Reason #512 that this past winter and early spring have been, um...less than ideal: a Saturday night visit to the local Emergency Room because of a CRAZY adverse reaction to my recent tetanus booster.
(Here is where I considered posting a photo of the 8-inch-long, splotchy, red and purple, very painful bruise that stretches from my left shoulder nearly to my elbow. Then I came to my senses and realized: No one wants to see my arm right now. Trust me on this one. You really don't. Seriously: HID-E-OUS.)
So, what happened? Well, I got a routine tetanus shot on Tuesday morning, and every day thereafter my arm hurt more and my bruise became larger and more freaky-looking, which I blithely ignored until yesterday, when a.) Christopher totally freaked out about how much larger it had grown in the past 24 hours, the fact that it was red, and its linear migration up and down my arm, which in his mind suggested LIFE-THREATENING INFECTION GOOD LORD WOMAN GET YOURSELF TO THE DOCTOR NOW!, b.) I realized the soreness had extended up my arm to my shoulder and all the way up the left side of my neck, and c.) my good friend the nurse, who kindly donated a good hour or more of her Saturday late-afternoon to the project of examining my arm, trying not to use an alarmed tone of voice, and considering, with me, whether this all could wait until Monday morning, pronounced, "Well...it's certainly not normal!"
By dinnertime yesterday, an after-hours nurse-line professional thought this all sounded quite serious, and since both the bruise and the soreness were worsening by the hour, I didn't argue. "You need to be seen tonight," she said. "I mean at the ER." OK then. As I readied myself to leave, Christopher said, "Honey, I feel so bad for you! I mean, you just got over that insane sinus infection, and now you have to go off to the ER for a severe reaction to a routine tetanus shot? This bad luck is ridiculous."
I grabbed a copy of The New Yorker for waiting-room reading, sighed, shrugged, and said, "Well....it's bloggable." Because, you know, you have to be philosophical when you're about to go and get your left arm amputated.
Just kidding. I'm going to be just fine. It turns out that, although both the triage nurse and the ER doc proclaimed my tetanus reaction to be "CRAZY"--you should have seen all the head-shaking going on--my arm does not appear infected and it's not dangerous. It seems that the nurse who administered my shot likely hit a blood vessel, and that unfortunate occurrence, combined with the fact that I was on a very strong antibiotic at the time with the unique and mysterious side effect of causing unusually intense bleeding and bruising and other extreme skin reactions to injury, resulted in this enormous, hideous, painful, long-lasting bruise (rather than the typical one-day bump and small discoloration). Mystery solved. But: YIKES.