Sunday, September 02, 2012

One Week


I went to pick up a dresser that matched our vanity from Kim's brother.

It was the first day of rain in weeks, so we moved it in the rain.

Turns out the back left leg had been broken in the previous move. So free dresser, but also weekend repair assignment.

Got it over to my place. Cable guy got our cable installed.

Bought some gorilla glue, messed with the broken leg a bit, and pasted it back on.

The sebaceous cyst that is a always on the back right of my neck had been inflamed for a few days, and bothered me when I moved my head.

I wanted the glue to dry overnight before I screwed in some metal supports.

I can't figure out the best way to quickly filter out the bullshit channels among the U-Verse 200. Like, our 5 shopping channels and 7 religious channels and standard def channels I get in high def.


The good people that manufactured this dresser were not exaggerating - this is hard maple. I have to drill pilot holes for the screws, and even then it's tough going. I take my time.

As I'm tightening the final screw of the second bracket, the head falls of from the rest of the screw.

More glue.

I'm not going to feel good about this until I make a little shim and glue it next to this leg's wheel. It takes me a long time. I should buy some real tools.

It's glued in.

The dresser is placed upright. The leg stands.



My primary care doctor can't see me until Thursday. I make the appointment.

I walk in to an urgent care right after I get home. I wait about 15 minutes.

I explain I've had this cyst infected before, five years ago or something. It was drained and went away for a few weeks and then it came back as the little bump it always is.

The ARNP says yeah. They should really be removed entirely, but you can't do that when they're inflamed.

He'll drain it now, but it's best to make an appointment weeks down the road with a dermatologist or something to remove it entirely.

I get face-down on a table. He numbs it with injections. He cuts and pokes and drains. Don't look up videos of this procedure on YouTube.

He works hard for 15 minutes. He places material in my neck to wick away more pus and junk. Gauze taped to my neck.

Five years ago, an annoying woman saw my neck bandage and reached for it and said "You have a tag sticking out of your shirt OH it's a bandage."

He gives me prescriptions for an antibiotic and a painkiller. "Lortab makes me nauseous. Last time I took it I threw up on the side of an idyllic Irish road." "Tramadol, then?" "That's fine." I had taken a few of those prior to chemotherapy.

My antibiotic is Bactrim, a sulfa drug.

I eat some leftover tilapia. I take the two pills.


At 3 a.m., I am cold. I start shaking. No fever.

I assume there is some sepsis due to the procedure. I take another Bactrim and an ibuprofen. I grab a blanket. I go back to sleep.

A few hours later I am sweating. I feel better and lose the blanket.

I get up with my alarm and decide not to risk driving to work.

Sometimes you just go, then you're a longish drive to go home, and that drive really blows when you are sick.

The cyst is very tender but okay. I change the gauze dressing. I play Playstation and watch sweet sweet cable. I iron the khakis I've been ignoring for the last 14 days.

I put the drawers inside the dresser. I remember the other quirks he told me about. One handle needs a new screw. One drawer needs a thing reattached to it - the thing that helps it slide.

I attach the slidey thing wrong, but fuck it cause it still works.


I hadn't taken an of my painkillers. I take one in the morning.

I go back to the urgent care. A doctor removes the wick in the cyst hole.

Five years ago, I did that myself in my bathroom. It hurt a lot, and was gross a lot. So I planned ahead and tood that single Tramadol pill.

I drove home and got ready for work. When I took off my jeans a quarter fell on the floor.

I bent over to pick it up. Drops of blood fell from the gauze behind my head to the carpet.

I needed to change the dressing. Where do I keep the gauze? I don't have any gauze.

I do have a white undershirt lying next to my white undershirt pile. It has been separated from the group because it is no longer worthy of work status.

I press the shirt against my neck and drive one mile to Walgreens.

The girl "working" in the makeup section of Walgreens smiles as I enter. She does not offer her assitance.

I walk straight to the gauze section. It's on the back wall. I now believe it should be the first display upon entering. Fuck this sunscreen shit.

She smiles again as I pass her going toward the checkout. Maybe she smiles at everyone that enters the store bleeding into improvised bandages.

