Sunday, November 4, 2012

Life Threatening Infection: A Mr. Sprocket Story

UPDATE 11/8/2012 Corrected abbreviation PIC to PICC.
I read Mr. S the blog entry yesterday.  He demanded I edit the entry to add details to the story that he felt were very relevant.  One issue was the pre-op drugs they gave him to try to relax him for the down-the-throat echocardiogram.  I'm supposed to tell my readers that "Versed" is a horrible drug and he doesn't recommend anyone to take it, ever.

Mr. S is doing well taking care of his own medication.  The medical supply added an extension onto his PICC line so that he could disconnect from the machine between doses and add a new bag himself.  The machine and the IV bag just fit inside a fanny pack so Mr. S has been able to leave the house with few problems.  One of his big issues has been that the medical supply house has a "cap" that goes onto the end of the IV bag tube when he's not connected to it.  He asked the medical supply tech who instructed us on the machine where the "cap" was for the PICC line that's inserted into his arm when he's not connected to the bag.  The delivery guy said you don't need one.  You just have to disinfect the end with alcohol.  Mr. S asked the same question of the RN who came the following night.  She said the same thing.  Just follow the procedures of disinfecting with the alcohol wipes.  The tech and the RN were not aware of any type of cap to put over that end.

Well, that wasn't good enough for Mr. S.  He felt that he needed a cap, so off he went to the Internet.  And, "Oh my God," he said. "There are tons of web pages of people talking about this exact same thing!  Mostly, he said it was mothers concerned about babies with PICC lines, that are pooping and peeing and those bodily fluids infecting the PICC line port location.  (I'm thinking, you're not going to be peeing and pooping on your line or grabbing it and trying to put it in your mouth, but I don't say that to him.)

So, he starts searching the web some more and finds two companies that have developed a "cap" for this end of the PICC line.  Who would have thought that the screw threads on the little plastic connectors to connect toe bag to the PICC line are patented.  That's what Mr. S found out with his web searching.  He contacted one of the companies to find a retail distributor, only to find that there isn't one yet.  Mr. S tells the company his woes and worry about the end of his line getting infected and the spokesperson on the phone offered to send him some samples.  Mr. S made sure to tell this person how long he was going to be hooked up to getting IV meds so that the would send enough of their product.

He thought that he might be able to work, if he took it easy.  However, the bad news is, this medication is really kicking his ass. He feels very lethargic most of the time and is now Sofa King.  He barely has enough energy to fix our meals (one of his regular responsibilities) so he cooks big once a day.  It doesn't look like he will be able to do much work after all.  And he's starting to balk at bathing because that's too much trouble to get me to help him wrap his PICC line in saran wrap.  I've got to order a water-tight protection wrap ASAP.

The positive news: He's stopped picking his nose.  He can't believe that his nasal passages are starting to heal.  It's been a revelation to him that all this time, his bad habit was continuing to damage the inside of his nose.

Thank you everyone, for your kind words and positive thoughts for Mr. S's speedy recovery.

UPDATE 11/5/12 10 PM
Mr. Sprocket was released from the hospital today.  He had the PICC line inserted this morning.  He will be on IV antibiotics every four hours for the next four weeks. After a review of his latest CT scan by a senior radiologist he was cleared to go home.  We finally walked out of the hospital around 6 PM. At around 8 PM, the home health care nurse came by with the medications and all the supplies we will need for the next week and trained us on the machine. 

The little device that is delivering his medication is quite amazing.  It's a programmed, battery powered unit and he can carry it around with him.  It can be left on at night and do it's thing so we can sleep.  I'll be able to go to court while the machine does it's work.  With this machine, Mr. S might be able to leave the house for short work jobs.  It will be a challenge for him keeping everything clean but hopefully he'll pay attention. He will have to be monitored over the next month.  Another echocardiogram in two weeks and another CT scan to watch a spot (infection? cyst?) on his kidney.  Hopefully, at the end of November, the medication will be finished and the PICC line will come out.  Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts and prayers.

A Mr. Sprocket Story
Some of you may be wondering why I’m behind reporting on a few hearings that have happened well over a week ago.  Those of you on Facebook have already read that real life responsibilities to Mr. Sprocket have kept me from writing my notes about the Kelly Soo Park, Lonnie Franklin, Jr., (The Grim Sleeper) and Michael Gargiulo cases.  And David in Tennessee is waiting for me to post his update on defendant Vanessa Coleman's upcoming retrial in the Christian-Newsom murders.

I’ve started writing this personal story from Mr. Sprocket’s bedside at UCLA Olive View Hospital.  Hopefully, I'll be able to update T&T readers on those pretrial hearings in a few days.  But let me take you back to the beginning as to why Mr. S is in the hospital.

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

A week ago Thursday, Mr. Sprocket (Mr. S) started to feel what he instinctively knew was another kidney stone that was starting to pass.  He had passed his first stone about seven years ago, and that experience left him on his hands and knees in the emergency room, screaming in pain that he was having a baby.  This past July, he had the same pain come on again, but this time he got by without pain killers. The stone passed pretty quickly without too much fanfare. 

