drwex (drwex) wrote,

Well that's a thing (medical)

This entry discusses infection. I'm cut-tagging because taura_g reads my LJ and shouldn't get landmined.

Last night, sweetmmeblue and I briefly joined the crew helping sariel_t and her household move. This was one of the typical Boston-area fusterclucks caused by requirements to be out of current dwelling at lease end (usually August 31) but unable to move into new dwelling until the first of the next month. Presumably everyone and all their stuff drop into Bags of Holding for one night; in reality all sorts of semi-legit arrangements happen. Oh, and something north of 50% of U-Haul's North American fleet ends up in eastern MA over Labor Day weekend.

Normally I stay the hell out of downtown but Sariel wasn't renting a truck and asked for people with capacious vehicles to come assist so I did. The move is a big story in which I played a small part and someone who understands that story can tell it. The important part is that we came home sweaty and dusty and decided to shower before getting into bed.

While prepping for shower I noticed that the second toe on my left foot was darkly discolored (like, the color of bruise blood) under the nail and slightly swollen around the nail. It was a little sensitive to being poked or squeezed but I have arthritis in my toes, so they're kind of sensitive all the time. Pygment opined that it was infected and that I should see a doctor. Normally I'd slough this sort of thing off but (a) I'm about to be traveling and (b) it's coming up on a holiday weekend. Both are bad times to have a medical situation go critical.

So this morning I hied myself to the local doc-in-a-box. I wanted to see a podiatrist but I've not seen one in so long he's retired so there wasn't a convenient "see me now" specialist. I don't recall doing anything particularly bad to this toe. I didn't drop anything on it, stub it exceptionally hard, whatever. I walked a lot last Saturday so my feet have been generally hurty the past few days but they've been getting better.

The doc poked and squeezed a bit and examined with a bright light and magnifier. She indicated she didn't see anything under the nail that might be causing it, so the likely cause was "non-specific cellulitis". Since these infections are almost always bacterial the usual response is a course of antibiotics. Also, my last tetanus booster was long enough ago that we agreed another shot was called for. (I ended up getting a full tdap, which is giving me annoying fever at the moment, but it's what they had on hand, so.)

Then she says the scary sentence: "Have you heard of MRSA?" Um, yes. I have, rather. It nearly killed a good friend of mine some years ago. Well, she says, studies show that something like 50% of adult white males in the US have some amount of MRSA on/in them even when ordinarily healthy. Most of the time it manifests like this - a skin infection. However, if it gets into the bloodstream things can get unpleasant. So I'm not just getting "an antibiotic" I'm getting the Alexander Fleming equivalent of a tactical nuke - 4 pills/day for 10 days. If I don't see improvement in 48 hours I'm to go back to a doctor.

Honestly I'm not worried. But writing this down for my own records and compensating for my bad memory is worthwhile.

It's also worth noting that the doc-in-a-box was fast and pretty efficient as advertised. I was seen within 5 minutes of arriving and the whole thing took maybe 20 minutes. That's less time than I'd've been sitting in the Lahey waiting room.
Tags: health, update
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