Judith Lautner (judith) wrote,
Judith Lautner

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In spite of it all, a good day

I am rushing a bit, wanting to get on the road as soon as I am able, but my mind is welled up with thoughts, memories. For me, writing it down gets it out so it doesn't clutter my mind and I can think again.

Yesterday I was so tired. No doubt the antihistamines were part of that. I think that the poison oak and related problems also contributed, from the inside. This outbreak became so ugly, so horrific, so quickly.

I dragged myself to Jill's in Los Osos right after work, stopping at Carlock's bakery as usual. I thought maybe if I sat there and rested a little I'd be okay. I had a cup of mint tea because my stomach was bothering me, and watched the people come and go, and occasionally rested my head in my hands and tried to read my book.

It seems like the people who come into that bakery are usually so happy! I have noticed that groups form regularly in the area reserved for sitting. Yesterday there was a large group of women. "Large" meaning maybe eight or ten, which in that little space is a lot. Maybe it takes place of the gatherings I used to see in Denny's. I look at those cookies and cakes and pies and croissants and breads and wonder who is eating all of these things. Someone is, certainly. I usually have a biscotti, which I did.

When I got to Jill's, about a block away, I was a little more awake but because I arrived first I sat on the couch in the waiting room and leaned back, rested my eyes.

I filled Jill in on the last month, rapidfire as usual, forgetting to mention Elaine's graduation, oddly enough. The poison oak rash permeated the conversation at times because it was so uncomfortable. She suggested that I might want to stop by Med Stop. It hadn't occurred to me but as I looked at the wound I made with the scissors, trying to cut off some gauze, I thought it seemed infected. It hurt, was hard, around the wound. That alone really needed some looking.

As I drove toward home, my right arm felt stiff, hurting, and I thought, Med Stop is on the way. I stopped there.

As usual, the place no longer had my records. They are in storage somewhere. So I had to fill out forms. Jill had mentioned that maybe it's a good idea to form a relationship with a regular doctor again, and had given me a recommendation for one. I will certainly think about this.

My wait was 30 minutes, not so bad. There was only one doc on duty and even the front desk was not covered much of the time. They seem to stretch everyone there.

The nurse, a young man, who brought me into the exam room and asked what's up, told me of his experiences with poison oak rashes. Said he lived with them continually as a young lad, until he got so he could smell the stuff if he was remotely in the vicinity. He was congenial and upbeat.

The doctor was good, too. Took his time talking to me, probing the arm, telling me options. I have a secondary infection. Not a common thing with poison oak rashes, but when the skin has been abused for so long and there is a way in, the bacteria take advantage. It may have started with that scissors wound. He recommended that I invest in bandage scissors, those with blunt ends. He marked the area of infection with a pen. It is red and swollen, so it wasn't hard to make out. He told me that if the redness spreads beyond that line I should get to an emergency room or other medical place immediately.

Because I will be traveling he thought it would be best to get the antibiotics off to a quick start with an injection. He also said it may be a good idea to update that tetanus shot. So I said yes. He wanted to have me take prednisone by mouth because it's safer. When it is an injection and the patient has a bad reaction, you can't take it back. But if there are bad signs from the pills, you can stop taking them or lower the dose. I agreed with this thinking, although I was a little disappointed, wanted to get that started quickly as well.

He gave me prescriptions for antibiotics, prednisone, and claritin (antihistamine). Said, given my ulcer, take the prednisone with food, lots of food, to help with its stomach-eating effects. He considered just giving me a topical treatment but I said no, I'll take the ulcer chance. So I have to watch for any signs of internal bleeding or stomach pain as well. Any of that, off to emergency. Well, I've been there so I know what to look for.

The nurse gave me the injections and wrapped my arm. Gave me a bunch of telfa pads. There is a mesh sleeve over the gauze-type stuff, holding everything in place. I have not taken it off and may not do so until I get to Las Vegas.

From Med stop I went to the pharmacy at Vons. I had taken a liking to the pharmacists there. Once again, with reason. The pharmacist got to my prescriptions as soon as possible, and suggested that I get the over-the-counter claritin because it would be cheaper. He even got the right one from the shelf for me. He explained the drugs to me and I was out of there. I wanted to take that prednisone immediately, so I headed for Schlotzsky's, with hardly time to do so before I had to head for dance class. Soup! Perfect. I had a bowl of vegetable soup with six crackers, figured that would be substantial enough for then. I gulped some soup, swalled six prednisone tablets, finished the soup in record time, got out the door.

I arrived at the dance class only a couple of minutes late. Paul was waiting outside the door, I was happy to see. It was a pretty full class. We had a good time, or at least I did. Paul said we didn't have to do this if my rash was too awful, but I said I wanted to, that it would take my mind off the thing while the meds kicked in. And it did. I felt comfortable going over the steps, trying to remember what we'd done the week before, and taking on a new one. One I had done before but had forgotten. It is always easier the second or third time through, so I eventually got it again, as far as we went. Paul got most of it, has almost got the whole thing straightened out in his head and feet. We'll nail it next time fer sure.

I like watching the other dancers there. It is great to see ordinary people gliding around, doing complicated maneuvers, enjoying themselves, not being competitive. I enjoy it when we do a class project, too, which we did last night. Ladies on one side, gentlemen on the other. we follow the teachers, see if we have the moves right, then they dance with us one by one to see if we got it.

It's a relaxed atmosphere and we have good teachers. So lucky! We've heard the horror stories of other classes elsewhere. I left there feeling good, glad I went. Glad to have a dance partner at last, and a friend.

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