About a week ago, Mr. S had spent six days working almost 24/7 on a commercial fishing boat, trying to get the refrigeration system in the 55 ton hold working properly and with enough safety controls in place.  Although he has worked on commercial boats in the past, this was the first time they had him come out on the water with them while they fished for squid.  (As a side note, it wasn't until they were out at sea that Mr. S calls me and tells me and the crew that he's afraid of the water and he never learned how to swim very well.) That long job of working 24 hour days with barely 6 hours of sleep over a week's time did take it’s toll on him and he was a bit run down.

When the stone started to rear its ugly head, we headed to UCLA Olive View, the closest county hospital to us, so Mr. S could get some pain medication while the stone passed.  UCLA Olive View is also a teaching hospital. We knew we would have to go to a county hospital because we’ve not been able to afford health insurance since Mr. S became self employed. Some long time readers may remember that Mr. S tore his distal biceps tendon in 2008, and he had an eighteen month recovery to get the use of his dominant arm back. Since then, he’s been working hard to build his business but the California economy is struggling like the rest of the country. It hasn't been easy for us.

As many know, county hospitals are over burdened and we spent quite a bit of time there, waiting to see a doctor.  They did a CT scan and found the stone was close to passing into his bladder.  They also found that he had a bladder infection, possibly from the stone.  They gave him an antibiotic and a pain medication and sent him home.  They didn’t pay much attention or didn’t hear him that he was starting to cough and having pain while coughing.  It was well after midnight when we got home and got the prescriptions filled the next day, Friday, at Costco. 

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Friday evening his pain was starting to get worse, but typical Mr. S, he didn’t want to take a pain pill.  He thought that (incorrectly I might add) the pain in his abdomen was from a reaction to the antibiotic. The pain in his back he said was still managable. He thought the antibiotic (Cipro) was causing him the abdominal pain and he needed a different antibiotic, because in searching the web, he read that many people have had stomach pain when taking Cipro.  (Note to T&T readers:  When you’re obstinate spouse is ill, do not let them search the web unsupervised.)

So we went back to the emergency room.  With his first experience of being very cold in the waiting room, he brought his sleeping bag with him to stay warm.  He becomes an interesting sight in the large waiting room. Mr. S was now getting a fever and fever chills and the sleeping bag in a cold waiting room helped to keep him warm. He’s becoming more miserable, the chills coming on constantly.  After hours of this and when he finally gets back in a room to see a doctor, about five hours after we arrive, he thinks that maybe his abdominal pain in his stomach and would be settled by antacids or Pepto Bismol.  He still refuses to take a pain pill because he tells the ER nurses the pain in his kidney from the stone is “not that bad.” He also refuses to take any Tylenol to reduce his fever and help with the chills because he “believes” that the body’s natural response to infection, fever, helps to kill the infection and that he should be allowed to regulate his own body temperature through blankets.  (I think you’re starting to see the picture as to how cooperative a patient Mr. S can be.)

All they have in the ER is little single dose containers of “Milk of Magnesia” but he doesn’t want to take that.  According to Mr. S, that wasn’t as good at the Pepto Bismol. They offer him another medication for his stomach that has lidocaine in it to help his stomach pain.  Because it has lidocaine, he doesn’t want to take that.  He's exasperated telling the ER nurses it’s crazy to give him a pain medicine for his stomach pain when all he thinks he needs is an antacid medicine. He finally takes three doses of the Milk of Magnesia but his abdominal pain isn’t better. 

By this time, the ER staff is concerned.  With all his symptoms, kidney stone, bladder infection, fever, body chills, congested lungs, they suspect sepsis and start to draw blood to culture and immediately start him on IV antibiotics.  They also take an X-ray of his lungs because he was coughing in the ER.  I left the ER to go get something from the car.  By the time I get back he has finally agreed to take a pain medication and they are going to admit him overnight for observation.  After he took the pain medication, he realized that the pain was coming from his bladder, (kidney stone passing or the bladder infection causing it) and not his stomach.  It’s past midnight when they get him admitted. I’m exhausted and I say to him, “I can’t believe you couldn’t tell the difference from heart burn pain and bladder pain.”  So off to his room we go.  Once he’s settled in, I go home to try to get some sleep.  All night, they took blood four separate times to culture for bacteria, worried that he's got an infection in his blood.

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Overnight, they did not give him any additional fluids or medication while in his room.  That morning, before I get there, he’s feeling a bit better and complaining to the doctor’s that he can’t afford to stay in the hospital so they agree to discharge him.  The first blood cultures from the ER are not showing anything. They tell him that they believe he has pneumonia from the X-ray.  He is to continue with the Cipro and he’s given an additional antibiotic for his lungs (Zithromax) and a second pain medication to take.  We leave the hospital and Mr. S parks himself on the sofa to recuperate.

