Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Return of the Abscess

Over the weekend, I had planned to write about all the fun, cute things I've done since moving back in to my senior-year dorm and beginning my classes and thesis, which I of course find fascinating and hope you will too.

But then, I went to the Emergency Room instead.

See, two weeks ago when I developed that nasty abscess I posted about, I got a 10-day round of Penicillin to ideally clear it all out. And when I confessed to my primary physician that I was terrified we'd have to drain it, she essentially laughed at me and sent me on my merry way.

Well, the Penicillin ran out last Thursday, and I thought all was dandy, and that my horrible painful infection was over. Oh, but I was wrong.

Saturday morning I woke up with a faint sore throat, and at first didn't even attribute it to the abscess. I had gone out Friday night and thought maybe it was just a nasty remnant of a late night. But by dinnertime, I knew that it had come back. The same tell-tale lump only near my right tonsil had returned, along with the aches, pains, and fever that had accompanied it the first time. Annoyed, I told L. that I was going to run down to the health center and ask for a second round of antibiotics to be prescribed to me. I thought it would only take ten minutes, and then I would come back and we could go to dinner.

Again, I was wrong.

The nurse found that I had a fever of almost 100, and when I explained my symptoms to her, she progressively looked slightly worried. This, in turn, worried ME, because nurses are usually pretty good at keeping it together. She asked me to look all the way up, and then tilt my chin down to my chest. My neck was so stiff and my abscess was so tender that I couldn't touch my chin to my chest, and without missing a beat, the nurse said "Michelle, I would like to you to go the ER right now. I want you to get tested for Meningitis."

The next half hour was a blur of everyone, including L., who came to pick me up, and my dad, who I called, saying that everything was fine but looking absolutely scared shitless, which clearly made me scared shitless, and subsequently by the time I got to the ER I was all kinds of panic-stricken. Luckily, when I saw the doctor he said he thought my symptoms were from my abscess and not meningitis...but then he said something that, for me, was almost just as bad: that he wanted to drain it. With a GIANT NEEDLE. He said if we didn't do it then I could go to the ear, nose, and throat doctor, who would then do it with a SCALPEL, and asked me how I felt about it. "Well," I said, "I feel like I'm going to pass out just talking about it!"

Ultimately, the doctor pushed for wanting to drain it that night, since he didn't feel that another round of antibiotics would effectively get rid of it. So I asked for L. to be allowed to come in the room, since I am absolutely, deathly afraid of needles, and he squeezed my hand as the doctor numbed my mouth and throat and PREMATURE tears, just expecting the pain, began to roll down my cheeks. The doctor said that when he said so, to close my eyes and no matter what NOT open them, because he knew I would freak out if I saw the size of the needle. Then, when he stabbed it into my throat, I was awkwardly sobbing from the pain, but my mouth was numb and my tongue was depressed so really it was a series of strange-sounding guttural throat noises and tears running down my face.

Guys. It hurt worse than ANYTHING in recent memory has ever hurt. I don't exactly have the highest threshold for pain, but take my word for it. But it was relatively quick. After it was over, I trembled/shook for a few hours for the sheer trauma of the event (not even kidding), and could barely talk for awhile. L. ordered some lo mein noodles for me, since we had missed dinner, and we spent the evening on the couch, which passed relatively pleasurably after I took my painkillers! It definitely still hurts, even four days later, but I'm just hoping this whole miserable experience will be over soon. Being drugged up on narcotics all day definitely isn't conducive to getting schoolwork done, although the prospect of hours of work hasn't been nearly as depressing, ha! But more pleasant posts soon to come, as soon as I start feeling better.


  1. You poor thing! I couldn't imagine. My recent ER experience was tragic enough and it just include 3 tiny stitches. So glad you're OK though!

  2. OH sweetie, your poor poor thing! I missed the post about the first abscess. YUCK! I had a bad throat infection before but never an abscess. I can't imagine how awful that must have been. I hope you get back to your happy healthy self soon. I'm so glad L was there to hold your hand! Tell him you need extra foot rubs and cuddles this week.

  3. Oh my goodness!! I am so, so sorry you had to go through all of that! I am so happy L was there to support you and hold your hand. I would have been a mess too ~ I cried the first time I had blood drawn! But I am so happy you are feeling better and don't have meningitis! Get some rest and take care of yourself!

    PS thanks for the support last Sunday! You're too sweet! :)

  4. You poor thing! I hope you are resting and recovering this weekend! At least it's over, right??? :)

  5. Thank you so much for all your kind words, everyone! It's finally starting to feel better and I have a few more days left on the antibiotics so I can't know for sure if it's truly gone til after those are done...but here's hoping!!!