I looked at his swollen appendage, it was twice the size as his other one. It was red and slightly hot to the touch.
Pt: “I don’t know how it all happened, but I couldn’t sleep all night because of the pain.”
I examined the area but found nothing significant except for several tiny holes. Hmmm that’s odd, doesn’t look like a spider bite…
Me: “I notice some pokes here, do you know how you got that?”
Pt: “Oh yeah, I tried poking it with a needle…thought if I drained it, it’d feel better. But nothing makes it feel any better.”
Draining it huh, now that’s an interesting idea…reminds me of something they used to do back in medieval times….I started cleaning the area with some alcohol wipes.
Me: “Well there’s not much I can really do for you here, looks like it’s infected but I can’t see any real cause…”
I cracked an ice pack and placed it on the swollen area.
Pt: “I guess I’ll go home tonight and soak it in bleach again…”
Wait, did I hear that right? Bleach? Me and my partner exchanged glances.
Me: “Ahhhh…no I would not suggest that, bleach is not good for your skin or for the swelling.”
Pt: “Oh really?? Well I’ll just run it in boiling water then, like I did last night.”
Boiling water?? I contained my smile that threatened to explode out of my face, I could tell my partner was just as impressed as I was. I’d be all swollen too if I dumped a part of myself, especially an infected part of myself, in boiling water!
Me: “No, boiling water would not be helpful in your situation. I’d suggest keeping ice on it or running it in cool water. You’re probably going to need some antibiotics as well.”
Pt: “Oh, okay…”
He didn’t sound like he believed me.