I think I’m back. I hope I’m back. It’s nice to be back and not in a doctor’s office of some kind, waiting and waiting and waiting to hear about their “educated guesses” of what might be what they call, a "diagnosis". Here’s the thing: my story is so frig’d up that the doctor’s only have what I tell them, as well as the evidence left on my body. My poor family and friends have been over-tweeted and over status messaged over on Facebook, that they are a bit baffled themselves.
On Monday, I was walking out of my apartment down the stairs carrying a cornucopia of things: laptop, purse, a bag of fruit, water, and a video camera. When I got to the last flight of stairs, my left foot slid out from under me and I fell down 9 steps...on my ass. ~Ca-chunga chunga chunga chunga chunga chunga chunga chunga chunga BOOM!~ I had hit my tailbone each time, bouncing off each step like an old rag doll. I felt the pain all the way up into my head. Thankfully, all of my equipment and computers were in their casings and tightly packaged nicely, or it would have been quite costly. I sat there, on the last step just thinking about what just had taken place. Everything hurt. I didn’t know what I had injured. I walked back upstairs slowly, grabbing onto everything plus the railing, as I should have when I first walked down the stairs previously. I sat down over at the bar in my living room and cried. I felt the pain. I placed an ice pack on my arm which seemed to hurt, but everything else started throbbing at that point.
The next day, I felt it more. I was unable to move or do anything. Madelene was off thankfully, helping me do what I couldn’t. I started getting a migraine. I figured it was from the fall and that my tailbone just gave me a jolt all the way up my spine into my head. I was taking 600 mg of Motrin, hoping that would alleviate most of the pain. As I went into the bathroom, I had noticed red patches developing up into my neck. As I looked further under my shirt, there was a spider-like rash that was developing from my lower stomach up into my chest, making it all the way up to my neck. I popped a Benadryl and thought that would help it. It only got worse. I checked my fever which was 102.
We rushed up to the emergency clinic, where it’s more like an emergency doctor’s office - not an ER at a hospital. The nurse practitioner walked in, heard my entire story, examined my rashes, took a look in my ear and said, “You have an ear infection which is giving you a viral rash. Take penicillin for ten days and it should do the trick.” Fine. As soon as I walked back inside my apartment, I felt something hurting the back of my left leg. It was a huge welt the size of softball. It looked like an infected something or other. I don’t even know. It was so disgusting and huge that I didn’t even want to look at it myself. When I showed other people, they were shocked and said, “OH MY GAWD! Go to the ER!!!”
So I did...
The second doctor walks in and examines my leg and immediately calls out the most commonly used diagnosis ever: “You have a spider bite.” He prescribed me the strongest of all antibiotics and told me to take them 4 times per day for a week. Ugh. When I got home, I wasn’t satisfied with his answer, because there were no bite marks or anything that resembled a yellow sac spider or brown recluse spider bite. Brown recluse spiders are found mostly in the midwest anyway. I did my homework online, to prove that my theory was correct when speaking to my very last doctor at the emergency room of a hospital.
Trip #3 included going to the most disgusting hospital ever. I’m even going to call them out because I am very disturbed by their lack of cleanliness and professionalism. I was taken to the Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, NY. The first thing you see while walking into the ER are a pile of surgical masks for patients with a fever and sanitizing soaps, in case of the swine flu. Good on them for providing this, I thought. As I sat down, everything was dirty. I tried not touching the chairs. The nurse comes shuffling out and yells, “Oh Jesus! Another person just walked in right when I’m about to go home! DEBRA!” I sat next to her as she took my blood pressure, asking me about my dilemma. She starts yelling at me, “I don’t understand! You’re all over the place! What’s the matter with you?” Madelene had to finish my long-winded spiel of what had happened and that this was the 3rd trip for medical treatment. After she took my vitals, she shoved me back into the dirty waiting room.
Thirty minutes later, I heard what sounded like a drunk lady with a raspy 10 pack of cigarettes per day type of voice calling out my name, “DEBBBBBRRA to da’ regerrrrstrashhhheeeoon office.” Now I had to sit in this disgusting cubical with a flickering lantern hanging above our heads signing all different types of CYA forms and filling out insurance information. The lady was so mean, she was practically throwing pens at me and cursing each time she made a typo or God forbid the ER telephone would ring. The doctor brought me inside the emergency room, which was more like a huge hallway full of doctor offices - not your typical emergency room. The doctor came inside, looked at my leg and gave me a blank stare. “I don’t know what this is. Let’s do a white cell count.” The young blonde nurse sloshes in the room as though it was her last hour of her shift and yells out, “Pick an arm! Any arm!’" She grabbed my arm so briskly and wrapped a rubber thingie around it so tightly that my eyes nearly popped out. She stabbed me over 10 times and finally got some blood out of me. I was hurting more over her taking blood than what I originally came in there for.
After two grueling hours of lying on a bed (more like a gurney) with beige sheets that should have been white, the doctor brings in the head doctor to finalize his “educated guess” of what was on my leg. I wish House was my doctor at that point. The older doctor says, “It’s just an inflammation, not an infection. Your blood work is normal.” He gave me some cream and I was on my way. He also said that he was so sick and tired of doctors making the huge mistake of calling every injury or bruise a “spider bite”.
No one can explain why I had high fever or the other rashes for that matter. I’m just a medical mystery. But I will say this: always get a second opinion if you’re not sure, and if you’re not comfortable with that, keep getting an opinion until it works. I’m 100% better now, not one mark on my body and thankfully, no fever. I still don’t know what happened to me and neither do the doctors.