Thursday, May 03, 2012

Tough Lessons

Yesterday I learned a tough lesson:  When you don't have a spleen, it's best not to ignore your body's warning signs of infection.

Last week I noticed that it burned a little when I needed to pee.  I thought, "Gee, I hope I don't have a urinary tract infection," and left it at that.  The discomfort seemed to lessen (or I got used to it?).

Also last week I worked on weaning Obi some.  During the day it's really easy to distract him from nursing.  I can easily offer him a cup of milk or water or a snack to eat.  At night it's not so easy.  As a result of my efforts, I became engorged during the day and he became whiny and clingy and wanted to nurse all night.  He also was cutting a new tooth.  He may have even had a sore throat or something else going on--who knows?!  By Friday night I was miserable.  When I got ready for bed I realized I had made a grave error--do not wear bras with underwires when you are engorged.  Just sayin'.  I was achy all night long and thought for sure it was mastitis.  I had every intention of going to urgent care on Saturday.  But I never got a fever, so I waited it out.  Sunday I felt better.  Oh, and I let Obi nurse as much as he wanted.  He felt better, too.

On Tuesday I had no daycare kids here during the day, so I got Tirzah a doctor appointment for the afternoon.  She has had some bad eczema on the backs of her knees for 3 months now.  I had tried a few different things, including hydrocortisone, and it's still crusty and inflamed and it is spreading all over.  Before we left to go to the doctor I felt achy and tired.  I just knew a fever was coming on.  Side note:  I took Malachi along with us so he could be a little more familiar with the doctor--last year's visit for him was NOT good (he hid under the chair and screamed the entire time she examined him).  He did great, especially since this visit was for Tirzah, not for him.  I'll make sure to take him in a couple more times before it's his turn again.  Ok, so anyway the doctor prescribed triamcinolone acetonide for Tirzah's eczema and gave me some great tips for getting her cleared up and staying that way.  We headed out to the pharmacy to pick up the prescription.  The day was warm, but I was freezing.  Malachi and Tirzah were such troopers.

When I got home Tuesday afternoon my fever was up to 101.  I slugged it out until Mitch got home, then I excused myself to bed.  I asked him to do laundry and supper and clean house and keep the kids quiet--HA!  Sometime after 6 pm I suddenly woke when I heard the tornado sirens going off outside.  I stumbled out of the bedroom and asked if we were headed to the lower level of our home.  Thankfully all was well and the storm moved through very quickly.  I didn't have to sit downstairs too long and I was soon crawling back into bed.  I finally decided that "letting the fever run its course" was kicking my butt and I took tylenol to bring it down.  I managed to feel good enough to fold a couple baskets of laundry and sweep the floor under the table.

Wednesday morning I took more tylenol, and I was able to function throughout the morning.  In the afternoon I crawled into bed and had some of the kids join me (Zeke, Josh, and others) as I read aloud from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  We were just finishing up the book when I noticed I was shivering again.  My temp had climbed to 103.  Mitch came home from work and told me that, yes, I need to go to the doctor, even though that meant he would have to take all the kids to church events by himself. 

At this point, I just didn't even know what to say.  A 103 temp?  Probably a virus, right?  "They" say wait until you've had a fever for 48 hours, which it had not been.  I didn't really have any other symptoms.  Maybe a slight sore throat.  Achiness.  Things that could be caused by a fever.  Oh, and I noticed I was needing to pee a lot more often than normal, yet not much was coming out.  Hmmm.  I also didn't want to take tylenol going in--I felt that getting an accurate reading on *their* thermometer would be more authentic.  But then would I get "yelled" at for not managing my fever?  Like, is this a stupid thing to do? ::sigh::

I picked out a book to read (The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson) and at least looked forward to being alone with my thoughts as I read.  It was 80 F outside and I was wearing jeans, a polo shirt, and a sweatshirt over top, driving with the windows rolled up, and as happy as pie.  I noticed that my throat was a little more sore than it had been previously, and I touched it to confirm my lymph nodes were swollen.  When I got checked in at the clinic I was first horrified by my weight and next gratified to see my temp was a balmy 103.2.  So my temporal thermometer is accurate, eh?  The doctor was concerned from the moment he stepped in the room, but he was also perplexed.  When I said, "Oh, and I don't have a spleen," things got exciting.  He said (with a great middle-eastern accent), you will definitely have an antibiotic, but we would like to figure out what is causing all this and I don't know where to start.  He started with sending his nurse in with 2 extra-strength tylenol to get my fever down asap, then he sent me to lab.  I got everything--complete blood count, strep test, influenza test, chest xray, and urinalysis.  The results came back with a high white blood count (and my hgb is still over 13--I did a private cheer!!!), positive for strep, negative for influenza A or B, clear lungs, and moderate blood in the urine.  So I have strep AND a bladder infection.  Not wanting to under-treat either, the doctor recommended a shot of rocephin to aggressively go after the bladder infection (in case it is actually a kidney infection) and then some augmentin.  At this point I really wanted to speak up and ask for the z-pack (1 a day for 5 days vs. 2 a day for 10 days), but the doctor was so grave that I thought if I said anything he would send me to the hospital instead!  I promised to be a good girl, drink water (yeah, high ketones too), take the shot in my butt like a big girl (man, that STINGS), and take all my antibiotics.  Actually the shot took me by surprise.  I thought it would be in the arm.  When my (male!) nurse came in with a (male!) nursing student (after asking if it was ok) to administer the shot, I was momentarily embarrassed when he said he would have to give it in my back side 2 inches below the waist.  It took me a minute to figure out I would need to drop my pants.  ::blush::  I'm glad I don't know those guys.

I came home to a quiet home (after stopping again at the pharmacy then filling the car up with gas), and had a few minutes to relax (and clean, of course!) before everyone got home.  I slept better last night and today I've stayed with the tylenol to keep the fever away, so I feel better already.  Unfortunately my lips are swelled up with fever blisters now.  Such a miserable outbreak!  My throat is terribly sore today and coated white.  If I hadn't gone in yesterday, who knows what I would be like today?!  From now on I think I will take those small warning signs a little more seriously.  Letting it go until it is a full-blown infection (or two full-blown infections) is a really bad idea!


  1. I learned the hard way about underwire bras while nursing. 3 breast infections in 6 weeks while wearing them, none after.
    Can you call the Dr. and ask for acyclovir for your fever blisters? I get cold sores after having a fever, but the meds help clear it up much more quickly. And I only need to call my dr. and explain to her what's going on, and she'll send an RX to the pharmacy. I took it while pregnant and nursing, so it should be okay for you.

    1. I have taken Valtrex before with excellent results, but I always run out. (It's the same type of drug I think). So today I called the doctor (after being in pain all night). Unfortunately she won't call in a prescription and there are NO appointments available before 2:30 at either clinic location. I have to be home at 3:30 for a dc child to get off the bus. I'm a bit discouraged this morning. :( On the positive side, the nurse (though she was quite rude) told me that I do not, in fact, have a bladder infection but that the results were normal. So what does that mean?!? I was surprised...but it is good news, for sure.