Remember that post IV Solumedrol pain I griped about last week in my wrist and thumb (and also my face)? Remember I am a nurse by training? Remember I've made some "questionable" choices about my health care a few times in the past???
Well...none of those things in the above paragraph REALLY add up to much, unless you blend them all together and know the outcome! But one more question please...did any of YOU know a product (which I shall not name out of fear of receiving the death penalty for libel) you can buy over-the-counter to use on sore aches and pains can burn the HELL out of your skin?!? I'm talking about that "product" that has the word really cold and really warm in it's brand name...yep, that's the one!
As I mentioned last week, about two days after my IV steroid treatment, I developed these pulsating pains in my left wrist and thumb. Of course I blamed the steroids, but this placing of blame did not seem to make the pains go away. And, they seemed worse at night. So, being the "good" nurse I am, I retrieved an approximate 4-5 year old container of "the product" from my medicine cabinet and started rubbing the goo on my thumb to try to relieve the discomfort. I did this for about 4 nights.
Yesterday, I awoke to a bright redness in my left hand with some raised areas around my thumb and medial wrist...it looked much like a contact dermatitis really, only quite inflamed. Being the "good" patient I am, I immediately emailed my neurologist (and called my nurse practitioner, who I was told had earned a vacation and wouldn't be back for over a week) with my questioning and self-proclaimed diagnosis of possible shingles...after all...I HAD been experiencing a weird nerve pain in my hand and now had an unusual rash...seemed quite logical to me (although admittedly, I have never SEEN shingles occur in only ONE hand before...should have listened to my inner wisdom! LOL).
Last night after work, I proceeded to wash some dishes in hot water...my hand swelled up and really burned after this and I made a mental note to myself to never do dishes again. OK, not really, but I DID wonder what the heck was happening to my hand!
This morning, I awoke with that continued "burning" sensation in the ol' hand and got up to do my standard A.M. routine, only to discover I now HAD actual burn marks on my thumb and the side of my hand!!! And what was even more distinguishing was the burn marks are long, red and appear to be exactly where I rubbed "the product" in a convenient "V" shape with my other thumb!!! I had to sheepishly email Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named and advise her to "never mind" and probably "never be concerned" about my self-proclaimed diagnoses again! LOL But at least I can admit when I'm wrong...right?!?
So now I'm forced to walk around with this weird "V-shaped" burn on my dominant hand...it really looks like I've been branded to sell at market! But I've learned a few very important lessons from this experience:
1. Never use a really old OTC product...the contents really MAY expire and cause you harm (I'm not sure that's what happened, but I'm not taking any chances anymore either!).
2. Wait 24 hours before contacting "the authorities" with any self-proclaimed and definitive diagnosis...it will save future embarrassment AND, if it hasn't killed me in 24 hours, it probably won't!
3. Most things will probably heal much faster and easier if I learn to just LEAVE THEM ALONE...medical/nursing judgments aside. My body is really smarter than my mind...
Most go now and prepare for work and ridicule with this mark of "Vern" chemically seared on my hand...I'm frantically working on some type of alien abduction story to tell my coworkers...yeah, that might save me...LOL