What Lead To My Second Medical Leave In A Year and A Half
God only gives you what you can handle.
But I really do believe that my body truly hates me. Even with all the health concerns that I already have — a year after my acute pericarditis, I get a skin condition that is undiagnosed. Buuuuut I guess we should start from the beginning….
I was in school… term 6 [April — July], I got a loonie-sized rash (that’s as early as I can remember) on the back of my right thigh. It was itchy and it was embarrassing. But I was told that it looked like a bruise.
As always, busy with school, I thought nothing of it. I didn’t see the doctor. It spread. It spread until it became pretty much as big as my hand. It started spreading to my bum. I also noticed that it started spreading to the left side. darn it!
Finally, a two-week summer break (Yay for adulthood…*rolls eyes*). My right eye started to get itchy…. like I had an eyelash in my eye for days. My eye kept watering. It was annoying.
I don’t necessarily remember when my skin started to get raw (gimme a break! this was over a year and a half ago…. I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast today….) Whenever it was doesn’t matter, I finally had enough. I don’t remember exactly when I did, but I did see the doctor. It was either during the two-week break or within the first 2 weeks of term 7. I told the doctor about the rash on my legs and the itchy eye. He thought the leg thing was a fungal infection and prescribed me Lotriderm for it. He thought my eye was an allergic reaction and told me to use eyedrops. No scratch test. No swab. No blood test.
My arm started to get itchy within 3 weeks of term 7 — just one spot… on my forearm close to my elbow. I started to get itchy everywhere; the one that stands out to me is my upper chest. Itchy. Just constantly itchy. Lesions started to spread to my other arm, and my legs.
My head started to get itchy — particularly the base of my skull, within the hairline. I got a dry spot on my left cheek… like a macule. Reminds me of psoriasis except its red and not silver. My lip started to get itchy one day, felt like cold sore was starting. As you can guess, it got worse — like really chapped lips. NOT a cold sore. The corners of my mouth started to crack and split. They scabbed at night and would rip and bleed when I woke up, whenever I smiled or laughed. It prevented me from eating (I really wanted steak… :( ). My eye got worse. It spread and, just like my lips, it would scab at night and rip and bleed in the mornings.
I hadn’t been able to eat in days. I hadn’t slept in weeks — I was lucky if I slept 3-hours a night. I was exhausted constantly. I felt like I was dragging. I couldn’t study for quizzes. I was grumpy constantly at school. I was dragging. I’ve had people actually comment on my being tired. I’ve had people ask me if I have gotten into a fight. Jeez, that felt nice.
During week 8 (Tuesday), I spoke to my pathology teacher and explained what was going on in full detail. On Thursday, I went back to the doctor and showed him just how much it had spread. He prescribed me Cephalexin (a broad spectrum antibiotic for skin infections). He also started explaining that it might be Impetigo.
Week 9 (Tuesday), I went back to talk to my instructor and explained the diagnosis. I explained to her everything… I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I can’t study, the way my lesions scab and bleed. I told her my worries — that I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if I should continue because there is only 3-weeks left of the term or if I should withdraw from the moment because if it IS impetigo, it’s contagious and I don’t want anyone to have to go through what I’m going through.
I asked her what my options are. She went onto email the program coordinator (he was working from home), and explained to him what was going on. I was to set up an appointment to sit down and talk to him. I set one up for Wednesday at 10:30am. On Wednesday morning, I went back to the doctor. He gave me Prednisone 50mg for 3 days and told me to see him again when it’s done.
He was going to try and schedule me to see a dermatologist. He went on to explain that dermatologists don’t usually like to take emergency cases but the fact that this has spread like this quickly… he is going to try. The fact that I am not responding to the antibiotics makes him think that it is now autoimmune.
I went to school for my meeting. As I stepped into his office and sat down, he was on his computer finishing up an email. He asked me, without looking away from him screen, how I was doing. He finally turned towards me and was surprised to see how I was looking. Again, I explained ALL of my symptoms. I explained that the doctor thought last week that it was impetigo but that it is not responding to the antibiotics. I told him my worries. I told him that I don’t know how it started. I don’t know where or how I got it. Told him that I doubt that it was contagious because no one else in the house has it. He called the clinic coordinator in and the three of us discussed my options. He asked if I am willing to finish the term since I am so close to the end. I told him the truth. I couldn’t study, I can’t focus and that I don’t think it’s a good idea to continue. Whatever this skin condition is… it’s spread so much within a week that I don’t know how I am going to be in 2–3 weeks. I told them both that I thought it was best that I take another medical leave if it was possible. They assured me that it was. The next seventh term begins on January 4th. He explained that since have completed three classes (Nutrition, Surgery, and Systemic Treatment), I wouldn’t have to do them again. They asked me if I wanted to take the Law & Regulations exam since I have learned everything that I am going to need know for the final exam. They both told me that I would probably only have to do 1 day of clinic next time around instead of 2 days because I should be good for credits and hours. That’s a relief…
After finalizing my decision to take a medical leave, the clinic coordinator said he would take care of my clinic schedule and patients and that the program coordinator and I would go down to the second floor and talk to the finance department — but the pair of them needed to talk first about another issue that doesn’t involve me. So while waiting, I went to my class — they were in Business Practice — and I made arrangements to have my massage table brought back from Swedish Outreach.
Then I went downstairs to talk to finance so the deal is the same as last time, I need to have medical clearance to start school again. I need to hand in that medical clearance by November. I went upstairs back to Business Practice only to notice that the program coordinator was discussing with the class what the agreement was. I know he just wants to nip any rumors in the bud and explain to the class that it is because of a medical reason and that it was mutually agreed upon that I take a medical leave.
And so I left a and have been on a medical leave for 17 months now.