Monday, July 1, 2013

The swollen eyelid

You may know from real life that since going back to work, I've had a whole rash of little abscesses of various sorts on my nose and lips. I've ignored most of them and they go away on their own, I had one swabbed and took antibiotics for it when it reappeared. It grew MSSA and did not return after a course of (I think) bactrim. I suppose you are not surprised to hear that even though the latest one was still hanging around at two weeks, I didn't do anything about it. I mean, it wasn't getting any worse, so, really, what's the big deal? I did ask my hematologist to set me up with an ENT when I went up for my next appointment, and tried some neosporin on it which seemed to help the other ones go away faster.

This morning when I woke up my nose felt no different than before, but the upper eyelid on that side was swollen and sore and warm. I called my PCP up, explained the situation and got some antibiotics and a set of labs. The labs were ordered because every time I get an infection, doctors will worry that I have it because the leukemia is back and is trashing my immune system. Is the infection an early sign that the leukemia has relapsed? I did the labs at noon and then went to see a hospice patient in their home and went about a normal afternoon for a while longer. Every now and again as I went through my day, I would think "If my leukemia is back, some one else will have to follow up on this patient's medication change" or "if I have to go up to the hospital for another month long re-induction, I will miss how pretty these bushes are." Even just the process of thinking about if what I am doing is a worthwhile thing to be doing on my potentially last day of non-hospitalized summer is a good exercise. It makes for a more poignant than usual day to have a reminder all day long about how fragile the whole of a life is.

Mostly, I feel my life is somewhat secure. I don't see a daily threat usually. I've worked hard and gotten a marketable skill so I feel relatively safe from economic threat. Our town is safe and it's been a long time since someone in my personal life has threatened me physically. My kids are doing well and have friends and activities I approve of so I don't feel at risk through them. I feel that I am paddling along, relatively secure in the portion of the stream of life I live in and then suddenly I round a bend and see that actually the stream meets up with a river and picks up speed and has dizzying eddies and dead trees sticking up everywhere. I look around the part of the river I'm in and see that it is like that here, too; I just hadn't noticed somehow.

Then I got my lab values and they were fine. Not perfect because it will be a few years before my marrow recovers completely from its chemo-battering, but fine in the post-chemo way that they usually are. So, I will follow up on the patient's med changes and be around to admire the bushes through their whole flowering cycle. Unless one of the other hundreds of threats to my life rears up and snags me. I better get enjoying those flowers and raspberries.

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