A Brief Update

For those of you who were concerned and/or wondering why I fell off the planet for two days, I wanted to give you a brief update:

You know how doctors always ask you if you are allergic to any medications? Well, I’ve never had the occasion to answer in the affirmative. Until now.

The problem with medical allergies is that you usually don’t find out you’re allergic until you end up in the hospital.

So, I was supposed to have a brief procedure on my right ankle due to a post-op infection on Thursday (tomorrow). I’ve been on antibiotics for a similar infection twice in the last year, so instead of going with the recommended Keflex antibiotic, the doc prescribed Bactrim (since there’s a chance of the bacteria having built up a resistance to the Keflex).

Bactrim is a sulfa drug. And, apparently, I am allergic to sulfa drugs. Here’s how I found out:

I had been taking Bactrim for 5 of the prescribed 10 days when I noticed a couple of hives on my leg. I saw the doctor the next day for a regularly scheduled checkup, but the hives had already gone away. The doc said not to worry about it. So I didn’t.

On day 10 (now 4 days ago), I woke up at 6:30 in the morning with what looked like maybe a spider bite on my right elbow. Within an hour, we determined that said spider bite was the first of many hives that would crawl up my right (and soon left) arm.

The hives got progressively worse through Sunday, spreading to my legs and feet. By Monday, About 1/3 of my skin was covered. I had (what I later realized was) sulfite-containing* dried coconut in my coffee, and in 15 minutes the hives got worse. I had an emergency appt. with the doc, so they told me to just go back on Keflex and stop the Bactrim. I couldn’t take a steroid to stop the inflammation due to the impending surgery.

That night, I went to the emergency room. Benadryl, Claritin, Zyrtec…even massive doses did not bring the inflammation down. They sent me home around 1 am, and I tried to sleep.

By the time I went back to the emergency room yesterday, at least 2/3 of my body was covered in hives (including my lips, cheeks, and hairline), and I could barely walk due to the swelling in my feet.

After some blood work ruled out most of the worst-case scenarios (besides elevated liver enzymes), they gave me the steroid.

I’m in a holding pattern with my stupid ankle now, waiting to hear if it’s still advisable/possible to have the surgery/procedure tomorrow.

I’ll keep you all updated, and I apologize in advance if the blog posts are a little light for the rest of the week….

Wish me luck!


*While sulfites and sulfa drugs are two different things, they are still related. So while I was having a reaction to the built up Bactrim, even small amounts of the preservative sulfites (which are found in basically everything manmade and somethings that aren’t) intensified the reaction. I can’t even eat grapes until this drug is out of my system!

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