Sunday, January 23, 2011
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterial infection that is highly resistant to some antibiotics.
Well until a couple weeks ago I had only a vague idea what this was. So how is it that I came to read up on this a little you may ask? Well about two and a half weeks ago my wife complained saying there was a pimple on her back, and asked me to take a look at it. I looked. To me it looked like just the beginning of a small pimple. Nothing to worry about right. Well the next day when I got home from school she asked me to look at it again. This time was totally different. It was huge. Now when I say huge I don't mean like a basketball or anything that drastic, but it was definitely the size of a golf ball. Huge and red with splotches. Needless to say it looked very uncomfortable.
At this point I knew it was a little beyond my own capacity to treat. As a side note I do know a little about treating infections that build pressure and ooze pus. I used to get in grown toenails almost every month. I would treat them myself with a hot xacto knife, and epsom salt. Anyway back to the point, I didn't feel I should start hacking into my wife's back with an xacto knife. I suggested she should go to the doctor first thing in the morning. I told her it looked like a HUGE boil. Now if you have never had a boil I will try to describe it to you. A boil is like getting a really bad burn and having pressure build up underneath it, causing it to be very tender. It feels like being stabbed every time even a piece of cloth rubs against it. That is until it is lanced. Another side note: lancing a wound, sounds so barbaric. I just envision a knight on a horse with lance in hand and a person on a bench with a big target on their back. Anyway back to the story. I explained when she saw the doctor he would probably want to lance the wound. I also explained what it was when he would do this, so that she wouldn't be going into this blindly. She was very appreciative.
The next morning she went to the doctor first thing. When the doc saw her, he said because of the speed the infection was moving it was a good thing she came in promptly. Most boils and the sort take around two to three weeks of being totally ignored to progress to this stage. The doc proceeded to tell her that he needed to lance the boil and that he would need to "pack" the wound with an antiseptic gauze strip. When the doctor cut into her back pus began oozing out, and not a little. Note I did say it the sore was the size of a golf ball. Well by the time she went in I would say it was more the size of a large egg. The doctor had to not just lance a little, he had to stick his scalpel around two and a half inches into the wound to pop all the pus sacs. This caused my wife very little pain since they were kind enough to administer some local anesthetic. They sent her home with a prescription for Amoxicillin, and asked her to return the next day. Well on the way home from the doc the anesthetic wore off, and the pain started. This was a Thursday the thirteenth. She could hardly walk the pain was so terrible. She couldn't sit, she couldn't lie down. Nothing she did would help with making her comfortable.
After a very rough night of "sleep" we got up and she headed in to the doctor. He took the packing out and told her to soak in a bath with epsom salt, and have me re-bandage the wound. I am no doctor but I am an Eagle Scout, so this was no problem. We went through the weekend with no problem. She would soak in the tub for half an hour (it was the only comfortable place she could find), and I would re bandage her. I was seeing no improvement over the weekend. Well being the type of person I am I read everything I could find on the subject of boils. That lead to reading about staph infection (again. Note the toe above). I read that with really big boils if it is not responding to the antibiotic within the first day or two the doctor will prescribe a different one. Well I was seeing no change so I expected her to go to the doc and come back with a new script. Nope, I was wrong. Instead she came home telling me the doctor found another pus sac and had to re-lance it. This time they neglected to numb her back. After re-lancing it they re-packed it. This is just as comfortable as it sounds. They then said to her "come back in tomorrow we will have to keep packing this". That night I suggested she should ask about a different antibiotic, since the silly doctors didn't do what I expected them to. When she went back in they said they were worried because it was getting deeper. Not until she asked them about a different antibiotic did they go "holy crap this is five days into treatment and no response from the antibiotic we prescribed".
Well they promptly changed her to Bactrin (this is on the list of antibiotics that work sometimes on MRSA), and a few Lortab. They asked her to again return tomorrow to let them "re-pack" again. She returned for repacking the next few days, and on Thursday they asked her to bring me in to learn how to re-pack it (since we live in the country the doc is closed over the weekend).
So it's Friday the 21st and I am in the doctors office with her. She is lying on her stomach and the doc takes the bandage off and there is this little rope sticking out of a half inch incision in her back. The rope is covered in blood, since the is the purpose of the antiseptic packing all is as it should be. The good news, there is no more swelling and the glaring redness is gone. There is a small indentation in her back where the egg shaped infection was at. The doctor showed me what to do. I was supposed to remove the bandaging and the packing. Clean the adhesive from the tape from around the wound, and then take a pair of tweezers and force this antiseptic packing material into my wife's back.
Well it is now Sunday and I have changed the packing and bandaging twice. The worst part about this is the pain I was required to cause my wife to help her recover. A necessary evil I suppose.
Lessons I have learned from this. One: Never just take the word of the Doctor. I really respect these doctors, they have a difficult job to do. They are one of two clinics that have to deal with a huge community of very stubborn farmer, country type people (not knocking it, I am one of these said country people). They are so busy sometimes they do over look something that may be staring them in the eye. Second: If you get sick, wounded, infected, etc. do the research. Don't assume the worst, because it is usually not that. But do be informed so that if something serious is happening you know the signs and symptoms. Third: Don't be afraid to suggest something to the Doctor, sometimes it helps them see what is clearly evident and right in front of their face. If they are any good and you were right they will thank you, and if they get pissy remind them that you are the customer. Then inform them you are taking your business elsewhere; to a place that they respect their customers questions and opinions.
Not trying to make excuses but this is part of the reason I have not gotten my usual workouts in this week. I have had a few good ones, but not as much as usual. Now that my wife is definitely on the mend I will be able to get back to my workout routine.
Sorry if I grossed you out but this has been weighing on my mind, and you can't say I didn't warn you.
P.S. Sorry I didn't post pics...lol she would have killed me:)