Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010.12.30 — Two Red Ears and Pumped — I'Ve Been I.V.ed

And so the experiment continues with an early morning visit to my local emergency on Boxing Day (Dec 26).

Quick back-step: as Christmas Eve day progressed, the inflammation and infection began to spread, and by the next morning I could feel and see it in my cheeks and neck.
My ears were near blood red,

extremely swollen and unbelievably painful.

The discomfort ranked up there with kidney stones and gout, both of which I've experienced.

But, I managed to get through Christmas before succumbing. And, of course, that was a bad thing to do, because by Boxing Day it had become, as I came to learn, quite serious. And, of course, many people are like me and put off hospitals until after Christmas, and so Emergency was busy — although I got there early enough that my initial wait wasn't too, too bad, although I wound up being in various parts of the emergency ward for 4 hours. I found ER lands new to me, too! I was prepared for the wait: I'd taken C.G. Jung's Analytical Psychology: Its Theory and Practice with me (and entangled myself in a long continuous fushigi with SMF.)

After my initial wait of an hour or so, the ER doctor took a look. We talked. He put into each of my ears some drops [See Medicine #1], then some packing and a tube. "These drops will do for now, but I'll prescribe you something stronger you have to get from a pharmacy." And he wrote me out a prescription.

Medicine 1:
Sandoz Opticort
"Is that it?" I asked? "No," he said, "you will be seeing a lot of me in the next several days." "I have to be admitted?" "No, you will be going on IV Therapy." He then directed me back to the waiting room, where I was to wait until my name was called.

When it was called, I was given some papers and directed to follow the green arrows past 'Triage.' The arrows lead me to a wall mounted 'in-tray' for the papers, and then continued towards an inner waiting room. After some time had passed, my name was called and I was to discover the OPAT (Out Patient Anti-Biotic Treatment) room. (OPAT is likely an old name because the staff and literature refers to it as  "Outpatient Intravenous Therapy" or simply "I.V. Therapy," but the old name is still on the door, and shows up in a confused way within their brochure.)

In the room were six reasonably comfortable looking chairs and a small doctor's examining bed behind a curtain. And an HD flat screen TV. The room was exuberantly decorated with Christmas balls and lights of various sorts hanging from the ceiling and just about everything that wasn't an actual I.V. drip cart and pump. I was directed to take a seat, and the routine of questions about allergies and other like questions are asked and answered. 

A saline lock mechanism was then easily inserted, albeit after having a significant patch of my arm hairs being shorn. But as they are about to hook me up, I was asked if I'd taken the two white pills I'd been given. Since I hadn't been given any to take, I said 'No.' 'Oh.' Surprise and consternation.
Medicine #2: Probenecid
I was instructed to take [Medicine#2], which I was told slows my kidneys so as to allow the drug to remain in my system longer. And I was again and directed to return to the waiting room, as these pills are to be taken at least 30 minutes before receiving the I.V. therapy.

Medicine #3: Ancef aka CeFAZolin
I am eventually connected, and so I am being pumped full of something [Medicine #3]. It is not until today, the last day of my I.V. therapy that I even asked what was being pumped into me. I was told to eat yoghurt to try to counteract the negative effects of the drug on my system's 'good' bacteria.

The drip process took 30 minutes, and I was released with the strict order to return at 10 pm. And, amazingly enough, within a couple of hours, I could feel my ears feeling better. When I returned at 10, there was already a huge improvement.

I asked the nurse, L., how long I would be doing this for. "There is no way of saying. There are people who have been coming for months, even years. But I don't expect that will be in your case." And it wasn't!

As soon as I left OPAT, I went to my nearest open pharmacy, and after quite a long wait, received my next medicine [medicine#4].

Medicine #4
Ciprodex Otic Suspension
By Wednesday night the routine had become a part of my life. 30 minutes every 4 hours putting drops in my ears, and drive to ER every 12 hours. I saw the other 'regulars.' It has a kind of surreality to it, in a way I can't quite put my finger to. On Wednesday my ears felt so much better that I was hoping a return wouldn't be necessary, but Dr. N. thought two more visits were best.

Medicine #5: Ciprofloxacin
Thursday morning, oh frabjous day, callooh callay! Dr. M. overruled Dr. N., told me I was done with I.V. and could now continue on oral penicillin for ten more days. He wrote me a prescription [Medicine #5]. I went to the nearest pharmacy, and was told under no circumstances am I to ingest dairy, including yoghurt.
Medicine #5: Ciproflox

And, as if this hadn't included too many details already, just for completeness here is what swabs of my ears told the doctors:

Happy New Year! I am happy to begin the year with y(ah) ears that feel normal again. And it would seem I have suffered no obvious short term side effects!

1 comment:

  1. oh frabjous day, calooh callay :) I can sense the surreal in your description. Almost as if you were meant to be somewhere those days which you are not others. A secret portal into somewhere you're not supposed to see. A pleasure of pain, connection with a wavelength you don't usually hear, it's sweet strummings flooding your ears. Ease of being fed like a baby once again, in an adult's body, an adult's mind watching yourself in another's arms against a mother's breast.

    That's just what came up. :)