Wednesday, December 30, 2009

a seriously disgusting post

No, really. This will be incredibly gross. If you are not into puss or medical procedures, just skip this one. Trust me.

You're still here? Ok, but you can't get mad at me for not warning you!

Here's the next chapter in my throat abscess story. A peritonsillar abscess is also called "Quinsy". Apparently, people die of quinsy. I thought that was a great section at wikipedia.

On Monday, I called my ear/nose/throat specialist, and talked to scheduling. They didn't have any openings available, but were able to squeeze me in for a visit anyway, given how serious this can be.

By the time my appointment came on Monday, I was starting to feel pretty miserable again, and my left tonsil had swollen up even more. J took me to the appointment. In the car on the way over, he told me that he would be unable to watch the procedure. He was genuinely concerned that I'd be upset over this "lack of support". I thought that was very sweet, and told him he did not have to watch. In fact, I was glad he was not going to watch.

I got to the doctor's office, and they got me right in. The doctor took a peek at my throat and declared it to be pretty bad. J was turning green watching even that (he hates tongue depressors) and announced that he was going to wait in the waiting room. The doctor let him go, and looked a bit envious at his exit. Hmm. That's not a good sign.

He said that the pocket of puss was pretty serious and needed to be lanced so that I could heal. To do this, he would take a syringe and give me a small injection to numb the area, and then take a scalpel and make a small incision to allow the infection to leave the body.

He gave me a small shot of anesthesia in my tonsil to numb the area. It was very difficult to not gag or throw up. Looking a bit grossed out, the doctor told me that there was puss coming out of the injection hole. Ew.

A couple minutes later, he poked the area to see if it was numb. Nope, not yet. He injected me with a little more anesthesia.

Then, he got one of those small bowls they use in the hospital for spitting/vomiting. He told me that when he cut the abscess, all of that grossness (my word, not his!) would come out, and it was very important to not swallow it, but to spit it out.


I couldn't believe this was an instruction given. Like I'd be soooo tempted to swallow it! Ew!

The doctor approaches me, looking pretty grossed out. I'm pretty sure he was wishing he was out in the waiting room with my husband. I'm also pretty sure he's afraid I'm going to throw up all over him.

He makes a slight cut, and then I had to lean forward while everything came out. It was unbelievably disgusting. It was green and slimy and the consistency of snot. There was also about 1/4 c. of it. No wonder I felt so incredibly ill. Even now, two days later, I get a little queasy thinking about it. After 30 seconds or so, it seemed to be over. The doctor gave my tonsil a little poke to be sure, and it was empty.

The doctor looked like he wanted to bolt from the room at this point. Before he could leave, I asked him if I should get my tonsils out. He thought that would be a great idea, but not til my throat has totally healed. He then dashed from the room, saying he'd see me in a couple months.

I think I'll schedule the surgery for June, when the kids are out of school. I figure it'll be easier for other people to step in and help out if there's not basketball, scouts, girl scout cookies, preschool or school.

They say recovering from a tonsillectomy is much more difficult as an adult, but I think that going through what I just did is probably just as bad as a tonsillectomy. I am so prone to throat infections that I think it makes sense to do this.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has had a tonsillectomy done as an adult so I can have an idea of what to expect.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas in the ER

So, we spent part of Thanksgiving in the ER, why not make holidays in the ER a tradition? Actually, I sincerely hope we don't.

J and I are truly blessed when it comes to family. We have a lot of family who live close by. Even better, all of the family that lives nearby are really awesome, fun, wonderful family, all of whom we are anxious to have major roles in our lives. We are really grateful for this.

The holidays kind of stress J out a bit though. Growing up, they didn't have family nearby, so Christmas day was a quiet day, and so that is what Christmas day is to him.

Christmas day for me was to go visit various grandparents, aunts and uncles. I absolutely LOVE the hustle and bustle of it. J loves seeing all these people, but would rather we spread out the visits so we spend more time, and only go to two houses a day. He had even threatened to wake up sick on Christmas day.

