You Gotta Laugh!

You Gotta Laugh

Just a couple of days ago I blogged about the health misadventures I’d been through with the mister. At that time, he’d had two ER visits since he was discharged from the hospital… FIVE days ago.

He’s sitting in an ER exam room AGAIN as we “speak”. The chest catheter incision will not stop bleeding despite the fact we were told it was “merely discharge of fluid buildup which would cease in twenty-four hours.”

Shut up.

Fibromyalgia is the boss of me today. The stress and activity of the last few days was too much, so our twenty-seven-year-old son, Drew, volunteered to escort his dad to the ER.

Drew’s a good guy. Member of the Arizona Army National Guard, security officer, and much-loved by children, senior citizens, and animals.

He’s also a card-carrying geek/nerd/SciFi/MMRPG/anime writer! This will have relevance very soon – bear with me.

We went to the hospital closest to us (two miles away) for the mister’s first two ER visits.

During the second ER visit, we got a great doc with an awesome bedside manner. (Still trying to figure out why our oldest son referred to him as “Dr. Kevorkian.” He was really nice and no one was dying or wanted to die!) He added two new sutures but warned us they might not be enough, and if the bleeding returned, the mister should see the person who put the catheter in.

So today, Drew took his dad to the hospital where he had the procedure done while hospitalized. Good news – the same doctor is in the building. Bad news – she’s in surgery.

The wound is cleaned and packed… and they wait. The mister’s pain level is rising. Drew calls me for guidance and I tell him to ask them to pull his chart from last week and give him whatever worked.

That’s not what Drew did.

No. No. Andrew Cameron, went “one step beyond.”

During the weekend the mister was first admitted, Drew was on weekend drills and getting updates via text messages.

Without scrolling back through his messages, Drew tried to recall the meds given to his dad. When the nurse returned, Drew told her (and quite loud and forcefully I’m told by the mister), “My dad’s pain is getting worse. You have to give him some Dilithium!”

My Star Trek following-friends are already laughing.

If you’re not familiar with dilithium – they are the rare crystals required by the Starship Enterprise to reach and travel at warp speeds.

When the mister called to share this with me after he was given Dilaudid, I could still hear laughter inside AND outside the exam room!

Minutes later, I get a single text from Drew which said, “I shouldn’t be here.”

I am still laughing!

And So It Goes…

X-ray Lab

WARNING: Photos of the mister’s dialysis fistula appear further down in this post. They’re not gory, but they’re not “cute” either.

After EKGs, ultrasounds, CT scans, x-rays, a heart cath, an MRI, doses of Dilaudid, Vicodin, Demerol, Oxycontin, and Fentanyl, an angiogram, a vasc-cath and then a tunnel cath, and a consult from the CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL, the mister was discharged Friday evening.

Only to land back in the ER the very next day! Overly dramatic eye roll!

What began as a case of pneumonia… which blindsided us, and added a side of sepsis… which confused us, took a turn on Day 3 when the mister’s pain -centered in his neck and back- still had not been been stopped OR controlled. Blood work taken for cultures on Day 1 came back positive for Methicillin Sensitive Staphylococcus aureus or MSSA.

No doubt, many of you have heard of this evil little infection that arrives and festers silently then reveals itself is a big way. In the mister’s case it was through pneumonia and a body temp of 103.2 degrees.

Why the CDC? Because once MSSA takes hold, it will spread… fast.

It’s spread by skin-to-skin contact, or by those living/working in close quarters and sharing contaminated items. It’s not uncommon for MSSA outbreaks to be reported among sports teams, the military, prisons and medical facilities.

The only “group” connection the mister currently has is the… dialysis center.

The same dialysis center I’ve been at odds with over the care and treatment of the mister’s dialysis fistula. There are twenty-seven other renal patients in the mister’s weekly dialysis rotation. Nineteen of them also have forearm fistulas, and none of them look like this.

While doctors would not go as far as to say the dialysis center was the source of the infection… for obvious legal reasons, they did confirm the fistula was how the infection entered the mister’s body. (And there is an ongoing investigation.)

After an assortment of scans, the fistula was deemed no longer viable. But a renal patient needs dialysis, so a temporary vascular catheter was put… in the mister’s neck… again!

Dialysis Tunnel Catheter

This was used the duration of his hospital stay, but before he was discharged, it was replaced by a chest (tunneled) catheter.

Dialysis chest catheter

The chest catheter is a temporary port, and a new fistula will have to be implanted…in the upper arm. The mister is not happy about this and wants to keep the chest port. HOWEVER, we’re told…again, this is not possible because of the risks of infection.

The Gong of Irony sounds in the distance.

But… Isn’t that why…er, he has an…-nevermind.

I have my mister back at home, but this debacle is far from over. After six weeks of mega doses of antibiotics, new scans have to be done to make sure the MSSA is dying or gone. Yes, he still has it, he’s just no longer a threat to public health. I love saying that to him! The dialysis center on the other hand, I’m not so sure about. We’ll see.

Surgery also needs to be scheduled for the new fistula, provided the mister hasn’t run away by then. It will be an interesting summer in Tucson. I might actually get a book published amid the chaos and tomfoolery.

MANY, MANY thanks for the prayers, well wishes, and support extended to the mister and me. They mean more than you can imagine.