I debated if “scary” was a necessary descriptor before the words “emergency room trip” because I’m under the assumption that the vast majority of ER trips are scary.
Talk about ending the year with a bang. How would you like to spend 6 hours in the emergency room the day right after Christmas after you blew up in hives?
It’s one of the best things that have happened to me in 2018!
Ahh, let me rewind the story a bit.
I have mild eczema. Nothing too chronic or serious and only a few problem areas. My friends have eczema and I’m a very lightweight case when compared. I didn’t have it when I was a child, it only started up after college when I became an adult.
In fact, even after that, most doctors didn’t think it was a problem…until I started getting skin infections one after another. Then they told me to start getting serious with my daily moisturizer, stop scratching, etc.
Unfortunately, towards the end of 2018, I got sort of busy with life and work…more work.
Work = stress. Winter = dry skin. Stress + winter + eczema = me scratching subconsciously scratching harder and harder.
I remember I was working and looked down…I saw that my
Little needle spots of blood, nothing big, not even worth a trip to get band-aids.
I distinctly remember thinking, “oh, whatever I don’t have time for band-aids, I need to get this work submitted by 12 tonight so I’m behind.”
They were small pinpricks that should have taken 3 days at the most to heal…
3 weeks zip by, they were raging cases of skin infections/cellulitis on both of my legs.
I crawled out of denial and realized that my cockroach DNA has completely failed me this time.
I never had any serious health issues when I was a kid.
I got my first ever skin infection when I was 23! Why has my cockroach DNA forsaken me now?!!
My primary doctor was on her holiday vacation for 2-3 weeks, my husband and I had a Xmas holiday planned out and we were flying out in less than 1 week.
I couldn’t get a primary care doctor to see me on short notice.
I thought OK — Urgent Care center then — it’s just a skin infection.
I was given Clindamycin (an antibiotic) after lab results showed that I had both staph and strep infections on different wounds.
Both of these bacterias are fairly common and from what I’ve read, they exist on 30% of most surfaces.
But if you have a compromised immune system, they could do some gnarly stuff.
I took the medicine happily to California with me, expecting the miracle of antibiotics, to cure me soon.
But it didn’t.
4 days in, I started seeing a drug rash appearing on my chest. My infection didn’t look any better, in fact, it looked worst. Why isn’t it working?!
AHHH. I’m infectious to small children and the elderly!! IT’S CHRISTMAS SO
I’m OUT of state, no one has my records, places are closed/holiday hours, misc insurance stuff/questions??
I have cellulitis blowing up both of my legs…this is looking
I was worried about the infection getting into my bloodstream now…which will get very very serious (ie. death) — how the heck did I get here from just scratching my skin.
It’s not a good idea to stop taking your course of antibiotics as it leads to antibiotic resistance (which is a serious issue, because without antibiotics, we’re basically back to Caveman style medicine.)
I went back to another random Urgent Care place, was taken off Clindamycin, and put on Bactrim + Keflex.
Within 48 hours on Bactrim + Keflex…I started blowing up in hives ALL OVER MY BODY.
I couldn’t tell if it was Clinda related…or B+K…or just B…or just K…etc.
So now, I have cellulitis on both legs AND drug rashes / hives all over AND my face was swelling and going numb.
These 3 drugs kicked my ass lol. They made me lethargic and swollen. (Thankfully no diarrhea at least!)
When my lips/mouth started turning numb, it was
The nurse told us to visit the ER because I was having an allergic reaction to 1 or 2 or all 3 drugs.
With drug allergies…these things could get bad quickly, fairly fast.
If your lips are going numb, conditions are worsening, your throat might be the next to go…if your throat closes up…well yeah.
So off to the ER we go.
We were there for 6 hours and I was given pills to suppress my reaction while they monitored me.
The ER doctor (handsome as hell, good lord :)!) came over and said they will try doxycycline instead.
“You should consider changing your flight plans so you can be back in your state for proper care ASAP. I also suggest you see a disease specialist if these drugs are not working (ie. if it is an antibiotic resistant strain.)”
Drug rash is OK with me. It will go away in a month or 2 months. Chance of infected bloodstream – that was the concerning thing.
Thankfully the Doxycycline did the trick! My system accepted that a lot better, a lot faster. Within 48 hours, I was already 60% better.
We didn’t have to change flight plans since it started improving. We were all was elated, even though I looked like I got beaten up by a bee from the inside, it was a small price to pay.
