The week started out great but took a bad turn. Last weekend Kate and Kenny came to Shelton and we had a great visit. We made a bunch of wedding decisions, opened some very nice wedding gifts, and organized the seating for the reception, which went much quicker than I expected. Then on Sunday Carolyn returned from her semester abroad in Granada, Spain and one the way home from JFK we met Kate & Kenny at the Dinosaur BBQ in Stamford for a welcome home dinner! Carolyn had a great experience in Europe and is already exploring possibilities of returning to Spain after graduation. Monday Carolyn was working with the Perry Hill School Marching Band for the parade and Kate & Kenny had to return to Milton, MA. In the afternoon we went to a friends for a combination birthday party/Memorial Day picnic and we had a great time. Tuesday morning Carolyn and I got to work on the myriad of items we had to get accomplished for the wedding. There are a lot of items that we have decided to do DIY rather than renting or purchasing.
On Tuesday mid afternoon I noticed a swelling on the side of my face, under my ear. I first thought it was like a bug bite but it was fairly small so we just put some ice on it to see if the swelling would go down. At dinner after like two bites I couldn’t eat anymore due to the pain and the selling ballooned up to like the size of half a baseball. After dinner I called the transplant center at Yale and explained the situation and they told me to go to the ER. At 8:00 PM we went to the Yale New Haven Hospital ER because they would have access to my kidney doctors and anything that might affect the kidneys is of major concern. Obviously the ER felt the same because when we got there the waiting room was full but I was taken right in and saw a doctor within the first three minutes. The first thing done was to take a blood test to determine if my Kidney Function. They wound up doing two blood tests of kidney function and both came back and showed great kidney function. The doctors didn’t find any evidence of a bug bite so they ordered a CT Scan which I finally had done at 1:00 AM. Then we had to wait three and a half hours for the results during which time I was examined by an ENT Doctor who consulted with the kidney staff. Eventually it was determined I had a viral infection of the parotid gland (gland that produces saliva) and because of the recent transplant and fear of damaging my new kidney they decided to admit me so around 6:00 AM I was taken up to the Kidney Ward, the same ward I was in after my transplant.
The course of treatment was pretty straight forward – I had to suck on sour foods (lemon wedges and lifesavers), I had a mouthwash with antibiotics in it, warm compresses and then a drip antibiotic. I was also on a saline IV so as not to get dehydrated and had to drink lots of fluids. Nothing particularly complicated at all but it did take a while to build up and start to work and I had no sleep Tuesday night so I was very tired and it was boring in the hospital. Meg and Carolyn had left the ER around 5:30 AM and were able to get a little sleep. I tried to eat some breakfast but the pain from chewing was just too intense. I was hoping to be released Wednesday afternoon but that wasn’t to happen since the swelling was not going down yet. I was finally able to eat at dinner and had an omelet which I could chew easily since it was soft to begin with. I did get a good nights sleep from around 10:30 PM until like 4:30 AM when they woke me to take blood. then I went back to sleep but at 5:30 AM a procession of visitors came in for vitals, with medicines and various doctors, none of which apparently could make a decision that would let me go home. By this point the swelling had gone down substantially but was still there. Around 9:00 AM my nurse told me I was to be discharged but the orders weren’t in the computer yet. Then I saw a transplant surgeon that wanted to see my wound and how it was healing. He had one of his minions return to clean it up and to burn off some of the dead skin. This did not hurt at all since when they did the initial incision they cut all the nerves so I essentially have no feeling near my wound. I was finally released and Carolyn arrived and we left around 10:45 AM.
We went to the pharmacy in Shelton to pick up two prescriptions – one for the mouthwash and one for a pill form of the antibiotic that I was on in the hospital. I feel much more relaxed at home and that is helping the swelling to go down even more. I have a follow-up with an ENT doctor next week. The frustrating part is while they know what it was and how to treat it, they don’t know what caused it and that is annoying. I don’t know if I ate something or drank something that caused this. I would like to know so that I can avoid whatever I did or ate or drank that made this happen. But I woke up this morning and it seems that the swelling is almost gone!