OK, so I’m not going to write about any of those topics I mentioned in my previous blog posting. Instead, I’m going to write about my finger—yes, my finger—and how it almost landed me in the hospital.
For the past several months, I’ve had a patch of extremely dry skin on the middle finger of my right hand. I’ve never had dry skin like this before, and it’s been itchy and irritating as hell. Finally, I asked my sister-in-law Donna (who for some reason always seems to be able to solve most of life’s minor problems) what I should do about it.
“It looks like you have eczema,” she said. “Go to Walgreen’s and buy a tube of their cortisone cream with moisturizers. I had a patch of eczema on my hand and that’s what helped me.”
I did as Donna suggested, and it did seem to help for a little while. Still, that very annoying, persistent itch would not go away, and I couldn’t stop myself from scratching. The skin was extremely irritated and broken.
I noticed that the more stressed out I got at work, the more itchy my finger was. And the more itchy my finger was, the more I scratched it. And the more I scratched it, the more it hurt.
I had a really stressful week at work. My poor little finger was miserable.
Then, on Thursday of this week, I noticed that the knuckle on the bottom of that finger felt “bruised,” and looked a bit red and puffy.
“That’s weird,” I thought—but I figured I must have bumped it on something. (I’m a bit of a clumsy person and tend to bump into things on a regular basis.)
Then on Friday (yesterday), the knuckle was even more red, swollen, and painful. I began to suspect that I had an infection.
I called Iwanski’s other sister, Anna, who’s a nurse, and asked her if I should go to the doctor.
“Absolutely,” she said without hesitation. “You need to get some antibiotics right away.”
“Okay,” I thought. I was starting to get a bit worried, so I called my doctor as she suggested. They squeezed me in for an appointment at 2 PM.
After waiting approximately 20 hours (at least it felt that way) and reading the entire Entertainment Weekly magazine from April 2010, the doctor finally came into the room. He was also followed by another dude, whom he introduced as an intern.
After I explained my symptoms and the doc took a look, he and the intern informed me that I definitely had an infection and that they would be giving me an antibiotic to knock it out.
“There is one caveat,” the doctor said. “Infections in the hands are a very serious thing. Because there isn’t much tissue in the fingers or the hand, infections there can spread really fast.”
“So tonight, I want you to monitor it closely,” he continued, “And if looks or feels worse, don’t hesitate—go to the ER immediately, and they’ll hook you up to an IV.”
The ER? An IV? I was stunned. Who knew that a simple little finger infection could lead to that?
So I did what I was told, and took a couple of the heavy-duty antibiotics that were prescribed to me—and then last night, I looked closely at my hand. Well, it still hurt, and the knuckle was still red and puffy—but it didn’t seem to be any worse. So we wouldn’t have to spend a night in the ER, after all—thank God!
I am so very glad that we live in the era of modern medicine and kick-ass antibiotics that can fight off these types of infections before they turn into something a lot worse.
And I wanted to share this story, just in case anyone reading it has a bit of painful, puffy, red skin on their hand. I guess it’s better to get it checked out instead of possibly ending up in the hospital!
Oh, and also, the doc prescribed a steroid cream to me, for the eczema—so I’m hoping it works. If it does, I guess it will have been worth it to have to deal with this little infection, to get help for that extremely annoying itch.
P.S. I will send a virtual pie to anyone who can tell me where the title of this blog post comes from!