Blood Poisoning?!

Wrought Iron, Derry

Yes, it turns out the US is a very dangerous place for me. It tried to poison me! Okay, maybe it was my own fault. I knew I had a bigger problem than just a sore throat. When it first hit it really knocked me out. I’m usually the ignore-the-illness-and-work-harder type, but I ached all over and had a fever. It got harder and harder to swallow anything — or even nothing.

That was just the throat infection! The blood poisoning spread from that. Unlike too many people in the US, I have health insurance. However, having been out of the country for a year I had no proof of that. Monday after trying to find something in the shambles that is my office now and teaching two classes, I went to human resources to see if I could get things sorted out. They couldn’t, but they gave me something to verify my insurance carrier. I made an appointment for after the department meeting (to which I was already late, talk about starting things off on the right foot).

The doctor would see me — at least there was that — but they had to charge me full price for the exam and strep test. It wasn’t strep, but it was still contagious, painful and an infection. More worrying was the blood poisoning, which had begun as  red on the tips of two fingers and by then had progressed to red lines up my hand and arm by that stage of the day.

I got a prescription for antibiotics and a stern lecture from the doc; he impressed upon me just how serious blood poisoning is. Since then some friends have told me horrifying stories of loved ones they lost to it, and Robert reminded me that’s what he had been hospitalised for once, too. Eek. And I canceled classes that night and Wed.

I thought blood poisoning was some quaint nineteenth century malady like ‘brain fever’ or relegated mostly to the past like ‘consumption’ AKA TB. It’s no joke. I’m glad to say it looks to be safely behind me. But if you’ve been wondering why I’ve been so quiet, it’s not just that I’m pining for Scotland…

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