Mr. MRSA & Me
You may have wondered where I’ve been the last 2 weeks. Well, I got to know Mr. MRSA or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus in a real and personal way.
Let me tell you the story of our meeting….
I developed an allergic reaction to something and I could not get rid of the itchy rash that is caused. In a desperate act I went to my nurse practitioner to see if I could get some relief; that was October 2nd. She had no idea what the rash was either and suggested I do a short term round of steroids to clear it. It took about 3 of the 6 days of treatment before I got any relief and it wasn’t 100% relief.
On day 6 I began to notice a welt on my inner thigh, back far enough that I couldn’t see it without some serious acrobatics on my part. Honestly, I didn’t give it much thought. But over the next 2 days it grew and became very painful to sit. On Saturday October 11th I began to feel sick and thought I was coming down with the flu. I spent the day in bed with my fever ranging from 101 – 103 degrees Fahrenheit – nothing I did made the fever lower. I had no other symptoms of the flu, just a high fever and generally not feeling well.
On Sunday morning something clicked and I realized there was a connection between the hot and painful welt and my fever. My husband took me to a nearby urgent care for treatment. At this point I thought that I had been bitten by a spider while working in the garden. I figured that would lance the welt and send me home with an oral antibiotic. Keep in mind that this was based on feeling the welt, and some very blurry phone “selfies” of the area.
I laid on the examining table, sweating profusely from the high fever and waited for the PA to come in. I felt miserable; more miserable than I can ever remember feeling. The very young PA sat down to exam “the welt” and exclaimed, “OH MY GOD”! I couldn’t help myself and laughed out loud but I knew right there that this was something bigger than I could have imagined. He quickly discharged me and sent me to the closest emergency room.
Sunday the 12th at 2:00 pm my husband and I walked into the emergency room. I was quickly taken back for vitals and vital information. Once the PA there saw it he started babbling about the same things the urgent care PA did and had a similar reaction. The doctor saw me about an hour later and said that I would need to be admitted and started on IV antibiotics. Six hours later I was in the hospital room that I would inhabit for 8 days. I spent most of Sunday night until Monday afternoon sleeping through high fevers that wouldn’t go under 101.
Monday the 13th I had my first exploratory surgery. Two small incisions were made to drain pus from the abscess and to take a culture of the wound. After the surgery my fever finally broke and never came back. They continued with IV antibiotics and took lots of blood.
Tuesday the 14th I had my 2nd surgery. This was the BIG one. They knew that the area was infected with staph and because of a nose culture that showed MRSA they were assuming that the abscess was too. This time diseased tissue was removed from a large area that left me with an 8 inch incision and a wound vac. The wound vac was placed in to help the area heal and shrink – my very basic explanation. This remained in place for several days.
On Friday the 17th I was taken back for a vac change and there was talk of sending me home with the vac in place. That didn’t happen – MRSA was confirmed in the infection.
On Sunday the 19th (my youngest’s 9th birthday) I was wheeled down for another vac change and it looked like I would be in for a few more days and going home
with the vac. I prayed a lot and a lot of prayers were said on my behalf. This time I woke to the vac being removed and the incision closed with just a small drainage tube attached.
The next morning the surgeon came to see me, the drainage tube hadn’t collected anything so he removed that (not painful but uncomfortable) and he felt with my mobility, the wound healing and my general health that I was ready to go home! It took several hours for that to happen but Monday night (the 20th) I was back home with an order for home nursing to take of the wound and lots of pills….
I survived Mr. MRSA…
with 4 IVs, blood draws every morning and sometimes evening, 4 surgical procedures, a catheter, hospital food too terrible to describe, treatments that nearly made me vomit, more questions about my bowel movements than I care to admit and 8 days (unplanned and unprepared for) in the hospital.
I have to say a quick shout out to the nurses who cared for me. They were amazing and frankly a large part of my recovery; I am very thankful for them. I plan to take them some cookies next week!
I’ve been very sleepy and weak this week but having some normalcy has helped tremendously. The biggest thing is dealing with the fear. The fear of the wound becoming reinfected or my family getting this. I’ve turned into a full fledged germaphobe!
Today is Saturday and I’m feeling more like myself than I have for 2 weeks. I’m not 100% – not sure when I will be.