First off, I want to thank you all for your wonderful advice and kind prayers!
I knew all I had to do was ask, and I would receive many thoughtful responses regarding my current illness. I appreciate the time and energy you all spent advising me on the mastitis ... so much excellent information in this comment thread!! In fact, I'm printing it all out to keep for future reference. And since I certainly don't want to go through this again, I will definitely keep in mind all your great tips on how to prevent masitis in the first place.
In the meantime, I am feeling much better - I think I was fortunate to nip this infection right in the bud because by the second morning the redness and fever were gone, and by the third day the achiness had subsided dramatically.
Plus, the very good news is I have not reacted to the antibiotic! Which is a miracle, truly, because THERE HAS NOT BEEN ONE antibiotic I could take successfully in years. So I now have a medicine I can add to the "ok" column on my medical chart. :)
Also, I am nursing and resting as much as possible and thanks to my mum who has been here every day that has been very possible. She's been here helping with the kids, the baby, the dishes, the laundry, the unpacking (which we are STILL working through) and the meals. I don't know how I'd be getting through this without her ...
(We're also getting ready for a big celebration here in a couple of weeks - a double party in honor of Little Bear's Baptism and Bookworm's Graduation. I'm all about the list-making right now ... )
Now, just to add insult to injury (or perhaps it's the other way around!) yesterday I had a little stumble (not while holding the baby thank goodness!) and stubbed my toe fiercely on of all things, Bill's cordless drill. So now I can add "broken toe" to this crazy week.
It's not so bad I can't walk, just all bruised and ugly looking. I can walk if I am careful not to put pressure on it and thankfully, you really don't have much call for moving the third toe to the right of the big one. ;)
I have a little one waking in the crib next to me and so my time here is up. I wanted to be sure you all knew how grateful I am for your support, that I am on the mend, and that I will be back here again just as soon as I can ...