Miscellaneous Rumbles

Emergency surgery today. **New Update 6/27**

27

I'm home now, and a courier has delivered a big box containing the IV drug Daptomycin, and all of the associated paraphernalia. They're sending someone out tomorrow to instruct me (and my wife) how to administer it correctly.

It's been a whirlwind of activities the past few days. I had to process into the hospital through the ER (what a joy that was), but I was on the operating table within two hours of my arrival, the surgeon was waiting for me. It wasn't the same surgeon who had done the first two operations, because she was out of town.

This surgeon had to clean up the infection and replace all of the plastic parts, because bacteria can cling to them. I found out that one of the three cultures taken from the revision (second) surgery (6/17) had come back positive for MRSA. So obviously it was introduced during the first operation (on 5/11. The surgery was a success, but very painful.

It's been mentioned, several times, that "I've had more than my share of bad initial outcomes from this and previous surgeries", and yes I have. But they've been High Risk surgeries, where complications are somewhat expected. They just haven't come as far with back and shoulder surgeries as they have in other areas, such as heart, knees, and hips.

It's the infection thing that really makes me feel so bad, that's not supposed to happen. It's always something that you are warned about, as a possible complication, but I guess we have the illusion that will never happen to us. This is the second time that I've gotten a MRSA infection from the hospital. The first time was in my spine, and caused me to be in the Phoenix VA Hospital for a year and a half (2010 - 2011), so naturally I was horrified when I was told that I had it again.

The Daptomycin is a more modern replacement for Vancomycin, which was becoming less effective in treating the newer more resistant strains of MRSA. It's supposed to be a really good replacement drug, that has shown to be highly effective in eliminating MRSA, and eliminating it more quickly than Vancomycin. So my hopes are riding on the the reputation of this much newer drug.

28

Wade, I'm glad you're home and can get started on the new treatment. Still sending prayers for a quick and safe recovery.

29

Like Hoot Owl said... keeping you in my prayers as well.

30

Hopefully there’s one of these in your box of IV supplies.

For pain management.

Hang in there Wade. Obviously not your first rodeo. At the very least you understand better than most what to expect. Experience is your ally.

31

Glad to hear you're getting the updated antibiotic for Vancomycin Wade. It was the only drug available at the time and did the trick but it's expected viruses update themselves and we need to keep up with their changes. Glad too that you can do the IV at home. Good luck!

32

Good to hear you're home. Sending positive vibes for a full recovery from all of this. We're all thinking of you.

33

Wade, they've got me on my second round of daptomycin. This course is supposed to end next months. I didn't develop MRSA but did get osteomyelitis.

Really good (bad) chance of losing the foot.

34

Wade, they've got me on my second round of daptomycin. This course is supposed to end next months. I didn't develop MRSA but did get osteomyelitis.

Really good (bad) chance of losing the foot.

– Don Birchett

Don, I'm very saddened and dismayed to hear about your difficulties with your foot. We'll hang together and anticipate a positive outcome for both of us. When they told me that I had MRSA, my heart dropped into my stomach. I spent a year and a half battling MRSA in the VA Hospital in 2010 - 2011, and nearly lost my life. Hopefully this newer drug, Daptomycin, will do it for both of us.

I'm feeling pretty dismal at the moment, this third operation has taken the wind out of my sails, and I feel deeply wounded. I felt like I had dodged the bullet on the first round of surgery, but the second one was tough. The second one was hard and now the third one is even harder. It all happened so quickly, like a whirlwind of activity, and now I'm hurting. It's 3:20 am, and I can't sleep. All the best to you, Don, we'll make it together.

35

Wade,so sorry to hear. Hang tough, we're rootin for ya !

36

Rough news for both you and done. Good luck to both of you.

37

And I thought I'd ran outta words on the last round for you guys.

.......I had.

Good Lord.

.....and to think I felt sorry for myself for having painless (but still debilitating) PTSD. I'm embarrassed and speechless, both at the same time.

Hang in there guys, and please continue to keep us up to date with developments.

