I… am not… an ANIMAL!

By Mir
September 13, 2005

Okay. Turn away if you’re squeamish. Hide your children. I am about to overshare, in that very special way that I do. Because I am all about the sharing, particularly when it’s GROSS! Because I am a child. Or maybe because I’m the anti-christ. I just don’t know. What I DO know is that things got a little frightening there for a bit, and then all was made wonderful again.

First: I woke up in agony.

Then: I had pie for breakfast!

After which: Order was restored to the universe.

Perhaps I’ve left out some pertinent details. Let me get some more PIE and I will elaborate.

I jest. I’m not having any pie right now. I’ve already had two pieces today.

Also, I am repenting. I did a horrible thing today. It was an accident, but that doesn’t change the fact that I almost killed an innocent person. Truly a lesson in thinking before acting/speaking.

I’m getting ahead of myself, again. Back to the beginning!

Okay. See Mir mow. See Mir mow over yellow jackets. See yellow jackets get angry. Run, Mir, run! Ouch, Mir, ouch! You’re a dumbass, Mir, a dumbass….
(… oh, I already told you this part? Moving right along….)

So, I knew there was a possibility of what they call a “severe localized allergic reaction” because that’s what happened to me, last time. I’ve been keeping an eye on my thigh. (Hey, that rhymes!) (And would sound sort of dirty if I wasn’t watching an insect bite blow up like a balloon.) I was stung on Saturday, and by yesterday (Monday) I was starting to… well… worry. I was expecting the redness, the itchiness, the swelling, the heat. I’d conveniently forgotten the bruising (no less than four people said to me yesterday, “OH MY GOD WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR LEG?!?!”). I was popping advil and benadryl and icing my leg and figuring that if I could make it through the day, surely things would be better today! Hahahaha.

By yesterday evening I had learned some new information about anatomy. And I just LOVE LEARNING. I would’ve been completely fascinated by what I learned if I wasn’t so busy crying into my (second piece of) pie.

Humans have these things called lymph nodes, see? And they… uhhh… do stuff. Who knows what they do. Or why. Or how. That’s not what’s important here. What IS important is that sometimes? When you have an infection, or, say, swelling? Your lymph nodes decide to join the party and become enlarged. And by “enlarged,” I of course mean that they rapidly swell to the size of walnuts and THROB.

Do we have any medical types in the house? I received a sting–and the accompanying inflammation–on the back of my right thigh. Can any anatomy experts out there name where the closest set of lymph nodes would be to this site? Anyone? Bueller?

If you answered ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE GROIN AREA, you are very smart! Welcome to my personal hell, and please enjoy this year’s supply of turtle wax!

To review: Now in addition to the swelling and pain encompassing the entire backside of my right thigh, I was also sporting painful lumps where my right leg joins my CROTCH. Sex-aaaaaay!

I went to bed vowing to call the doctor’s office as soon as they opened.

[Sidebar: I had a hard time falling asleep with my new mouth guard, and woke up several times because of it during the night. Around 3:00 I may or may not have removed it and thrown it across the room. Which–if I had–might have really been because I was in a lot of pain and not so much because of the mouth guard, but removing my leg and hurling it out of the bed would’ve been a lot more complicated.]

This morning, I discovered that walking was… not fun. I’m afraid that I cannot recommend swollen groinal lymph nodes. I much preferred my blissful ignorance of anything nodal in that particular area. Anyway. I got the kids off to school (gingerly!) and called my doctor’s office.

Whereupon I told the nice lady on the phone that I needed to be seen for an allergic reaction to an insect sting, and she proceeded to have a minor myocardial infarction while hollering at me to CALL 911 RIGHT AWAY! And that’s how I ended up chanting “localized, LOCALIZED, LOCALIZED” until she was convinced that I was not asphyxiating on the spot. I really do feel horrible that I upset her so badly. But we had a nice giggle after it was all sorted out. Me, giggling of the “gosh, you were pretty upset” variety; her, giggling of the “I just crapped my pants and hope next time it’s full-out anaphylaxis, bitch” variety.

I hobbled in to my physician’s office, feeling every inch the Elephant Woman. The doctor was very sympathetic about my tale of not really enjoying prednisone the last time I had to take it. Instead, she prescribed something called a Medrol Pack. She assured me that the dosage was lower and the course shorter, and that I would probably tolerate it better than I had the whole “3 days of 5 pills, 3 days of 4 pills, 3 days of 3 pills, etc.” regimen of prednisone. I scratched my swollen leg and tried not to move anything that might jostle my crotch in any way and thanked her profusely and drove to the pharmacy at 85 mph.

