Thursday, May 17, 2007

Oh, The Drama/Irony of It All (….and introducing a new doctor: Dr. Infectious Disease)

I went back to Dr. Hand today, with a slight spring in my step because I thought that maybe just maybe the hand wound was looking better. It seemed a little smaller and it looked like it as drying up. So I go into the office, relax in the super-comfortable reclining chair and Dr. Hand comes in. I unwrap my hand like a Christmas present and he inspects it carefully and pronounces that he thinks the base looks smaller but the height looks taller. Kinda like a volcano. He then explains a little more about my test results. It is a staph infection on my palm that is MRSA, which stands for methicillin resistant Staph aureus. That means the course of antibiotics I just took three times a day for a week did nothing. And that this infection ill not respond to many antibiotics. So far it is localized and not systemic. That is good. If it becomes systemic then the babies are at risk to get it.

Then I spent the next hour waiting in the room by myself, reclined in the chair (pregnancy privilege, I believe) while Dr. Hand spoke with Dr. Nothing Bothers her (ob/gyn) and Dr. Infectious Disease (new) and Dr. Primary Care. Four doctors talking about me. Wow. A bit of a doctor networking miracle, considering all that they have to do, which kind of made me think that this is a little more serious than I want it to be.

The following has been established:

• I need to see an infectious disease doctor who practices at my delivery hospital.
• I may need to be treated with IV antibiotics that the babies shouldn’t be exposed to. That means we (ell, they) need to decide if I can hold off on treating this infection until after the babies are born in two or three weeks or if the babies need to be born sooner so I can be treated sooner.
• I might be able to be treated with other meds; Dr. Infectious needs to make that call.
• My infection is not systemic right now but it can become systemic at any point.
• If I get chills, a fever, redness in the palm or pain in the palm or heat (?) in the palm I need to go to the ER immediately.
• We can’t ignore this and hope it goes away (I asked) and we can’t just cut this thing off of my palm (I asked that, too).
• Will the babies be affected? That was my only question. The only response I have gotten: Right no, no, but we don’t want this infection in your system. OK, I got that part. But what does THAT mean?? And shouldn’t we test the rest of my system (other non-infected tissue) to make sure it hasn’t indeed spread? What would/could happen? What is the worst case scenario? Would the babies become carriers? Would they deal with staph infections for the rest of their lives? Or is there a worse possible outcome?

Dr. Infectious is on jury duty so my appointment isn’t until Monday. So much for today or Friday. Ugh. If anyone has a good excuse to skip jury duty (not that I condone skipping JD, but for this doctor I selfishly do) it is an infectious disease doctor. Sample dialogue: “Why can’t you serve?” “I treat infectious diseases.” “You’re dismissed.” Simple. I asked if it is ok to wait till then and Dr. Hand and Dr. Nothing Bothers Her both said it as fine. Unless, of course, the infection becomes systemic. Comforting. This, of course, rattles me and makes me want to run to the ER now. I don’t want to wait. I want to take care of this now now now. Too bad I didn’t think that way a month ago.

There is that part of me that is just so angry with myself because I let this happen. I rarely go to the doctor when I should. I learned the (bad) lesson early in life to suck up the pain. And boy do I. All the time. That is why I walked around in severe ectopic pain for three months. Or go to work sick (yes, I know how irresponsible and selfish that is, since I can get others sick). Or go to the gym with a high fever. I just assume that I am overreacting to pain/illness/discomfort and carry on. I also have a high tolerance for pain. It runs in the family: My brother is the same way.

But the thing is, I feel like what kind of mother am I? I watched this hand thing get bigger and uglier and did nothing for weeks. Nothing. I didn’t even really cover it with a band aid. I didn’t put any cream on it because I am not thrilled about using any meds while pregnant, even ones deemed 100 percent safe. And by the time I get my ass to a doctor it is a staph infection. And now I need serious medicine. Oh, the irony and the drama.

In cute news, the babies passed their non-stress test. I, on the other hand, am apparently having many contractions. Who knew. The nurse asked if I felt any pain and I laughed. Not such an easy question for me. No, I think. Maybe. Yes? She mentioned it could be pain in my back or lower abdomen. Funny because I did have back pain a week ago. Or was it three days ago? But it is gone now. And it was tolerable. But would someone else find it tolerable? That is the question. The nurse asked if I had an internal exam and I laughed again. No, Dr. Nothing Bothers Her has not checked my cervix or done an internal because everything with me is Just Fine. Well, that is, until it is not Just Fine. But I digress…this is supposed to be happy fun things.

Onto the biophysical. I had the most amazing tech, who narrated everything in a calming and comforting Polish accent. She showed me Baby A, sucking on her fingers! With chubby cheeks! And a nose! And chubby lips! The tech pronounced her cute and I have to agree. Baby B is stretched across my uterus like she owns the place. No fetal position for her. Her head is all the way under my right breast and her butt is about three feet away (just a little hyperbole) and her feet dangle along my left side. It really gave me perspective about how big these babies are. Baby A, on the other hand, is all tucked up in a little ball on top of my cervix. Baby B also poked Baby A in the butt. They were kicking and pushing and doing cute in utero things. There is plenty of fluid and all else checks out as it should, thank goodness.

