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Not At All Like the Movies
Local insects congregated in the early evening rains before Hurricane Irene passed through our local area, taking refuge in window frames, sneaking through decades-old screens, and so on. Since our air-conditioning is limited to the bedroom, I am loathe to close windows unless and until necessary -- when the temperature drops, or when the incoming rain becomes strong enough to threaten whatever I have sitting near them. This has the side effect of making me a "target of opportunity" on those occasions in which those windows must be closed. Unfortunately, I'm allergic to insect bites.
Some time before 9PM Saturday night, one of these insects decided to take out my left (dominant) index finger.
Despite ice and NSAIDs, the finger swelling extended to the knuckle beneath it, and started heading towards the knuckle beneath my middle finger. I thought it had started to recede by the time we went to bed, but I woke Sunday morning to a much stiffer finger and perhaps a bit more swelling. Add more NSAIDs, add more ice -- and by the way, no electricity or Internet (thanks, Irene -- NOT!) -- and if anything, the swelling was increasing. By mid-afternoon, I couldn't bend my index finger, and the first two knuckles of my hand looked like a ringer for Chris Pine's prosthetic. Worse, the pressure from the fluid build-up was impinging upon all the nerves in my hand, leaving me with that scary tingling sensation that is one step shy of complete loss of circulation. (PANIC!!!)
Now, I'm excessively sensitive to oral antihistamines -- if I can't find a dose that is less than half a pediatric dose, I generally won't risk taking them -- but with this level of painful inflammation, it was kind of "damn the consequences, let's try it". An hour later, there was no change; we were off to find an emergency room lest I lose my dominant hand. The end result was a prescription for an antibiotic and pretty much a "keep on doing what you've been doing". This assured me not, especially as the probability of finding a pharmacy open approached that of successfully hailing a cab from Times Square at 1 AM New Year's Day (which is to say, exceedingly low). I did get an initial dose which, while supposed to last until "first thing in the morning" -- unless I expected to be awake past midnight -- didn't get supplemented until nearly noon the next day.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. We did, at least, come home to full electrical power.
Now, you'd think that between the NSAID, the full-adult-strength antihistamine, the antibiotic, and the ice, things would start to improve, no?
Well, Monday I woke up with my left hand in full Jim Kirk Allergy Mode. Inflated like a balloon, back and palm; unable to bend or straighten my fingers more than a touch, swelling going back past my wrist into the distal quarter of my forearm to the point of straining at any motion. Bathing was a struggle; so was fixing breakfast. At least we had power and Internet -- which is more than I could say for the local low-cost pharmacies. Of course, The Other Half had to stay awake until Internet service was restored... some time around four in the morning. Which meant he was NOT going to be up and ready to get me to the pharmacy "first thing in the morning". No, no... he turned in at 5:30 AM, with me in a more awake-than-asleep condition (due, in no small part, to the Jim Kirk Allergy Hand), with the result that we didn't leave the house until just before 10.
My original plan was to fill the script at Wally World, home of the $4 Generic. Empty parking lot. Same for much of the rest of the shopping center. It looked like Target was open, so we headed there. Talk about a cluster ****! There was no power, so they were working off generator power. The cash registers weren't working, so everything was Cash Only. The pharmacy was open, but the servers weren't talking to the computers, so the pharmacist couldn't fill prescriptions. Not only that, but the pharmacy refrigerator -- which was supposed to be on the emergency generator -- wasn't, because the generator's servers weren't working properly and the HVAC and IT folk hadn't been able to isolate the problem. The poor pharmacist had to travel just to get some ice to keep those medications cool. And it wasn't just the financial aspect -- insurance will cover that -- but the ability to deliver life-saving medications to those who need it. I explained the situation -- it was pretty difficult to ignore the Jim Kirk Allergy Hand -- and since I'd had prescriptions filled there previously (test-strip prescriptions -- thank you, Freestyle Promise!) -- he was able to give me two days of the ten the ER doctor prescribed.
As of this afternoon, I'm beginning to see the phalanges of my fingers again, and while there's still a lot of residual swelling, much of the inflammation's resolving. But my left hand is still itchy, strained, and less sensitive to touch than it should be.
I've got this sneaking suspicion, insect bites are going to be the death of me.
Just ask Jim Kirk.
Michelle Kowalski, a writer, editor and photography hobbiest living in Phoenix, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in February 2005. In January 2008, as part of her quest to start on an insulin pump, Michelle learned that she actually has type 1 diabetes. (Read More)
Nicole Purcell lists having type 1 diabetes last when she's asked to provide information about herself - because that's where it belongs. (Read More)