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