Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Have Mrsa on me.....

In starting this blog I figured I would post once a week or something, drop a few jokes, make a couple people laugh, throw a few commas in the wrong, place. I did not however expect to be able to blog everyday on something else that has gone wrong with my body. Amazing, since I have started this blog I have entered my second relapse, had difficulty with scheduling my MRI, allowed the world to ready about my slow bladder, and now I get to blog about the last 24 hours that found me in two different hospitals with news that I am still trying to figure out if it is good or bad.

So we need to back track just a bit. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of inundating your body with Prednisone know that it is not pleasant. Not only does it do any number of God awful things to your appetite, sleep patterns, blood pressure and to your general disposition, but it also destroys your immune system. (This is actually the desired effect, seeing how MS is a dysfunction of the Immune system.) However as I stated in an earlier post the steroids give me a bit of that teenage feeling and those unsightly blemishes that lead you to adult hood have appeared all over my body. It's really kind of gross, however it's the least of my problems these days.
So last week one of these blemishes popped up on an unusual place....My elbow. Have you ever had a zit on your elbow? It's not very comfortable. So I did what any God fearing, red blooded American would do. I popped it. It wasn't near as easy as it looked, and to save you from the gory details, there was a little blood. Although nothing I thought twice about. I went on with my week. Then, low and behold, another one popped up on the same elbow. I'll be damned! I popped that one too. But as they say, "no two go alike, some yell and scream, some go quietly, some explode, some implode, but all will try to take you with them." This one was no excepetion, it was a tough critter, and there was a little more blood. I wasn't happy about it, but truth be told I have popped a few zits in my day and generally there was a little bit of blood.
Now flash forward to yesterday morning and while I am in the shower, I inspect the elbow of puberty, as I call it, and wouldn't ya know it a third zit is popping up. The other two are still trying to heal, so I figure I probably shouldn't touch this one. Finish my shower, make sure it isn't 1992 seeing the state my skin is in, kiss my children and wife goodbye, and go to work (I promise I got dressed in there as well. I did not go to work naked). To be honest it's a bit uncomfortable when I get to work, but hey what isn't uncomfortable at work? Anyway, I get home take off my well pressed button down shirt to play with my sons before they go to bed, and in doing so I notice a long red line that is traveling from my zit laden elbow up into my armpit. Uh oh, this can't be good.
After a short consultation with our resident Doctor/Nurse, Aunt Laura, I am encouraged to get up on my trusty steed (Toyota Yaris) and ride to the Emergency Room. Which I do.
As I am signing in the nurse asks me what brings me in tonight. I raise my arm as I say,
"well I got this..."
"oh, you got an infection."
About a half later I am sitting behind a curtain hooked up to an IV of anti-biotic. As they discharge me the Doctor makes a side comment that perhaps it is MRSA.
Now, I know very little about this MRSA. I do know that it isn't good. I voice my concern to the doctor and she tells me it is nothing to worry about, she sees like 8 or 9 cases a day. Oh, that makes it better. If you notice to the right in my daily prescriptions there are two new entries. They are temperary and will hopefully stave off MRSA, Ebola, or any other concoction of blood poisoning that my ailing anti-bodies decide to throw at me. The red line has all but dissapeared, all the anti-biotics seem to be working. The zits however have not. I'll take the good with the bad.
All in all though it could have been worse. The total time I was in the hospital was just over two hours, I met some nice people, like the lady next to me who had a terrible headache (to which I can relate) they prescriped her some morphine. (I was never given morphine. Why was I never given morphin? ) Then a little while into the intial work up her husband seemed to remember that, oh she was hit in the head with a baseball bat at 7:00pm tonight. Like I said, some nice people.