38

I don't think anyone here would down play PTSD. I'm sure it's very debilitating at times.

39

And I thought I'd ran outta words on the last round for you guys.

.......I had.

Good Lord.

.....and to think I felt sorry for myself for having painless (but still debilitating) PTSD. I'm embarrassed and speechless, both at the same time.

Hang in there guys, and please continue to keep us up to date with developments.

– F107plus5

F107plus5, please don't feel embarrassed or ashamed for having "only" PTSD. Some wounds are less visible than others, but they are no less a wound. I had major PTSD symptoms for years after I separated from the the Army in 1988. I had no idea what was wrong with me, or what to call it. I had difficulty fitting in with the civilian way of doing things for a long time. I had been in the Army for ten years, and I had a much harder time getting out, than I had getting in.

I served my last four years in an Airborne unit (18th Airborne Corp) out of Ft Bragg NC, and I was in and out of Central America several times, until I got fragged by an RPG. We were direct support for the 82nd Airborne Division. We also supported a detachment of Marines, and it was about as real as it gets. It left a mark on me that took several years to manifest itself, as I was adapting back into civilian life.

It's gotten easier over the ensuing decades, and I now have 32 years of dealing with it. I started utilizing the VA, about 20 years ago, and it took a lot gumption to do it. I have to say that I'm very happy that I did. My PTSD symptoms are the type that are common in soldiers, and veterans are the only ones who can understand.

The longer I got past the original causes of the PTSD, the more many of the symptoms faded, but every now and then it will show itself in some sort of abhorrent way. It would worm it's way back into my life, and I'd go to a group to talk about it. The last few years it's just been the dreams.

40

So, I had a follow up earlier today, and everything looks to be going well. I've begun the home infusion of the Daptomycin, my wife is playing doctor, and administering the drugs.

I'm very unhappy with how it all went down, somebody dropped the ball on me, and treatment should have been started a few days after the second surgery. The lab made a report of a MRSA positive sample three days after the second surgery, but nothing was done until everything went south a week later. I'm very upset about it, but I'll deal with that when I recover. Right now I need to focus on getting through this in one piece. My last encounter with MRSA caused me to spend a year and a half in the VA Hospital, and it began exactly like this time. It started out with home infusion of Vancomycin and I didn't get better.

41

Wade, good plan to focus on what’s important but make sure you take notes along the way.

I hope you’re better quickly.

42

Wade,your story is one I'm hearing more and more. For anyone dealing with hospitals and illness, from my own experience you need someone to be your advocate, to make sure everyone involved is aware and doing their job. The one who's going through it needs be concerned only in getting well,not navigating this Kafkaesque system they call healthcare. Hope the meds work.

43

If I might be so bold as to suggest this sort of experience is exactly why lawyers were hatched. Since I am one, and this appears to me to be a situation where a good attorney would be to your benefit, may I suggest you hire the best medical malpractice attorney you can find. It is disheartening how frequently medical records "disappear" as time passes. if you have an advocate for you now, records will be preserved and folks will begin paying very careful attention. I hate this for you.

I had a med mal case that I never pursued. One of the University's "Bucks for Brains" doctors nearly killed me. She operated on me based on another woman's chart, with a procedure in it that I had never had. So, clearly, I didn't have a great result.

Here's rooting for you to have a non-eventful recovery.

44

Hey Wade sending good vibes your way, I hope this home treatment does the trick towards your successful recovery!

45

F107plus5, please don't feel embarrassed or ashamed for having "only" PTSD. Some wounds are less visible than others, but they are no less a wound. I had major PTSD symptoms for years after I separated from the the Army in 1988. I had no idea what was wrong with me, or what to call it. I had difficulty fitting in with the civilian way of doing things for a long time. I had been in the Army for ten years, and I had a much harder time getting out, than I had getting in.

I served my last four years in an Airborne unit (18th Airborne Corp) out of Ft Bragg NC, and I was in and out of Central America several times, until I got fragged by an RPG. We were direct support for the 82nd Airborne Division. We also supported a detachment of Marines, and it was about as real as it gets. It left a mark on me that took several years to manifest itself, as I was adapting back into civilian life.