We went to the store to get some Benadryl after being released from the ER. When I was on Benadryl…uh, Benadryl makes me super drowsy and depressed.
I cried for hours, days, ALL THE TIME when I was on Benadryl and became perky/happy/usual self when it wore off.
Our Christmas vacation was 11 days…I was only awake for like…2-3 days because the medicines I took made me so sleepy.
It’s officially been 12 days since my ER trip and my drug rashes are still here…although they’ve started to peel a little now, which is a good sign.
A drug reaction is basically like a very very bad, swollen sunburn.
Drugs…man…are no joke.
It’s been a nightmare, but my gosh, I am so so so thankful I had learned one of the biggest lessons in the School of Life.
What Was I Thinking About?
During the worst of the reaction, I thought I was going to be in big trouble…like dying. The boatloads of antibiotics aren’t working and my face was going blowing up/going numb.
But I have health insurance coverage. I have a family who loves me. I have someone who was willing to drive me to the ER.
If I stopped breathing at night, my husband would be right there to make sure my airways stay open.
I was in a warm home. We can afford treatment without worrying about the medical bills.
This is as good as it gets, and it still sucks!
That’s when I started balling my eyes out.
It was a different kind of sadness. It was a kind of sadness that I haven’t felt before.
Even though I was in a health poo-poo, I was still fortunate, so I cried for anyone and everyone who didn’t have the basics of what I think every human deserves
I started crying for people who didn’t have health insurance or didn’t have someone who cared.
I knew a boy (Ocean Eyes) who went to the ER alone after badly cutting himself. His family had disowned him and he was on the streets alone before he got injured.
I remember the nurse at the ER took pity on him and drove him to her house to rest because he didn’t have anywhere to go after he was released.
Recalling that memory brings tears to my eyes even now as I’m typing.
I realize there was so much more to life than what we interact with.
What I Learned:
Living is a gift.
My ER bed was in between three other men behind curtains.
I overheard them but never saw them.
I was sitting there in between an old man crying and wheezing about the pain and blood in his urine (he needed 2 people to help him urinate.)
On the other side of me, a younger sounding man…who had a terminal disease (
Another man with an injured leg after falling off the roof told the nurse to not contact his family because he didn’t want his family to worry. — It’s Christmas time, he didn’t want to concern his wife 🙁
Life is hard.
Life is hard and that’s WHY it’s a gift.
Life is the ultimate gift because it’s a gift wrongfully denied to so many. You can’t ungratefully say you don’t want to live when you can.
So you, even if you’re living next to a trash bin, it’s still a gift. That’s just a fact, get over it 🙂
Human memories are short.
Penicillin, the miracle
Before that, a simple infection could mean amputation or even death.
During WWII, tons of U.S. soldiers died of simple wounds that became infected. They didn’t even know that pouring hard antiseptic was actually counterproductive to healing.
It was hard to accept the notion of “meaning of life” when death was such a cruel end to so many over what we consider simple cases of illness today.
Not even “today” – there are people all over Gaza dying from common infections right now because there is simply no open route to get medical supplies to these
This made me depressed as hell on top of my Benadryl. My husband and I also had an emotional talk about spirituality/religion/life after death (if it existed). Where is God? Do we matter? Then why does anything we do matter?
My husband is a “soft” atheist, he doesn’t really believe in an afterlife. ‘People use religion as a crutch. When we die, we die and nothing we do matters.’
I am undecided – I’m “spiritual” – that means I would like to believe in something but unsure what.
I am spiritual because it’s hard for me to accept that I will never see my loved ones again after I die. Even if I have to lie to myself.
It’s simply the reality of it that frightens me. If that makes me a coward, then I’m a coward. But I would like to believe we are more than just nothing. Alien experiment, fine OK. Truman show, even better.
But I need something because I need some purpose and some justice.
Mad props to docs!
ER doctors and nurses must see shit every day. I was a small fry.
The sweet nurse there told me in comfort, “oh honey, we see this every day. You think you’re the first? Sorry to burst your bubble sweetie but this happens and we see it every day.”
I was in a bubble. And I’m glad it’s burst.
I told my husband how thankful I am to have had this experience. Because it reframed my entire outlook on life.
I hope no one has to take that unfortunate trip to the ER but it’s a lot of important stuff to be learned.
We’re all too privileged.
Life really is too short to do something you hate.
I guarantee you when you’re in that hospital bed, laying there for the doctor, your mind will wander and you’re not going to be thinking about money or work.
