A Doozy of a Day

Warning: the latter portion of this post is medical so after the cardboard box photo you may want to stop if medical stuff makes you uncomfortable.

So I headed out at 8:30 to go to the post office and then headed to Marysville to deliver a meat order with a longtime customer Rasa. Here is the meat in the back of my car.

We met up in a Taco Time parking lot. I haven’t seen Rasa in years so it was nice to briefly catch up and see one of his children. It turns out he now works for the Bill Gates Foundation as a researcher and is now working on developing COVID-19 supplies for the world. I did tell him that he’s my hero.

I picked up some hens from him as he wanted to “get out of the chicken business”.

I then drove to a beautiful spot so I could call my doctor’s office upon their opening to hopefully schedule an appointment. Here is the view.

It turns out they were closed for the day, not mentioned on the website. So I had to decide what to do. And I had these hens with me.

Now the medical stuff:

I have had left knee pain for 2 days on top of the neck pain. And last night I woke up at 4 with the explosive diarrhea yet again. Then I noticed that my knee is newly swollen and warm to the touch. For a few days I had noticed that my neck was swollen and warm too. And I am still feeling ill with chills, fatigue and weakness. My maximum temperature has been 99.3 but I am on naproxen. And had lost a total of 10# in about a week. So I started worrying. Is this a septic joint? Is it autoimmune? I even consider metastases.

But I was not excited about going to an Urgent Care with long wait lines with possible COVID patients. And I was worried enough about septic arthritis I thought I should be seen right away. So, for better or worse, I chose to go to the ED.

I was screened at the door and couldn’t bring my knitting in. So I had to go back to the car with it and then back. The waiting room was empty but started to fill in a little before I went back.

I was quickly evaluated with a history and brief physical. By this time my knee skin was turning red. Labs and X-rays were done very quickly and then it was a waiting game. I had my iPhone and charger anyway so caught up on my COVID-19 emails. By the way the adjacent rooms to me had rule out COVID patients but the PPE use I saw was all appropriate.

At about 1:00 they set up to tap my knee without explanation why. I texted Tom that this was going to be awhile and asked if he could pick up the hens. Saint Tom drove 45 minutes each way to pick them up. He wasn’t sure he could get in their parking garage with his big truck so he parked in the street and walked two blocks. Visitors were not allowed in the hospital so he walked into the garage, warning the parking security guy what he was up to. For some reason I thought it was three hens but it was 5. So Tom has to carry these 5 well fed, squawking, moving chickens in a precarious janky cardboard box uphill 2 blocks with curious onlookers. But he made it without any mishaps to his truck and drove them home. He let them loose in the chicken pen with food and water which they took to immediately. Tom said the other chickens checked them out but there was no fighting. There were even 2 eggs in the box but they had broken in the ordeal. Here they are in their new home.

In the less fun part, the physician’s assistant showed up and answered my questions, explaining that there was evidence of an effusion on my X-ray and my CRP was quite high so he thought it was a good idea to tap the knee to evaluate for septic arthritis. Well, that was fun having a large needle jabbed in your knee and 10ml of fluid drained. He did use lidocaine but still no fun.

Then the waiting game for results again. I goofed around with my phone until it was almost dead. I didn’t want it to go totally dead so I could update Tom. So I hobbled to an outlet to charge it and then watched CNN. I had the opportunity then to watch the Coronavirus Virus Task Force give their update. It was all Trump. It was impressive watching him make up numbers and “successes” in this outbreak. The way he spoke about some of the governors was incredibly rude. But I guess we should be used to this by now. One thing I can say about my prolonged illness is it was taken away my energy to be angry or anxious. So that’s something anyway.

They had left all the supplies from my joint tapping in the room with me the whole time including some leftover synovial fluid. I thought about taking it as a souvenir but knew it is against hospital policy. So I was good and left it. But you can see it towards the middle of the photo.

At 4:00 I was informed of the results. It does not look like septic arthritis so I do not need to be admitted to the hospital for surgery and IV antibiotics. He said it was an inflammatory arthritis that would need more work up for rheumatologist diseases. The synovial neutrophil count was 10,000 and the gram stain was negative. They will do cultures so the will call me back in if an infection becomes apparent. He wanted to prescribe steroids. I am nervous about that because there are worries that systemic steroids can increase viral replication with COVID-19. I discussed these concerns but decided I should take them regardless and be even more extra special careful.