Buy one get one half off. I get two.

During my second hour of work I feel lightheaded. How much did I bleed?

I break open some Chicken in a Biscuit I bought on sale after hearing Mike and Tom Eat Snacks discuss it three weeks earlier. When you give blood you eat stuff and then you don't get lightheaded.

My work neighbor brings up the valid point that blood donors give a PINT of blood. We agree it is unlikely I have bled that much.

I break out my meaty turkey sandwich. After three bites I can't look at it anymore. Nausea.

I almost fall asleep in my chair for thirty minutes. I call a doctor about H3N2v.

I have to go home sick. Driving 20 minutes home sick and sleepy is not good. I keep my eyes open.

I park in my garage. I dry heave at the side of my driveway.

I set an alarm for 4 p.m. I sleep for two hours. I go to an appointment made weeks prior with my gastroenterologist.

We talk a little about Crohn's. He says if Tramadol and Lortab both make me nauseous, insist on Percoset next time. He asks if I still have anti-nausea pills from my chemotherapy.

I forgot about those. And the Oxycontin.

He shows me to the clinic restroom so I can dry heave again.

I pick one of the two nausea meds I find in my closet and take one. I rest. I eat one egg and a bowl of Rice Krispies.


My apps all stop working. I have to take out the battery to reset the phone. It has happened many times in the past two weeks.

I eat a bowl of Rice Krispies. I feel fine. I drive to work.

My phone stops playback of Uhh Yeah Dude when I hit Topeka. I park and see it's shut itself off.

I read android forums for Nexus S bugs. Nothing works. It won't reboot or recover.

I work on that and work-work until 1 p.m. This schedule allows me to avoid taking sick leave when attending my 1:45 appointment with my regular doctor.

I think I can squeeze in a drive-thru burger at McDonald's, but decide against it.

We talk. She looks at my cyst and tries to drain it more, but it's mostly draining blood, not pus.

The Sprint store guy tries to reboot my phone. He suggests trying the other Sprint store in town.

I go home and eat a tiny bowl of leftover jasmine rice with some chili olive oil on it.

The other Sprint store guy tries and fails to reboot my phone. I make arrangements for a new phone in a few days.

I go home and take off my shoes and socks.

Oh, right.

I get on Facebook and send a message about my dead phone.

I look up information about my feet.

I noticed small red spots on the top of my feet 2 days ago when taking a bath. No shower due to the bandage.

We use the term "petechial rash" at work,and though I don't really know what one is I figured I had one. Now I should check if I am correct.

I know that sometimes people get rashes when they take antibiotics. I am not concerned. It doesn't itch. Just little red spots on my feet. I guess there are some on my legs.

I learn that there is a term called Petechiae.


I call my doctor's nurse. She was very nice a few hours ago. She felt bad because I had cancer and Crohn's at my age. She insisted I call if I needed anything.

It was almost 5 p.m. I looked up their hours - they are open a few hours yet.

I almost don't call. I call.

"How far away are you?" "Less than 10 minutes." "We want to draw some blood. Come back."

I give blood. The phlebotomist looks kinda like the smart sister from Modern Family. She looks that old, too.

I wait. I go back into the room I was just in hours ago. Thirteen months ago, she sat me here and told me I had lymphoma.

My blood showed I had no platelets. Zero platelets. "We ran the test three times." She had never seen this before. My white cells were fine, other stuff was pretty good.

"How is my blood clotting?" "It can still clot without platelets. You need to go to the ER." "I feel fine." "Maybe the test is just wrong, but the only way to check is to go to the ER and test there. And if it's not wrong, you need to be in the ER."

This is weird.

"Do you want me to get a different doctor so you won't have to tell me bad news anymore?"

"Not at all."

I am really hungry. Kim and I were going to make tacos soon. I drove past Spangles but really wanted to drive-thru. I got stopped at the minor light at Schwartz Road for the third time this week. Fuck that fucking light. That neighborhood doesn't deserve it.

I call Kim and leave a voicemail. Remember, you have to call me back on my work phone because the other phone died.

