Part 3 in a Series: Broomstick Has A Skin Infection

Yes, folks, here we go again - this is the third time around on this board?

New Year’s Eve (of course it’s a holiday weekend…) I notice there is a speck on my lower left cheek that is red and inflamed. In fact, the skin around that speck is red and puffy and… omigosh, there’s some oozing going on! This is a skin infection. Or something. Whatever it is, it isn’t right. The Patch of Ooziness is about an inch long and a half inch wide. It’s red and raw looking. It doesn’t hurt - it ITCHES!

I get out the antibiotic goo and the bandages and cover it up. If nothing else, I don’t want to be scratching at it. The husband is quite anxious and keeps saying “Go to a doctor!” over and over until I’m ready to throttle him. It’s a holiday weekend, I can’t get a doctor’s appointment until Monday.

Monday rolls around and while I, personally, don’t feel bad my cheek is even more itchy. Skin is starting to peel off the raw area. The gauze bandages reveal a half-rainbow of colors, from specks of red blood through orange-tinted serum to a little bit of yellowish pus. Green has not yet shown up, but that’s OK with me. It is not developing an abscess or a pus-volcano, it’s just a raw, oozing surface, like someone had scrubbed some skin off with a wire brush. I called the doctor’s office (a different doc than the prior one - this guy is the one I’ve been seeing since we got new insurance) and described the mess in detail and politely inquired if I could get an appointment for that day. Yes, yes I could, at 12:30. Excellent!

So I drove to the doc and displayed the Patch of Ooziness. He looks at it and goes “Hmmm… that looks infected…” Well, yes, doctor, that is why I’m in your office today. He snapped on some exam gloves and pokes and prods, expressing puzzlement that it is NOT painful. Yes, I’m somewhat puzzled, too, as it certainly LOOKS like it should be painful but it’s not. It’s ITCHY.

Well, the doc prescribes generic Keflex and also, because my eczema is having a party on most of the rest of my skin, some triamcinolone because the eczema was laughing at the OTC cortisone I’d been futilely applying.

I am wondering one thing… this new mess is in close proximity to where I had had surgery some time ago. I’m wondering if there was some scar tissue or even some residual nerve damage that was unnoticed, but is resulting in a lack of pain?

Anyhow - my face stopped oozing after a couple days and is healing up nicely. The skin has stopped flaking and returned to normal color. I guess, instead of my usual buried infection, this was truly in the upper layers of skin this time. Best of all, it stopped itching. Yay!

The downside is that I’m dealing with some side effects of the medication. Some tummy upset, but not enough to keep me from eating. A little dizziness, but as long as I don’t move my head too fast it’s not a problem. The most annoying problem? Fatigue. In fact, I initially felt worse after taken the medication than before, I just feel like I’m moving through cold molasses, but I’ll take a week of feeling draggy over an out of control skin infection that lasts for weeks or months. It is definitely worse from a half an hour to two hours after I take the antibiotic, then gets better until I feel almost normal an hour or two before my next dose. Only have to take it through Sunday. I’ve been able to adjust my schedule to take a nap in the afternoon, which has helped considerably.

Oh, and the rest of my rashes are healing up, too.

Sorry it doesn’t have the dramatic flair of past episodes. No, wait - I’m not sorry at all. But I realize that this relative non-event may be disappointing to some of my readers. Too bad. :stuck_out_tongue:

You’re right, it doesn’t have the flair. I’m happy with it, though. Nice to see you get off easy (sort of) for a change.

Yes, I’m hoping eventually to simply stop getting infections and rashes. :slight_smile:

On the one hand, I was kind of looking forward to reading about another Episode.

But I’m glad that it’s resolving without surgery or other really drastic measures.

At the risk of sounding like one of my ex-jock buddies whose solution to literally every physical, mental, or medical problem is “you need to lift more” – I will simply pass along the fact that after I started semi-seriously exercising, one of the nice side effects was that random infections, colds, skin problems receded notably to almost-entirely. Not knowing your own regime, I simply note that the alleged benefits of strenuous exercise in boosting natural immuno-response (obviously preferable to the meds, which as you note have side effects) seem, anecdotally, to be sound.

Very disappointing, you simply have to ooze, pop and explode more in the future for our enjoyment and entertainment.

Very glad, however, it is healing quickly and nicely without the drama - actually for both your sake and ours. Frankly, it would be hard to top the pimple from hell without doing really permanent damage - and that isn’t worth shooting for.

