17 February 2012

Medical grade things I forgot to mention

Before I get into the new stuff in the next few days, there are a few of things of note from the past two months that will certainly amuse the internet. The oldest was my finding a new way to get myself sent to the emergency room. Without thinking, I stretched my arms above my head while sitting at my desk at work. Normally this would make my arms ready to resume typing, but a searing pain in the stupid boob left me fighting back tears. Last I checked, boobs aren't supposed to feel like they popped, much less make a popping sound. While the pain subsided after about ten minutes, my left arm decided to lose feeling. It started near my armpit and gradually crept down until even my thumb was numb.

At this point, it was time to go home and call the doctor. Dr. Oncologist was worried that I might have dislocated my shoulder or caused similar damage and sent me to the ER. My favorite place! At least this time I was able to walk in under my own power, a nice change from my previous visits. On the flip side, the triage nurse looked at me funny when I said that I popped my boob and that I was losing feeling in my left arm.

After much poking and some X-rays, the doctor determined that I snapped scarred tissue inside my boob. Somehow the snap hit my left radial nerve, causing the numbness down that side of my arm and hand. If feeling didn't start returning within a day or two, it would behoove me to return for further tests. Thankfully, feeling was coming back by the time I woke up the next morning. And I got an amusing story.

Having already confirmed that I can still hurt myself in new and interesting ways, I had to show the world that my ability to get truly and thoroughly ill has not been adversely affected by cancer. With just two weeks to go before Frankenboob Day, I found myself feeling worse and worse as a Monday wore on. By Tuesday morning, I was clearly sick. The coughing up yellowy-green phlegm and fever were dead giveaways.

Despite my protests, Matt dragged me to Dr. Oncologist for my triweekly Herceptin dose on Friday. Along with the standard regiment of blood tests, the doctor listened to my chest. I jokingly offered her a tissue full of goop I coughed up, but she actually wanted to examine it for color and consistency. Eww. She also took a look at the less pathogen-infected lab results. My white blood cell count was just over twice its normal value. A week and a half before major surgery and I managed to get sinusitis with bronchitis. This needed to be remedied, and fast. To the Zithromax!

Despite being a five day course of antibiotics, there was no improvement by Monday. Not only did I have bronchitis, I had antibiotic-resistant bronchitis! Per Dr. Oncologist's instructions, Matt called her to say that I was still dying. With little time to spare, it was time for the big guns - 875mg Augmentin tablets, twice a day, for ten days. In case 875mg didn't sound large enough, each pill consisted of 875mg amoxicillin and 125mg of clavulanate. You try getting 1000mg pills down a horribly sore throat.

I went to bed still feeling yucky on Wednesday. Miraculously, I woke up feeling mostly human on Thursday morning. I was still coughing up random internal organs, but I was not contagious and ready to get the hell out of the house. Just in time to spend three days skiing at Mammoth, the perfect place to recover from bronchitis! And yes, the doctor said I could go if I felt up to it. So there.

Fast forward to Frankenboob Day, and I received a patient ID bracelet covered in 2D barcodes. Well, at least the parts without my name, doctor, et cetera were covered. They were all the same code, repeated around the bracelet. Upon scanning mine, I discovered that I am part number AC29113791854. A nice round designation, if I do say so myself.

Lastly, the blasphemous drain is back, and this time it brought a friend. Two drains at the same time, and each one worse than the last. So when Dr. PlasticSurgeon declared it was time to remove the larger, more depraved of the two, I practically threw a parade. Then she pulled the flagitious thing out. My dad, who had set up shop in the waiting area down the hall, heard the scream. Instead of just being the medical-grade equivalent of fish tank tubing, it got wider at the end. The tunnel it was dangling out of had to get wider to compensate VERY quickly. And yes, I was full of happy narcotics, and it still hurt that much.

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