps of getting her undressed from her clothes and getting her into her swimsuit as quickly as possible so we could make the most out of what little time we had left. I was also distracted by the fact I had to get in the water with her and was no mood to be in a swimsuit without an opportunity to shave.

I slid into the cold water and turned my arms to reach for Aitch who stood at the pool’s ledge arms crooked to her body like a tiny t-rex and I pretended the water felt great. It didn’t. Normally she doesn’t hesitate to just jump in, but once her feet touched the water, she tensed up and would have climbed up and sat on my head if physically possible. I peeled her off me and sat her back on the ledge, annoyed. I had been in such a hurry that I had forgotten to have her go to the bathroom so she stood there, quaking with cold and doing her version of the “potty dance.” I climbed back out of the water, grabbed our towels and we trotted back into the locker room.

As she was sitting there, I noticed how red her hip looked. I lifted the top of her swimsuit and the rash ran all the way up her back. And even though she was shivering violently, she was hot to the touch. It was then she told me she wanted to go home. I knew it was time to take her to the urgent care.

The doctor diagnosed her with strep throat. I asked if he was going to swab her throat to confirm (I think “strep” is just code for “sore throat”, it’s not as common as most think), but he said that the scarletina was confirmation enough. I had never heard a rash described with that word before and didn’t think much of it. We were given a script for antibiotics and we went home. Of course I googled rash and strep throat when I got home and I was surprised to find out that “scarletina” is actually Scarlet Fever.

She has all of the symptoms:

  • sore throat
  • fever
  • rash
  • bright red tongue and throat
  • headaches and body aches

I was expecting it to be just another unexplained rash like when she was a baby. Honestly, I didn’t even think Scarlet Fever was a thing nowadays. By the way, she’s feeling fine. Today both her and Doodicus BEGGED us to take them into town to go sledding down the dam’s hillside, which we did. The girl is a trooper. That’s all I can say.

Tomorrow

Things have been not so good lately, but each time I sit down to draft it out, 600 words later I have deleted it and closed the window. One of my friends from Facebook posted on one of my wall updates how I never seem to be happy, and frankly, the words stung with their accuracy. I have not been happy.

It’s not because there is a sense of “buyer’s remorse” over our moving Doodicus from a private school to a public in the hopes he would have access to more…more what? Yeah, well, that’s hard to explain. And the remark about Buyer’s Remorse came from the psychologist, not from Sparring Partner, myself or Dood, but it kinda sums things up nicely.

It’s not because Sparring Partner’s dad is slipping slowly away in a too-small nursing home room. The giant man whose presence in any room could not simply be ignored – not just because of his size – but because his distinct Bostonian voice could drown any cacophony of Midwesterners, has become an almost empty, cancer-riddled shell. Or that my mom’s Alzheimer’s is progressing in what seems like light-speed ever since Aitch started going to school and we see her less frequently. Talking with her about how the kids are adjusting to school, or the home projects, or just little stories about day-to-day happenings is like trying to write on a chalkboard in the middle of a rain shower.

My unhappiness is not because my son had a crisis that shook us all to our very quick; that incurred a standing appointment with the behavioral health department every other week, that made me ache to go back in time and tell him a thousand more times a day that we love him more than anything. I should have hugged him more even though he always wiggled or turned away. Especially when he wiggled and turned away.

It is that culmination of emotional weight and stress and a feeling your life is spinning wildly off course even though there was never a course to begin with to follow. I know it will slow down enough so I can catch my balance. Yesterdays always seem much simpler, and certainly less of a burden. They are the days that no longer have long lists of things to-do and the things un-done. They are just simply the days that were. Tomorrows are hard because they are filled with expectations, anticipations, dread and worry.

I am hoping just for better tomorrows. Maybe even happier.