So when we last left our heroine she was told “I’m not worried.” That is of course, reassuring… but the next 10 days proved to be most worrisome. Nothing new was going on, but really, nothing was improving. I work in a very busy Urgentcare and of course we were in flu-season and there had been a lot of strep throat, mono, coughs and colds-any of course, that I could have caught. I have 3 small children and if you too have small children, you know that really they are just incubators for germs. Not only incubators- but they make sure that they have done everything possible to find every possible germ (like put their mouths on handrails at the mall, pick noses, make sure they are best friends with the kid who always gets stomach viruses) and propagate it in your home. Ironically, I am the least sick one of my family. I usually credited this to the fact that I was overall very healthy and between my job and my kids- I had been exposed to every.single.germ. in the community. So on I worked. Christmas Eve is a very busy day in Urgentcares, ours was no different, I was there treating sick people. I had home stuff to do, Christmas was tomorrow, I think you get the picture, I was no different than anyone else. Came home that evening from work, got kids ready for bed- I was just too tired to get Santa his stuff- my hubby was going to have to help, I just couldn’t find the energy. He learned over to kiss me- “Boy- you are hot….” But he was not referring to the stylish Wal-mart PJ I was wearing….“let me check your temperature…102.3” WHAT?!? No that CANNOT be right. Get the other thermometer. “102.3” OK- seriously I am going to go ahead and go to bed. I don’t have any cough, congestion, I have some hematuria (medical term for blood in urine) but no pain, I cannot be having that type of fever, I don’t feel that bad- get the glass one (I don’t know why I have a glass one, but I do)…”103.” Obviously those are all broken. We will see what I am in the morning. And I went to bed- to deal with it in the morning.
CHRISTMAS!!!! Presents, dinner, friends- you know the whole shebang. And I woke up cool- no idea why I was so hot the night before. Blame it on holiday stress. BUT I will point out that in the two weeks prior to the fever I was regularly soaking the bed with sweat ( I had night sweats since I had my babies and occasionally they would flare up- these were more intense, as in wring sweat from the sheets soaked, husband asking me if I wet the bed…Let me remind you of a word- Denial). As the day wore on, I did too, finally starting to feel pretty lousy in the afternoon. I knew the fever was back. And I knew that I couldn’t ignore it. I debated going into the emergency room and knew it was unavoidable. I figured I needed an antibiotic, maybe an IV and I would be ready for work later on that week. So, we got kiddos to bed and I drove myself to the emergency room. What Christmas day fun.
As providers, we don’t always have good news to give our patient, unfortunately that is part of the job. I feel for that emergency room doctor I saw that night. It was about 2 a.m. And he came in and told me my WBC were below 1 (this is bad), RBC were less than 9 (this is bad), and my platelets were about 40 (this is bad). That I had a massive spleen (this is bad), too many nodules (tumors) to count in my lungs (this is bad) and some spots on my liver (this is bad). There was nothing good, reassuring or fixable. And there are 3 things that can cause these problems- massive infection, cancer and autoimmune disorders. Their initial guesses were either metastatic cancer or septic embolisms. But we would figure it out! He would get me admitted and start treatment! You are young and active- it’s just a matter of finding the problem…. Ahh the irony of that statement 6 months later- you must stay tuned.
Just bring me a working thermometer!!