So I got a vague sore throat. On Wednesday, I woke up feeling pretty bad. I decided to go to the doctor so that just in case it was something that could be treated with antibiotics, I could get on them and feel better in time for Christmas. The local office got me right in. The doctor was really nice. He didn't do a strep test (which I thought was odd, especially given I had no fever), but put me on antibiotics and gave me a painkiller. Unfortunately, I woke up Thursday morning feeling even worse. Much to my dismay, I missed my family's annual Christmas eve party. I sent the rest of my family down though, so they wouldn't miss out.

Christmas morning, I felt even worse. It turns out the painkiller the doctor gave me nauseated me, so I got to throw up on top of everything else.

We fed the kids homemade caramel rolls, and then took them to my SIL/BIL's house. Then J and I headed up to the ER. We got there and sat down. To the right of me was a guy who was at the wrong end of a knife while taking plastic off of a present. He was hopeful that a couple stitches and he'd be well on his way. Um, no. He'd been well on his way to cutting his thumb off. It was going to need surgery.

Another guy comes wandering in who I guess had been in line, but then had to leave to get a cigarette. He was also there for a sore throat, but the man would.not.shut.up. If I hadn't been in so much pain, I would've enjoyed visiting with him, because I love talking to eccentric people. But, alas, I couldn't talk. Anyway, he told me about how that cigarette really made his heart rate go up.

A woman with uncontrollable vomiting shuffled in, and she got to be triaged immediately. Fine with me. Mr. Chatty told us about how when he was living in Denver, he got appendicitis, and he let his 13 year old drive him to the hospital. He said he walked all hunched over, just like vomiting lady.

We get back to my room and Mr. Chatty happened to get the room next to mine. He stood in his doorway and tried to talk to people as they walked by. It was a little sad to me, because he was a nice, engaging guy.

J had to use the bathroom, and when he came back, he reported that Mr. Chatty had completely disrobed, and had wrapped a hospital johnny around his waist like a towel, and was still standing in the doorway. I got the giggles from that. That only got worse when we overheard the doctor tell him, "Ok, you can get dressed any time now."

As for me, they told me that I had the beginnings of a peritonsillar abscess. Given the state of my tonsils, I think it was a definite risk for me. The germ that caused it wasn't a superbug or anything like that, in fact, none of our kids have gotten sick, and they're constantly giving me kisses, sharing drinks, etc. They gave me an injection of antibiotics, and an injection of a steroid anti inflammatory, and instructions to come back the next morning for more of the same, plus to double check it hadn't gotten any bigger. As it was, it was starting to interfere with my breathing, and they were concerned about that.

I came back today for another round of poking. The doctor confirmed I'll definitely have to have the abscess drained, but it has shrunk to the point where it's "non-emergent, but urgent". So, I will go in to the specialist Monday.

I suspect that when I consult with an ear/nose/throat specialist, they will tell me that I need to get my tonsils out. I have always been prone to throat issues, and I think my tonsils are so damaged that I'm somewhat vulnerable to anything that comes along. I am hoping that I put it off til June, when the kids will be out of school. That way, they won't have to be shuttled around, and it'll make caring for them much easier.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Rudolph and my packrat tendancies

I have been watching the old stopmotion Christmas show "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" with my kids this Christmas.

As I watched, I remembered watching it as a child. I was so traumatized by the forgotten misfit toys on their little island. I think that show singlehandedly convinced me that inanimate objects have feelings. If I ever had a broken or unused toy, I had a very difficult time getting rid of it because I was just sure that they would be sad if I threw it away.

One Christmas, I was given a Cabbage Patch Kid. Santa had left it in the box, so it's defect went unnoticed. I was undoing the twist ties to get her out of the box, and her head tipped forward. The machine that had sewed her hair to her head had gone too deeply, or maybe made the stitches too close together (?), and she had this huge gash along the back of her head where the hair was attached to the base of her head. It was deeply unsettling to the point of terrifying to a little kid. We exchanged the doll (wait, how come we were able to go to Toys R Us and provide a receipt?!), but I felt incredibly guilty. I INSISTED on picking out the exact same doll- same outfit, hair, everything. I then changed her name to what the original doll had been, even though I hadn't really even like the original name.

