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!