Food and Weight: An Ongoing Journey

Archive for the ‘Cellulitis’ Category

I have a tentative surgery date: March 26th. That’s the good news.

However, that may need to be put off for a bit.

See, I had this cellulitis infection occur in December, and again in February. My friend Marie the Nurse (as opposed to Naomi the Nurse) reminded me that this could leave me in a very bad position with regard to surviving the surgery, but subsequently ending up with a staph infection. Her words:

“Something has been bothering me, call it a gut feeling. You had cellulitis a few months back. What bacteria caused it? If you don’t know, it is imperative you find out before surgery. Let me know as soon as you find out.”

“You need to see an infectious disease specialist before surgery. I forgot to mention this last night. Primary care people and cardiologists don’t always know the most current stuff as it is not their field. Infectious disease is a highly evolved and fast moving specialty. Seeing one may save your life.”

“The important question is has it reached the bloodstream in any way. You want to also know where it is hiding in your body. Frequent colonized sites include the nasal passages, the armpits, the groin and more recently the vagina and rectum. These areas should be swabbed and cultured. This is why I am imploring you to see an infectious disease specialist. It would be awful to survive the surgery and then die of MRSA sepsis or MRSA pneumonia. The surgery you will be having is highly invasive and therefore puts you in the crosshairs for an internal MRSA infection – which will be extremely hard to treat if it is possible to treat it at all.”

So I am seeing my PCP today to acquire a referral to an infectious disease specialist. Of course, the problem then becomes when can I get an appointment with the specialist, and can we get the results back in time for me to have surgery on the 26th.

Meanwhile, I never realized how much paperwork is needed to take care of making sure that the people I want taking care of things for me while I am in the hospital, or after I die, will be able to do so. I have printed out a will, and a statement appointing one person to be responsible for my remains, and I have made sure my Medical Power of Attorney and my Advanced Directive are in order. Now I have to get copies made, and – in several cases – round up people to do signatures in front of a notary.

Of course, while I am doing all of this, I found out that Nelnet had somehow not notified me that it was time to re-apply to keep my student loans deferred, and that it’s also time for me to recertify for Medicaid, because if I don’t do that in the next few days, it will come up while I am in the hospital.  I did the Nelnet certification yesterday, and will do the Medicaid stuff this evening, since I need more documentation for that than for the Nelnet stuff.


Got home Friday, but was really too tired to think to write.

The thing is, neither my primary care guy, nor I, wanted me home until the cellulitis was thoroughly licked. However, the infectious diseases guy decided to switch me from intravenous to oral meds. Once that happens, there is no need for a hospital bed. As my physician, my primary care guy wanted to keep me in; as a hospital administrator, he’s kind of bound to follow the hospital’s policies, rather than fighting them. So, I’m home, on two antibiotics, and in my own bed again. OTOH, the food at home is a hell of a lot better. Follow up appointment is in place already; so I just have to reschedule the dentist, and talk to him about his timetable for the needed dental work, so I can then schedule the open heart surgery.

Of course, given that things often don’t run smoothly for me, I was not surprised when I woke up this morning with all the symptoms of a cold. given the two antibiotics, I wasn’t sure if I could use my standard cold remedy (Coricidin HBP Cold & Flu) safely, but it being Sunday, I knew no one is at my doctor’s office. However, I had downloaded Doctor on Demand, the new mobile “connect with a doctor” service started by Dr. Phil McGraw and his son. While the normal co-pay for the service is $40 for a 15 minute visit, until the end of February, all calls to the service are free (you do have to give them your credit information, though). I called, was assigned to a doctor within about 20 seconds, and the doctor not only answered the questions I had about using the cold meds with all the other meds I’m taking, he was able to give me a little reassurance about where and with whom I am having the open heart surgery done. Again, I don’t expect to be using them often, because I do have excellent Real Life physicians, but I can see where this is a very useful backup for when those physicians are not available. It can be downloaded for both iPhone and Android devices, and – whether you like or hate Dr. Phil – is a useful thing.

Other than that, not much is happening this weekend. I am being kind to myself by trying not to overdo things.


To be specific, I’m in Beth Israel Kings Highway Hospital, Room 161, Bed 1.

I woke up Sunday and my left leg was bright red and very warm. Called Naomi Moslow, who came over and agreed with me that it was cellulitis. I was gonna wait until Monday and go see Dr. Bilik. However, by suset, the leg was also 3 times its normal size, so the roomie and I called a cab and headed to the hospital.

