Last Sunday, I woke up a little later than usual. I don’t go to the Y on Sundays — church day. I woke up shaking and shivering like crazy — I was freezing. And I had intense shooting pains in my right leg.
Uh-oh, I said. The cellulitis is back. Damn.
I got up, took a hot shower to try to warm up, took some Tylenol, made some coffee, but couldn’t quit shaking. And the Tylenol didn’t affect the pain.
I went to church, but left early, right after the sermon. Sorry, Father.
Came home and said, “Lillian, I’m pretty sure the cellulitis is back. I’m going to the ER.”
I went. I saw a doctor within an hour. He confirmed my diagnosis.
It was just three days short of two months since my last trip there in early June, when the doctor said I had cellulitis. That time was just a couple of days short of two years since June 2020, the first time I was diagnosed with the damn nasty leg infection they call cellulitis.
When you get it, your leg swells up about half again its normal size, turns fire engine red and burns like a son of a gun, with sharp shooting pains. Until pills control the pain, it is miserable.
The doctor said he’d keep me there, but they didn’t have a room right away, so I could hang out in my ER bed. They gave me some pain pills, which really helped once they kicked in. Twelve hours later, they found me a bed. They started antibiotics in an IV. In the morning, they found me a doctor who said they were just going to keep pumping me full of the antibiotics until they kicked the infection’s ass.
Well, five days later, after a pretty much continuous IV drip, the doctor said they were winning the battle but hadn’t won the war. But they were comfortable, sending me home with strong pills instead of the IV drip — about a week’s worth. Big old “horse pills,” we used to call pills that size. I’m home. I’m taking ’em.
In the meantime, the nice lady doctor had been trying to figure out where the disease had come from. It’s a mysterious disease, but the infection usually comes into the body through some open wound. I didn’t have any.
But during one visit, she asked if I had any other foot problems. I said yeah, I had kind of a sore spot on the bottom of my foot, which had been making it kind of hard to walk. I usually walk for about an hour a day, 3 to 4 miles, depending on my energy level, and I had been limping a little because of this sore spot — just kind of a little bump, like a callous.
She lifted up my foot, took a look, and said, “Uh-oh.”
Now when you’re the patient, the four letters you don’t want to hear from a doctor are “Uh-oh.”
Well, my first thought was to puff up my chest a little because I hadn’t been thinking about myself as much of an athlete lately, but, well, I suppose …
That thought didn’t last long.
“Can athlete’s foot cause cellulitis?”
“Can you think of a place you might have picked it up?”
“Well, I walk around the Y locker room and shower and swimming pool barefoot five or six days a week …”
“You probably should quit doing that.”
So they found some anti-fungal crème and started treating my athletic foot.
Last night when they sent me home, they sent a tube of that along. I’m using it.
So now what?
I slept pretty well last night after a pretty strong pain pill. Took my antibiotic horse pills. Today the leg still hurts, and it’s still pretty red, but it looks a little better. And now I’ll slip back into my June and early July routine.
I was hospitalized much of the first half of June, then spent much of the rest of the month, and into July, in my recliner, with my leg elevated. Not my favorite place to spend nice summer days, but the Twins were winning, and between them and the Jan. 6 hearings and good afternoon naps, I was pretty well-entertained.
Now it’s August, not usually a good month for the Twins. I was surprised at how many Twins fans I encountered in the hospital, especially among nurses, as I lay in my bed watching them on TV this week. They’d stop and check the score, and we’d have short baseball conversations. One of the nurses even warned me, “Don’t get too attached. They’ll break your heart in September.”
Yep, she was a true Twins fan. She knows ’em. She’s right.
They’re still hanging onto their division lead by a thread, but a couple of more games like last night, and that’ll be over. We’ll see. I’ll be watching more than a few games for the next week or two. Or, if they get real bad, fishing shows.
The Jan. 6 hearings are gone, and “Jeopardy” is in re-runs, so this recovery time could be a struggle.
For now, I guess I’ll just run over to the Dollar Store and buy a pair of flip-flops for the Y.