So on to today, another day another hospital, more good news / bad news. So I go downtown to the good Doctors office at the esteemed hospital, I make sure I am super early as I screwed up last time I had an appointment. I thought that the appointment was two hours later than what it actually was. The good Doctor was cordial about it, but I do not think he was amused, but I digress. The waiting room is cheery as I have said before, but today it is packed with people. Some of them are in pretty bad shape, others look like this might be their first appointment. I can only wonder when they walk out how their out look on life might be skewed.
I sit and read an old issue of Time magazine (still trying to figure out this whole Georgia/Russia thing.) but can't seem to concentrate on the words, could be the MS could be the impending results. The good Doctor comes out and takes me back to the room, we have a conversation about all the things that have been going on, the elbow situation, the flare up, etc. Then I have to go through all the tests that someone has designed to test the acuity of my disease: The feats of strength, walking straight lines, jumping on one foot (if you have MS I am sure you have done all these. I think one day we should have some sort of MS Olympics.) Then the good Doctor disappears to go have a look at my MRI. After about 15 minutes he comes back in the room. He can see one new lesion, a little bit of growth on the old ones, but because of the Prednisone treatment it is hard to tell what kind of activity the flare up is causing or has caused. While the good Doctor does not seem to be upset about it, it does worry me, seeing how it's my brain and not his.
He tells me the IVIG treatment coming up is a good idea, and that while he isn't unhappy with the efficacy of the copaxone it may soon be time to talk about different medication. This means moving to tysabri, as I have already tried Avonex and had a horrible time with it. Who knows? That's all down the road a bit. For now, one new lesion, a blood infection, new anti-botics, and one of the greatest record collections in Philadelphia. (My mother told me to always find a silver lining. I love my records.) We'll make it through. It's the only thing we can do.

P.S. I'm not sure if this post makes sense. I should have waited till tomorrow to write, I am real tired and my choices of words along with sentence structure just don't seem to be firing right now. I wanted to wirte though, there are a few of you reading and I wanted to make sure that you knew I'm okay. Thanks for reading.


pUNKrOCKfairy said...

Unfortunately, the lady (nurse did you say?) in the ER is right. MRSA is frighteningly common these days. Speculation is that all school-aged children are carrying it and most adults as well. My DH got a bug bite infested with MRSA this year and desperately wanted to blame it on having had to visit me in the hospital. More likely he got it from the bug itself or already had it in his system. It's not an end-of-the-world thing but you should stop squeezing those zits and pay very close attention to signs of infection for the next few months. MRSA (methicillin RESISTANT staphlococcus aureus) is good at fighting back against the antibiotics. Just watch for flare-ups in the future.

Oh, and wash your hands. A lot.

And... bummer, man. Kicked when your down. :(

Heather said...

Oh man... MRSA! I'm sorry to hear this. You really can't catch a break these days, can you Ben? Please let me know if you need anything.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to read about your experiences with MRSA, docs, etc.

I've been working in the medical field for over 30 years and MRSA is the most common infection which often goes untreated. It spreads as fast as a cold virus.

If one doesn't complain about an open wound (a runny discharge, etc.), then MRSA is never even tested. Some people have MRSA in almost any open orifice (nose, ears, eyes, etc.) and live perfectly normal lives.

Us MSers are more prone to infection than the average person. So picking those zits wasn't the smartest thing to do -- docs suggest a hot compress on them if they were bothering you. I would say to use an ice cube because it takes out the itch and reduces swelling.

Once the layers of skin are open to the air, infections of any strain can set in. But MRSA is the fastest one to spread.

You have young children at your house, so wash your hands often and try not to leave your elbow uncovered in the house to prevent spreading. Lysol (liquid on a disposable cloth) down cribs, high chairs, play areas, telephone, computer keyboard, mouse, etc.)

Are the kids ready for a doc checkup yet? Might want to get them tested for MRSA in mucous membranes (nose, ears, any place that has a runny discharge) and get them covered with an antibiotic just in case.

Sounds like you have been really getting a load of stuff dumped on you lately. But I am glad you got it taken care of quickly.

Take care,


Glad that you sought treatment and that it's working. Infections can be very bad things indeed.