Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Fire ants!

After returning from my Costa Rican tropical vacation, I was hit hard by some nasty virus.  I was coughing, sneezing, had mucus in my chest and had a head ache.  I missed out on a week of work, but still managed to made it to the first week of Microbiology.  I was sneezing ever 3 minutes, so I think that I got one of my classmates sick, because she got sick and did not show up to the next class.  I felt bad about that one.  I am feeling 100% recovered now, so I have been able to catch up with class, life and the tasks at hand.

As of last week, I booked my MD dad a flight to Ukraine and booked him a bed in the dorm room I am staying at!  I have a real live doctor coming to help me in Ukraine.  How cool is that?  I am thinking about all the amazing things we can do.  I have a feeling that microbiology will inspire me and teach me how to run tests that may come in handy out there.  Needless to say, I am excited that one of my key supporters in life will be coming with me.

Now, back to the medical photos you and I all love.  While we were on vacation, our apartment got infested by fire ants.  They swarmed my desk, occasionally made their way onto our couch and even found themselves in our shower.  Last week, I found a huge hole in our wall where they were coming in.  So, I decided to do my best to plug the hole up!  I frantically searched for the hot glue gun, because I thought that would be a good idea... but settled on blue putty that I use to hang photos.  I fought a losing battle as I sprayed them with water, circled them with chalk and saw them continue to pour out.  Without thinking, I started using my hands to plug the hole with the putty.  I managed to close the hole, but they got a few good retaliation strikes in.  The following photos are the aftermath.

5 minutes after

The next morning, I woke up at 4AM because my hand started throbbing.  I got up and grabbed and ice pack from the fridge, but my hand just kept getting more red and swollen.  I took a Benadryl at work that morning, even though I knew it would make me drowsy!  I was really starting to worry because it started oozing something fierce.  I used whatever I had lying around my apartment to treat myself.  I found old hydrocortisone cream that would help with the allergic reaction and itch, and I had a packet of antibiotic ointment that came in a first aid kit that Nat's mom gave us for Christmas.

18 hours

My hand got so swollen I had to take my engagement ring off, lest it get stuck there and need to be cut off.  Getting rings stuck on my hand is one of my top fears.  When I was doing my EMT clinical rotations, I watched the Emergency Department try unsuccessfully for 2.5 hours to get a titanium ring off a kid who had a smashed had.  The Fire Department had to come with bolt cutters the length of my arm to get that ring off.
48 hours
48 hours - post hydrocortisone

My dad wrote me a prescription to get some antibiotics, but by the time I was about to get it, the swelling was finally retreating.  I did not want to kill of my normal gut flora over this fire ant attack, so I waited it out.
72 hours
I am happy to report that a week later, beside a little round discolored scar on my pinkie, you can't even tell I got into a fire ant altercation.     

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