I have kind of decided it may be a reactive arthritis with my recent gastrointestinal illnesses and that might explain the neck issues too. I did have time to do some up to date iphone research while I was waiting. This is probably the best of the possible choices so hopefully I am right.

They gave me a dose of steroids and I was done. I hobbled very slowly back to the now chicken-less car. And I was starving. I hadn’t eaten all day. I had thought to bring some mixed nuts in the car but that did not seem sufficient for what I had been through. So I headed back to Taco Time and got the Mexifries just like I rarely got as a child. I didn’t think to take a photo quick enough.

I texted Tom if he wanted me to pick up dinner. So I also got dinner for both of us in the drive through. Now I am relaxing at home with me knee elevated, a full tummy and a glass of wine. I have been binge watching “This Farming Life” from BBC Scotland so I think I will get back to that.

So that was my day. How was yours?

Posted in Trips | 6 Comments

My Four Recent Health Adventures

This blog post will be medical with descriptions of symptoms so if you prefer the blog about farming you may want to skip this one.

So my adventure began abruptly early in the morning of February 8, at 2:30 to be exact. I woke up at work suddenly with gas, copious diarrhea, cramps, abdominal pain and chills. This continued off and on for 8 days. In testing it was determined that I had Norovirus. I got this from work since Tom and I had not gone anywhere for 2 days prior to its onset, it has a brief incubation period and is human only transmission.

After the eight days I continued to have the same symptoms but only at work. I thought maybe I was getting reinfected. But copious testing showed that I had large amounts of Blastocysts. It is thought with the disruption of my intestinal microbiome from the Norovirus the Blastocysts were able to proliferate. You can get Blastocysts from people but it is much more likely I got them from our animals.

So 2 weeks ago today I started a 10 day course of metronidazole. This same day I had a class at Seattle Childrens. It is probably one of the last ones they had before all were closed due to the pandemic. My fellow classmate and I decided to take advantage of being in the big city and hit up Total Wines. I was able to find all the missing ingredients to finish my Downton Abbey cocktail recipes. Here is my score from that day.

But the cruel irony is that you can not drink alcohol on this medicine. I made it to day 8 when the side effects of nausea, abdominal pain, gas and diarrhea got bad enough that I had to stop last Thursday. There was also fatigue and weakness. I was able to help with sheep shearing and eat the British breakfast. That was the last meal I had. I went to bed for the next three days and had to miss work. I was able to stay hydrated with water.

Finally on Sunday my symptoms start to improve but I noticed some neck tightness. That tightness quickly got worse so I was having severe spasms which persisted despite immobility, heat, oxycodone and Flexeril. I could not lay down or sleep and spent my time on the recliner with my neck perfectly still. Thankfully Monday morning I was able to get in with my massage therapist and pick up a refill of Methocarbamol. The massage helped briefly, but this muscle relaxant was helpful. Tuesday I saw the chiropractor which hurt but that night I was able to lay in bed and sleep some. I still was only able to nibble small amounts of food and had lost 7 pounds in less than one week.

Today I had another massage. That helped and I was able to get off the relaxant. I ate a whole meal this evening and finally had a cocktail, a John Collins with the Genever gin I had bought 2 weeks ago.

My neck is still stiff and sore so I need to be careful. I am going back to work tomorrow.

I am not sure why I wanted to share this except that it has been quite the odyssey. If my health allows I will continue the farm blog soon. Tom has been wonderful doing all the chores and cooking even if I only ate a bite or two. I sure he will be glad I can start helping out again. The farm list to-do is long.

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Pandemic Entertainment

I have been enjoying the Edwardian Farm series for free on Tubi.  There are some commercials, but they are not too annoying.  I stream them onto our TV with Chromecast.  The picture quality is much better than the youtube versions.  I particularly liked the April episode as it had many fiber related crafts including roping making, weaving a boat and making lanolin.  I am just starting June now.

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