The infection seems to be fighting back this time, which sucks because I cannot have the open heart surgery until this is thoroughly kicked to the curb. The one good thing about this, so far, is that they finally figured out that I am mildly allergic to vancomycin, which is why my legs blister and peel every time they give it to me.

The bigger problem is that if I am an infection risk. Then I cannot have the surgery until that risk is eliminated. My other news, that I was planning to blog, but that got pre-empted by this mess, is that I met with the surgeon, we hit it off, and have tentatively planned the surgery for end of March/beginning of April, to allow for some dental work I need done to get handled first, since a post-operative infection could kill me. Fortunately for me, Dr. Bilik, my primary care guy, is as determined to get this handled as I am.

I am, therefore, guardedly hopeful. I am also not rushing to get out of here. I don’t love hospitals, but I will stay here until we have gotten this sucker licked. I have to. My life quite literally depends on it.

Calls, visits, and emails are welcome, of course. They are the thing keeping me from just curling up into a ball and giving up. That is the hardest thing for me – to not lose faith that this will all be resolved. There are good days, of course, but there are also days when it seems like I get one thing handled, and two more things pop up to replace them. I will get through this — those of you who know me in RL know how much of a defining trait stubborn is for me.

Anyway, the nurse needs me to help another patient get computer access (I must look like a techie geek), so I’ll cach up with everyone later.




Christmas Eve was my mother’s birthday. It was also the day my sister’s fiance had the stroke that killed him on the day after Christmas.

I just spent a week in Beth Israel-Kings HIghway Hospital for cellulitis. I woke up on Friday the 13th and couldn’t get warm. Coffee didn’t help, nor did getting under the electric blanket. I wasn’t at the shaking so bad I was dropping things stage, but with the heart defect, I figured safe was better than sorry, and had the roomie call 911. Apparently, I was running a fever of 102.8, which is pretty high, even for me. So the EMTs took me to the hospital. Unlike last time, I had a room by end of day, which was good. Roomie, my sister, and Naomi Moslow took turns sitting with me, which helped. The MRI came back okay, so there was no fluid in my lungs. Still, I felt pretty miserable.

This time, the nurses (with one exception) were all really nice. The only problem is that whenI came in, I needed some oxygen, and they chose to do that via a cannula. The cannula irritated my nose, and I kept begging them to take it away, but since the doctor had ordered it, it stayed — until I started having bad nosebleeds from the way it irritated my nose. Once they took it out, they kept monitoring my O2 levels, which were fine.

Anyway, I was in the hospital on intravenous antibiotics until Wednesday, when five different tries to get a vein didn’t work, at which point I was switched to oral antibiotics. I got out on Friday afternoon, came home, and went to sleep for a bit. When I left the hospital, I had a whole sheaf of forms recommending various nurses for the “Caught Being Great” program. That felt good.

I am feeling a lot more like myself now. While in the hospital, I caught up with my primary care guy. He agrees that I should have some say over how we treat the heart defect, since it is my body, after all. He also agrees with me that something is not right that the surgeon my cardiologist wants to use has rejected me as a poor candidate without ever having even spoken to me. We will deal with this in the new year.

Other than that, things go apace. I have writing to do. I got a winter jacket that proved to be nice and warm, even though fairly light. I am working on my professional website.

Roomie and I will be making Christmas dinner for somewhere between seven and ten people. It’s the one thing I can do on Christmas to make sure lonely friends are not lonely for a little bit, and that I can do something of value on a day when no one should be left alone unless it’s by choice. When I invited the ex, he asked if we would be doing a movie and Chinese food, the traditional way many Jewish folk in New York avoid the holiday. I told him no, but that I would order something in if it would make him feel better. He laughed.

I’m not particularly religious, although I do acknowledge being Jewish more by birth and by all the things I am not. However, the part of the world I have grown up in often looks at Christmas as a fairly secular holiday (yeah, I know, I didn’t say it made sense), and I grew up in a Christian neighborhood, so I have never had a problem celebrating both Chanukah and Christmas. When you come right down to it, I think that any chance to spread joy is probably a good thing.  This year, I am especially cognizant of how blessed I am when it comes to friends. So I am happy to be able to spread a little cheer, and I always love an excuse to cook for my friends, so this is a good thing.

Roomie and I made a shopping list already, and the ex took her shopping yesterday, so we have pretty much everything we need.

At least I’m feeling like myself again. I hated feeling helpless and hopeless.

Freelancers Union

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