Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Fevers, Pharmaceuticals and an Ambulance Ride...
So basically, I have had a fever for the last 6 days... roller coaster sorta thing, anywhere from 99-102.3º. I was basically taking ibuprofen and tylenol in tandem trying to get rid of the fever... didn't have any other symptoms really just an annoyingly high fever. Monday morning at about 2am I woke up covered in hives, itchy, nasty, annoying hives. I popped a couple benadryl, hives went away basically so I went back to bed.
Went to work and wasn't feeling great but didn't want to miss any more work so I popped some ibuprofen and tried to "suck it up" an hour/or so later the hives were back with a vengeance and I was sweating profusely... I informed a couple co-workers that I was going to Urgent Care to get this looked at and taken care of, once and for all. The doctor at urgent care looked me over, ordered a chest xray, gave me a strong antibiotic and a drug called Xyzal (basically an allergy medicine for people who suffer from chronic hives). I was to stay home from work until Wednesday (today).
I left urgent care and noticed that my upper lip felt strange... got in the car looked in my rearview mirror and my upper lip was about three times bigger then normal, looked like a collagen implant gone horribly wrong. I drove to the pharmacy picked up my scripts and headed home.
Sara and I both started to wonder if I was having some sort of reaction to the tylenol because we had introduced it into the mix late and I take ibuprofen for headaches all the time... so I decided to stop all medication other then what the doctor had given me. It felt like I was back to square one after taking the first round of antibiotics, my fever was back up to over 102º and I was pretty miserable.
Slept most of the morning, still with the fever and now with a whopper of a headache... Sara and I discussed it and we were both convinced that tylenol was the problem so at about 1:15pm I took 3 tablets of ibuprofen... and was quickly feeling relief from my headache. At about 2:30pm Sara was taking a shower to go to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for herself... I was sitting up in bed reading (trying to do something besides lay down), when I noticed my bottom lip was starting to feel strange, tingly maybe even a little numb. I got up to check it out in the mirror and was shocked at the state I was in. If you have ever seen the movie Hitch, then you'll remember the scene where he has the allergic reaction to shellfish and his face is puffed up and deformed looking... that is a pretty accurate description of what I looked like (though we didn't get to have the cute romantic-comedy scene in a drugstore chugging benadryl). My eyes were swelling shut, my bottom lip was 3 times too big and my entire face and neck were covered with raised, angry looking hives... sort of Quasimodo-ish. I called urgent care and they told me to stop medication and go to the emergency room immediately... after we called my mom to sit with the two older kiddos (who were down for a nap thankfully) we took off for the ER.
The traffic on Lincolnway was packed, which is pretty normal for around 3pm when we were heading out. I was starting to feel a bit light-headed and my hands were beginning to go numb. We weren't even halfway to the hospital when we decided it would be a good idea to call 911 to at least let them know that we were on our way. Dispatch told us to pull over that they would come to us, turns out that was a good decision... I was starting to fear black out. The paramedics arrived and started an IV with benadryl and I would say within 15 minutes my throat was starting to open up a bit, enough that I could get some relief. It might sound strange but just the fact that the paramedics were there gave me some peace and helped to calm me a bit. I was able to walk to the ambulance when it arrived and they took me off to Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center (where Rosie was born 3 weeks prior). They were monitoring my vitals all the way and were encouraged by the improvement, but also assured me that calling 911 was the right decision nonetheless.
By the time we got to the hospital my hives on my face were mostly gone, my eyes were still a bit swollen and my lip, tongue and throat were still swollen... I was breathing easier but was only registering about 75% oxygen intake so they put me on oxygen, hooked me up to an EKG and all the other wires and contraptions that you see in medical dramas. They ended up dumping a fair amount of medication into my IV and I took a claritin... then they basically watched me for about an hour or so gave me 4 new prescriptions and an epiPen kit. All in all a very strange experience.
In the end it turns out that I am most likely allergic to ibuprofen, we were able to pinpoint that about and hour or two before every attack I had taken a dosage of ibuprofen and nothing else (I had been documenting my temps and meds about every hour by that time). Apparently it is a fairly common thing to be allergic to. I have to carry the epiPen around with me for the next 2 month in case I have another attack. Otherwise my fever has been gone for almost 20 hours now so I am hopeful that the antibiotic is working there and the rest of my meds will get rid of the ill effects of the ibuposion in my system over the next couple weeks.
Closest I have ever felt to "this is it," it's fitting that at church we have been talking about the end times, really makes you think about how ready you are for the end. I kept thinking about my wife and kids and how horrible it would be to leave them without a husband and father but I had a peace too that God was in control and that if it was my time I was ready to meet Him. I'm thankful that it was not my time and that I get to hang out with my wife and kids a bit more. I'm also thankful for all the concern and well wishes I have received already... the Lord has given us amazing friends that have proven themselves over and over and I couldn't be more grateful for those relationships. So all is well, thanks for reading this. Have a great week.