Thursday, January 1, 2009
This is NOT how I wanted to spend New Year's Eve
This was supposed to be a New Year's Eve post, but my computer and the internet conspired to stymie my efforts. Whatever.
Anyway, instead of spending New Year's Eve enjoying my family, working feverishly on an abstract for a conference that was due Dec. 31, and getting cleaning done for a new bed that will arrive on Saturday, I got waylaid in the ER for an allergic reaction to amoxicillin. I was taking it for a sinus infection that I was diagnosed with two days ago, but I didn't take it until 11 a.m. Wednesday morning. I didn't have any ill effects until noon; I had just changed Devi and decided to look something up on the computer when I noticed that my tongue and my lips were starting to swell and the bottoms of my hands and feet were really itchy. I immediately took her into our room and gave her to my husband, saying "Take her. Take her now!" I made him call our insurance company's nurse to find out what I should do [I knew what I should do, but I wanted it on record that we were told to go by the nurse so that the insurance company couldn't say "We won't cover it because it wasn't an emergency"]. We threw on clothes and dressed Devi and my husband was calling all of his friends that he trusted to see if any of them could watch our daughter while I went to the ER. Despite my worsening symptoms, I remembered that one of his friends said that she would be off work that day and I told him to call her. He did eventually reach her and she agreed to watch Devi. We rushed to the ER downtown and I got seen relatively quickly [I was the second person in line, and I was even able to help a woman zip up a coat on a mentally handicapped man despite my jumpiness] and told them my symptoms. They checked my vitals, decided that I needed to be treated with IV injections (but can someone explain why I needed the saline first? I'm no nurse, and I'd really like to know) and I was given benedryl, the steroid predinisone, and pepsid for my stomach pains. Matt came in after the injections were done, and what I didn't expect was the sudden drowsiness that hit me ~ 1 minute later. The nurse asked me if I could walk from the treatment area to the room I would be in and I said, spacily, "NooOooOooOo". He got a wheelchair and we got to the back room where I was glad that my husband could speak for me and sign my paperwork. I could barely hold the pen; there was no way I could sign anything. I was checked periodically for a few hours and got 45 min. worth of sleep. My symptoms did improve and by the time I was released, there was just a rash on my right arm (not itchy, but ugly), my lower lip and my tongue were still slightly swollen, and I'm supposed to be on pepsid and benedryl for the next three days (at least the stuff is OTC).
Now here is where a little of what I learned last quarter comes into play. I had to read Anthony Giddens' The Consequences of Modernity where I learned about what creates a modernist civilization vs. a pre-modernist civilization. One of those things is the kinship factor. Pre-modernist societies had relationships that were built around kinship, because you knew everyone in your small town and they were your "family" as it were (the blood-related ones and not blood-related). However, in modernist societies, you don't have that built-in kinship, so you have to create relationships with friends and lovers to replace the familial relationship. My consequence of modernity was that we had to scramble to find someone to take care of Devi because we don't have family members close by that we could have left her with, and since he didn't want her exposed to an ER (neither did I) he called everyone he knew and could trust. If it weren't for us going over to a friend's place the day before where I found out they would be off on New Year's Eve, I'm not sure what we would have done.
The one good thing about discovering my allergy this way was that it would've been disastrous if I had found this out when going to a dentist appointment. You see, I have to take an anti-biotic when I go to the dentist because I have a prolapsed heart valve (it's to keep from getting an infection in my blood when they do my teeth, since the prolapse doesn't pose any other dangers to me), but I discovered that the amoxicillin I had been taking for the dentist was in 500 mg form, and I had to take four of those at a time! I had some pretty moderate swelling of my lips and tongue with a 250 mg pill, just imagine if I had taken 8x as much for a dentist appointment. It could've been fatal.
And that abstract I was working on? I was trying to submit an abstract for an academic comic conference and it was due December 31st. However, my computer decided it wanted to party, so I ended up mailing it in around 1 a.m. today (1/1/09). What I didn't realize was that I sent it to the wrong address. He has two addresses for the University of Florida, and I didn't send it to his departmental address, so I had to forward it around 5 p.m. when I realized my error. He just sent me a response saying that my abstract will still be considered for acceptance [Again, long-freaking-shot]. Even if it is rejected, I am going to use this abstract as the basis for a project in a class I'm taking this coming quarter, which starts Monday [I thought I had a couple more days...oh well].
Anyway, I'm fine (so far) and I just have to make a follow-up appointment with my doctor to make sure I'm okay and to get my record updated so that it will be known that I am, indeed, allergic to something. Hope everyone else is having a relaxing New Year's. Later ;-)
NOTE: This was officially finished on 1/1/2009 at 8 p.m., even though it appears as a New Year's Eve post.