Warning: This post will contain what I will call semi-graphic pictures of why I was in the hospital. No blood, no guts, but I wanted to warn you as some people might be squeamish from them.
Usually on Mondays I post my weekly training recap. Not this week. Instead, it’s going to be my hospital recap. If you didn’t see on social media last week, I spent Wednesday through Sunday in the hospital. Here is where I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who sent me a message of well wishes, stopped by to say hello, brought me food and sent me laughs to cheer me up. I even had 2 prank calls! Without my friends, I would have gone even more stir crazy than I did!
So what exactly sent me to the hospital? Well, no one actually knows. Last Monday during my 4 miles run, I felt a bite or a sting on my lower left leg about 1.5 miles into the run. I only felt it once and didn’t really think anything of it. It almost felt like like a horsefly sting. It certainly didn’t effect my run as I had one of the best runs I had in a long time. After my run I did a good upper body weight circuit and then headed home. It itched a little, but nothing crazy. Tuesday morning the area looked like a reaction to a mosquito bite. I typically react pretty badly to them, so I figured this was just turning into a normal reaction to that type of bite. Oh, how I wish that would have been the case.
Throughout the day on Tuesday, the area was itchy and the red was slowly spreading throughout my lower leg. I was keeping an eye on it more and more at this point. I did another good workout at the gym and after that workout is when the blister started poking around. The area was so much worse, the blister was bigger and now I was genuinely concerned. I went to MedExpress (which was a HUGE mistake) and they diagnosed as cellulitis. While they got the actual diagnosis right, their treatment was wrong.
They sent me away with a prescription of Doxycycline. When I got home I circled the two main areas on my leg. I seemed to have an area by the blister and then another area extending out on my calf. I figured this might help in seeing if the redness went down. I am so glad I did this. While I knew that the antibiotics were not going to be miracle drugs, I didn’t except it to get worse. I woke up Wednesday in a panic. Now, the reason I was in such a panic is because on Saturday morning I was suppose to leave for Hawaii. I had no idea what was happening to my leg and I was freaking out that my trip was in jeopardy.
I put calls into both the MedExpress and my PCP and went to work. It was definitely worse. Eventually the MedExpress called me back and they basically said I had to give antibiotics time and that yes, it would probably get worse before better. I didn’t like this answer and luckily my PCP called me quickly after that call. They asked me to come in at 12:30pm, so after a few hours in the office, I headed down for the appointment. By this point, my left ankle was now swollen pretty badly. I was in my PCP’s office no more than maybe 3-4 minutes and he again diagnosed cellulitis and the best course of action at this point would be IV antibiotics. I sort of thought it meant one treatment in the ER and on my way home, but that wasn’t the case. He looked at me and said no Hawaii and I needed to be admitted instead. When you apparently go from your PCP to being admitted, they call the hospital and arrange for a bed for you. You skip the ER and the waiting. The direct admit is less stressful for sure.
From the onset of my hospital stay, the staff was amazing! Everyone quickly found out about my Hawaii trip and everyone was very dedicated to get me there. The idea was 5 doses of IV Vancomycin and then I should be good to go. There was still a big concern with the flight times being so long, but I was pushing hard to get out by Friday so I could get to Hawaii. We had a small issue after my first dose as I broke out in major hives on my neck and chest and had some majoring itching on my scalp. Basically I was reacting to the meds. The doctor didn’t seem to be too concerned as much as I was. He decided to give me Benadryl about 30 minutes prior to each dose going forward. Luckily it either worked or my body just got used to the Vancomycin. The meds slowly started working as my swelling went down as did the blister and redness. However, the redness in my leg would come back between each treatment.
I was so thankful to everyone who brought me food for lunch or dinner. The hospital food was lacking in many ways. One thing that kept irritating me was that I wasn’t on a restricted diet but I never got salt and pepper with anything. I had to order that separately and I would ALWAYS forget! It was also weird that if you wanted a little snack, it wasn’t like you could just go to the cabinet and get something. The staff was so sweet in bringing me water about every 2 hours. I went through so many jugs. If I was just sitting there doing nothing, I was at least going to stay hydrated.
Within the first 24 hours, the doctors ordered a doppler and an ultrasound. Luckily there was no fluid build up inside and no blood clots. On my 2nd night though, my first IV was blown. I had just started a dose of Vancomycin and it was extremely painful. I was about 2 seconds away from ripping the IV out myself. Then on Saturday, the second IV blew again at the start of another dose. I had to get a third IV and this one took 4 sticks. My left arm felt like a pin cushion. They were able to finally get one on my hand but only after bringing out the ultrasound even to find veins. I think the 3rd one might have blown at the very end as during the last flush of saline, there was a crazy burning sensation. Luckily, it was the last treatment and they were pulling the IV anyway.
Originally I was suppose to be released on Friday night so I could get to Hawaii. I had a very frank conversation with the doctors on Friday morning and while it sucked and I shed some tears, we all determined that traveling and going to Hawaii was not safe. I wasn’t going to Hawaii to sit by a pool. I had planned a bunch of amazing activities and had planned to run the half marathon on Sunday too. All day Friday, I really struggled with having to pull away from a vacation that I had planned for months. Luckily most everyone has been amazing in either refunding me money or giving me credits. All of the activities I had purchased provided me a full refund and the one groupon I purchased changed it over to groupon bucks. I know I’ll certainly use them, so I wasn’t mad about that. Even American Airlines was awesome and issued me a voucher when my airfare was booked on non-refundable credits. The only thing up in the air though is the hotel and that was the most expensive. I went through a travel agent and I’m kicking myself for that right now. She said on Friday they would be willing to look at the situation, but I don’t think they will do much. I am hoping they will be compassionate and refund me everything or at the very least half of what I paid. I certainly would love to recoup it all and put it away for a future even more amazing Hawaiian adventure.
Finally on Sunday morning, I was released! I was still unsure why I even had to stay on Saturday night, but the doctor wanted me to get more Vancomycin in my system. I was released with a 10 day supply of more antibiotics. The leg is about 90% healed. It’s still red, but not as red and not as hot. The blister dissipated but it’s pretty raw skin right now. It almost looks like a bad burn. It’s actually pretty strange. I am keeping an eye on the redness and if it spreads. If I don’t feel good about it, then to the ER I go. The doctor did say I could go right back to normal activity. I asked if I could run and work out and she said yes. I asked if I could run 17 miles and she said yes. I am still hesitant, but I will go for a short run on Tuesday to see how it goes. I certainly will be staying away from ground zero where the scene of the crime took place.
Missing Hawaii sucks so bad, but I am lucky things turned okay (so far). I really didn’t want to be 35,000 feet up in the air over the Pacific Ocean and throw a blood clot or something and I certainly didn’t want to see the insides of a Hawaiian hotel. I am very thankful to the staff at Montifiore who took care of me. Almost everyone was so amazing! I only had 3 bad staff and they were all on Saturday and Sunday. I just seemed to be a burden to them. Otherwise everyone was beyond amazing and so helpful! Hopefully this infection goes away 100% soon and I feel back to normal. In the meantime, I am just so happy to have busted out of the joint!