Meat Hand

| 1 Comment

This year, Fuzzy and I have signed up to swim the Point to LaPointe, a 2.1 mile open water swim in Lake Superior in Northern Wisconsin on August 2nd. We've been talking about doing it for years, and for some reason, this year--the coldest on record in forever--seemed like the right year to do it.

Because of the polar vortex-y winter, Lake Michigan has been intimidating in it's ice water-ness, but I am sure it is a hot tub compared to Lake Superior. We did some pool swims and then decided last week that it was time to take the plunge into the lake.

On the 4th of July, we had a leisurely morning, and then in the heat of the sun decided to get decked out in our neoprene wetsuits, socks and gloves and take the plunge. 

The socks were great, but the gloves felt clunky and like I wasn't able to pull myself through the water. I took them off and Fuzzy tucked them into the back of my wetsuit. I swam only about three-quarters of a mile, but it went ok.

We had friends in town for the 4th, so we cooked up a bunch of meat and I whipped up some margaritas. We sat in our "front yard" (ie: square of grass) and I noticed that my right hand was really red and sore. "Huh, I guess I sunburned my hand." I said, and noticed that the left one was also kind of pink. "Bizarre." I've done many a lake swim before and this has never been an issue, but I figured something was off kilter that day. I felt a little woozy, but chalked it up to tequila and over eating.  I was worn out the next day, but pushed through to play with She's Crafty for the Dark Matter block party, watched Space Jam and went to bed.

photo 2.JPG

Sunday, we decided to try the lake again. We said goodbye to our guests, ate some lunch, then schlepped back downtown to where we train. (The beach where we train has marked distances and runs along a concrete wall, so it is very safe and easy. All the triathletes train there, and yes, there are lifeguards.) I made sure to sunscreen my hand. The water on Sunday was painfully cold--it was a shock to the face. I corrected an error I was making (swimming too fast--I was getting out of breath easily), swam a half mile, and then stopped. I should have kept going, but I couldn't for some reason. We grabbed some lunch and ran a few errands on the awesomely super hot day. I noticed that my right had started forming blisters--giant painful ones--and they got bigger as the day progressed. It looked gross and hurt like hell. We stopped at Walgreens and got some high-tech bandages to keep it covered and moist. I had a hard time sleeping because it was so painful and irritated.

(I don't have photos of the blisters. You're welcome.)

Monday was a busy day. I had rehearsal in the morning and the live Apes callback show that night. I didn't want a bunch of people to try to shake my hand, so I covered it in a big white bandage. Of course, a lot of people asked what was wrong, and I shrugged it off saying that I must have gotten a bad 3rd degree burn or sun poisoning of some sort.

The show was a huge success and we cast 8 amazing performers. We got home, exhausted, and fell into bed. Fuzzy looked at my hand. Then he felt my hand. It was swollen, hot, and red. He suggested that we go to the ER, because it reminded him of how my foot looked when I had that crazy bad infection. I shrugged it off and said if it wasn't better in the morning, we could go to the new Immediate Care Clinic that opened in our neighborhood a few weeks ago.

We woke up super early the next morning to see how it was doing. It looked fine! It wasn't swollen, and I was exhausted, so Fuzzy went for a run and I slept a bit more to get rested before my rehearsal and show. About an hour later, I got up, and within 10 minutes, my hand was this huge swollen red chunk of meat. Meat hand. It was freaky, and we decided that we needed to go to the doctor.

Because the urgent care clinic was new, there was no one there, so we were able to see a doctor right away. They put a burn cream on it, gave me a tetanus shot (the droll male nurse said "I got the biggest needle I could find" which made me laugh), and put me on this hard core antibiotic that I have to take 4 times a day for a week. They said "no sun, no swimming, no alcohol" while it was healing. But I had a gig that night at City Winery! (Droll male nurse: "You'll have plenty more times to drink alcohol.") I laugh cried at my rotten luck at the yet another freak ailment that I can now add to my list (kidney stones, staph infection, foot infection, shingles, possible gout...)  I was 45 minutes late for my rehearsal, which I hate, and I did a little stress crying, but I pushed through.

photo 3.JPG

Meat hand in action.

My hand, though painful, was still functional, so I found a lace glove made by one of the Modet dancers for our show, and I wore it in the gig. It looked like a choice and not a neccessity!

photo 4.JPG

The gig was amazing, by the way. (More photos and things to come soon.)

It's now Friday. The swelling has gone down. The blisters are all dried up. Now instead of looking like a swollen piece of meat, it looks like ground beef. 

photo 5.JPG

I HATE taking medicine for things, and this antibiotic is no exception--it has drained all of my energy and made me REALLY spacey and loopy. I am continuing to use the cream and wrap the hand, and I have a few more days of the pills.  Plus, I have a cold and a million things and rehearsal and meetings and shows, so I feel like a shell of a person, but I am keeping on keeping on.


1 Comment

I almost put "Red Right Hand" but you beat me to it!!!! It looks painful!!!