Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Scratch That Itch

July is beginning to really irritate me. Literally.

Last year, right before the 4th of July my fiance and I went out to clear brush and I ended up with a bout of poison ivy that covered both legs from the knees down. At that time I "doctored" myself with common topical creams, etc. and suffered through about a month of itchy misery.

My fiance's words of wisdom, "Don't wear shorts while working out in the timber". (A source of another form of irritation for me that I had to endure at the time).

You would think I would learn (sigh)...

So this year ON the 4th of July we set out to once more clear brush. The 4th was on Tuesday this year. By Wednesday night I had a scratchy throat and was sneezing and coughing. At the time I thought that either my allergies were kicking in or that I was coming down with a summer cold.

Thursday when I got up I felt bad, but by the time I had gotten out of the shower to go to work my sneezing had become violent and I had begun to cough to the point of choking. It was too late to call in, so off to work I went. By 8 am my Supervisor approached me and said "you need to go home". I had been assigned 7 patients and would have gladly gone, but she couldn't find a replacement for me and I was not about to overload her with my patients and her own responsibilities. So I left work that night with the understanding I would not be back the next day "to get over it".

Thursday night I felt bad, but had no idea how bad bad could get. Friday I woke up with the beginnings of what appeared to be a rash on my stomach. I knew I had a temperature because I had suffered from episodes of chills throughout the night, so rationalized the rash as being "fever-related". I also began to wheeze to the point it was hard to catch my breath at times. But, being the stubborn person that I am and personally seeing enough of doctors at work to not want to subject myself to them during my time off (sick or not) I was determined to "tough it out".

Saturday morning found me up at 3am with my skin crawling, a raging fever, and wheezing to the point (between sneezing and coughing) that I felt at one point maybe I was getting into respiratory trouble. This episode was over about as quickly as it started and once more I passed on the thought of going to the doctor. I remained up until 11pm that night, in the recliner, lethargically pointing and clicking the remote control at the tv. As my temperature flared, I took ibuprophen. As my temperature flared, I developed diarrhea. As my temperature flared, my rash spread to my back. I was one miserable person.

Sunday found me feeling somewhat better. I was no longer wheezing and my sneezing and coughing had subsided. The diarrhea stopped. Things were looking up except for that rash which continued to increase on my abdomen and back. I convinced myself that was all-in-all I was "doing better" and that once I had this bug out of my system the rash would go away.

Monday things took a turn again. Once more, I began to run a higher temperature. By that night my sneezing and coughing began again with a vengeance. And by that night it was obvious that I didn't have just a rash, but poison ivy. The rash was now spreading to my face, neck, arms, hands, and legs. I could finally see the runners of red rash that look like streaks of blisters. I gave up that night and called in to work for Tuesday with the understanding I would go to the doctor.

Did I say I hate going to the doctor? I hate it so much, that although I have insurance through work, I have never gotten around to finding a doctor to go to. So I ended up going to a walk-in emergency clinic run by a couple of ER doc's that work with the same hospital system I do. I got lucky. After 15 minutes of paperwork time I was in the exam room. After examining me, the good doctor said he wasn't sure based on what he was seeing that I ever had had a virus (a cold). He said that if I had gotten the spore from the poison ivy into my respiratory system the end result could create all the respiratory problems I had. I had a low grade temp at the time of the doctors visit (11 am) and he said that a temp under the circumstances could be a symptom related to having that severe of a poison ivy attack. Within 25 minutes I had been given a steroid shot, a prescription for an oral steroid dose pack, told to double up on my allergy medicine to help dry up my excess secretions and was on my way out the door with a "do not return to work" order until the medicine had time to kick in.

I am totally exhausted from not sleeping, from trying not to scratch, and having absolutely no energy left. My fiance had no grand words of wisdom this time. Once more I did have shorts on while I worked (I already said I was stubborn), but this time the rash began and localized where I had been covered up. It was in the latter stages that it spread to my extremities.

I have learned something from this whole ordeal though. I will never, ever attempt to clear brush in July again.

Additional forms of irritation...

While spending so much wasted time in front of the tv I found that irritation can come in many forms. You know you have spent enough time on one channel when you have the commercials memorized. And the sequence that the commercials appear in.

Also, it is absolutely irritating to already be irritated, but to have that irritation pushed to the extreme with political posturing and mudslinging. If I hear one more time how "much Christian values mean to me" as part of a political campaign I may puke. Not that I don't think having Christian values is a good thing (because I do), but when touting abilities to be a good leader, someone should remind the blithering idiots who are running the campaigns for the candidates here in Oklahoma that trying to impress the public that YOUR candidate is a bigger, better Christian than your opposition, is not a very Christian thing to do. Correct me if I am wrong, but being virtuous does not include being a braggert - especially when you are trying to come across as being virtuous.

Check out the Oklahoma Political News Service to learn how virtuous our leaders and wannabe's are. I will leave further political commentary to Oklahoma PNS for now. I have enough irritations as it is.

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posted by Is It Just Me? at 10:30 AM