My Medrol Pack is labelled with explicit directions for people who need to be micromanaged. My doctor had told me the same thing that the doctor last year told me–you might want to break up the higher-dosage days if you find the medication irritates your stomach. You might want to avoid taking it right before bed if you find it keeps you awake. Other than that, it’s the dosage within each 24-hour period that matters. This blister pack contains 6 days of stair-step dosages, decreasing one pill a day until you’re done. Fine.

Here’s what is written on the tinfoil of the blister pack:
1st day: Take 2 tablets before breakfast, 1 tablet after lunch and after supper, and 2 tablets at bedtime.
2nd day: Take 1 tablet before breakfast, 1 tablet after lunch and after supper, and 2 tablets at bedtime.
3rd day: Take 1 tablet before breakfast and 1 tablet after lunch, after supper, and at bedtime.

Here’s the Mir method of taking the magical pills that stop the allergic reaction that causes elephantitis:
1st day: Take all 6 pills while standing at the Target pharmacy.
2nd day: Take all 5 pills with breakfast (of pie).
3rd day: Remember sometime between lunch and bedtime to take 4 pills.

I met a friend for lunch and we had a long discussion about the logic behind the given directions. Why does it insist you take a dosage BEFORE breakfast, but all the other dosages come AFTER meals? Why does it break up the dosages as evenly as possible when physicians routinely prescribe it to be taken all in a single dose? What if you’re skipping meals; does the patient fall into hopeless confusion? Does it cause a disruption in the space-time continuum?

Ordinarily I would be happy to harp on these nonsensical inconsistencies, but thanks to my reckless disregard for the rules my swelling is already subsiding. Huzzah! Now all that remains to be seen is whether I’m actually able to SLEEP on this medication. I’m thinking that between the steroids and mouth guard, it may be kind of a long week.

Thank goodness I still have most of a pie to see me through.


  1. Leanne

    Mir, I’m not sure if what you’re taking is an antibiotic but it sounds like (speaking from experience) cellulitis to me, we deal with it a LOT here. My 9 year old gets cellulitis at least 2x a year. I combine oral benedryl with benedryl cream on the area and a strong antibiotic and it’s gone within about 24-48 hours.

    I hope it goes down fast with what you’re taking, if it doesn’t I’d be hollering and hopping on one leg back to the Doc for a new RX!

    Feel better!

  2. Africableu

    er… I’m not sure which is worse – the swollen groin or the nazi-like pill regiment.

    Though the PIE was a good way to bring about some emotional relief for your readers – You carried us along on your horror of a giant, um, well, YEAH…
    …then made us FEEL for you wallowing in all those pills, then when you brought up the PIE (what kind please?)it released the tension you’d created with your story of woe.

    Masterfully done!

  3. ben

    So how come your ailments always sound so much more exciting than mine?

    Is it just because you’re a better writer? Or am I that much of a dolt?

  4. diane

    Ugh, poor poor Mir!
    Feel better soon. :(
    Though, I AM a bit jealous that you have pie to comfort you.
    And as for the meds–I can totally relate. I just started taking calcium pills that are supposed to be spaced out x hours apart, but taken with meals, though you can take as few as 2, though no more than 4 in a day, and never all at once, and possibly they may interact with the 50 other pills I take at various times of the day, spread out so that I’m not spending my last 2 waking hours swallowing pills and which may or may not require food, depending.

  5. Colleen

    LMAO…oh wait, that’s rude, I’m sorry. I’m laughing WITH you, not AT you.

    Hope you feel better.

  6. DebR

    And just think – someone got paid for writing those pill instructions! I want that job. It could be so fun…

    1st day: Take 2 pills before breakfast unless you are starting the package on a day beginning with a “T”; in which case take 1 pill after breakfast, unless you’re drinking orange juice; then take the pill first, with toast (NO JELLY; marmalade is fine), THEN drink the orange juice…

    Hope the new magic pills make you feel better without the nasty pred side effects.

  7. Jenn

    So, now you are keeping an eye on your thigh, with pie. Oh, I am funnnnnny!

    The joys of steroids, my husband is asthmatic and a few years ago, we had to do several rounds of steroids, both with the nice little packs and without. I think that by breaking them all up in tiny doses, they are aiming to make the side effects not as severe. But I could be talking out of my butt, too.