There is no reception in the ER. They plug in a landline. They authorize long distance for the 913 area code. Kim puts away the taco meat and drives over.

New blood is drawn by a paramedic student. My platelet count is now 6.

I am admitted for overnight observation. I am in a room by 9:30.

Kim goes to get some clothes and a meaty pizza from Papa John's, because the other day I was thinking, "That pizza is kind of garbage but pretty good."

As I'm eating the pizza 45 minutes later, Kim tells me she left it on the roof of her car for a few blocks before realizing the error. Roof pizza is pretty good.

The TV remote breaks and I have to swap it with the older model. No number pad - I've got to move up and down one channel at a time. The Washington State game is a huge disappointment. One channel above it is Mitt Romney's Disappointed Dad Face.

I get to sleep at midnight.


They wake me up at 5 a.m. to take blood. Once I'm up I usually can't get back to sleep.

I watch the first of many iterations of Law & Order. This one is Criminal Intent, with Neil Patrick Harris as a shy man who drugs and kills women and once ate a calf muscle.

My platelets come back at 6,000. I meet with an oncologist. He thinks they'll continue to rise if I keep taking steroids. He says it's Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP), maybe caused by the Bactrim, maybe not. It happens sometimes to people with a history of lymphoma.

Right as I finish breakfast and the paper, a Big Gulp cup is set next to me. It contains radioactive iodine and lemonade Crystal Light. It's for my CT scan. I down it quickly.

Two hours later I get to the scan room, and they ask me to down a glass or two more. I guess they didn't expect it to take this long for me to get in there.

CT scans are really easy and not very unpleasant. They inject you with an IV solution that makes you feel warm and tingly, and can sometimes make you feel like you are peeing yourself. The great part is, you AREN'T REALLY PEEING YOURSELF. It only takes ten minutes once you're in the CT machine room.

The pharmacist assigned to the 3rd floor meets with me as a friendly formality. "From an organic chemistry standpoint, how would Bactrim cause me to kill my platelets? Bear in mind I got C's in organic chemistry." "I don't really know, but I will look it up."

Later he tells me the method of action is "idiosyncratic", which is a scientific way of saying nobody knows.

Black Dog is a 1998 motion picture starring Patrick Swayze as a trucker trying to get his life back in order, hauling a dangerous load alongside now-disgraced country music superstar Randy Travis, while Meatloaf and some other dudes attempt to seize his shipment.


A guy on Jeopardy! does well enough to set a new one-day record, but elects not to bet it all in Final Jeopardy. He should have, though, cause it was super easy. Did Jeopardy! get easier or did I get older?

My count is up to 10,000. They tell me I'm staying overnight.

I live less than 10 minutes away from the hospital and could easily come back for labs in the morning. Whatever.

SVU. A close game of travel Scrabble.


5 a.m. again. Every time they take blood, I'm left a purple spot called purpura. Blood bruises, kinda. I have junkie smack arms.

My count is up to 25,000.

I don't know why Notre Dame and Navy decided to air an 8 a.m. game they are playing in Dublin, but this blowout is much better than the Law & Order episode that's on.
The oncologist says he'll recommend I go home today. Eventually the hospitalist agrees. Eventually the discharge paperwork is processed and signed. I get free tape and gauze to take with me.

I go to HyVee to fill my prescriptions, a new antibiotic and steroids. Since I'll be on steroids, I buy snack food, because it makes you bounce around like a madman and hungry like the wolf. Summer sausage. Powdered mini-donuts.

I mean, did you read my prednisone-fueled March Madness blogs? Weird stuff.

I have a follow-up appointment Tuesday. I feel fine. I felt fine the whole time.

I have a new phone. The Nexus S is replaced by a Galaxy S III.

You can stop reading now.


Nicolas Frisby said...

Galaxy S III, nice.

dn said...

LTE network y'all

adrienne said...

So much to comment on.

Purple spot called purpura? I will remember this.

Chicken in a Biscuit.

What is Spangles?

dn said...

I looked at the box today and it's actually called Chicken in a BISKIT. It remains delicious.

Spangles is a Wichita-based fast food chain full of delicious garbage food.