You will probably notice that I’ve been AWOL from my blog for the month of July, but I have a really good excuse.
And a doctor’s note.
To start at the very beginning, I had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend. I spent most of it with my family and also had a friend stay with me for a few days. We made delicious margaritas with tons of fresh limes and a beautiful flatbread veggie pizza and had some yummy snacks. I also spent most of the weekend in the sun on my back deck or in my parents’ pool playing around with my nephews.
Unfortunately, I later found out through experience that the combination of lime juice and sunshine can lead to a very uncommon skin condition called phytophotodermatitis. (Quite a mouthful, right?) This condition mimics a second degree burn compete with blisters. Basically, to the untrained eye there is very little difference between this condition and burning yourself in a fire.
So here’s the timeline:
Day 0 – enjoyed limes and sunshine
Day 1 – My hand started to turn very red like a bad sunburn and swell. By 7pm I decided I should go to the Quick Care Clinic down the street to see if they had any ideas. They thought it was probably an allergic reaction or a spider bite, gave me prednisone and sent me to the drug store to pick up some Benadryl
Day 2 – I woke up to find my right hand covered in tiny, pea sized blisters that went from the middle of my fingers to half way down my arm. By noon the blisters had filled and most had grown to the size of jellybeans. A few were the size of old-fashioned Christmas tree bulbs. Back to Quick Care. It was on this trip where a nurse asked the million dollar question, “You haven’t been juicing limes and then sitting in the sun have you?” Um…. as a matter of fact….
She broke the news that I had basically ceviched my hand.
All they could do for me at Quick Care was wrap the hand, give me more and heavier-duty drugs and tell me to call my doctor in two days. Also, my hand was so blistered that they called in all of the nurses to come look at it.
Being identified as the “Hey, you’ve got to come see this!” patient in an emergency room situation is never good.
Day 3 – The tiny blisters somehow melded together overnight into huge mega-blisters concentrated in four specific points on my hand. The blister between my thumb and forefinger was about the size of half a tennis ball. At this point I also lost the ability to bend my fingers or use my right hand at all. (Thus the unexpected blog hiatus.) When I called the doctor to explain my predicament, she agreed I should probably be seen the next day.
Day 4 – Once again I became the spectacle of the medical world. All of the nurses in my doctor’s office came in to gawk at my hand. To recap, it was red, swollen, covered in gigantic blisters and I had no mobility. The doctor decided the blisters had to be popped and I will leave that process to your imagination. Let’s just say that there was a scalpel involved, but no pain drugs. She then wrapped up my mummy right hand as well as a section of my left (oh, did I mention that I also had a patch of blisters on my left hand at this point?) and told me I needed to come back on a daily basis to have the dressings changed because she was afraid of infection.
Day 5 – 7 – Daily trips to the doctor for bandage changes.
Day 8 – I Lost Count. Maybe 2 and 1/2 weeks Later? – As of Day 8, the doctor released me from daily visits, but this meant that I was responsible for daily dressing changes. If you’ll remember, I was down one hand, so this really meant that my Dad had to come over at 7am every morning to re-wrap my hands. (Thank you SO much Dad!) This also meant spending a chunk of money on prescription-level bandages, antibacterial cream specific for burns, gauze and latex gloves to minimize the chance of infection. And the antibiotics I had to take when it looked like it was getting infected anyway.
Day 2 and 1/2 Weeks Later – Present – I went back to the doctor a few more times for progress checks and she even referred me to a plastic surgeon out of concern for scarring. I am happy to say that my hand still looks very discolored, but they don’t think the scarring will be permanent and I have full mobility back in all of my fingers.
So… I hope you forgive me for the radio silence and I’m now figuring out how to write this experience into my next book…
And, as a good friend advised me, I will now be sticking to the drink of my people.
A Guinness never hurt anybody.