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.


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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.