    So how exactly does one mail a pie?

  8. Crystal

    Did you know that those lymph nodes can swell if you have RAZOR BURN?? I had a FREAK OUT doctor’s appointment, and about passed out when I found out I was not dying or anything. So, what I’m trying to say is I feel for you! Hope you are feeling better.

  9. Kathy

    If someone had mailed me a pecan chocolate pie…it would have been LONG gone by now. I admire your pie-control.

    Feel better soon.

  10. dad

    I have the following suggestions: (1) You should submit this post to the New England Journal of Medicine. (2)You should send your Doctor’s receptionist a box of Pampers before calling next time. (3) You should suggest some way for me to get the coffee out of my nasal passages. If performing these simple tasks does not make you feel much better, eat 2 pieces of pie and call me in the morning.

    This is funny stuff.

  11. JuJuBee

    Oh lord, you do have the worst luck sometimes, don’t you? Well, not that I don’t have bad luck, but you know, I try to hide it. Great job turning your unfortunate incident into a hilarious stroy, as usual!

  12. Mike

    Most of the pie still around?? Slacker. ;)

    Best wishes for all your…um…tender parts.

  13. shannon

    My guess, for the whole before breakfast but after every other meal is because breakfast, you have NOTHING in your stomach. Every meal after that you still have a little left from the meal before, buffering it more than nothing would. Just an idea.

    Hope you start feeling better soon (it sounds like you have, with the pie there to give you comfort).

  14. sleepingmommy

    Oh I’m so sorry you are going through this. I can only imagine how painful it must be.

    I’m cringing just thinking about your poor wound.

  15. Theresa

    “Me, giggling of the “gosh, you were pretty upset” variety; her, giggling of the “I just crapped my pants and hope next time it’s full-out anaphylaxis, bitch” variety.” I laughed so hard I nearly wet myself.

  16. Vicki

    The logic of taking it as prescribed is to minimize the psychotic side effects of steroid withdrawal. But, with all that pie, you should be able to handle the mood swings. Good luck with that, Mir. Hope your side angled swelling goes away soon.

  17. Mit_Moi

    LMAO too! (definitely with you not at you) Mir, You’re so pretty! Doesn’t your Dr.’s Office know that?

    Personally I think you should see it the big bad-ex’s health insurance will cover yard work …since I’m sure it’s much cheaper than steroids, Dr’s visits etc.

  18. Carrie

    That sounds terrible! So sorry you have to have groinal swelling. I’m glad the pills are helping.

  19. Karen

    Yeesh! Sounds horrible. Glad the pills make you feel better. Hell, have one for me.

  20. Lulu

    Sounds like pie isn’t quite as effective for you as cookies are for me (but almost). I find chocolate-peanut butter-chocolate chip cookies to be the answer to absolutely everything, including that pesky question about the meaning of life. And, dang it, they’re pretty too!! And WAY easier to mail than pie is. Wot? Send them where? How soon? Wot?

  21. The Other Dawn

    You. Are. Too. Funny.

    Take the above words as follows:
    2 before breakfast
    1 after lunch and
    1 after supper

    You’re on your own for bedtime. You have your mouth guard. What else could you need?

    Hope the meds are doing their magic for you. Swollen lymph nodes are no fun. No fun at all. Not to mention less of the pretty than either one of us wants.

  22. Amy-GO

    ROFLMAO OH POOR BABY! Thank goodness I got that pie out just in time – it sounds like you need all the Love-In-The-Form-Of-Baked-Goods you can get! I will investigate refrigerated shipping so I can send you a Crazy Cake next. Although it may be cheaper to fly you to Kansas. Tell you what…bake yourself another pie with the pills crushed up in it and eat the whole thing at once. Oh, and I would definitely include the bourbon in the pie. ;)

  23. Penny

    Mir,I stumbled upon your site a long while back.(doing a general we search for self-fullfilling prophecy =P) I have it bookmarked and come by often. I get such chuckles from your life, the nervous kind that says “please Dear God, keep my life simpler than Mir’s” Ummmmmmm… Does that make me a bad person? lol Keep up the great work.

  24. Shiz


    Pleeease get super-better!

  25. holley

    Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow!

    But funneee!

    Get better, immediately. Except don’t, because that post was hilarious. You suffer well for your art.

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