It's gotten easier over the ensuing decades, and I now have 32 years of dealing with it. I started utilizing the VA, about 20 years ago, and it took a lot gumption to do it. I have to say that I'm very happy that I did. My PTSD symptoms are the type that are common in soldiers, and veterans are the only ones who can understand.

The longer I got past the original causes of the PTSD, the more many of the symptoms faded, but every now and then it will show itself in some sort of abhorrent way. It would worm it's way back into my life, and I'd go to a group to talk about it. The last few years it's just been the dreams.

– Wade H

Thank you for the kind words, Wade. Much appreciated. I have the highest respect for you for getting thru what you've gotten thru. Almost unimaginable. A lesser person would have given up I'm sure.

On the other hand, when I add up the total pain and discomfort that I've felt that figures into my PTSD, I come away with about 7.25........

.......seconds. That's embarrassing! No more than 8 or 9 seconds over ten years, and I go into panic mode just thinking about it! Each event that added into it took about 125 milliseconds. A blink in time. That's it. It's embarrassing!

When my heart tries to kill me, it does so painlessly. When the implanted device tells it to knock it off, it says it authoritatively. The "S" in "PTSD" in my case also stands for "Shock"! The shock lasts an eighth of a second or so, but the post trauma from that short-time shock lasts a long long time and is accumulative! It's embarrassing! It may be embarrassing, but it's also well understood. Depending on the study quoted, between 10 and 15% of folks living with implanted defibrillators get zapped occasionally when the device does it's job as advertised, and folks get uptight about it, sure, just like me. The thing that gets to ya is how self reinforcing it is. Ya get hit a few times and the fear sets in of the next one and that triggers chemicals to circulate setting up the next one with reduced environmental stimulus, and they come along sooner than they would have. Double bummer

It's crazy, I got zapped while excitedly laughing and playing with four six week old kittens, it's embarrassing to admit! I got zapped trying to catch a huge Florida spider in the bathroom and it scurried over my wrist trying to get away! Yeouch! It's embarrassing! I got zapped 7 times while the Wife drove me to the hospital when the ticker took a turn for the worst, that's maddening. I got zapped 37 times when the ambulance drove me to the hospital a couple years later that was totally stress related. All in the head and the HPA axis. More than a little frustrating, and also, yup, embarrassing!

Since then I've had a minimally invasive heart procedure that reduced the mechanical/electrical problem by about 75%, and the ten year old Defibrillator with the near-discharged battery was replaced with a newer model much more tolerant of non-dangerous inputs, and I haven't been zapped in over two years!

The memories, though, are still indelibly fresh, and even today I religiously avoid raising the heart rate much offa the resting mark. Two decades of living at the resting heart rate take a real toll on ones muscle mass.

It actually all started back in the early 80s when the ticker was painlessly clattering along at a recorded 325 BPM in the emergency room, and culminated in 2003 when some EMT friends our son asked to visit us, suggested that the apparent Congestive Heart Failure I was displaying would likely kill me on our oldest daughters birthday if I didn't visit the hospital real soon. I peed my way down from 158 lbs to a much more normal 131 lbs in two short days! And felt a whole lot better! Yeah, but a bag of seasoned potato chips today, and my shoes no longer fit tomorrow. Bummer.

Anyway, much of my embarrassment about the PTSD is knowing that it's all in my mind and also knowing that I can't get the damn thing to listen to me when I try to reason with it! It's embarrassing to go along knowing that there are people who are suffering with decades long bouts of near unbearable pain while I'm sittin' here feeling sorry for myself for 7 or 8 seconds total of life-saving zaps while otherwise feeling pretty darn great.

But hey! Your wife and my wife have something in common! The last time I came home from the hospital, my wife hadda do the medical needle thing too! Here's hoping that all will go well this time first try!

Yup, we're all pullin' for ya!


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