Staph Infection - Week 4/5

It is now end of Week 4, entering into Week 5. The 4th week Post-Op is coming up. And I’m writing this from a hospital bed.

When I went in to see my OS after the previous doctor recommended Silvadene and Bactrim for the dehisced wound, I was hoping that nothing new would happen, other than the wound showing signs of healing. It wasn’t.

Instead, the OS and another colleague of his cleaned the area of the wound and poked around, only to find pus coming out of the tendon. They wanted me to see a Plastic Surgeon the next day, with a 2nd surgery in 2 days for debridement.

It hit me like a ton of bricks just how bad this was, and how much more delayed my recovery would be. I was supposed to be PWB this week. I’d be FWB next week. Now I’m dealing with another surgery.

Plastic Surgeon was a Dr. Gloom. He told me matter of fact that this area is problematic and I could be looking at 3 months for the wound to heal, which seemed overly conservative. But with how optimistic every other Doctor had been, I guess it was refreshing to have someone just give it to me straight.

Showed up the next day for the surgery. At this point I feel like a pro. Get into the Mrs. Doubtfire gown, put on the cap. Get the anesthesia, knock out, wake up in recovery room.

Except this time was different. This time I wouldn’t be going home the same day. This time I wouldn’t be sleeping in my bed, and eating my own food. This time I was staying in the hospital.

At first they said one night. That turned into 2 max. That turned into 3-4 nights, which quickly tuned into staying over the weekend.

Wound cultures were down from the incision wound. Blood tests were done, aerobic and anaerobic, and I would need to sit and wait till they figured out exactly what I had and how to treat it.

And that’s just the infection. The wound would be dealt with through a Wound V.A.C. which if you don’t know is a machine hooked up to your wound through a tube that is attached to a black sponge which sits inside the wound and sucks, or “vacuums”, up all the nasty fluid, drainage, pus, and blood from the wound site. Plastic surgeon recommended we start with that, while getting on the appropriate antibiotic to kill the infection, and depending on how well the wound was healing, we’d look at other options to speed up the process including everything from skin graft from hip or calf, pig stem cells, and even shark collagen.

The range of emotions has been intense. When I originally found out I needed surgery again, I cried for an hour straight. This was now seriously starting to get in the way of my life. But then I picked myself up and said the sooner I accept what is, the quicker I can start to attack this.

The lab results came back indicating some positive and some not so positive news. The bad news was that it’s a staph infection. The good news is that none of it spread to the rest of my body, my bloodstream, or the bone. It was localized at the wound site and the tendon. The other good news is that the type of staph is called “sensitive” (vs the other being “resistant”) which means I can take a milder antibiotic which can be administered orally when I get discharged.

That being said, the Infectious Disease Team (I call them my GhostBusters) recommended going home with IV antibiotics for a week or so before switching to oral antibiotics. I’d still be going home with the portable wound vac.

So now I’ve decided to do what I should have done from the beginning, and that is plan to just REST for 3 weeks. No hopping around. No getting my own groceries. No apartment hunting, or hitting the gym. Just freaking rest.

Since I live alone in NYC, I’m trying to see if they can arrange a homecare agency to do the wound vac dressing changes (2 a week) where my mother lives in South Jersey. I’ll need to come to NYC once a week to have the Plastic Surgeon do 1 dressing change per week.

I feel like such an ass for not treating the rest period seriously, but honestly no one knows exactly when it got infected. I’m trying to not dwell on the past at all, and just focus on the present. The present is not much fun to focus on, but it’s what I’ve got. So I’m making the best of the time in the hospital, including catching up on my posts here. Will try to add some of the nasty pics I’ve taken of the wound.

There isn’t a whole bunch of posts on about staph infections and wound vac (though reading rev246’s blog really gave me hope) so I hope to post here more often and document each step for others. And of course, any words of encouragement are greatly appreciated.

Having recently gone through separation and divorce and exercising and lifting weights all winter, I was really looking forward to moving into a new apartment and starting to date. Now it’s just me and my new friend, the wound vac machine :/

7 Responses to “Staph Infection - Week 4/5”

  1. Oh my gosh. What a nightmare. Focus on the good things - it’s a sensitive staph variety, you are receiving good treatment, you have a Mom nearby you can stay with, you have 3 weeks to just rest and chill - sometimes we need that more than we realize. Stay strong. Stay positive. You’ve got this!!

  2. So sorry to hear about the infection. It is a delay, but with a proper care it will heal well. If you are on facebook, you might want to join Achilles Tendon Rupture group. Just search for the group on fb. I would add you, but I would need your name. Just recently there are few people there that also have some severe infections and have gone through many options for healing it. They could be of some help when you go through it and are good support. Some have been going through it for some time, so have experience with different approaches, so might have some practical tips for you. Wishing you speedy healing with this infection! Get your rest!

  3. Agnesatr - just requested access to the group. Would love to speak to others in a similar situation. Thank you for the words of encouragement, and yes… nothing but rest for the foreseeable future!

  4. Thank you so much shell37! Much appreciated.

  5. Wow, I’m not even sure what I can say or add that would help…other than to say I’m sorry you’re having to go through all of this. Truly sounds like a nightmare, but for what it’s worth it sounds like you have a good approach (not lingering on the past) and I bet that will serve you well going forward. Good luck getting everything healed up.

  6. Appreciate it pjhalifax! Not to get too spiritual, but I read (and re-read) The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle earlier this year when I was going through separation and it really helps you strengthen your mind by letting go of painful thoughts that keep us stuck in the past. Problem is, the Now is not too fun to focus on but at least it keeps me sharp on problem solving and finding a solution to this. Only way is forward.

  7. So sorry about the infection. I have to say I sure kept on eye on things when I could (not until I got the boot) and if I saw any suspicious redness I snapped a pic and emailed to my doc. Fortunately I had no issues. Glad that you don’t have a resistant staph! And, as you said, who knows when/where you got the infection. It could have happened in surgery so don’t spend time thinking you might have caused it. Move onward and upward! Think healing thoughts and tell all your white blood cells to get a move on and get healing that wound! <3

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