Thursday, December 29, 2005

Dressing and Packing (it's not what you think)

I should warn you that this post is going to get very long. I hope you are in a comfortable chair with a good beverage. Maybe don't be eating anything though, it's going to get gross.

I got to Minneapolis Wednesday afternoon and spent the afternoon with my dad and stepmom. When it came time to pick up my stepsister from school I went and surprised her. She introduced me to her HOT HOT HOT teacher and showed me her gingerbread house she made.

Thursday I went and visited my great grandma. She's a firecracker. That must be where I get it from. Then my mom, stepdad and I went to the Mall of America (aka the "Big Mall") to watch the last minute shoppers. We were all done with our shopping, but I'm used to taking walks everyday so the 1.5 total miles walking around each level provided me with my daily dose.

Thursday also was the day my stepmom got word that her dad was in his final days. He has been sick for some time, but it was obvious it was time to go say goodbye. She, Dad and my stepsister flew to New York to be with him Friday afternoon. I don't know when they'll be back or if I'll even be able to see them before I leave town on Saturday. That makes me pretty sad.

Friday I spent the day with Dean's mom and her sister, brother-in-law, neice and Dean's brother. We baked cookies and candy which has become a tradition for us over the past few years. Every year we get more elaborate with our recipes and presentation. The treats are my trademark gift for family so I don't have to shop and drag presents up here (except for close family) and everyone looks forward to them.

Saturday my mom, stepdad and me went to my aunt and uncle's house for a yummy Christmas Eve dinner. I got to see my grandma and grandpa along with my aunt and uncle and two cousins. It was a fun, relaxing time filled with the peace only felt when you are among family.

Christmas day I went and took some treats and some Chinese take-out to my dad's mom who has Alzheimer's. Dad was nervous about leaving her while he is in New York. I've been calling frequently and bringing her groceries to get her through til he comes home. My grandma is an amazing woman, who along with the other women in my family will get their own posts sometime soon. After visiting with my grandma we had my stepdad's parents, sister, brother-in-law and nephew over for Christmas. They are always a good time. We have a family tradition of sneaking over-the-top religious memorabelia into eachother's house. My cousin tried to plug in a Virgin Mary night light. My mom saw the night light in the spare bedroom, unplugged it and dropped it in my aunt's purse. As far as I know that's where it is now.

Now, onto the good stuff. First, let me fill you in on my problems from the beginning. About 6 weeks ago I noticed a lump under my arm. At first it didn't hurt but then it grew to about the size of a peanut m&m. Fearing armpit cancer, I went to the doctor who diagnosed me with a small infection and gave me some antibiotics. Okay, fast forward to last Monday when I started to get a similar lump on my waistline. It started very small and I figured it would go away on its own. If it hadn't gone away by the time I got back to Tampa, I would take the rest of the anibiotics and maybe see the doctor again. The peanut m&m stage came and went until it was a rather large red and purple bump with tendrils eminating from it. I didn't tell anyone about it until Christmas Eve day when I pulled down the waist of my pants for my mom and said, "Do you think I need to have this looked at?" She gasped, regained composure and said, "Yeah, we may want to get you to a doctor. It's not going to wait til you get back." Christmas day it really started to hurt bad and that night it ruptured. It was disgusting. Since my mom and stepdad both work for the Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) pharmacy we went to their urgent care clinic yesterday. The nurse took one look at my "wound" and sent me to the emergency room. The county ER is an interesting place. The hour or so I spent waiting was very entertaining. There were people moaning and screaming, most of whom my parents recognized as "frequent pharmacy visitors" who often "accidently drop their Vicadin down the toilet." One frequent visitor said he thought he had Menengitis. He was still waiting to be seen when I left. I watched the juvies pick up garbage outside until I got called back and put in a room. A nurse came in and interviewed me and gave me a gown to wear and some warm blankets. A doctor came in, looked at the damage and assigned a resident to me. The resident said he needed a wound culture. If anyone ever says they need to do this to you run away as fast as you can. Oh my God I've never experienced such pain. The nurse gave me a shot of painkiller that made my arm muscles spazz out. While I was observing this phenomenon, the resident drove a huge cotton swab into my sore and wiggled it around causing me to scream like a baby. They determined I had no strange diseases, just a boil. The resident came back in my room wheeling in a laceration cart. That scared the crap out of me and I said, "How bad is this going to hurt?" The resident said, "Not at all-if I do it right..." and laughed. He gave me a local anesthetic and cut out the infected tissue, leaving a large, deep gaping hole on my abdomen. That had to be packed with antiseptic gauze and dressed with more gauze and tape. I got sent away with two types of antibiotic and some Tylenol with codeine.