That was the least of my concerns…which is really odd because most (like 90%) of my daily activities have been submerged in money and work.
That was a curveball. Actually, the only time I was thinking about money and work when I was laying in the ER was how little I was thinking about money and work even though it was a big part of my life and chosen activities before.
No one sane in the ER will go, “gee, my Personal Capital went down -10.8% this week.”
Because it doesn’t really matter.
What I was doing/cared about was texting my friends for emotional support. I was talking to my amazing husband (who has taken time off work to go to every medical appointment with me, no matter how small.)
I was thinking about better days in this wonderful life that I have in front of me.
Work + Money < Health = Living.
Work is a filler. It’s like the cheap corn syrup in fake maple syrup. That’s why FIRE is a fab idea.
I just wanted everyone to know who hasn’t been in a scary enough situation to question their existential being.
Money and work/career is a lot less important than what you’re currently thinking.
The 10% of the time you spend with your loved one makes up MOST of your thoughts when you deal with mortality. Whereas you spend 50% of your waking hours doing/thinking about work will make up only 1% of your thoughts when you’re
Where’s the logic in that?
Death Bed Regrets?
Let’s be dramatic and explore this. Remember I wrote a post about death bed regrets not that long ago?
Man…guess what I was thinking when I was laying on the ER bed feeling dead hopeless.
I had only 3 regrets:
-I couldn’t be there with my husband/spent more time with him. I love this guy so much… thats my first thought. Followed by, oh crap, who can I set him up with if I go. He needs to be taken care of and have a great life. She can’t be a gold digger, she has to be frugal, she has to be cute…she has to be even better than me so he will never feel sad when I’m gone.
-I didn’t accomplish my main deep life goal – (not about money), I had a story to tell (anonymously) and I didn’t get my chance to tell it. I didn’t fulfill my life purpose or meet my potential, boo.
-I didn’t get to meet my kids or see them grow up.
It was eye-opening to really flush them out.
The having kids one was a big surprise because I was always pushing off having kids/being generally disinterested but there I was
My husband and I talked a little about the
My original goal was to be a 40-year-old mom and delay it as much as we can until we became
I wanted to be with my husband, I wanted to be at home with my family watching holiday Hallmark specials, I wanted to get more time to set out to do deep life stuff.
Life Changes Implemented:
Redoing our diets for health.
After we shampooed the carpet, laundered everything, and gave the dog a bath – I was feeling a lot better mentally even though I know bad bacteria live everywhere.
We’re eating better and I’ve greatly reduced the quantity of meat I eat. Especially bad meat (animals fed with antibiotics + treated horribly) – we didn’t really before but now I’m even more careful of what I’m buying in the meat section. It’s now downgraded to side dish instead of main course in our household.
I’ve also been taking probiotics and folic acid everyday thanks to the 20 day antibiotic course I’m on. But I’ll continue taking probiotics and multi-vitamins even when I’m done with my course. I’ve put my body through way too much lately.
Take a break.
We’ve never taken a vacation outside of Xmas because we’re secret workaholics. Neglecting health because of work like what I was doing…..is really, really, stupid.
And it’s a horrible ROI. Health IS wealth, health is actually 20 million times more important than wealth!
Adam (from MinaFI) said something funny to me, “Yup, everybody on their death bed is just regretting not blogging enough.” #sarcasm
Does blogging mean a lot to me? Honestly…not anymore, and it shouldn’t be to anyone.
Even though I can’t spend every waking second with hubby, it’s important for me to go to sleep at the same time with him, hang out with him, go on dinner dates etc. I need to make a lot more time for him.
I want to get used to slow, conscious living. Not work 13 hours and crash onto the bed until it’s time to do it again. That’s a terible deal.
Making sure I’m enjoying life by asking myself constantly *IS THIS WORTH DOING.*
Learn to deal with a bad diagnosis someday.
Skin infection? Pffft basic. Try getting that terminal diagnosis someday. We’re all getting one.
Talking to my husband briefly during moments when I was actually awake enough to form sentences…
We’re all aging.
Bodies will break.
Bodies will rebel.
Not an if; it’s a when.
And we’re going to have to deal with that not just with ourselves or each other, but both sets of our parents as well. Their mortality comes sooner…
Our little Gracie pooch too, she might need to be put down someday.
Getting older is scary because it’s going to happen.
There is going to be one day when you go in and they tell you that bad, unavoidable diagnosis. Then you have to learn to be okay with it and find peace within yourself.