A Hot New Year’s Day in the ER

I’d like to report that we had a blast partying 2010 away and B and I shared a kiss at midnight followed by more fun on New Year’s Day… I’d like to report that, but I can’t.

I came home from work on Thursday feeling tired and sick.  I chalked up the sick feeling to eating too much bad-for-me food at work too quickly.  The tiredness, I figured, was from staying up past midnight for too many nights in a row.  When I got home, on a whim, I took my temperature: 101.  I took some Motrin, climbed under the covers, and passed out for a few hours.  B took charge, got dinner ready for herself and the boys, and got them to bed.  I ate my dinner later, when I felt good enough to venture out of bed.

The next day, I had off work, but had planned to go in so I could use the day off another day.  With fever chills and an aching throat (which I had had for a few days but thought was due to sleeping with my mouth open), I e-mailed my boss to let him know I’d be out after all.  I spent most of Friday in bed or on the couch, keeping an eye on the boys while B ran errands to get needed items.  Our usual New Year’s Eve dinner is junk food, hors d’oeuvres, veggies and dip, etc.  B procured all the supplies she could gather but I wasn’t feeling up to engorging myself on them.  Though I kept Motrin in me, my fever never seemed to go away.  My usual remedy for sore throats, tea with honey did no good either. 

After the kids were in bed, I watched Back to the Future 2 and part of 3.  B fell asleep on the couch, but I woke her up in time to see the Times Square ball drop.  I didn’t kiss her as I didn’t want to give her whatever I had.  Instead we hugged.  Ah the romantic gesture of trying to keep your spouse from enduring the illness you have!

The first half of New Year’s Day, I spent in bed.  My fever still refused to drop, even with Motrin.  After much pestering from B, I drove myself to the ER.  (B would have driven me, but we had nobody to watch the kids and we didn’t want to expose them to the germs in the ER.)  I must digress for a moment to explain what a big deal my going to the ER was.  This was a Saturday.  On Saturdays, I celebrate Shabbat which for me means (among other things), no driving the car, no writing and no using my cell phone.  So for me to drive to the ER, fill out forms and let B know how I was doing via my cell was a big deal.  It meant that I thought this was more than just a small bug and could be something which required immediate medical intervention.

I sat in the waiting room shivering as if air conditioning was blowing right on me.  I zipped up my winter coat zipped up and put my gloves and hat on but I still felt freezing cold.  I could tell my fever was going up.  I had skipped my usual dose of Motrin so the fever wouldn’t be masked when I was seen.  Probably not the brightest idea when it came to keeping me comfortable.  Time seemed to crawl.  On the good side, I anticipated waiting and had brought a magazine.  On the negative side, I had brought a food magazine and the bright, colorful photos of different food dishes made me feel nauseous.  I closed the magazine and turned it over (the front page also featured food, of course).

The people who arrived just before me got called in so I could see that my time was nearly up.  I saw something else too.  Something by the seat of the people who just left.  I could swear it was money.  I was called a few minutes later.  As I walked into the triage room, I picked up the item.  It was a $5 bill.  I explained to the nurse that I thought the couple in the next room had dropped it.  She thanked me and brought it to them.  I heard something about being lucky and “playing the lotto.”  Perhaps it wasn’t theirs after all.  Oh well, I figured, that could be my good deed for the day.

The nurse came back, asked me a few questions about my symptoms, took my blood pressure and took my temperature.  Blood pressure was fine, but my temperature was 102.9.  Yikes.  No wonder I felt awful.  She left and a doctor came in shortly.  The doctor listened to my breathing, looked in my throat and decided that I had Strep Throat.  She decided to not do a culture and left.  After she left, I had second thoughts about not doing the culture.  When the nurse came in to give me the first dose of the medicines they were going to put me on (Penicillin to fight the infection and Lidocaine to numb my throat), I asked for the throat culture.  She came back with the appropriate swab and, after me warning her about my horrible gag reflex, expertly performed the culture.  I was told that I’d only be informed within 24 hours if the results are positive.  Of course, if the results are negative, that would be the bigger issue since I might require different medications to fully fight this illness.  (I have yet to hear back and it has been well over 24 hours now.)

I stopped by a pharmacy on the way home.  By then the shivering had passed.  Instead, I felt like my body was radiating heat.  I ditched my hat and gloves and strode out in the cold, winter air.  After getting my medication (and some hard candies to suck on to help my throat), I left the store to head home.  Once home I stripped down (sorry for the mental image everyone), climbed into bed, got comfortable the best I could and relaxed with a New Year’s Day Mythbusters marathon.  I intended to sleep, but I just couldn’t get comfortable enough.  Seeing Jamie, Adam, Grant, Kari, and Tory blow things up made me feel better though.  (Side note: I should really submit a myth I heard growing up: A shopping center behind my house installed a propane tank and everyone in the neighborhood was worried it would blow up and take out the entire neighborhood if it was struck by lightning.  I can definitely see the Mythbusters taking that on.)

By the time B got back and we got the kids into bed, I was feeling better.  My fever was down and my throat was feeling better.  I was getting occasional hot and cold flashes which led me to joke that I was going menopausal.  Sunday, I stayed fever free, slept until 10:30am (except for waking up at 7am to take my medicine) and even ventured out (somewhere other than the ER/pharmacy).  I just hope I didn’t pass it on to B, NHL or JSL.  Definitely *NOT* the way I wanted to spend my New Year’s weekend.

P.S. I had intended to start a new diet yesterday, but obviously recovery trumps diet.  I’m not going to gorge myself, but neither shall I watch my calories like a hawk.  That being said, I did do an initial weigh-in yesterday and was 204.5.  That’s a few pounds lower than I was when I weighed myself a short while ago (before falling ill).  Apparently, Strep helped me lose some weight.  I don’t recommend the Strep Throat Diet to anyone though!


  • Not a great way to kick off the new year. Here’s to a speedy recovery and a great 2011 🙂

  • Cheryl W.

    I unfortunately had the same thing, but mine was a unwanted Christmas present. I was in bed nearly all day with a soar throat and fever. For the next few days, I couldn’t swallow or even taste a thing. I am still reeling from the stuff, but it gets better every day. Hope you are feeling better and are able to get on that diet. B sounds like an amazing wife. You should give her an extra hug and a you are beautiful today! 🙂

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  • Not a fun start to your year! I spent NY Day with the craziest headache I’ve ever had, and then sprained my ankle 2 days later. Lets just hope we’re getting all of the bad stuff out of the way early this year!
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