|Roxanne's x-ray in the emergency room.|
|The small emergency room was crowded with |
family and medical people.
During the next three weeks Roxanne recovered well. She moved from hospital to nursing home, enjoyed her physical therapy, dreaded the food, took pleasure in the company of her roommate. Jim wanted to visit but got sicker. Was he worrying more? Stressed out about her long-term options? Even as Jim despaired over his mom's situation he was convinced his own health would be fine.
Symptoms continued to get worse. In addition to muscle aches and fogginess there was now groin tenderness and swelling. I'm not a worrier but this caused concern. He thought he worked too hard mowing the neglected ditches, pressing his body into the mower's handle. Maybe it's a bruise, he suggested, an irritation. Then fever, building to over 102 by evening. I googled, read about hernias, and called a nurse. "You need to bring him in," she said.
Men visit doctors less that women. Jim visits doctors less than most men. He wasn't about to go to urgent care because he felt fluish, even with the unexplainable, enlarging inguinal swelling. I compromised, "If this fever isn't gone by Monday, I'm taking you to the doctor." How often have I heard that men don't live as long as women.
Two days later Jim himself was finally convinced. Now rash had begun, the swelling doubled, and a red circle haloed an old tick bite, a tick that Jim now recalled pulling off weeks before. He was weak, shaky with chills and fever, pale and sweaty, couldn't eat. The doc could see him at 2:30.
|Capacine, the |
Although tick-borne illnesses respond quickly to antibiotics, Jim had one more bad night. He tried to hide his uncontrollable shakes as we watched the color-coordinated world of Duke in Alaska. (Jim is fond of John Wayne films and this seemed like a healing therapy.) But when the fever hit 104.5, I insisted on a visit to urgent care. Michelle Bonet (aka Angel) may have charm, but Jim was finally willing to go.
This story, like Duke's, has a happy ending. Two weeks have passed and Jim is well enough to again vow to avoid doctors. Roxanne is pain-free, mobile with her wheeled walker, and happily living with Jim's amazing younger sister. Jim might manage to worry less about her -- instead he's worrying about his sister.