Prednisone, Infections & the Organizing Elf

While I’m thinking about the symptoms related to my therapy, I have to mention the things that I look for after a big prednisone taper.  Every flare gets one, this time only to 25 mg, sometimes to as high as 60 mg, and the side effects are significant. 

If the taper works well it can be done in three or four weeks.  Usually I stay at the top dose for a few days, then my dose is gradually tapered , no faster than 5 mg every three days, until I am back to my baseline dose.

 While I am on the higher dose I will be hungrier, so if it lasts a long time, I can expect to see some weight gain.  I will also retain fluid, and this may last after the taper has ended, requiring extra diuretics to get rid of the swelling in my legs and feet.  These symptoms are annoying and require some attention, but by far and away my worst problems are caused by the increased susceptibility to infection. 

When I am on more prednisone, I am vigilant about infection.  I pay close attention to fever, unusual pain, diarrhea, any joint that is swollen and red out of proportion to the others, productive cough, rash, and itching.  Attention to the skin deserves further explanation.  Yeast infections of the skin are quite common with corticosteroid (prednisone, etc.) treatment.  They generally present as itchy, bright red skin in patches.  You find them mostly in moist areas – folds of the groin, buttocks crease, under breasts, over the ears where glasses sit – I know, this is such a fun topic.  It is helpful to pay attention to these areas and request prescription treatment (usually Nystatin ointment or powder) at the soonest sign of infection.  This is not contagious, but it can be intensely uncomfortable and become superinfected with bacteria, a much harder problem to treat.

Now, on to more exciting things.  A little elf has come to my house and organized my kitchen table area.  Suddenly I can see the entire surface of the table, and the mishmash of display equipment, UFOs (unfinished objects), finished but unphotographed items, and other miscellaneous business paraphernalia is gone.  The elf was quite aggressive about throwing away unnecessary materials.  It was also insistent that I designate places to store anything that I’m not using RIGHT THIS MINUTE.  I was forced to sort through piles of mail, put photos in a drawer, and discard old greeting cards.  I’m sure there was lots of good stuff that I just hadn’t gotten around to assigning a crafting purpose.  As we speak, the elf is putting away every stray ball of yarn in the house.  Geez! 

Okay, complaining, but this help was soooo needed.  It’s all those little trips back and forth to put things away that I cannot make right now.  If I had stooped to pick up all the stuff “stored” under my table and next to it in the corner, I would need a solid layer of Icy Hot heating patches on my back, legs, and shoulders.  I did draw the line at cleaning off my bed.  How would I function without eight kinds of yarn, three sets of needles, and three UFOs on my bed?!

Peace.

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2 Responses

  1. How much do elves cost? Is this an hourly rate and do they have a union that I will have to worry about? Are they in fact green or is this an unfair stereotype? Are they afraid of cats? I’ve always wondered these things.

  2. I too have lupus, and on prednisone have those little skin yeast infections cropping up from time to time. I loved reading about your “Elf.”

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