So this is a fun and too-long story; the story of how I learned that I’m allergic to the sulfa family of antibiotics. Last week I got an ear infection, and since I can’t take erythromycin (you know, that five-day Z pack thing) or penicillin because I’m allergic to both of those, the doctor called in a sulfa based antibiotic for me. Bactrin or septra, it’s called. But I think those are the generic names and the proper name is JenIcide.
I didn’t take the medicine right away, hoping that my ear would feel better and I wouldn’t need it. But on the third night of not being able to sleep because it felt like I had an icepick in my eardrum, I caved and took the first pill. That was Thursday at something like four in the morning. Twice a day I took the antibiotics, and my ear started to feel better and that was good and things were fine, except my throat still hurt, a lot, and I felt kinda bad, but, you know, no more stabby ear pain, so I was better, all things considered.
Then at work on Monday, I got a little feeble brained. Actually, a lot. I left a few minutes early, because Nate was sick and had already left daycare to go home and rest. I got home by five and felt awful and took his temperature and mine. We both had fevers; his 99.8 and mine 101.9. Huh, I said. We are sick. There was a blur of soup and blankets and medicine and popsicles and I went to bed at 8, telling the kids not to stay up too late. Even though he’s in the middle of studying for three finals, SG offered to come by. I told him no, because I really didn’t want to get him sick and he needed to study. Tuesday I got up and barely got the girls dressed and out the door, somehow drove them to school, and came back home and worked,shivering, from bed all day, Nate on the couch coughing and watching Lost for probably 10 straight hours.
Tuesday night was much the same, very early to bed, still with the high fever, lots of shivering. It was my stepmom’s birthday, so before Alex went over to the school for wrestling, we called and the kids all sang Happy Birthday over the speakerphone. I kind of recall talking to them, remember my dad telling me that I should call the doctor.
Wednesday morning I woke up at five and got up to pee. And there was this really awful rash all over the tops of my thighs. Huh, I thought, that’s weird. I guess it’s a heat rash from having a fever. And then I went from the bathroom to where the vanity mirror is and I turned on the light and there was my face, swollen so badly my eyes were unrecognizable. I lifted up my shirt, and there was a rash starting on my stomach and chest, too. I leaned in closer to the mirror and confirmed that my face was covered in all different sizes of purple and red bumps. And so was my neck. My back, too. I was feeling pretty sure that given my migraine-stage headache, high fever, muscle pain, and rash, I had some kind of viral meningitis and that I would surely die.
So I typed something like: “high fever, rash, swollen face,” into my iPhone and in the first page of matches on google, I saw a link with the name of the drug I’m on jump out at me. When I clicked thru and read, the symptoms I was having matched to the letter the description someone had written of being allergic to this drug. She ended her note by saying, “PLEASE, PLEASE think hard before letting anyone put you on this drug
God bless everyone.”
So I took a benedryl and took a shower, where I was afraid for a little bit that my throat was swelling up, maybe about to swell shut, and I wondered if I should maybe go grab a handful of the kids’ straws and kinda jam them down my throat just in case. Honestly. No kidding. Finally I decided that my nose was definitely not working so great, but I could still breathe alright, and my throat felt funny, but not like it was really closing up. I sure was awake though, and that was a damn short shower. I got on the phone with the advice nurse who told me to go ahead and take another 25 milligrams of benedryl and asked if there was another adult home with me. No, I said. Just my four kids. Oh, she said, they know how to call 911 if something happens to you, right? Sure! I said, They totally do. Well, she said, you can’t drive. Can you call someone to take them to school for you?
And so then I called my mom, who’d left for work early that day because she had a shitton of work to do, and she turned around, came to my house, picked up the messy living room, fed the girls pancakes, brushed their hair, helped them gather their school things and gave them a ride to school. All the while I was drooling on the couch, totally knocked for a loop by the benedryl. I think I came to sometime around 1, and Nathan spent another entire day watching Lost.
I worked on and off (mostly off, because I knew I’d just mess up if I really tried to do anything) and then called my stepdad for a ride to the doctor in the late afternoon. And, you know, he only had to wait for me for two hours at the doctor. Whoops.
She looked in my ear and told me it was still infected. Awesome! I said, and she kind of looked at me funny. Oh, it’s just comic at this point, you know. I totally figures that my ear would still be infected. She said that just to be sure this was a reaction to the medicine, she was going to take some photos of my rash and send them to the dermatologist for review. And in the meantime, I was to drink some water, because she was considering admitting me to get some fluids in me because my heart rate was really high, up over 100.
I had my photo taken in my underpants, and the girl actually kinda gasped when she saw my back. I drank some water. Then, finally, the doctor came back and told me that the dermatologist agrees that I am allergic to this antibiotic, too.
Willow was finally willing to get within three feet of me once she learned my fever wasn’t contagious (she HATES having a fever), and I even took SG up on his offer to help me out. I made him go to In and Out burger after school and he brought me a burger and fries and a Dr. Pepper. Willow got a chocolate milkshake and fries. The truth is that I didn’t really want him to see me like this. I look bad, people. Like, even my kids were going, Jeez, Mom. What the hell!?
I’ve made a short story long, but now I’m home with a little bit less of a fever, a new antibiotic that she hopes I won’t react to (Help me, Doxycycline, you’re my only hope. hahaha) a turbo prescription version of benedryl, and my all-time favorite drug to hate, prednisone. I’m starting out on 60 mg a day, so of course I don’t think I’ll get any sleep tonight. It’s too bad my body has no strength at all, otherwise I could clean the house all night and do a ton of laundry and organize the kitchen cabinets. I have to stay out of the sun for the next ten days, the tail end of which overlaps with the weekend away SG planned for us in San Luis Obispo. You know, the beach town on the central coast where we were planning to be outside a lot and maybe get in the water. Yeah. Looks like I’ll be rockin the floppy hat, sunglasses, and long sleeved shirts. Still, though, I am so looking forward to next weekend, even more than I was before I turned into a much more swollen and splotchier version of myself.
Poor thing; med allergy reactions are the worst!!!
Come by. I have HATS, a lot of big brimmed, floppy and not floppy hats! In black, brown and natural straw – the black one is really quite elegant. Hats, sunscreen and sunglasses = fun weekend, anyway. You both deserve it.
I have to say that is an extreme reaction. You seem very calm about thr whole thing though. Kudoas on that and may you never get another ear infection again!