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20 July 2011 @ 04:26 pm
"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.
amaebiamaebi on July 20th, 2011 08:31 pm (UTC)

I'm glad it turned out so relatively non-deadly, but that's all a mighty lot of inconvenience, between the cyst and the shoulder. :(

And I am so sorry.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on July 20th, 2011 09:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you. The shoulder is annoying but (so far, at least) not seriously interfering with most of my life, and the cyst should heal up nicely now.
Fat Fred the Otter and Skippy: St. Otter and the Eggfatfred on July 20th, 2011 08:41 pm (UTC)

One always wonders, when the Doc sez it's nothing much...

Been there with the shoulder. It's a pain while it lasts, but they do work out.

Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on July 20th, 2011 09:16 pm (UTC)
Yeah; I was a bit annoyed when she held off on the referral, but oh well. That's why they call it the "practice" of medicine, right?
(no subject) - fatfred on July 20th, 2011 09:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) on July 21st, 2011 01:44 am (UTC) (Expand)
Missy: Uh oh beebkwrrm_tx on July 20th, 2011 08:45 pm (UTC)
Eeep! Okay, I'm so sorry you had to go through all of that but part of me is kind of wishing you'd taken pictures. (Okay, so I'm weird!)

Frozen shoulder? I had that a few years ago and I'm so so SO sending you 'get well quick' thoughts. It sucked and took about 15 months from when I was diagnosed for it to go away.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on July 20th, 2011 09:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks. The surgeon did take a picture (with an iPhone!) to show the attending, but I never think of taking pictures.

And also thanks for the good wishes on the shoulder. It's aggravating but mostly not interfering with my life in general.
(no subject) - bkwrrm_tx on July 20th, 2011 09:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - janetmiles on July 20th, 2011 09:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bkwrrm_tx on July 20th, 2011 09:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
what doesn't kill me better run: ca: it's good you heal quickcarlyinrome on July 20th, 2011 08:54 pm (UTC)

Oh no! I'm sorry! I hope you feel better soon.

Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on July 20th, 2011 09:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I'm feeling much, much better than I did this time yesterday.
Violet Tigress: scaredy catviolet_tigress1 on July 20th, 2011 09:57 pm (UTC)
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on July 20th, 2011 10:32 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that sums it up pretty well.
Ed Schweppeedschweppe on July 20th, 2011 10:04 pm (UTC)

And also *phew* that it's well taken care of.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on July 20th, 2011 10:33 pm (UTC)
It was getting kind of disturbing, yeah. I'm glad Dale talked me into going to the ER.
browngirl on July 20th, 2011 11:41 pm (UTC)
That sounds like wayyyyy too much of an adventure. (And you indeed were not wasting ER resources!)

*hugs you warmly*
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on July 20th, 2011 11:47 pm (UTC)
Overall, it didn't feel all that adventuresome, just mostly tedious. Fortunately, I had a book.
Kats: Screamwildrider on July 21st, 2011 12:26 am (UTC)
My goodness, you and Maggie both! "It's just a flesh wound, don't make a fuss over me!" Thank goodness Dale was there. {hug}
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on July 21st, 2011 12:34 am (UTC)
Yeah, well, you know.
(no subject) - janetmiles on July 21st, 2011 12:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
Barbrahirah on July 21st, 2011 12:31 am (UTC)
Yikes! Glad you're on the mend!
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on July 21st, 2011 12:34 am (UTC)
Thanks! Me too.
Johnjohnpalmer on July 21st, 2011 01:09 am (UTC)
1) ouch/ick/ew... but if it weren't for the pain and scariness, kind of interesting.

2) Glad it's all on the mend, as much as can be.

3) Re: the shoulder, I used to think I had shoulder problems and was concerned about it. I then discovered that whatever shoulder problems I was having were also exacerbated by the shoulder blade, and the muscles that draw the shoulder blade down and can pull them together. Which is not to say you have anything similar, but I was stunned when stopped and thought about it, and realized that if I'd thought about my body as a whole, it would have been obvious that was having an effect. And, for me, once I started thinking about different connections, it helped me understand my body, and helped me heal faster. And if the advice I just gave you doesn't help you become better, stronger, faster, then I'll pay you back twice what you paid me for it.

(Of course, if you're like me, "better, stronger, faster" makes you think immediately of six million dollars.)
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on July 21st, 2011 12:41 pm (UTC)
1. Dale found it very interesting. I might well have if it were someone else's face :-).

2. Thanks, me too!

3. Good points, and I'll keep those in mind. (Yes, yes it does.)
Maggiesillymagpie on July 21st, 2011 02:34 am (UTC)
I'm glad that was resolved! Eek!

I'm sorry that the frozen shoulder will take so long to heal. Do those exercises!
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on July 21st, 2011 12:42 pm (UTC)
Eek is probably the right word for it, and I am doing my exercises. Thanks!
Wolfteddywolf on July 21st, 2011 05:12 am (UTC)

I hope you heal very fast.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on July 21st, 2011 12:42 pm (UTC)
My face seems to be doing well, thanks.
zemhitchhiker on July 21st, 2011 08:41 am (UTC)
owww! hope it gets better soon!!!
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on July 21st, 2011 12:42 pm (UTC)
Ow is also a good word for it. Thanks for the good wishes.
vonandmoggy on July 21st, 2011 02:46 pm (UTC)
Oh my...oh you poor thing! I'm glad you went to the ER when you did and before it got worse but that is awful! You take care of yourself! *big, big hugs*!!! <3
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on July 21st, 2011 03:57 pm (UTC)
Oh, dear -- I didn't mean to distress you! Honestly, it really wasn't that awful -- it mostly only hurt a little, around a 2-3 on the pain scale, maybe around a 5 after I'd been waiting for a while with the thing open to the air. It was more worrying than anything else.

But I am glad I got it taken care of, and I thank you for your kind wishes.
Arthur and Kevin's Nellorat: ack!_bill-the-catnellorat on July 22nd, 2011 02:02 am (UTC)
I'm glad the abscess is drained--it did not, clearly, make the heart grow fonder.

Do those exercises for frozen shoulder! I also recommend a heat pack for 5-10 minutes before to loosen up the muscles. maybe a cold pack after if it swells & hurts. My PT was very good, and YogaJane has kept my shoulder happy since.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on July 22nd, 2011 02:23 am (UTC)
Thank you for the good wishes. Yes, I am doing the exercises. :-)