Saturday, July 24, 2010


I had no intention of blogging from the exam room at the ER, it just sort of happened. I had never been to an ER before, but have heard about 4 and 5 hour waits to get in, so I took my netbook with me. The plan was to just use it to play cards and other games while I waited, but when I got there I found that there was a WiFi hot-spot active, so I logged on.

As it turns out, I was in and out of the building in 50 minutes. Possibly a new land speed record for an ER visit. The ER I went to was at St. Joseph hospital, here in Eureka, and I must say, despite the fact that my leg was swollen and my knee filled with puss, it was a very positive experience.

Of course, I haven't gotten the bill yet.

This thing started on Tuesday with a small pimple on my knee that was surprisingly painful for its size. By Thursday it was the size of a silver dollar, but there was no real head on it. It was all under the skin and painful when I walked. On Friday my knee-cap looked like it had a half an orange shoved under it and my lower leg swelled by about 30%. Oddly though, it wasn't as painful as it looked. I mean it was sore, but looking at it I thought maybe I was going to loose my leg or something.

I iced it Friday night and the swelling on my leg went down some. On Saturday the swelling was back. I put more ice on the leg and I put a warm compress on the knee cap. I kept this up all day Saturday for hours on end hoping I could get the abscess to pop. I squeezed so hard my knee was now all kinds of weird shades of purple, red, and blue. I couldn't keep the swelling down and the whole the was looking really nasty. That is when I decided to go to the ER.

The RN who did the triage was a nice enough fellow, but seemed like he as at the end of a long day. He had an Asus netbook similar to mine, but a different model. I think he was jealous when I told him I have a 14 hour battery life. The doc was Dr. Cordova, I think. He was personable with a good bed side manor. To the point and professional, but I never felt like cattle. The RN who wrapped my knee and gave my discharge papers was Sarah, I think. She was very pretty, which was pleasant, given what I was going through. I just wished I hadn't almost passed out on front of her. It's a guy thing.

For those of you still guessing, this was a staph infection on my knee. I did fine when the doc put the needle in my knee cap to give me the local anesthetic. I did fine when he sliced open my knee and the blood started to pour. Unfortunately, He could not slice deep enough with the tool he had. The abscess was deeper than expected. He left the room to get something to pry it open more so he could slice deeper.

It was in-between all of these little steps when he would leave the room that I decided to blog about it. That is the reason the entry is so choppy. It was kind of interesting. Each time he or the RN walked in the room I would stop writing and shove the netbook behind me. No one ever asked what I was writing.

The doc came back with what ever he needed to slice deeper in to my knee and as he started in, that is when everything got tingly and I fell back on the bed. It wasn't the pain, because after the initial injection there really was no pain. It wasn't the site of my own blood either. I've seen my own blood lots of times. I think it was just the idea of something going deeply in to my body where it doesn't belong. I looked away as he was finishing the last step, but was too late. I couldn't keep the image out of my mind of that knife going in to my knee. It was a bit much.

Of course, as I'm lying there, white as a ghost, panting, and covered in sweat, all I can think is, “I wonder if the cute RN thinks I'm less of a man for almost passing out”. It's a guy thing.

When I regained composer, I reached for the netbook, clicked “Publish”, and headed for the door. The knee is already feeling better.


Lisa Martin said...

I am married but most ladies like to see the softer side of guys. Glad to hear your on the road to recovery.

Maureen said...

Please keep an eye on your knee and if you notice any new symptoms/changes, head straight back to the ER. If you have a primary care physician, I'd suggest a follow up visit.

Greg said...

Spoken like a medical professional, and you wrote it without acronyms! Kudos to you!

Seriously, thanks for the advice.

Joosmeister said...

From my reader I thought there was some sort of Petch-incident involving heights, power tools, or somesuch. Sounds like a bad time, but I'm glad you'll be getting better and back to the stairs in no time.

Larry said...

Okay Ive got to ask....why no pics?!

Seriously though, do they know what caused the staff infection?

I'm with Maureen - if there are ANY changes get back in there! Don't mess with a SI!

Greg said...

That's funny. I thought about pics of puss oozing out of an open wound, and then I thought... hmmmm, maybe not.

I was told by a specialist years ago that everyone has staph on them. We are all covered with it. Why I have a different reaction to it than you is the big mystery. If I knew the answer I could make a fortune.

Anonymous said...

i'm so sorry you were ill and i'm glad you're on the mend.

Hayduke said...

Scary thing. Staph is serious stuff. Glad you are better.

You said "If I knew the answer I could make a fortune."

The "fortune" will go to St. Joes. I hope you don't have to sell your house to pay the bill. The bill from them for my ONE DAY in the hospital last year for my cancer surgery was immense (think of a number with five figures beginning with the letters 'th"). Good thing I had insurance.

Greg said...

It is The American Way with health care. For an industrialized country, we pay the most, insure the fewest, and have the poorest over-all outcome.

The knee is doing much better.

Karen Anne said...

I thank God for Medicare + Medigap. I can't believe how much less hassle this is than when I was insured by for profit companies that my employers picked. It's like a whole different universe. Actual healthcare.