About 2 months ago I hit the busiest period of my life in the past 2 years. Work was humming along, coaching teeball one night a week (not for the money) working out 3 days a week, and preparing to move to a new home/sell a home/argue about moving and packing. Bizz. Eee. I wasn’t sleeping much but felt fine. I was eating healthy and not over-doin’ it with booze. OK, I suppose “over-doin’ ” is subjective, but for my standards, I was FINE, OK, I was fine…
Then I got hit with a bastard of a staph infection on my thigh. I think I got it from the mats at the gym, though I usually wipe ’em down before stretching on them.n I’ll never use mats again. The smallest cut and a latent response to the bugs and next thing I knew, a cyst the size of half a golfball was growing on my outer thigh. The part where you sit down and it hits a chair. Or you stand up and your pocketed-phone bumps the side of it. The area where you nudge it and cry a little. I couldn’t think of it without wincing.
After about 5 days from “implantation” to “it has a heartbeat,” I had a doc take a look at it. I thought it was MRSA due to my medical training (Thanks WebMD.com!) but it wasn’t. It was the non-MR staph aureus, which bode well for me. It was also a nice little scar about the size of a penny to remind me to not F around with that stuff.
Fast forward to 2 weeks ago; final weekend of moving into the new house. 90deg-F, in and out of trucks, sweating like a training montage in a 1980’s martial arts film. And I get the smallest cut on my back from whatever. 24 hours later, IT’S BACK. The warm, infectious feeling of spreading staph! Now, I thought MAYBE it was an ingrown hair and begged my wife to hot compress it and break out the big safety pin and go to work. NOPE. Too gross for her. Too much to ask. And in hindsight that could have spread the bug much further into my system.
The next day I’m begging to see the dermatologist because my other doc was a little too happy to dig in with a knife. The area on my back spread from a Quarter-sized area of heat and pain to about the size of an adult hand, tucked under my skin. And it hurt like somebody was pressing an iron into my back, but with a lovely little Vesuvius right there in the middle, a grotesque Ground Zero of bacterial bombardment. It had moved from a red to a deep purple spot about 1/4″ across, which was not a bruise. Instead, it’s necrosis; the bacteria and eaten and killed everything in that are and moved on.
My dermatologist took one look and said “OK… well… how much time do you have this morning?” 10min later, laying face-down on the table and lidocaine injected into the infected area. A slice, a push, and doc says “Yeah, this was getting bad. You had an abscess here that wasn’t gonna stop. We’re gonna drain this and see what we can do.”
That was 3 weeks ago now. I went through a round of Cephalexin to kill it. I had twice-daily “expressions” of the area to release any fluid built up under the left shoulder blade and in my back. I couldn’t sleep but in 1 position, and not even a fair dose of painkillers could lull it to rest. People used to die from this thing, and through the miracle of modern medicine, I have a quarter-sized hole in my back, packed with gauze, and draining only a slight amount of clear fluid and blood while it heals itself. My wife has become a field-nurse of heroic proportions. She saw my inner back-meat, and didn’t flinch.
The weird part of all this is… I had been telling myself, and been told by others, to gear-down. I had about 3 high-stress, low-sleep months where I powered through it and was ready to slow-down once we moved into the new house. Well, I did. I haven’t been to the gym for a serious lift in 4 weeks. I slept more. I drank less. My body revolted against my mind in order to preserve itself like a biologic Bastille Day; my body needed resources to stay healthy, which I was refusing it due to my own agenda. Your body seeks balance, HomeoStasis, a mid-point of reserve and expression. I guess this is part of getting older; shut-down for benefit, or be shut-down.
So hot-wash every bit of clothing, bedding, and toweling you have. Steam-clean the car seats. And remember that you should take it easy now and again. Life is not a sprint, nor a marathon. It’s a nice walk around town with a few stops for friends and meals and medically-approved THC-infused brownies.