Monday I see Dr. Infectious. Then off to Dr. Nothing Bothers Her to talk exit strategy (which might change abruptly now, in light of this lovely infection) and then off for another non-stress test. So I will be at the hospital all day and I will have lots of news on Monday.

Speaking of news, here is some great news. A baby is going to be born this weekend!

Pictured above is my chubby-cheeked and adorable niece Skye.


Trista said...

Oh boy do I hear you on the sucking it up thing. Nothing teaches you to ignore what your body is telling you like going to your mother and telling her that you feel sick and watching the look of horror cross her face because there's no health insurance and there's no way they can afford to take you to the doctor. I tend to ignore things on me until they get really bad and need much more medical attention than they would if I'd just gone in when I first starting feeling well. The problem is, now I'm so disconnected to my pain that I can't often tell WHEN I'm in pain.

As for how it affects my mothering, well Julia is a lot like me in the fact that she ignores a lot of pain and just keeps trucking. So I have to be extra vigilant not to just shrug things off. BUT I will say that I am more careful when it comes to her than I am with me. When she swallowed the sleeping pill I noticed that she was acting off right away and we had her in the hospital within 40 minutes of her swallowing it. And now that I know what the beginning of an asthma attack looks like I don't wait to rush her in for that, either (though for her first attack I did try to treat that at home first) there's a learning curve, but luckily those mothering instincts/hormones really do kick in to help you out.

Jude said...

FYI, I don't think you picked up MRSA by not going to the doctor right away. MRSA is dang hard to get rid of and it is everywhere these days (it seems). Lots and lots and LOTS of people would not have gone to the doctor for a blister/hand wound/etc. Please don't blame yourself for this.

Just get better. MRSA is HARD to get rid of (my friend has tried three times!!) but I think it's pretty hard to get it to go systemic.

friend of Calliope's

Eva said...

First, I'm glad the babes are doing okay. As you said, that's the most important thing.

The other thing to keep in mind, to hopefully keep yourself from getting too stressed, is that doctors, even Dr. Nothing Bothers Her, are very cautious. They are not going to do anything that puts you or these babies at risk, if they can avoid it. So, although it does seem very scary, and I'm sure I'd be anxious too, I hope you can keep comfort in knowing that FOUR doctors are looking out for the well being of the three of you, and that they are going to do everything possible to keep you all safe, as well as to cover their own butts.

Anonymous said...

OK MAYBE I CAN HELP I had 3 staph infections this last pregnancy that were systemic and one the preg. before that,mine were even worse, sraight to the blood strem, you see I had extremely hard preg. miscarried alot because my body rejected the babies and when i held onto the baby my body basicilly fely like i had cancer so i couldnt eat a bite of food for 6 straight months so doctors had to put a fat tubesurgicully in my arm deep to this vessel that goes straight to your heart and sew it in, and send me home with a portable i.v pump that I had to work change know all the buttons I had to refrigerate 200lbs of this basically adult formulla in a bag that i had to also injecj vitamans into with needles well the process of changing the bag injecting it with vitamans blablabla the sight where I had to plug all this up to this major artery if there was a microscopic anything could be pushed in by the i.v tip and go straight into your blood stream!!I had went through hell my temp was 105 for 12 days straght many times, got the i.v meds they didnt work , but it was cause my gal bladder had gal stones so they removed it after 12 days and then my temp went down, baby was never hurt from any of my staph infections, I even had a organ removed while I was pregnant and put to sleep and still baby was ok!! so even if you do get septic
the baby will be fine they just have to tell you theres a risk so you will rush to th er and please do cause if you do get septic you will fill like shit!!

K J and the kids said...

Hey...just incase you wanted to can't lose your hand. You need both of them to hold babies now. If you were having just ONE could have your hand cut off...but you are having you need them both. Make sure to tell the doctor that. I don't think they realize that :) ha ha

They are going to start you soon I'll bet....get those babies out so that they can treat this hand thing. LUCKY ! (said in a very Napoleon Dynamite way)
I can't wait to open this blog and see THE DELIVERY titled (or something similar)
Keep up the good work. Glad everything went well.

gypsygrrl said...

i dont want to scare you, but i also dont know how much your docs told you... do they have you regularly checking your temp once a day? i seem to recall you have a low temp, and if the infection goes systemic, you dont have a lot of room to play around with your BP dipping (which happens if you get a systemic infection) so if your docs havent mentioned temping once or twice/day, maybe give a call and ask... this way you might catch a slight rise before any other noticieable changes :)

i hope i am not coming off sounding bossy...i'm just an ER lab tech (and future nurse) who sees too many septic patients! ;) of course, not for the reason you are dealing with... just trying to keep you informed and proactive, which is what i know your goal is too!

take good care of yourself! i'm so excited you are nearly 36 weeks!!! you look SO BEAUTIFUL! your description of the babies lounging about in your uterus was priceless! and too cute that they are poking one another already... "stop touching me..." "i'm not touching you..." hehehe

K J and the kids said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Motel Manager said...

I hope your infection remains contained, and that Dr ID can help on Monday.

And you will both be great moms!!