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Archive for September, 2006

Uh, not exactly. More like MRSA, which stands for something along the lines of methicillen-resistant stapholococcus something-or-other. It is a particularly nasty staph infection, highly resistant to all the usual antibiotics, and it lurks in, of all places, hospitals. And it is what I have been coping with ever since September 6th.

Yes, I am just back (actually got home two days ago) from yet another hospital stay, this one rather longer than the first. A nurse friend of mine maintains that if I’d been kept longer the first time, the hospital may have caught this thing, but I don’t see how, since it only just surfaced a month after the hysterectomy. The Infectious Disease Control doc maintains that the germs implanted themselves in my body during the surgery (leading me to wonder about asepsis at this hospital!!!), and have been quietly growing colonies ever since. Be that as it may, when I went into chills and fever on September6th, my husband took me to the Emergency Room, I had a CT scan at midnight (talk about an ungodly hour!!!), and was admitted early the morning of the 7th. The CT scan showed two abscesses in my belly. Those have been draining ever since the 7th, though I think they are beginning to peter out, and once they do, at least those two holes can be closed off.

Wait, it gets better. Because IVs can’t be left in place for more than a couple of days, and I would be in the hospital for 10-14 days, they inserted a PICC line into my right arm, which is basically a very long IV that goes right up through your vein. (Yes, they use a mild anesthesia, thank goodness.) Four days after inserting it, they did an ultrasound to make sure that all was well with the PICC line, and — it wasn’t. I’d developed a blood clot.

I’m telling you, between staph infections and procedures that create more problems than they solve, hospitals are dangerous places. Now I am on two more medications: Bactrim, the one oral antibiotic that can overcome MRSA (the other antibiotic, vancomycin, is given intravenously), and Coumadin, a blood thinner that is supposed to keep the clot from getting any bigger. My question: Why don’t they just bust up the clot?! Doctors make no sense whatever.

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…before I will ever see the back of this affair. After the latest examination, the wound-care specialist said, “What was my original estimate? 4-6 weeks? I probably shouldn’t have said that.” “Meaning,” I said, “it’ll take longer.” “It’ll take longer.”

Actually, it’s beginning to look a lot like never at this point. I think I will just give up hope of ever having a normal life again — that’s the safest route. Well, I see the oncologist this Friday for the final (presumably) exam, and we’ll see what he has to say about anything. With my luck, he’ll recommend a few rounds of chemo just to add to the overall misery. Why not?

Meanwhile, I’ve come up with a scenario for my little sucky buddy, though it only works if you’re into sci-fi, as I discovered when I pulled it on the nurse today, and she had no idea what I was talking about. I decided — this all comes from the appearance of my navel, with this big black THING sucked into it — that the “vac” is actually a tricorder that is recording all kinds of information about me, and when I plug the vac/tricorder into the wall outlet ostensibly to charge the battery, it starts relaying the info back to the Mother Ship. These particular aliens aren’t into anal probes, but prefer navel probes — one thing to be thankful for, at least.

Hey, I need some kind of self-generated insanity to keep me sane.

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Moving Right Along, or In, or….

An anonymous poster to my blog asked about the reasons for my father-in-law’s moving in with us, whether for health reasons or practical. The short answer is, yes. 😉

It’s a little of both. He’s 94 years old, for one thing, with macular degeneration and substantial hearing loss, and he should not have been living on his own all these years (ten, since my mother-in-law’s death). Try to convince him of that, however, and it was only this past June that my husband got his father to agree to move up with us. Sure, he lives in a retirement community, and sure, the ideal thing would be for him to live in his own place and us nearby. But we don’t live nearby, and are not about to move down to NJ, and — well, he really shouldn’t be on his own.

A funny aside to all this: Just before my surgery, I got a frantic phone call from an old family friend, landing on us about how he shouldn’t be alone and what were we thinking, not having him with us, etc. etc. When I could get a word in edgewise, I explained that his moving in with us had been in the works, till my own health became an issue, and that it would be back in the works as soon as I was recovered. Oh. Then the Old Family Friend explains that she has been Talking with my FIL’s next-door neighbor, and I see what’s really going on: The next-door neighbor is the one he depends on for rides to church and to the doctor’s, and she’s getting sick and tired of carting him around! And well she should, but this has been his “escape route” for not having to move!!

It gets better. Last week he mentioned to the Next-Door Neighbor that he would be moving up to NH before the end of the year. By the next day, he had offers for his house from all over Leisure Village (the retirement community)! At least we know it will sell easily….

Sometimes I think about moving to a retirement community. My in-laws were younger than we are now, when they did that. It was just the thing for my MIL, lots of Activities, and not having to take care of their property but still owning the roof over their heads; bus access to church and shopping; opportunities for travel, which incidentally my FIL hated. But then I think about being with a lot of other geezers, and being pressured to Take Part in All the Activities, and would we have bus access to stores and church — plus, I would hate to be a part of the trend up here, which is the ruination of Maine by people moving up from Massachusetts…. And then there are all the people we know here, and we know all the short-cuts around heavy traffic….

I think we’ll stay put as long as we can. Hopefully, till it’s our turn to move in with a kid. :->

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