Sunday, April 03, 2011

That "Dying" Feeling.

Everyone gets sick.  Not really a big deal, right? 

A few years back, I had a major bout with MRSA, supposedly after being bitten by a Brown Recluse Spider. If you are unfamiliar, MRSA is a type of staph infection, which can be deadly.  I was bitten in the arm, and ended up having surgery on my arm, to cut out dead tissue.  Not fun. 

My gaping wound - big enough to stick your finger in to the first joint! 
Well, after that all healed up, I was pretty good, with just a small scar on my forearm.  However, MRSA kinda stays in your system for years, and once you have it, it is really easy to get it again after that.  This past January, I noticed a small bump on my body which I just assumed to be an ingrown hair or a pimple.  It turns out I was having another bout with MRSA. 

You see, staph infections are very easy to get when you are a wrestler.  When people sweat and bleed all over a canvas, it is easy for bacteria and molds to grow on those canvas, and if they are not properly cleaned, can lead to infections.  It doesn't even really take an open wound or anything, MRSA and other staph bacteria can infect you just thru your skin or from inhalation.  Another excellent place to pick up staph is on gym equipment or in public showers.  I think everyone knows I spend a bit of time at the gym. 

So, after a couple days of having this small bump get bigger and harder, I figured out that I was dealing with a staph infection.  Since I do not have a regular primary care physician, and my previous experience with Urgent Cares with a staph infection was not a pleasant one, I went to the emergency room at my local hospital, where they sliced me open, gave a prescription for antibiotics to fend off the staph, and sent me on my way.  Aside from a few days of pain from the incision, I was ok, and no one really knew what was wrong - after all it was only a skin infection. 

Well, I try my damnedest to be a hardass in all walks of life.  If you ever look at my wrestling schedule you can see that I stay pretty busy - lots of weekends with two shows on the road, lots of driving, lots of matches.  If you haven't blocked the app on Facebook, you have probably noticed that I kill it in the gym just about every night too.  Plus, my day job is a very physical and demanding job that keeps me on the road a lot as well. 

Over the past couple months, I had been sick a lot.  Just regular colds and flu type of stuff.  Just being run down and dealing with sinus problems.  With this wacky-ass weather and an overall crazy winter, I figured it was just my sinuses.  However, more and more people were politely telling me that I look like crap.  Not just occasionally, but regularly.  My girlfriend would tell me she was worried about me, because I just didn't look right.  My mother would worry about me.  Friends and family were starting to mention that I had been getting sick a lot.  And I had been.  It was almost like I was on a cycle - one week of good health, one week of feeling like shit. 

So, with no wrestling shows the first weekend in April, I had two weeks to really kill it and get back in the gym and try to make up for lost time.  Monday night I weighed in at the gym (as I do regularly), and I got the shock of a lifetime - I was twenty pounds heavier than I was like two weeks ago.  I knew I was more bloated recently, but I figured it was water weight from being sick - but twenty pounds?  I hadn't weighed this much in about five years, it didn't seem right. 

Tuesday while grinding it out at work, I just didn't feel right.  Really lazy, really lethargic.  I put in some overtime, and after I left work, I just felt like shit, so I didn't go to the gym.  I was pissed at myself, but soon I realized that it was the "cycle" and this was my sick week.  I stopped by the pharmacy and picked up some OJ and some allergy medicine, preparing to fight off a bad sinus cold.  I got home, got in the shower, and found a skin infection.

Staph was back. 

Wanting to be proactive, I lanced infection myself to try to drain it, which worked, but nothing much came out.  So, I cleaned it out and I hunkered down for the evening and prepared to fight off a cold, and I started getting sicker.  It was weird, I could feel it.  My body started hurting more and more, my head filled up with mucous, and I just felt like complete shit.  Then I started having trouble walking.  I started dropping things.  I was ridiculously thirsty.  I called my girl (and my mother) and told them that something was wrong with me, I just didn't feel right.  By the time midnight rolled around, I felt like I was going to die - literally. 

When my ladies called to check on me Wednesday morning, I was not exaggerating when I said I felt like I was dying, and that I needed to go to the doctor.  I got an appointment with a regular primary care physician that afternoon.  I actually had my mother drive me, because I couldn't stay coherent enough to drive.  Actually, I had a helluva time even walking.  Little did I know that I had actually lost ten pounds since I weighed myself Monday night. 

After visiting with the doc and some blood tests, it looks like this is what was wrong with me all along: Staph.  I was worried that perhaps I had mono, but my white blood cells were at a normal level, indicating that it wasn't something viral, such as strep or mono.  No, what it looks like is that my antibiotics were not strong enough earlier in the year to kill off the staph in my body.  Although I had enough antibiotics in my body to kill off the skin infection, the staph just floated around in my blood, wearing me down and kicking my ass.  I looked like shit for the past two months because my body was trying to fight it off.  So, when I wore my body down enough, the staph broke me down some more.  In hindsight, I had been "breaking out" for a week or so with acne, but it was actually the staph.  So, doc put me on the shelf for five days, and gave me stronger antibiotics. 

Last night, my fourth day on antibiotics, I finally felt good enough to leave the house for anything longer than a trip to the store for fluids.  This thing thoroughly kicked my ass.  Not only did I burn up three more days of vacation time at work, but I missed going to the Wolfhounds RFC game Saturday, going to NWF Saturday night to hang out with Machine Gun and company, checking the Reds game out today down at GABP, and being able to do anything but sit around and watch television.  Ugh. 

I did get to spend some quality time with two awesome ladies who love me and took good care of me - Mom and Ms. Shannon.  Mom took me to the doc and let me crash on her couch to watch Opening Day so she could keep an eye on me.  Shannon spent all weekend watching over me and taking care of me, and not letting me do anything stupid - like go to the gym. It was great to just get to spend time with her without having to worry about leaving for a match that night, or about her having time to do homework and stuff. 

After waking up at 7:30 this morning, I have laid around all day, and I am still tired.  Back to the grind with work tomorrow.  Hopefully I can get back to the gym this week. 

Somehow, with all the crazy health issues I have had this year, I have yet to miss a match.  I do not plan on missing out at WWC this coming weekend either...

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