Mrsa, Mothers, Math, and Morphine

     There was a time back in ’01 and ’02 that hospital acquired MRSA was a struggle for my life.  I was recovering from a colostomy reversal and  for a while at least it seemed my post-op was fairly typical.  About 3 to 4 weeks into my recovery  I started getting cellulitis.  As long as I was in the hospital on IV antibiotics it seemed to hold the infection at bay.  Whenever I went home and was off the IV antibiotics, the infection would come back with a vengance.  Consequently, that year I was in and out of the hospital, there must have been at least 2 dozen admissions.

     That particular hospital was right across the street from my daughter’s school and I think she was in 4th or 5th grade at the time.  The hospital would be sure to put me in a 2 person room that was empty and if I was in the hospital, that’s where Sarah would go after school.  She would hang with me,  they would send up a meal tray for her and let her spend the night with me.  It was a great thing the hospital did for me and my daughter.  I remember one time she heard another elderly patient crying and my daughter asked my nurse about him.  The nurse told her that he was here from the nursing home and he was scared about being in an unfamilier environment.  Sarah picked up her paper and pencils and went across the hall to go visit with him.  She drew pictures for him while telling him that the people there were going to help him and that everything was going to be all right.  She said she was right across the hall if he needed anything, and you could hear him calm down.

     She came back across the hall and asked me if I could help her with her math homework.  I said I’d be more than happy to.  I remember going over each math question so carefully and taking so much time with each one to make sure she was on the right track.  I also remember the next day she came over and told me she got an “F.”  Well, damn.  To this day I believe a few things:  My daughter really touches my heart with her compassion and kindness, my math skills are far behind what is required these days, I can add, subtract, multiply and do long division, but in the end I blame it on the morphine.


3 Doctors, No Waiting

     Pancreatitis is an inflamation of the pancreas that can  cause severe pain, vomiting, organ failure or even death.  It’s not something you want to mess around with.  There is some debate among my doctors on whether I have acute or chronic that becomes acute.

     At one point when I was in the hospital with it, I had three doctors coming to see me every morning.  A general practioneer, an internist, and a surgeon.  They would come in one at a time, and every doctor would contradict the one that came in before.  It was crazy, the surgeon wanted to cut, the internist didn’t, and the GP would want to wait and see.  I finally called them on it and told all of them to meet for coffee in the morning and come to a consensus before coming to see me.  It’s completely unfair and confusing to the patient. 

     I can think of a couple things they did agree on.  I was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2002, not too long after the multiple surgery fiasco that began with a perfed bowel and ended with MRSA.  I was only on the oral diabetic meds for a couple of months before I was put on insulin.  That, coupled with the times I had DKA (Diabetic ketoacidosis) gave the internist reason to think I was a type 1 diabetic and not a type 2.  Further testing did bear that out.  To be honest at the time I didn’t think it made a difference what type I am, but it turns out to be very relavent.  The complications are more severe, and tighter control at least for me seems to be harder.  I’m still struggling with it every day.  Every time I get sick my sugars increase, the more my sugars increase the sicker I get and on and on it goes.

     It’s also when I found out, that all the infection I got after my colostomy reversal surgery was hospital aquired MRSA.  I remember on my upteenth community hospital stay for mrsa when my doctor came in and told me they didn’t have the capability to adaquetely treat me there and had to tranfer me via ambulance to the larger city hospital.  It’s so hard when they transfer me.  I’m farther from home, so I don’t get many visits, and it’s always long distance so I can’t make phone calls.  It feels very isolating and lonely.

     Pain meds are another thing that’s likely to cause issues in the hospital.  If you’re supposed to get a shot every 4 hours, you frequently will wait 5 before you get another one.  A lot of nurses were very judgemental and would lecture me while giving me my shot, there would be alot of discomfort about asking for one for that reason.  I do remember a nurse waking me up about a half hour after giving me a shot to ask me to rate my pain.  It does happen folks, I really was woken up to see if I wanted my sleeping pill.

     To be fair, I also had some wonderful nurses, I remeber one in particular that sat at the end of my bed and just listened to me.  It was a few days after I woke from a coma, and was scared to death.  I’ll write more about that later.