Janet Miles, CAP-OM (janetmiles) wrote,
Janet Miles, CAP-OM

"Or, why I'm not at work today"

I'm fine now, but the rest is cut for medical TMI and grossness.

So, why do have a bruise on my face and a really BIG bruise on my arm? Because I spent much of last night in the ER.

Several weeks -- maybe a couple of months -- ago, I developed a small lump in the skin on my jaw. Not much larger than a pimple, but no head to it. Didn't bother me, and my Dad was prone to sebaceous cysts that mostly didn't bother him, so I kept an eye on it but otherwise ignored it.

Mid-May, my shoulder started to hurt, so I called my doctor for an appointment and figured I'd get the lump seen to at the same time. First available appointment was July 7.

July 5, the lump started to puff up a bit.

July 7, I saw my doctor, who (a) referred me to physical therapy and (b) took a culture from the bump and started me on a 10-day course of Bactrim. She said she wasn't comfortable cutting on my face, so if the antibiotics didn't solve the problem, she would refer me to a dermatologist.

Between July 7 and July 13, while I was on the antibiotic and mostly out of town, the bump continued to puff up and become more tender to the touch.

July 14, I called back and left that message, and requested a referral to said dermatologist. First available appointment was July 26.

July 16, I took the last of the antibiotics. That evening, the now clearly an abscess started to drain slightly.

July 17, it took one standard size adhesive bandage to cover.

July 18, it took two bandages.

July 19, it took three bandages. I started calling around for other dermatologists to see if anyone could get me in on an emergency basis. No luck. I called my gp and left a somewhat tearful message begging for more antibiotics to keep the thing under control until next Tuesday.

When I got home from work, Dale took one look at my face and said, "ER. Now. It's the size of half a ping-pong ball."

So I spent last night in the ER.

It was, indeed, a sebaceous cyst that got infected and turned into an abscess. They did a contrast CT scan of my face to make sure it wasn't deeper. That was kind of cool. Well, actually kind of warm. It's been lanced and drained, I'm on stronger antibiotics, and I'm to follow up with the dermatologist as scheduled. Dale said it's a really tiny cut; there'll be a scar, but it won't be nearly as bad as I feared (I was afraid they were going to have to cut the whole thing out), so it's probably just as well they brought in a facial surgery resident to do the work.

Those of you who know me well will not be surprised that I apologized to the surgeon for whimpering while he injected the local anesthetic.

The large and slightly raised bruise on my arm is from the first attempt to draw blood and set an IV for the contrast scan. The nurse went for a forearm vein rather than my elbow, and boy howdy did the vein blow. Probably not his fault; I'm usually a pretty easy stick and a good bleeder, but I've never had anyone go for that particular one before.

I'm home from work today, mostly because we didn't get home until about 2 a.m. (Quote: "We're going to walk you over to the main CT scanner. We're kind of full up with trauma in Emergency.") (Also quote: "No, you are not abusing the ER's resources."), but I'm feeling much, much better.

Oh, and the PT said I probably have frozen shoulder, rather than a rotator cuff injury, and it'll work itself out in 18-24 months. I have exercises to do with the hope of minimizing loss of range of motion while my shoulder is doing its thing.

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