Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Closer to the Answer

A couple of years ago, i got a bad infection. There is no telling where i picked it up, it was a simple bacteria that my Dr. M. says is everywhere. It made my face swell up, and had me on a strong antibiotic for a while.

We thought we were done with it when the infection came back, in my finger this time. It was strange, but again Dr. M reassured me that this happens a lot now. The problem this time was that, after about a week on the antibiotic, i got a fungal infection in that finger. It was something that was taking advantage of the lack of good bacteria in the area, he told me, an opportunistic infection. I took an antifungal for 6 months.

Again, we thought we were done with it all, but then, last December, a red, sore place that seemed like the beginning of another infection, on a different finger. After looking at it, Dr. M. decided it was a bite of some sort, like a spider or something. An antibiotic was prescribed to prevent infection. One dose of antibiotic, and the finger that had the fungal infection swelled up like crazy.

So, another antifungal, and a cortisone shot to bring down inflammation.

Finished the antibiotic, most of the way through the antifungal, and now, more and more spots appear on my hands. The original "bite" is reswelling. My hands hurt in various places. So, back to Dr.M.

He is totally stumped. He says this may be a deep infection in the bone, and sends me to an orthopedist, Dr. S. Dr. S. was young and didn't impress me the way most young doctors do. He seemed like he just didn't know much. He said it looked like a contact dermatitis to him, and he wanted me to see a hand specialist, and an infectious disease specialist, and have some blood work done. He also told me to touch no chemicals at all, and to not use gloves to clean. This after i told him it was only after the symptoms got worse that i began wearing gloves. Try cleaning a house or the church without touching any chemicals or using gloves to keep from touching them.

It turned out the hand specialist was one of his partners, Dr. N. By this time, i am wondering why my own doctor didn't send me to that guy in the first place. I had been all day at doctors, and getting blood work, and everything, but Dr. N. happened to have a slot open right then, so i rechecked in at the front of the office, and got to start over.

Dr. N. is smart. You don't get to be his age and practice medicine and get people respecting the work you do with a certain body part without being very smart. He heard me out and told me what makes the most sense of everything.

"This isn't behaving like and infection, like Dr. M. thought. And it doesn't look like a contact dermatitis problem, like Dr. S. thought. This is an autoimmune thing. I don't think you ever had a bite at all. Bites get blamed too often. I'm thinking rheumatoid arthritis, a vasculitis, or something that is degenerating the cartilage. I'm putting you on a steroid for 6 days, and i want to see you back then. If this takes all the swelling and pain down, then we are on the right track and you need to see a rheumatologist."

So, we are closer to the answer, an answer that makes sense. It is not an easy answer to live with, but it is a darn sight better than a series of infections that we can't clear up.

Today is:

Burning of the Clavie -- Burghead, Scotland

Carmentalia -- Ancient Roman Calendar (festival of the goddess of childbirth)

Eugenio Maria de Hostos Day -- Puerto Rico

Kagami-Biraki, Japan (opening and eating of the New Year's rice cakes)

Independence Resistance Day -- Morocco

International Thank You Day

Juturna -- Ancient Roman goddess of prophetic waters festival

National Clean Off Your Desk Day

National Hot Toddy Day

Republic Day -- Albania

Secret Pal Day (Do something nice for someone, secretly.)

Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friends Day

Tattoo Pride Day

Unity Day -- Nepal

Use More of Your Mind Day

Birthdays Today:

Kim Coles, 1962
Ben Crenshaw, 1952
Naomi Judd, 1946
Jean Chretien, 1934
Rod Taylor, 1930
Grant Tinker, 1926
Alexander Hamilton, 1755

Today in History:

Prophet of Islam Muhammad leads an army of 10,000 Muslims to conquer Mecca, 630
The first recorded lottery in England is drawn in St. Paul's Cathedral, 1569
Isaac Newton is elected a member of the Royal Society, 1642
Mt. Etna erupts, 1693
William Herschel discovers Titania and Oberon, the moons of Uranus, 1787
An earthquake in Martinique destroys half of Port Royal and results in about 700 deaths, 1839
Charring Cross Station opens in London, 1864
Milk is first delivered in bottles, 1878
Martha H. Cannon becomes the first woman state senator in the US, in Utah, 1897
The Hudson, the first sedan type automobile, goes on display at the 13th Auto Show in NYC, 1913
First use of insulin to treat diabetes in a human patient, 1922
Amelia Earhart flies from Honolulu to Oakland, California, 1935
The first recorded snowfall in Los Angeles, California, 1949
United States Surgeon General Luther Leonidas Terry, M.D., publishes a landmark report saying that smoking may be hazardous to health, sparking nation- and worldwide anti-smoking efforts, 1964
The Gateway Bridge, Brisbane in Queensland, Australia is officially opened, 1986


Hilary said...

That sounds disturbing. But I hope you're on the right track to finding relief. And that he has a few tricks up his sleeve if the steroids are not effective.

Leah J. Utas said...

I do hope you've found the problem and that it gets sorted soon.

Querencia said...

No advice, just all the love in the world, Mimi.

messymimi said...

Thank you, Hilary, Leah, and DJ. You are much more comforting than the friend who says she's sure it's a Southeast Asian fungus that has no cure.

Goals said...

Mimi, I certainly hope that you find relief and an answer that is less scary than some of the possibilities. I am glad that you have found a doctor that you feel you can trust! That is often a big part of the solution.

messymimi said...

Thank you, Jokamo. I agree, especially as i grew up in a medical family.