Sunday, July 17, 2005

Can You Top This, Bar Studiers?

On Thursday I'm morning I'm up and at it, studying the last of the California-only topics, Civil Procedure, and I notice a nasty purple swollen bump on my elbow. Looks like a spider bite, or maybe a skinned elbow from mountain-biking in the woods that got a little infected. As the morning wore on it started to hurt and look a bit bigger and feel hot. I decided to go to the pharmacy and get some antibiotic ointment and some big. elbow-sized bandages, then come home and soak it. Hopefully the pain will back off so I can concentrate on memorizing the joinder rules et al.

I'm making my own Bar-centric decisions because my daughter Rebecca is at fencing camp and the rest of the family is on Martha's Vineyard. But when I get back from my little errand I am feeling feverish, and the pain from my elbow is becoming sharper -- and its starting to swell up so it looks kindof like a golf ball stuffed under my skin. Sandi comes over to ask me a couple things about work, takes one look at it, and tells me to go to urgent care, which I do, carrying my Conviser and my little cards. (BTW, I ran into our lovely local Bar/ Bri rep in the waiting room, bringing in her teenage daughter, and we chatted about her new legal practice).

Turns out I have a high white-cell count (14.8), a 101 fever, and what looks like an unchecked infection. Maybe from a spider or tick bite, maybe just from a scratch that went wrong. So the Doctor loads me up with local anesthetic in the elbow and starts stabbing at the boil, trying to get it to drain. He is getting more and more frustrated -- he can't seem to get any liquid to come out of it -- so he gets a syringe and starts trying to aspirate it. In spite of all the local anesthetic, it hurt quite alot. He spent nearly 1/2 hour chopping at my arm, until what had been a golf-ball sized area of inflamation looks more like an orange, and the pain is intense. I look over at the littl emetal table and notice it is covered in blood -- my blood. I start to wonder if this Doctor knows what he is doing. i start to wonder if I am going to miss the Bar Exam. So then I start to feel really dizzy and almost black out and I'm definitely not going to be able to drive myself home.

So now the Doctor -- perhaps eyeing my legal notes -- goes into CYA mode and tells me to go straight from his office at Urgent Care to the Emergency Room. What, is he nuts? Its 8:30 p.m. now, and I've only studied for two hours all day! Last time I went to the ER it took 7 hours just to be admitted, and that was with my wife, who is a doctor at that very institution and was lobbying for me. I have the California bar exam in less than two weeks. So I went home, with a shot of antibiotic and some pain killers, though I was too sick to study.

Rigors and cold sweats in the night, and intense pain, but the Vicodin helped. By 4 a.m. or so I felt much better, and I managed to study 71/2 hours on Friday -- almost back to a normal day -- although the intense shooting pain every time my elbow brushed up against anything kindov put me on notice that i was on borrowed time. Picked up my daughter at 6, and Harry Potter at midnight, then went to bed exhausted, barely able to bend my arm at all any more.

Studied like a fiend on Saturday, because I knew once my wife got home Saturday evening there would be hell to pay. Sure enough, she called a couple people for advice and ORDERED me to go to the emergency room. We've been married 17 years, and i know when I'm gonna lose an argument. I tore out all the Contracts MBE questions and answers -- those are easy to do with interruptions -- and headed off around 9:30 p.m.

The ER doctors treated me way more seriously than the last time I had been there. It was almost scary how quickly they whisked me back into a room and started an IV. Orthopedics wanted to rule out infection in my joint, and ordered X-rays. I started to show a rash -- who wouldn't under this much stress -- and that started speculation I had Rocky Mountain Spotted fever. They decided to keep me overnight on IV antibiotics. Meanwhile, my arm was swollen up as if I had a piece of pipe wrapped around my elbow. It hurt like a sonofabitch.

I slept three hours on an ER cot, drank some coffee, and did 67 new multiple choice questions, reviewing the answers for all the ones I got wrong. Not what I'd planned for Contracts, but it will have to be good enough for now. When I got home today i started in on Evidence.

Guess you've got to want it.


Blogger Eve said...

OH MY GOSH!!! What a story!!! WOW, you are an amazing trooper! I'm so sorry that happened to you! How are you doing right now? Sending get-well vibes your way!! Get healthy soon, that's an order!! :)

2:27 AM  
Blogger G. said...

WOW!!!!! Uh, yeah, this totally beats my story about my cat bringing a live rat into the house while I was studying.

Get well soon, and best of luck on the exam!

9:37 AM  
Blogger Roonie said...

Because of this, you realize, you're going to pass. You're going to go down in bar exam studying history for this...I hope you're prepared for your newfound fame!

5:13 PM  
Blogger Eve said...

Just checking to see how you're doing... Hope you're on the mend!!!

5:04 PM  
Blogger Eve said...

Glad to hear you're doing better - just wanted to stop by and say GOOD LUCK! You're gonna do great!!

11:27 AM  
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2:48 AM  
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