Ah, the problem is a malfunctioning immune system that overreacts to almost everything - while, 'tis true, a good diet and regular exercise does improve the situation (making it an excellent motivation) my problem is not so simply solved. Short of new immune system, or reprogramming my old one, my skin will continue to go through periods of looking through I wiped out on a motorbike at high speeds on a gravel road.

By staying healthy I manage to avoid needing drugs most of the time, and by that I mean I’ll go a couple years between incidents, but eventually I get to the point where I have a significant percentage of broken skin and when you have enough broken skin for long enough something will happen. I hate the drugs, but they will return me to state where my natural barrier (the skin) is once again intact and doing its job. In other words, eczema is not fun. It has many origins, in my case it is a matter of allergies, and my allergies are almost certainly connected to an over-reactive immune system. An advantage is that I never get yeast or fungal infections, my system seems to simply overwhelm such beasties before they have a chance to get started, and I recover quickly from things like viral infections, but when your skin is destroying itself in a misguided attack on innocuous substances, well, it’s not pretty. It’s not so much that my immune system is weak as that I have a little too much of a good thing at times.

OMG now I remember you! You’re that poster with that monster zit from that old topic! :eek:

But . . . where was the Earth shattering kaboom? There’s supposed to be an Earth shattering kaboom!

When I saw this thread my first thought was “Oh no!”

Then…“Oh boy!”

I feel ashamed. I’m glad it’s nothing dramatic this time. Sorta. g

Why don’t you see a dermatologist? S/he could help you with your eczema a lot better than anyone else. Also, any doctor treating your skin infections should be doing bacterial cultures in addition to starting you on antibiotics. Some strains are resistant to certain antibiotics and it’s good to know that information fairly quickly. I can personally guarantee that you’ll be a lot less hassled by these skin problems if you’ll see a specialist. Also, try using Cerave lotion or cream immediately after getting out of the shower or bath (warm water, not hot). That stuff is good.

I did. I saw one on a regular basis for several years. The thing is not everything can be fixed. This is a chronic condition for which there is no definitive cure. (Well, a bone marrow transplant, but that is QUITE drastic and carries it’s own suite of side effects that are life-long and chronic.)

I’ve been diagnosed. I don’t really need to see a specialist at this point, as a general practitioner armed with the knowledge of what my problem is can handle 99.99% of what’s going on here.

Who is going to pay for it? I’m on a version of Medicaid. The state will pay for my antibiotics and (with a copay) for my skin cream, but they won’t pay for a bacterial culture until the first round of antibiotics fail (which, fortunately, it hasn’t). Sorry, but that is reality under the US health care “system”. If you don’t have private insurance you’re a second class citizen.

Actually… no, you can’t guarantee that. No one can. As I said, I saw a specialist for quite some time. The present situation is as good as it gets. Well, OK, I could go on long-term steroids, but after several years there are all those side effects like cataracts, osteoporosis, diabetes…

I appreciate people trying to help, but I’ve been to doctors all my life over my allergies, including the skin manifestations. It’s a matter of balancing the risk of infection with the risk of serious side effects. The problem can be managed, but it can’t be fixed.

Oh, please - admit it, you want to be the one doing the staring this time, right? The shoe is on the other foot, the wheel is on the other chair. Look at the Amazing Road Rash Girl! Step right up, it’s an astounding sight! :stuck_out_tongue:

S’alright, it was a bit of a teaser for you all, I know.

okay, okay- but you know, they are doing amazing things with biologic injectable meds these days. At least try the Cerave.

While I was looking forward to another story about how you made someone puke, really I’m glad that’s not actually the case! I’m happy you’re getting better so quickly.

Thanks, but I’m sticking with what my doctor(s) recommend.

Oh, okay. :rolleyes:

I’m sorry, Alice, I appreciate you’re trying to help, but it IS a medical condition and I am relying on what my doctors tell me rather than what someone, with every good intention, is suggesting over the internet. I was given very specific instructions for what I use and don’t use on my skin, and how often and in what manner. I mention these problems with some humor, as it is a coping mechanism, but it’s no less serious for all that.

:smiley: Seriously, glad you caught it before it turned nasty.

I saw your thread title, and just about got up to make popcorn before reading it. I’m sorry. I’m a bad, bad person.

Is this the same cheek that was infected before?

Anyway–I’m glad that this turned out to be a non-starter!