Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How a Giant Zit Landed Me in The Hospital

When I was a teenager, I never broke out. Maybe one or two pimples here and there, but nothing to write home about. Recently, however, I’ve had a serious of three enormous pimples. They looked more like cysts, actually. I am 31 years old and now I’m finally getting pimples. Oy!

Anyway, the last of these zits was very persistent, and dare I say angry. I didn’t mess with it, because it was quite painful on it’s own. The only thing I did do was something my mom taught me to do, place hot compresses on it. Unfortunately, by day 3 of having this thing, this zit was about the size of a large grape and angrily red.

My parents were in Las Vegas at the time, so I called me friend Donna, and begged her to come with me to the Emergency Room, while Wil watched the kids.


After two and a half hours of waiting, which (by the way) is not bad for an E.R., the E.R. doctor diagnosed my supposed zit as folliculitis, or an ingrown hair follicle that became infected. He said he’d have to prescribe me an antibiotic, and I explained that I was fine with all that, but that it needed to be safe for nursing. He replied:

“We highly recommend that you stop nursing for the time that you’re on antibiotics.”

“Um, my baby’s never had formula, and I don’t want to start giving it to her now,” I said tentatively. “I know there are antibiotics that are deemed safe for nursing by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Can’t you give me one of those?”

He grumbled.

I also asked if I could have IV antibiotics to try to get the infection to go down, but he insisted that the infection was “not that serious” and sent me home on oral antibiotics instead. He also told me to wash my face. Jerk!


Day 4, I woke up and I could barely open my eye. I woke Wil up and told him that I needed to go back to the hospital. He grumbled that it was “just a zit” and to “leave it alone.” But then as he became more awake he conceded and went with me to the hospital. My parents were back from Vegas so they were able to watch the kids.


I had a sense that this was serious, so I paged the doctor that did my hand surgery seven years ago, and explained the situation. It was Sunday, and he was at the beach, but he still took the time to talk to me.

After I described how half of my face was swollen, he said:

“Sounds like that needs to be drained. You’ll need to be on antibiotics. I’ll get you admitted.”

“I am nursing right now, is there an antibiotic that’s safe for nursing I could be on?”

“Sure!” he said “We’ll put you on something that’s compatible with nursing. Let’s get you admitted.

I handed my phone to the receptionist at the E.R. My doctor worked his magic, and I was admitted and had a bed in the hospital within the hour.


When I was waiting in the E.R. I spoke with a resident who worked with my doctor. He explained, once again, that the antibiotics I had to take were not safe for nursing, and that I should cease nursing while on them. I reiterated that I did not want to do that and asked if he could give me something safe for nursing. So he called my doctor who gave the okay for an antibiotic that was safe for nursing. The resident still reiterated that he recommended ceasing breast feeding. I said I wanted to speak with a lactation consultant.


The lactation consultant (who happened to be British and had the most adorable accent) came up to my room, and at this point I was in tears.

“They say I have to be on antibiotics and that I can’t breast feed.”

“Well, that doesn’t sound right, now does it?”

She pulled out a giant medical journal and read me five studies indicating that the antibiotic I would be taking is safe for nursing, as my doctor initially said.

“Why are they pressuring me to feed formula then?” I asked.

“Because they don’t know what they’re talking about,” said the lactation consultant in her melodious British accent, waving her hands in the air for emphasis.

“They’re not breast specialists!”


Turns out that the zit was also a staph infection. Thankfully, I was able to have the procedure (of having my abscess drained) done at my beside. Although, I will say this, Lidocaine hurts like a bitch. Here’s a series of pictures detailing the progression of my zit.


During my four days at the hospital, I met a really cool and interesting orthodox Rabbi who served as a chaplain there. We talked about Judaism and the search for a Jewish identity. He encouraged me to pursue my Jewish identity and educate my kids about being Jewish. But the best lesson that he taught me was this: I asked him why me? Why did this happen to me?

Why was I here? He said there was a reason that I was meant to be here. There was something for me to learn by being here. I have learned a lot and I am still processing those lessons. One thing I know is I’m glad to be home, and I missed my kids and Wil so much.


  1. WOW, those pictures!!! Holy, your poor eye! That thing like changed the whole look of your face, like the structure and everything. You don't even look like you! I am so glad that it's done and over with. How annoying about the nursing thing, but that's really awesome that you thought to speak with a lactation consultant. I don't know that I would have thought of that.

    Perhaps you were in the hospital in order to meet that rabbi, you know? Like maybe G-d is sending you a sign? I dunno, that sounds wrong and what I mean by it is probably not conveying well (I probably sound like, "oh you need to be more Jewish and G-d is mad about it!") but I just mean like, maybe something is going to happen in your future where you'll really need your faith? I dunno, that sounds bad too LOL! You know what I mean though, right?

  2. Ouch! Glad to hear you're ok now!

    Nothing is ever a coincidence. There is always a reason for everything that happens :)

  3. Ouchie!! I'm glad you are back home and are okay!!

  4. Sorry you had to go through that... I had one similar on my leg, that had to be lanced open and drained. I agree with you on the Lidocane. :)

  5. Such an interesting post! I've never heard anything like it, and I have to say, the blogger in me is so glad you documented with pics, because that really is something to see. Glad you were so persistent about the antibiotics that would be safe for nursing. Some doctors, I tell ya!

  6. OMG Of course, I'm totally tearing up. First of all, how awful!! Seriously, TERRIBLE! ANd second, LOSERS for telling you you could not breastfeed (honest to GOD! - take a break for a few days - HUH???!!!) Third, wonderful that you found a sane person in there. Four, YAY for Rabbis and their wonderful advice. (I always wanted to be Jewish as a child and even as an adult, and that man just sealed it!).


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