Monday, January 25, 2010

Ben's Rule of Thumb

...or, more precisely, Ben's current experience with a Sore Thumb. Actually, pretty darn sore. As in, infected.

Ben's left thumb has seen some times in its 18 years of duty. As a very little guy, he managed to crush it between a hard floor and a falling wooden table at the home of some now-forgotten playmate. It was a little sore thumb then. Lately, it's been a big sore thumb...the kind that 'sticks out.'

Last Wednesday, Ben let us know that his thumb was hurting him. Having been well conditioned by last year's uninvited acquaintance with overachieving staph bacteria, Bill and I wasted no time in surveying this elfin digit. Eeeewwwww. It was hard, red, warm, and about one and a half times its normal size. I may have imagined it, but I think I felt a cold chill.

Not being remotely medical here, neither of us thought to have him soak it...I always find the warm-cold compress thing confusing anyway. It being evening, the agreed upon plan was for me to take Ben to a walk-in clinic after school the next day. However, the next morning, the thumb was worse...the skin now so stretched that it appeared shiny, and Ben reported significant throbbing pain. So, Bill took him to the clinic right away, while I called in to school to report that Ben would miss first hour. Shortly thereafter, Bill and Ben were cooling their heels at Walgreens, waiting for an Augmentin prescription to be filled before Ben was deposited at school.

Two days later, he went back to the walk-in clinic for a recheck, but things were a little worse, not better. The antibiotic was switched to Bactrim which, I guess is a sulfa drug, not that this means much to me. Again, a trip to Walgreens to get the scrip filled and started before Ben hoisted his trumpet in Band class.

By now, I decided I was not overreacting and asked Bill to take Ben right to Dr. Baptist...and I continue to be thankful for the school mom/friend who is an RN and wisely prompted me to take Ben to Dr. B. when his infected knee went from painful to excruciating in Nov. of 08.

At this past Saturday's follow-up visit to Dr. B., we learned that-although the Bactrim seemed to be starting to arrest the offending organism-the infection still wasn't ready to be drained...which is why we have another follow-up visit for this Wednesday morning.

Now, here were my two main queries...

* How could Ben develop such an infection after having been on continuous antibiotic therapy from Dec. 08 to April 09? Dr. B. said the two situations had nothing to do with each other, and that this infection was "activity based." As in, most likely contracted when Ben went sledding with his buds a couple weekends ago. ParDON? "Those things [sleds at public parks] are covered with bugs." So, now we know. Why Ben was the only one to win the bacteria lotto again, we can only guess...

* Why does this infection seem to have driven up his blood sugar? Again, I must thank a couple dear nurse friends who urged us to have Ben do glucochecks (yeah, that's like getting John to eat broccoli)...because for some reason infections and high blood sugar seem to go together. So, last night, with a modicum of resistance on his part, Ben was prevailed upon to check his blood sugar...239. Sheesh.

So, off I go to call Dr. C's office and ask whether this warrants hunting for the old insulin pen in the someone said, 'it's deja vu all over agin.' Thanks, Yogi.

PS - any info that might help this lay-mom understand this better would be appreciated.


  1. I have no words of wisdom or anything that would resemble medical info. I am, however, lifting this up in prayer.

    Thanks for posting this so we can know to pray.


  2. Thanks so much for your prayers, Jan. I so appreciate it. This parenting stuff is certainly not for the faint of heart! Thanks for writing.