Hospital stay for cellulitis
Friday, June 19, 2015
I ended up with another hospital stay this week, this time, it was a due to a cellulitis infection.
It started out with a mild rash on my right upper arm that I first noticed on Saturday or Sunday; at first I thought maybe it was a side effect from the Femera I had just started last Friday. It was not itchy, and I did not have any pain, or fever, so I was not that worried about it; I figured I would keep an eye on it and if it was still there when I had to get my next Halotestin injection at the cancer center, I would ask the nurse about it.
Tuesday morning, when I woke up, my lower arm was really hurting; at first, I thought maybe I had just slept on it wrong, but when I got up for the day, I noticed my lower arm was a little pink too, and a little more swollen. I took my temp too and it was at 99F at that time. Still, I pushed on through my day, hoping that nothing would get any worse, and had my weekly CBC done and a friend took me grocery shopping.
After I got home, I was able to get my lab report online; hemoglobin was 10.5, which was good, but the WBC was 4.6; which for most people, is a normal count, but mine is always low because of all the stuff related to the cancer; just the week before my WBC was 2.4, so the fact that it went up that much in a week made me more suspicious that something was going on with my arm.
Around 3:30pm, that same day, the swelling had gotten worse, and the rash on both my upper and lower arm was getting redder and spreading. I checked my temp again and it was 101.2. I called the cancer center and talked to a oncology nurse, and she told me to go right to the ER, especially since I had had lymph nodes removed from that side and it was also the same arm I've had lymphedema in before.
I got to the ER around 4pm; as I had suspected, it was a cellutis infection. I expected they would probably keep me overnight, so I had a bag with me with my some of my essentials in it (including my Kindle, of course!). I was hoping to go home the next day, but my doctor didn't want to send me home until my arm looked at least 90% better. They started me on IV antibiotics while I was still in the ER; they made the decision to admit me to the hospital within the first hour I was there, but I didn't get moved into a room until around 10pm that night.
By yesterday morning, my arm looked a lot better, and my doctor (my internist) said I could go home around 5-6 pm, after one more round of the IV antibiotics. I also had to have a blood transfusion yesterday; in the morning, when they did another CBC, my hemoglobin was down to 8.6. He said some of that might be from all the fluids, but that infections can also cause hemoglobin to go down. It ended up taking longer than he thought though with the IVs for the antibiotics, and the 2 units of blood, so it was after 7:30pm before I was discharged last night, then there was another 10-15 delay when the nurse was just starting my discharge process because they had a fire drill for the staff right then, but I finally made it home by 8pm.
I went to the cancer center this morning to get my Halotestin injection, then picked up my prescription for the oral antibiotics which I will be on for 7 days. My doctor did not want me to start them until this afternoon, which is why I waited to pick them up today; last night, all I wanted to do once I got out of the hospital was just go home.
I'm still feeling worn out, but I think that is because that infection hit my body pretty hard, and I've had diarrhea also from the IV antibiotics, and of course, it's hard to get good sleep in a hospital. But the swelling is gradually going down in my hand and my arm, and the redness is not nearly as bad. My doctor also gave me his cell phone number, and he wants me to call him if I have any problems this weekend.
Since I just had the transfusion yesterday, I can skip my CBC standing order for this coming Monday and go on Thursday instead, then I see my internist in the office for a follow up appointment on July 2nd.