Thursday, July 21, 2011


It is 12:38 a.m. and I am wide awake.  This is unusual for me.  Actually, it's very unusual for me!  For the past few weeks, I've been struggling to stay awake come 8 p.m. each night.  Today I had my first dosage of prednasone.  I do need to take it so for the next 2 weeks I am going to probably be forgoing my morning cup of coffee and taking my dosage as early as I can in the morning--in the hope that the "wired" effect will wear off as much as possible by the time I need to go to sleep.

I've never done drugs, or taken no doze, or drank more than half a glass of wine, so the feeling that I have right now is pretty weird.  I have to take this for 2 weeks because of multiple exposures to poison ivy, sumac, or oak.  Blech!  Still this "wired" effect is much better than the alternative that I had dreaded--a visit to the hospital.

I thought I would share what happened because it's interesting to me to see how our health care system works today.  

We came home last week from a family visit to New York.  I had what I thought were large bug bits.  Silly me, I had scratched them.  Most of them were healing fine, but the spot on the back of my leg.  A few days after we returned home, I thought it would be wise to go to my primary care doctor because I suspected I had cellulitis.  I also had gotten a very painful wasp bite early in the week when I stubbornly walked in my garden barefoot.  My doctor prescribed an antibiotic and a mild steroid.  

The weekend came around and I worked in my garden.  I didn't do a good job of taking a shower immediately afterwards and found myself with a case of poison ivy and a new rash on my neck that burned and itched.  I was miserable!  I didn't feel like either of the medications were helping so I went to an urgent care clinic Sunday morning and was prescribed another antibiotic and a steroid cream.  She had no idea what the rash was, but felt it was a third thing altogether.  Both the PA at the urgent care and my primary care doc both thought I indeed had cellulitis.  When I filled the prescriptions, the pharmacist warned me of the common side effects of the antibiotic and I melted.  Yeast infections and diarrhea.  Ay ay ay!  On top of everything else, I had these things to look forward to!

In the meantime, whenever I told someone I had cellulitis--they told me a story of how they or someone they knew had ended up in the hospital with it.  After a full day of the new antibiotics, I definitely experienced the side effects.  The second day a new side effect appeared--hives!  So, now I found myself with cellulitis, poison ivy, rash of unknown origin, and hives!  I began to panic.  I had an appointment with my primary care doctor on Thursday, but called my dermatologist to see if I could get in to see someone in their office.  I could!  In fact, I could go the very next day, Wednesday!

Wednesday rolled around and I woke up feeling very sick.  Tuesday had not ended well for me.  I had stopped taking the antibiotics on the advice of the urgent care doctor, but they were still in my system.  I had to wait for my doctor's appointment.  I was worried I would be in the hospital by the end of the day.

I got everyone ready for the day and readied my kids to go to a friend's house while I went to the doctor.  My husband had taken the day off to go with me and didn't realize at first how sick I felt.  After taking the kids to swim and then dropping them off at our friend's house, we headed to the dermatologist.  I was surprised to be seen right away.  He was great!  He looked at everything and said that I did not have cellulitis.  I actually had been exposed multiple times to poison ivy/sumac/oak!  He explained that the hives would be a reaction to the Augmentin, the antibiotic I'd been prescribed.  With water and a little food in my system I was already starting to feel less lightheaded and more stable.  He prescribed prednasone for me and so here I am. Wired.  He did warn me about this effect and recommended that I take it early in the morning (except for yesterday) so that the emotional side effects could subside by the time I went to sleep.  But, this side effect is better than the side effects of the antibiotics.  My hives are still dissipating.  I had no idea that the side effects of a medicine could make you feel sicker than the sickness itself!

So, these are my notes to myself...  
1) We have an health plan that doesn't require referrals.  I am very thankful for this.  I was able to go straight to the dermatologist.  Next time something like this occurs with my skin... that's where I'm going to go first.  
2) I need to be more aware of what medicines/foods I'm allergic to.  I haven't thought that I am allergic to much, but I've realized that there are a few things.  Aloe vera, sulfites, and now the antibiotics I was prescribed.  
3) When I get prescribed a medicine I don't know or am using a topical cream, I need to make sure to read the list of side effects.  In this case, I really thought I was getting quite sick--and it was the medicine, not the sickness!

So this is the adventure I've been on the past two weeks with my health.  Our pastor preached on Sunday about refining through suffering.  I have to admit I didn't do very well through all of this.  I was often short with my kids.  But, it made me aware of my sin and that I need to reset how I view interruptions.  Interruptions by my children are what parenting is chock full of.  They are chances for me to show them that I love them--or that I love something else more.  I know there are times when it's okay to forgo interruptions, but I think my kids and I need to work out some guidelines about interruptions.  I need to make sure that they feel they can come to me anytime.  

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