On Wednesday my fever started. Thursday the headache started. By Friday my headache was bad enough to make me feel frantic and my neck was joining the party. I couldn't find a comfortable position, my head was throbbing, and the fever kept coming and going. Advil wasn't helping at all. I hit 102.5* at one point. Husband couldn't tell if I was woozy from fever, distracted by pain, or possibly more confused than usual. Friday night I called Teladoc to get some advice.
Considering my symptoms? No one should be shocked that I was directed to go to ER. I wanted to go to urgent care but she said that with my symptoms, they'd just redirect me to the hospital since they wouldn't have the machines needed for imaging. I was at least in for a CT scan when I present with a bad headache, a painful neck, and a fever of 102.5. She was suspicious I had something tick borne, but since she'd worked in ER, she knew urgent care would just bounce me. I hadn't spotted a rash but hoped she was right.
My devoted nurse who would like me to get better faster so we can get back to walkies time
I told my poor husband that we were off for ER and we drove the 40 minutes to the closest hospital that I will accept. Upside to working in my industry, I know what hospitals to avoid.
We hit the dead zone between daytime activity and the late night rush so we were in a room within ten minutes and saw a doctor within 20. With my symptoms, yeah, she had to rule out viral meningitis though with my activities and location Lyme was on the list. A late bleed from my hit to the head in June also came up as a possibility so a CT scan was going to be at the front of my tests. Viral meningitis is contagious so everyone started sporting masks around me and there's only one way to have a definitive diagnosis. Lumbar puncture. At this point in the conversation I started hyperventilating and the very kind doctor ordered up some Ativan for me so I could get through the round of testing she was about to order up. 1mg, I'm such a lightweight.
CT Scan, a gazillion blood tests (including a full tick panel), and a lumbar puncture. Thank goodness for the anti-anxiety medication or I don't think I could have done it. So many needles. I had two IV set ups and then they had to take a separate blood draw because my blood wasn't cooperating. The good news is that my blood work came back in good shape and my central nervous system is fine. I even got told my brain is normal! Spotted a bit of sinusitis but that's pretty normal for me. No damage done by the incident in June.
The doctor did spot something while examining me and asked me about it. My Atavin addled brain didn't think a thing of it. She asked about a mark on my ribs. I said 'oh, I wore a dress that's a hair too small on Tuesday and it gave me a rub'. My husband had asked me about it on Wednesday while he was helping me look for a rash. It was just a little red spot right under the line of my bra.
I was sent home with a prescription for doxy which seemed a bit odd to me since my Lyme tests weren't completed yet. And then I caught a glimpse in the mirror of my ribs.
SON OF A BITCH. You may not be able to see it in the photos, but it is an absolutely classic circular rash with a little pink bump from the bite in the center. It's a good 10" across now. It blew up after the chills and fevers started (and I couldn't really turn my head to look in a mirror), so the good news is that I'm on doxy within a week of the party getting started. My doctor rather forcefully 'suggested' a doctor for my follow up. My doctor knew what I had by the time I left but we have to wait for the official results of the cultures that are still cooking. But she was able to clear me of viral meningitis and everyone got to take their masks back off.
Lumbar puncture was not fun (0/10, would not recommend).
It was a long night of testing and waiting. They gave me a hit of a very strong NSAID to get my headache under control once my CT scan came back normal. I also got a little (like half dose) of Dilaudid to take the pain down quickly and get me comfortable. I never accept narcotics so I was in some real pain to allow the half dose (I insisted on not having the full dose). After that, I mostly slept. When I was woken up, it was with discharge papers because they were done running all their tests on me. I didn't have an official diagnosis, but I did have my prescription, my recommended follow up, and a very strong suspicion.
Since I've been cleared of anything contagious, I'm free to leave the house now. The doxy is unpleasant like all antibiotics but I'm managing to keep it down. I'm using the nurse recommended dosage and schedule of Advil to manage my headache and a neck support pillow to stop the cycle of pain in my neck. I stole my husband's seat so I can watch TV when my head/neck are freaking out and I need to hold quite still. The expectation is that the symptoms will start to abate pretty quickly now that I've started the doxy. Early treatment is crucial so my prognosis is good.
I'm still falling asleep multiple times per day. It's almost like my body's working very hard on something. My lower back is still displeased about being stuck with a needle. I haven't been out to see Theo and I'm not sure when I'll get out there. Definitely not until after the heat breaks, I don't need any more rounds of fevers. I hated missing today's show, but it turned out to be the best call. I didn't exactly pick up a random summer flu.