Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Day +64 - New staph infection (Gram positive cocci)

If it's not one thing... Today I tested positive for gram positive cocci, which is a type of blood infection that includes staphylococcus infections. I'll be receiving Vancomycin antibiotics via IV infusions every 12 hours for the next 7 days to treat it. The bacteria lies dormant in everyone's system but can activate when you're immunosuppressed. Having a gram positive infection is better than a gram negative infection, which can require a hospital stay and close monitoring. This is just a preliminary result, and we'll know exactly which type of gram positive infection it is as the culture continues to grow. We suspect I got it as a result of my immune system being overtaxed due to the cold I'm currently suffering from.

It's a few hours after they called, and I'm in the triage infusion room at the SCCA getting my first dose of Vancomycin antibiotics, blogging away and playing on the web. Having wifi at the clinic is such a treat. The infusion takes 90 minutes which isn't too bad. Luckily I can do the rest of the IV infusions at home. The picture above is an example of the bottle of IV antibiotics that I'll be administering at home for the next week. It's simpler than an IV pump, since it just consists of a pressurized rubber balloon containing the antibiotics inside a plastic bottle. The balloon causes it to infuse at the correct rate, so there's no need to mess around with programming the IV pump with reservoir capacities and infusion rates and such. Apparently the previous system was just a balloon by itself, and the folks at the clinic used to call it the "grenade". Now that the balloon is housed in a little plastic bottle they lovingly refer to it as "the little baby bottle pump".

I was a little bummed to hear about testing positive for this new infection, since I was already feeling a little miserable today because of the the cold I have and the fact that I've been feeling groggy and sleeping a lot because of my latest steroid taper schedule. I actually got the call from the clinic this morning while I was in the middle of a nap, wanting me to come in to the clinic immediately to get the antibiotics, so I was groggy and already feeling miserable. But the staff at the SCCA clinic are just great and really know how to take care of their patients. After arriving at the clinic I was shown into my infusion room with a nice, comfortable chair and a warm blanket. After the infusion started, the triage nurse brought me a hot bowl of chicken noodle soup, crackers, and a bunch of Oreo cookies. She remembered me from last time and we chatted a bit about the weird snowy weather today. The clinic has wifi so I've been happily playing around on the web, chatting to friends online, eating my soup and snacking on cookies. And just now, the Apria homecare delivery person stopped by to tell me how to use the new pump, and to let me know that everything has been taken care of regarding my next week's supply of antibiotics and that a delivery person should show up at my house tonight with the supply. It really makes a difference when everyone is on top of things and everything is taken care of. I'm continually impressed by how things are so well-run around here.

Lately it seems like I've been complaining a lot, ever since I came down with the urinary tract infection a few weeks ago. That cleared up, then I had a nasty wound on my inner thigh when a bunch of skin peeled off after removing the adhesive tape from a recent skin biopsy. That made it hard to move and walk around since the wounds rubbed against my clothes, but that finally cleared up. Then I came down with a cold and have been feeling miserable for the last week because of it. The cold symptoms seemed to be clearing up, but then yesterday my ears plugged up after a lot of nose-blowing. I can handle a cold, but I hate it when my ears plug up since it usually lasts about a week and it's really annoying, and when it happens I've often ended up with an ear infection. Then I started having nasty migraine headaches a few days ago. Now I've got this staph infection. I keep expecting things to continually improve as the days go by, so sometimes I get discouraged when things like this pop up. Johanna says my expectations are too high, and that I'm doing pretty damn good all things considered. I guess I agree. It's probably just a result of feeling miserable and down because of the drugs I'm taking. I've started walking again which has been a huge help, and already I feel better getting such great care at the clinic and knowing that I should be able to kick this staph infection in the butt. I don't even have a fever or any other symptoms (knock on wood), so it could be a lot worse.

I'll post updates on how things are going soon.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steve:
We were wondering how you were doing. Hang in there this is just a bump in the road. Better days are ahead.
Uncle Leon and Aunt Sue

George said...

Keep on keeping it on brother...

I hear getting all these bugs makes your immune system stronger... since yer kind of like an infant...

you know those kids... they have colds it seems from years 1-5