I do this thing where I anthropomorphise my immune system. It started a few of years ago and I’ll need to explain the circumstances.
So 2 years ago, at about this time, I was dying. I didn’t know that I was dying. I thought I had the flu. And to be fair, I did have the flu. And because of my weakened immune system sometime in the midst of the flu, I think on Sunday, so about 2 days into hardcore symptoms. In that time frame, a old wound that my body had sealed with a hard lump, probably around a object, grew swollen and popped. It was oozing a mix of pus and blood. It was whatever, I have a number of wounds on my legs that will do the same thing from time to time. I wash the wound site and it scabs over, no big deal.
Not this time. I’m so deep in fever that I just wipe the site clear then stumble to my bed and collapse. I feel I should point out that I rarely get sick and when I do it is rarely for more than a couple of days. And it will be something that is harvesting people at work like wheat in a field. They’ll be sick for weeks. Me a handful of days with only 2 or so being rough.
So I have the flu and this wound on my leg. The fever from the flu gets worse. And I start getting fluid buildup in my leg. I call out sick on Monday. It gets worse. While I can walk the 10 feet to the bathroom, I don’t want to. It hurts and takes time because I’m lying down. And when I go vertical I can feel the fluid sloshing down my leg internally and it is about a 7 on my pain scale. Note: I can completely ignore a 4-5 and a 6 I can push down to 2. And if the pain is persistent instead of sharp, I can convince my mind it’s pleasure.
So a 7 on my scale is rough. I once broke my ankle in a fall. I got up, walked into work, worked my shift and went home, using it to drive. I walked on that ankle(I thought it was a sprain) and 6 weeks later rebroke it. I continued to walk on it and it healed and I have the ability to bend my right ankle so that it touches the ground. So, I have a weird scale.
So I’m at a 7. And I don’t want to walk to the bathroom because it will be blinding pain for several minutes cause of my leg and the flu. Now clearly I’m not thinking straight cause who associates fluid in the leg with the flu but I had a high fever so problems. I piss in my trash can. Cause it’s big and right there and fuck it. And now it hurts to pee
Then Tuesday and my flu is better but I still have this fever and leg thing and I think, one more day and I’ll be fine. I stay home. I feel like shit. Repeat of the last night, it still hurts to pee, leg is even harder to stand on and is swollen enough and hot enough that I have trouble putting on pants. Which I do because shorts are for children and the gym.
Wednesday rolls around. I’m not better.
My work has a new policy that if you are sick for a third day, you need a doctor’s note. I call my mom and ask if she’ll take me to urgent care because they can sign off on this. She says OK and after taking 10 minutes to walk from my front door to the curb, we’re off. Yes I can walk on it, yes it hurts but remember pain is something I’m good at. Waiting in urgent care, 2 hours. People who are clearly less sick than I keep going back. They finally see me. Take one look at my leg which is about 2 times it’s normal size, muscular about 20 inches in diameter. So it’s ballooned to 40 inches and sloshing. They take one look and say uh uh, you need the emergency room. So away we go to the emergency room with their initial prognosis.
I choose a hospital based on the emergency room reviews. Because, duh. And we end up at Thunderbird Hospital. I check in and things start to go quickly. They look at the diagnosis and put me in the little area next to doors going back while they set up my area. They weigh me and do the rigamarole and then I walk back to my partition. The doctor takes a look, draws blood and I’m polite and smiling and joking. I point a couple of the nurses to my blog cause I do that all the time. They send me off to pee in a cup and it sucks and takes forever and is really far to the bathroom, it has to be 20 feet.
I take off my clothes and have put on the gown and tied it, and I find I’m not self conscious and I’m joking with the nurses, half hinting at my private life. Nothing crude. Just very comfortable.
They say that they are going to need to get antibiotics into me. And I know that means I’m going to lose a bunch of my immune system because it’s going to kill the good bacteria too. And I set up in my mind shelters in my intestines for the bacteria to retreat to before this happens. I talk to them and appoint one of the ones who has been fighting the infection as leader and general.
They have me on 3 different bagged IV antibiotics. One of which they have to monitor because it is strong enough to potentially collapse my veins.
I’m diagnosed with cellulitis which has not reached the lymph nodes in my thigh, (my immune system rocks) flu, and a urinary track infection. Basically, it took 3 major infections all at once to sideline me.
They tell me once the cellulitis reached the lymph nodes it would have begun reproducing in my bones and that would have been it. Probably a day or two if they hadn’t caught it.
I spend a couple of nights in the hospital. I’m bored out of my skull. Nothing to read, phones dead that first night. Sucks. Plus they are checking on me every 3 hours or so and changing IV bags. They switch arms because after 2 changes with the major one its either switch veins or collapse.
I’m still on antibiotics the next day.
I have to say that my ER doctor was amazing. She was calm, cool, collected. She marshaled that place like a 3 star general. She got me a room in hours while I was waiting for tests. The nurses were in awe of that. She was great. And because I’m me and I like strong women, I noticed a wedding ring. Damn.
Anyway, I anthropomorphise my immune system and it seems to work. After the antibiotics I were done, I let the army and families out of the shelters and they were mostly OK. My immune system is led by the hand picked chosen of the initial General. All honors to him for fighting in the Great cellulitis war of 2015. And I view my immune system as honored soldiers and friends.
You can say it. That’s odd.