May 25, 2011

Weekend Staph

The latter part of last week, this past weekend, and most of Monday, my wife was at Memorial being treated for cellulitis from an ulcer on her lower leg and a severely compromised immune system from several infusions of Orencia. We’re lucky to have acted quickly to get her through the perils of ER triage and the usual problems you might expect to run into when a complex patient meets a mix of health care.

I have numerous observations about health care in our state and how it impacts people, some of them are good, most of them are both overly critical and unfortunately a bit negative. This past week was rough, because even though we called three specialists (Rheumatologist, Hematologist and Infectious Disease) none of them would man up enough to directly admit my wife. It’s hard to respect that, when she had two different kinds of staph four weeks prior with two weeks of Vancomycin following that. When I spoke with one of the infectious disease doctors to explain that my wife, who has MCTD, has been on biologics to supress her immune system, now has a fever of 101.7 and climbing, with a hot growing rash around her ulcer site, he calmly suggested I come see them at their office tomorrow.

I’m glad that we went quickly to the ER and sat through 6 hours of waiting until they got my wife in, fumbled through accessing her port, found she was tachycardic, and then started to realize, slowly, that this was serious. They admitted her and treated her with Vancomycin again, followed by cefepime when her cultures came back.

Cellulitis

Cellulitis

My major issues with the doctors and hospital were simply that they couldn’t be bothered to see and directly admit her and declined to read her medical notes, which we provide to any doctor or on an ER visit, which details all her current medications, family history, allergies and intolerances, and diagnosis.

I thought it was funny when the home health care nurse, after I asked her to call the pharmacy delivering the cefepime and remind them to take one medicine delivery ball out so it would be at room temperature by the time it arrived, explained to me that we could warm the ball in a bowl of warm water for ten minutes. I asked her if she would write this procedure down on our notes so we could follow it every morning and evening. For some strange reason, she declined. It might be that she just wanted to get a signature and leave.

Staph Party Pack

Staph Party Pack

tl;dr – If you’re going to get sick, try to do it during normal business hours on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

© Andrew J. Duncan 2016