Monday, January 15, 2007


Ever heard how Incredibly. Painful. mastitis can be? That ain't no joke.

I had mastitis (an infection of the milk ducts in the (usually) lactating breast) about a month ago. Oh, I felt awful. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like I had a bad case of the flu. It was not fun, but I found my remedy pretty quickly and everything resolved. I just felt icky for a few days.

Last Monday, I was cooking dinner at 4:00pm. I thought I felt like I might be coming down with something. I talked to my friend, trying to figure out what the remedy might be, after failing on my own. We came up with a few options, none of them hitting the mark, unfortunately.

By 6:00pm, I was shaking like a leaf. I was freezing cold and hurt everywhere. I called dh at work and asked him what the soonest he could get home was. He didn't think he could be here before 9:00. I said that was fine, because that was the best he could do. I was SO cold that I got into a tub of very hot water, which probably was not the best idea in hindsight. I'm sure it pushed my already high fever up even higher, but even mountains of blankets weren't doing the trick.

By 7:00pm I was lying in bed with the baby beside me, literally crying and rolling back and forth. I was in intense pain and had no idea what to do to mitigate it. I was incapable of caring for my children. My seven year old did an outstanding job following directions and herding everyone into my bedroom or nearby so I knew they were safe.

Then I started throwing up. As I sat in the bathroom, I decided I needed to get to the hospital. There was no way on earth I was going to be able to wait until morning or even until dh got home. My seven year old went next door and our neighbors came immediately. One stayed with the kids and the other drove me to the hospital.

I went to a small nearby hospital rather than the monster hospital downtown, and I'm glad I did because *nearly* everyone was very nice and respectful. Honestly, when the nurse left me in the room and asked if I had any questions, my only question was "How long until you give me pain meds?". I am not a wimp, by the way. I give birth at home unassisted for pete's sake. You would think a little bit of mastitis wouldn't bother me too much. But when dh finally got to the hospital I said "They pumped me full of drugs and I Do Not Care because I don't hurt anymore."

After being discharged with the mandatory dose of antibiotics, an anti-nausea drug (Zofran), and whatever narcotic they put in my IV, I went home to continue vomiting. Whee! So not only did I have minimal sleep because drugged sleep is just not good sleep, but I had to awaken every hour to trudge into the bathroom and lean over the toliet. Yippee. BUT the pain was so much less that I did not care.

So for 48 hours I threw up just about every hour. Thank goodness I finally took Bryonia and stopped that. I still felt immeasurably better than I would have.

Some people think of me as completely anti western medicine. But I truly am not. I just think it is extremely overused. And I am still very glad I went to the ER last Monday.


stockingup99 said...

Sending prayers your way. Mastis is often a signal that you need to care for yourself, more.

At the first sign of trouble, I have my hot herbie. Organic flaxseed, sewn into a bit of fabric, about a pound. Then I microwave it until it is warmer than I can take, and put it on any sore spot on my mighty milk makers, with a shirt or something to mitigate the heat.
I rest and apply that at the first sign of trouble.

You may want to check with your midwife if heat is okay first. I've been lucky in my half dozen years of production not to get mastis, so I don't know the rules.

I think Herbie has kept my jugs a flowwing. I keep some in the freezer for booboos too. They can go from freezer to microwave in case a sore muscle wants heat too.

(Hopefully some unsolicited internet advice and a chuckle can help too ;)

barefoot mama said...

Thank you:o) I'm going to make a hot herbie for myself. That is a good idea.

You are right, I am not good at taking care of myself. I never take my own illnesses seriously, I get too focused on taking care of everyone else. I will not ignore plugged milk ducts ever again!

I've nursed literally every day of my life for nine and a half years and only recently started having trouble. I guess it's time to pay attention.


analisa_roche said...

I know taking better care of yourself is easier said than done, but mastitis is so so awful. I, thank God, have only had it once. A little secret someone else passed on to me was to comb over any plugged ducts with a fine-tooth comb, started at the top of the breast and going over it down to the areola. It feels so good and it helps get things moving (I would do this after you apply heat).