Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Things That Are Making Me Cranky Right Now

Flucloxacillin. Let's start there, shall we? It's supposed to be taken on an empty stomach, at six hourly intervals.  Now, while six or seven hours is a good night of sleep for me, let's think about it a little here. Especially, let us take into account the fact that I'm one of a minority of people who gets bloody awful stomach upsets from this noxious drug.

I took my first midnight tablet on Sunday night. At one in the morning, I woke up from a dream of being repeatedly stabbed in the belly to discover that apparently I'd accidentally ingested an Alien (from the movies) and it was trying to claw it's way out of my upper stomach sort of region.

One does not sleep through a personalised recreation of the infamous 'chestburster' sequence, I assure you. In fact, one gets up and goes after some milk and bicarb. Bleah.

I have since discovered that if I stay vertical around the time of swallowing the medication, the fallout is limited to minor pain and nausea, plus burpage. Much burpage.

Now, of course, the question is why I'd be taking this crap. And the answer is perplexing. Saturday night I noticed a knot in  my right calf, low down, on the inside. It felt like someone had kicked me fairly hard, or hit me with a stick, and there was a knot of bruising, waiting to resolve.

My lifestyle being what it is, I assumed that someone had in fact kicked me, or possibly hit me with a stick, and I simply hadn't noticed. For example: if somebody had thrown a good fore-arm block at me while I was attacking with a right-foot inside-line crescent kick, I could well have acquired such a bruise without noticing it for a couple days. These things happen.

However, by Sunday morning there was a reddened area on the skin of my calf, and the pain was spreading. Hmm. I called my deeply sympathetic wife to look it over. She declared that it might be a 'skin infection', or perhaps a little venous thrombosis.

I didn't like either of those options very much. There wasn't even a break in the skin, and even though I do sit on my butt and write a lot, I'm pretty active. There's a lot of getting up and wandering around, and gardening, and martial arts, and kids... I didn't figure myself for a DVT candidate.

Natalie told me that my dry skin doesn't present the best of infection barriers, though. Huh. Who knew? I've never been prone to this sort of thing. Anyhow - I drew a circle around the red blotch with a felt pen, and left it at that.

A couple hours later, down in Scottsdale with the kids, I looked at my leg and saw the redness had moved well past the margin of the ring I'd drawn. Couple that with the fact that the pain was making walking tricky, and I figured I'd better do something. Natalie sent me down to the hospital where a kind, if slightly vampiric, nurse checked my pulse (fine) blood pressure (fine) and my blood sugar (fine) while I sat in a chair and told the kids not to jump around on the gurney they'd commandeered.

My wife the doc breezed in and looked at the spot. She conferred with another doc. Yes, they decided. Skin infection. Antibiotics were in order.

Hence the appalling goddam flucloxacillin.

In the meantime the skin infection - cellulitis, apparently - is also making me cranky. The drugs are finally winding it back, but it's relinquishing its grip most reluctantly. In the meantime the area is wildly sensitive, and extremely painful to touch. Apparently this is one of the fun features of cellulitis. So much of my day is spent cursing, as I bang my leg, or shift my weight wrong, or even roll over in an unfortunate manner should I be in bed.

Ouch. Dammit.

Well, never mind. At least the drugs appear to be doing the job they're supposed to do. That's something for which to be grateful, in a world where drug-resistant bacteria are on the rise. The way the goddam stuff was spreading, I have a sneaking suspicion that without antibiotics, the answer would have involved anaesthetic and a bone-saw...