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Archive for December 14th, 2006

7 Hours in the ER

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

Yep! If you have been wondering where I was, it could be a long story. Here is the cause of my being in the emergency room, last night.


That’s right! My new kitchen curtains are to blame. I was working very hard to get them done before the holidays. I managed to puncture my hand with a pin. Many years ago, when I had breast cancer the first time, I had lymph nodes removed which causes a condition in that arm called lymphadema. It means that the lymphatic fluid does not move through the are as efficiently as it should and so the introduction of bacteria can cause a dangerous condition ?Ǩ cellulitis.

Over the past 15 years, I have had several bouts of this. About 4 years ago, I went through a treatment at Kaiser Permanente that reroutes the fluid. It involves wrapping the arm in ace bandages and massage therapy. I have actually gone for four years without an infection. I had become very cavalier and was not taking the precautions that I normally do.

(I told you this would be a long story) Tuesday night was our STASH holiday party at Terry’s house. She made chile verde and no-knead bread. Reva made a wonderful apple cake. I brought some killer Cline zinfandel. When we were at the APNQ show in August, Terry bought a metallic hand-dyed fabric. We each got a piece to use in a challenge, due at this meeting. You can see Terry’s, here. Reva did this one, called Occasional Sunbreaks ( a weather term, used in Portland). Gayle did a gorgeous landscape of trees, where the sky was the fabric. I don’t have a photo. I used mine in this piece that I started at Art Quilt Tahoe. I have started the quilting on it. It looks kind of wonky because of the silk and I had it lying on the floor for the photo.


The challenge fabric is in the upper left corner under a layer of black netting and metallic organza. I am doing some cutting away of the overlays to reveal fragments of the fabric underneath. The title of this piece is Fragments. Here is a closeup.


I came home and felt a little off – I had a headache and was beginning to feel achy. I woke up at 1 am shaking with chills and a fever. I took Aleve and it did nothing. This went on most of Wednesday – laying in bed, drinking mineral water and taking pain meds. I felt as if a truck had run over me. I assumed that I had picked up the virus that my grandchildren have had and thought it would run its course.

In the evening, Mr C left to have dinner and his class at Trinity. I dragged myself to the kitchen to make some soup and in the bright light, I noticed that my arm was bright red and swollen and then I knew I was in trouble. So I called the advice nurse and she said to get myself to the emergency room, asap. I tried to get hold of Mr C, and couldn’t. So I called Steph and Jack. Steph was here in a flash and off we went. I arrived about 7 pm. The triage nurse saw me right away so I am thinking – this will be over very quickly ?Ǩ not! You see, I was not critical. I wasn’t bleeding and my vital signs were all good.

At 8:35. we got hold of Mr C as he was driving home. They did bring me some Tylenol for the fever while I was waiting. He arrived and we sent Steph home. At 10:30, I was finally taken back to a bed. They checked my vitals again and hooked me up to a blood pressure monitor. Mr C and I had fun watching my blood pressure drop, every 15 minutes. The final reading was 102/47. We kept joking that I was slowly passing away. At 11:30, a doctor showed up and told me what I already knew. They would do an antibiotic IV drip and send me home to take a potent antibiotic for 10 days. First they had to draw blood. So, I think they started the IV at 12:30 am. Before they would let me leave, I had to drink some potassium that was mixed with some vile orange flavored stuff. I guess the low potassium was causing my blood pressure to drop. We left the hospital around 2 am. I had not eaten since I had some soup for lunch so I had some yogurt and some almonds and crashed.

I am feeling a bit better today and somewhat chagrined by my lapse of good judgment about the lymphadema. I will take better care and watch how I handle pins and needles.

Now, I must leave you with a couple of funny pictures taken on our drive home from Coos Bay, last Saturday.


And, here they are. What a bargain!