Monday, March 09, 2009

I could use a hand

This past Thursday afternoon, I noticed that the palms of my hands were itching just a little bit. A little bit more on Friday, and then Saturday morning, on my way to the pottery studio, they were really itchy. So just in case, I stopped on the way and bought a Lottery ticket. (Waste of money, as usual.)

If you are taking Augmentin (Amoxicillin), and you begin to itch anywhere, STOP TAKING IT IMMEDIATELY.

I wish I had connected the dots. By Saturday afternoon, I was itchy, itchy, ITCHY. My hands, my ears, especially my ear lobes (weird, huh), my scalp, neck & shoulders. I called my doctor's office and spoke the doc on call who told me to stop taking the Augmentin. I had already taken some Benadryl, and that helped. But my hands were driving me nuts. I could feel little bumps all over my head, neck and shoulders...

My hands were starting to swell a little and turning red...

I used Benadryl cream on my hands, but the doc said to try a steroid cream such as Cortaid. I was able to get my rings off my fingers, but by 4am Sunday morning, my hands were swollen to twice their size and bright red. I couldn't bend my fingers, and it was very painful. My hands hurt so much that I wasn't really paying much attention to the rest of the itchy pains. When I looked in the mirror, I noticed my ear lobes had swollen and turned red, too... I looked so strange. Like I had 2 small flesh balloons on each side of my head. Like I had grown a pair of testicles off my ears! I remember staring in the mirror, mesmerized... I don't know for how long, but then Holy Crap! I realized my ears hurt. And itched like crazy. But my hands hurt too much to use them to itch my ears. I washed my hands because I thought maybe it was all the creams I had used that evening, because it looked like I had burned my hands. So I washed and washed with Dove soap and cool water. That felt really good.

But the itching was crazy. I tried to find our tube of Vitamin A&D ointment, but couldn't. I found a really old tube of Desitin and put some of that on. Big mistake. Wash and wash and wash again. Then a brain flash. I went to my aloe vera plant and broke off a stem and opened it and rubbed it all over my hands. I also took some more Benadryl and went back to bed, rubbing the aloe vera every so often.

Kev has been really sick, too, and he has gotten inner ear infections going now also. Saturday afternoon, he blew his runny nose and one ear painfully popped and then he had a vertigo episode. He was out in the pole barn at the time, and it took him a while, but finally he made it into the house to the sofa. It hit him hard, and he was really sick. I got him an antivert tablet and a Valium (while humming "Welcome to My World" inside my head), and he moved into the bedroom to the rocking chair. He was too sick to lay down (I know that feeling!). I shut all the blinds and got the room nice and dark, and he stayed in there, finally falling asleep, for about 4 hours. He's one tough guy, that's for sure. That would have put me out for the whole rest of the day. And all day Sunday.

But since he was sleeping so soundly, I didn't want to wake him up at 5am Sunday morning... so by the time we got up around 7:30am or so (sleeping in for us!), I was feeling a little bit better. The aloe vera plant really helped. I found a bottle of aloe vera gel that we had bought for sunburns and started using that, rubbing some into my hands about every 3 minutes. But the itching and swelling continued. Then I noticed my bottom lip, on the left side, started to swell. It quickly went from feeling funny to feeling like a big lump on my face. Weird. Then my voice changed, and I noticed my throat was really sore. This was probably about 11am. I turned to Kevin and croaked, "I think maybe something is really wrong." I started feeling like my throat was tightening, and it was a very strange feeling. We headed into the ER, and by the time we got there, I was having trouble breathing. They took me right back in and put in an IV and started pumping drugs into me.

Whew. They also gave me a shot of Epinephrine, not in the IV, but just under the skin. It's adrenaline. And, oh yes, it made my heart race. Not in a good way.

I also got a couple of prescriptions to fill and take for the next 3 days.

More drugs.

Oy! I feel shaky and sick and just plain yukky. But the itching is very much calmed down, and my hands are hardly swollen at all now. They're still itchy and very painful, though. The doctor at the ER said my hands will be the last to heal from the allergic reaction, and it will probably take 4 days before my hands feel better. I didn't go into the office today, instead I worked from home. I didn't feel like driving because I felt so shaky. But I had so much to do, and my hands are aching from all the typing today... which is why, of course, I'm typing up this blog post. Duh. Actually, Kev is sitting near me on the sofa, watching a hunting show on the tube, so I decided to look at the photos on my camera... and I saw the photos I had taken on Saturday. The doc on call that I talked to told me to take photos of my neck and scalp and my hands to take into my doctor on Monday. I actually had forgotten we took those photos.

I didn't see my doctor today - he was booked solid. He always is. The nurse said he could fit me in, but I may have to wait a couple of hours. No thanks. I already have an appointment scheduled with the PA tomorrow, and since my symptoms are better, I'm just going to that appointment.

What a freaky weekend. It is one thing after another with me. I deeply regret making up the saying, with Sammy last year, that "everything'll be fine in '09"... *sigh* That was either a major jinx or I did something really bad in a previous life. (Just kidding, Mom!)

At least it's staying Lighter Longer! Springtime's a-comin'.

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