happiness is...

happiness is...
kenya 2010

Sunday, December 23, 2012

"how is your butt?" and other things people ask me at church

i can't begin to tell you how disturbing it is to have my butt be the topic of conversation. i mean, seriously... "how is your arm?" would sound so much more dignified. instead, i suffer through "how is your butt?". even at church. i must have been asked 100 times today. don't get me wrong, i am thrilled that people care about me and want to know how i'm doing. i also don't want them to feel like they can't ask. i just wish it was on my arm!

so here is the update- i think it is getting better, but it is far from healed. i have a friend (my roommate is getting of the hook on this one, and boy is she grateful!) coming once a day to pack it. that involves stuffing 2 feet of 1/2 inch wide gauze through the inch wide incision into the crater under the skin, which i estimate to be about the size of a raquetball. obviously, that is NO fun- for either of us. i have yet to figure out who's getting the worse end of the deal. before she comes, i medicate with 2 percocet, pull out the 2 feet of packing she put in there the day before, and hop in the shower to wash out the wound. then i spend the rest of the day trying to recover from the pain once the percocet wears off. at bedtime, it is 2 percocet, 800mg of ibuprofen, an ambien, and a beer. that allows me to sleep reasonably well so that i can start all over the next day. ugh.

the fevers still come and go. i am on antibiotics for the staph infection that is in the wound, but the good news is that it isn't a form of staph that is resistant to medications. it's just a run-of-the-mill bacteria, but boy it's kicking my butt! literally.

overall, it is improving. the reddened area is smaller and there is less drainage. i also no longer feel like i might die during the night. see? that's an improvement! just please pray for the drive to st. louis on the 27th. i am ringing in the new year at a mission/worship conference (urbana). it is hard to drive while staying off one side of your butt- so i am guessing it is going to hurt! i could try the percocet/beer combo, but they frown on that while driving. guess i'll just have to suck it up (shudder).

merry christmas to me... 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

it finally happened- a spider tried to kill me

i need to watch what i wish for. i was just thinking, "i haven't had anything newsworthy happen in awhile. i need a good story for my blog!"...and then, as if on command, a spider tried to kill me. to be fair, i am not absolutely, positively, 100% sure it was a spider. i have no actual proof (except the aftermath) but i know they're pure evil and intuition tells me one was to blame for what i've been dealing with all week.

this all started on friday. i was spending a lazy day in my lazy boy. okay, it's from world market, but lazy boy has a nice ring to it. :0) i had been reading in my chair for a couple of hours, and when i got up i felt a burning, itchy little area at the top of my left hip/buttock. disclaimer here for anyone who's heard me tell this story using the euphamism "top of my leg". technically my butt IS the top of my leg. the VERY top of my leg!! okay, okay...my blog is a place of honesty and transparency, so goodbye to dignity-sparing descriptions. i have what i think is a spider bite (SHUDDER at the thought!!) on my butt. sigh.

at first i didn't realize it was a bite. i thought maybe the seam of my jeans had embedded in my skin from sitting in the same position for too long, and it was just an indentation that would go away. by the next morning, it was obviously a bite. it was about the size of a quarter and hot, with a hard center. if that sounds bad, fast forward to sunday when it was the size of a grapefruit! in my defense, i really thought this would go away on its own. i wasn't being avoidant because i am a nurse, although i am admittedly a better nurse than a patient. i have had these a couple of times in the past and they have always gotten worse for a day or two and then slowly resolved without any treatment. this got bad FAST! by saturday night, the left side of my butt was about 1/3 larger than the right side (oh my word, that was horrifying on so many levels), the tissue was hard as a rock, red, and hot, and i had a fever. i had to wear a skirt because i was too swollen to fit into my jeans- really! by sunday, i was actually scared. all of those stories of flesh eating bacteria and people with amputations (how do you amputate 1/2 a butt??!) came flooding into my mind. all of the ER horror stories i've told and heard were suddenly way less amusing and entertaining and way too much of a potential reality.

i called the doc on call and got some antibiotics started on sunday afternoon, and even drew a line around the edge of the wound with a marker to keep track of its progress. i doubt i needed that for reference. by the next day, the redness had spread to nearly 2 inches outside the marker line, the pain was worse, and the fever didn't budge. the nutshell is that after 8 hours worth of ER visits in 2 days, 2 liters of IV fluids, 2 doses of heavy-duty IV antibiotics, one IV start that accidentally hit an artery, 2 rounds of being cut open with a scalpel and having the wound cleaned and packed with gauze, and a visit to the surgeon, i think i am going to live. i still have a long road ahead of me and it is far from healed, but i am on the right path. the surgeon did some serious work on it in the office and said to me, "i think if you hadn't come in today, you would have been in real trouble. you would have ended up with extensive surgical debridement and loss of tissue". translation: "i would have to take you to surgery and cut a big chunk out of your butt". if they would consider taking a chunk off both sides of my butt, i might consider it. anyway...

prayers for all the doctors, nurses, and nurse practitioners that have had to see my swollen, wounded butt this week. we will ALL need healing after that. even more prayers for my roommate who will have to pack it with gauze once a day until it's all over and done. i really should add this to the lease.

the moral of the story is that once again, good prevails over evil. spiders beware!!