That night despite my "wound" which I took the liberty of upgrading to an "incision" my mom and stepdad and me went to the Timberwolves game where my poor Wolves got trampled by the Suns. Ugh.

I think I will stop here and tell the rest of my so-called "vacation" next time.

As a preview- let me just say I was back in the ER this morning. Poor me!

8 comments:

Scott said...

That was scary. I was sure you were going to say you found out you have cancer. Thank goodness. I'm glad you're ok. One hell of a vacation, huh?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an eventful "vacation". I am concerned about you and am waiting anxiously for the next installment...

P.S. Took the Teacher to Mom&Dadville today. Tell you about it another time.

lefty_grrrl said...

Ewww. That was gross. Still, how did this happen? Why? Are you more prone to these 'wounds' now that you've had one? Ugh...

That beats my vomiting cousin story, for sure.

magnetbabe said...

Scott-
If I had cancer, I would probably start my post by saying "I have cancer." and not "I did this and that and blah blah blah oh, and by the way..." Still, I was afraid people might think that and then find out it was just a lowly boil. There is some concern about diabetes which I'll explain more below. Yeah, one hell of a vacation. This is one time I'm looking forward to getting on the plane tomorrow and going home!

anon-
Thanks for your concern. Really, I'm fine just moving very slowly. I really want to get caught up with you, but I don't last very long on the phone. Mostly I just feel quiet and sigh-y cause the antibiotics make me feel barfy. I want to hear about Teacher and Maine though!!

lefty-
I asked all these questions of my doctor yesterday when I had to go back for more abuse. They asked me like 8 times if I was diabetic because this happens a lot to diabetics. I kept saying no and they tested me and my blood sugar was fine. She said though that if this happens again I should get a "more complete screening." She also said there was a small epidemic of these types of things happening lately and she doesn't know why (even though I don't live up here...). She asked me some questions and concluded I picked up too many germs from the gym. Go figure, I try to do something good for myself. Anyway, she gave me some literature about spotting early warning signs and what to do to prevent infection.

dancingo4 said...

After seeing the dressing and not ever wanting to see what was under the hospital bandages, I can attest that the boil situation was quite awful. MB (magnetbabe) was quite the trooper and put on a happy face when it came time to do the drinking with the college girlfriends.

I'm glad to hear things are on the right track after the follow up appointment. Yikes.

Travel safe home MB. Miss you lots

DearOldDad said...

I think this will rank as one of the most memorable (read screwed-up) holidays for all involved. Because of its unrelenting doggedness, it might even beat out Christmas Eve at the ER some years back when it became apparent shortly before dinner that MB’s grandma was having a heart attack.
Dancing04, I concur that MB was quite the trooper; she put on a happy face when we spoke long distance as well. In our conversations her concern was for our well-being while facing our family crisis out east and what she could do for my Alzheimer’s afflicted mother while we were gone. The subject of her wound/incision certainly came up but she continually downplayed the whole experience. I think the sooner we close the books on this one, the better.
MB – I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you did. I couldn’t be more proud to call you my daughter and I won’t blame you if you never visit home again!

paganking said...

You receive my vote for Woman of the Year! As I read your narative I too was concerned that you might have cancer. So relieved that you don't.

Ready for Lunch again said...

When you get a chance could you put up the rest of the story. My OR Nurse Mom wants to hear the end!! She is quite concerned for you. I'm concerned also, you realize but your pending second ER visit part of the story has her asking what more I know on the frequency that she asks about Hairless!! :)