To this day, I have a difficult time of letting things go. As I've thought about it and watched the show, I realized that this show was instrumental in creating my pack rat issues. If I have something I no longer need, I want to keep it, just in case. It could still be useful, given the right circumstances.

On a lighter note, as an adult watching the show, I was kind of disgusted with Santa and Rudolph's father. They were a bunch of narrow minded idiots on that show. Irritated me.

No, I refuse to seek therapy because I internalized a silly kids' show from the 60s.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Blood Donation DENIED!

I have always tried to donate blood as frequently as I could. I have to admit I've let it slide for a while, and my guilt was compounded by the fact that I had the Red Cross Blood Donation people calling me frequently.

Today I decided to go in and donate. I thought it was neat that they let you answer all of the personal questions on a computer and the examiner isn't there for that. Not that I've ever had embarrassing answers, but.... I think it IS stupid that during those questions, NOBODY can be in the room with you, due to privacy issues. My two year old won't even let me use the restroom in privacy. I'm not worried about a couple of silly blood donation questions while he climbs around my legs. I would have thought about throwing a fit, but they showed me a totally contained toy area, so I was more than happy to let him go play.

So, we get to the travel questions. Last December, if you'll recall, I was on a Caribbean cruise. 364 days ago, I spent 8 hours in the lovely Samana area of the Dominican Republic. Apparently, this is a festering hole of malaria. I was deferred for having been there in the last year. I'm welcome to come back on Wednesday and donate though.


So, even though I thought there would be no lingering health consequences for my cruise, apparently there could be. If you could pray for me for the next day or so, that I won't have malaria appear, I would greatly appreciate it.

I get why they have rules. I think they can get a little ridiculous though. Seriously. There is NO WAY I have malaria from my brief jaunt there. If I did, don't you think it would have manifested by now? My major problem is that I have now been deferred three times, two of which were pretty ridiculous, in my opinion.

The first time I was deferred was in college. At the time, they wouldn't let anyone donate who had had symptoms of hayfever within the last week. Well, I would never, ever be able to donate if they kept that rule in place. I will say I can see why they had that rule- a cold and hayfever do feel awfully similar. This rule has been abandoned.

The second time was a year or two ago. I had gone in for a dental cleaning, and then attempted to donate blood two days later. No dice. Seems a bit silly.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


A couple mornings ago, I got S out of bed, and she seemed a little quiet and withdrawn. I asked her what was wrong, and to my surprise, she burst into tears, and jumped into my arms.

I asked her what was wrong, and she began to sob, "I'm so sorry, Mommy!"

Uh Oh. Whatever she did must have been really bad for her to be this upset.

I keep calm and ask her what she was sorry about. She took a deep, shuddering breath and explained.

"Last night I dreamed that you were a snake. I was playing with you, and I accidentally SQUISHED YOUUUUUUUUUU!!!!" (As she spoke her tone got higher and higher and it ended in a wail).

I kept a straight face, though it was difficult.

Z has discovered the wonder of hot chocolate. He got a cup of it the other drank, drank it all gone. An hour or so later, he saw the empty cup, and brought it to me and said, "Uh oh Mommy, chocolate hot all gone. Need more! Uh oh Mommy!"

We set up our Christmas tree yesterday, much to the delight of the children. I turned on the lights this morning at their insistence. When the littles went down for their naps, I turned it back off. It's a pre-lit tree, so I figure that it's life expectancy is very finite, given that it is already several years old. When Z woke up, the first thing he did was run to visit the tree. With horror, he turned to me and said, "Uh oh, Mommy, the tree off. Need lights on! Oh no!!!!"

I know that two year olds have a terrible reputation, and I will admit they are a bit spirited and moody, but really, I think two year olds are some of the funnest kids around. Their wonder and passion are just amazing to be around.