Sunday October 28th, 2012

On Sunday, he received a call from one of his doctors that saw him on Saturday, after he was admitted in his room  (a resident).  When I answered the phone, I couldn’t understand his name, I thought he said it was Dr. Wen; we later found out that it was Dr. Wang.  He asked how Mr. S was doing, if he had a fever, etc.  Mr. S was staring to have blood in his urine, but that was most likely from the rough stone passing through the ureter. The next day, Monday, he called back.  He said Mr. S had to come back to the hospital.  Some of the blood cultures they drew on Saturday came back positive for bacteria in the blood.  This is a serious, life threatening condition.

Monday, October 29th, 2012

So, we got ready to go back to the ER for the third time.  It wasn’t clear to us if we were supposed to go to the ER, or somehow be directly admitted to the hospital. We decide to head to the ER. We make sure we have his sleeping bag since he’s still having the body chills.  We take an extra blanket that he wants. We get there about 5 PM.  Mr. S is able to get in an ER exam room around 7 PM. By now, I’m very familiar with all the different nursing station sections of the ER. I walked around and counted. There are approximately fifty different ER exam rooms.  An ER doctor finally stops by at 9 PM, a Dr. Solomon.  No one seems to know why we are here.  We have to explain everything all over again.  Dr. Solomon can’t find the treatment records from when he was in the ER on Thursday, but he has everything else.  They draw more blood for cultures.  Then we waited.  And waited.  And waited some more. I tried to stretch out on an office chair in his room, but I couldn’t get comfortable.  At 1 AM, I couldn’t take it any more.  I grabbed the extra blanket and went out to the car to stretch out and get warm.  At 2:15 AM, Mr. S calls me on the phone and tells me that they are releasing him.  They are sending him home.  He finally gets out of the ER at 3:15 AM.

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Around 10 AM on Tuesday, Mr. S received a call from a Dr. Pearlstein.  Dr. Pearlstein told Mr. S that it’s confirmed, he does have bacteria in his blood, bacteremia, and he needs to be admitted to the hospital to be treated. Dr. Pearlstein tells Mr. S that he’s trying to find a bed for him.  He said that he would try to get a bed for him by Wednesday morning, and he would be admitted directly to the floor.  If they can’t find a bed for him, then Mr. S will go back to the ER, where there will be instructions to rush him into an exam room until they can get a bed. The other possibility is that he will be admitted on Thursday. 

In the meantime, our kitty Jumpy,

Scout, left and Jumpy, right, taking over the sofa.

has been having some litter box issues.  I think it’s the same thing that happened over a year ago, where his anal glands have become inflamed and impacted.  All the same signs are there.  I’m able to get him in at the last minute to a low-cost vet clinic near by.  A technician is able to express his glands and also wants to take a urine sample.  I don’t think he has a UTI, but I agree that it’s a good idea to test his urine.  I’m hoping Jumpy will bounce back and feel a bit better.

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012
Dr. Pearlstein calls back early in the morning and tells him that he is going to be admitted directly to the floor. He’s to go directly to the fourth floor, ward 4A and check in at the nurses station.  He’s asking Mr. S to get there as quickly as he can.  We start to pack up all the things that Mr. S would need.  His sleeping bag.  His favorite pillows.  His iPhone charger and the special extra battery and that charger. Comfortable T-shirts, house shorts. His special gum and black tea he likes chew to rinse his mouth out with. (Don’t ask. He’s convinced a black tea mouth wash keeps his gums and teeth healthy).  You know, as many of the comforts of home that he can take with him.

I drop him off at the front door because every single parking lot around the hospital is packed.  I could not find a parking spot. I had to park on the main road, quite a walk away.  When I finally get to his room he’s already wrapped up in his sleeping bag.  Not long after that they start to draw blood again for cultures. After a while, two of his doctors come by. 

You know you are getting old when the young residents look to you like Doogie Howzer in his senior year of high school.  They explain a little bit about what’s going on, that he has bacteria in the blood.  I finally ask, what type of bacteria, and Dr. Ayoub responds. “Staph.” Staphylococcus aureus is a very serious infection of the blood that can cause serious damage to the heart.

They order an X-ray of his chest.  They order an EKG.  Those two tests are done pretty quickly, right in his room.  A while later the nurses take him to the cardiology department for an echo cardiogram.  One of the serious consequences of this aggressive strain of staph is endocarditis. The bacteremia settles in the heart and starts destroying the heart and valves. 

And then we wait. Mr. S settles in and gets a repeat of his first experience with hospital food when lunch is delivered.  It’s way too salty for him.  One of Mr. S’s pet peeves is restaurant food that is over salted when it comes to the table.  As a former cook in his early life, Mr. S wants to control how much salt he puts on his food at the table and not let the cook be in charge of it.

We ask the nurses if the attending, Dr. Pearlstein will be stopping by.  I want to talk to him.  We’re informed that they will be doing rounds later in the evening.  So we wait and wait and wait some more. 

While we’re waiting, the vet calls about Jumpy’s urine test.  There’s no bacteria, no small crystals and no glucose in the urine. However, there is a noticeable amount of blood in his urine and they are recommending an Xray to see if he has a large stone in his bladder.  What are the odds that Mr. S and Jumpy both have a kidney stone at the same time?  They don’t do X-rays at this clinic and refer me to another vet.

Dinner comes and it’s another meal that’s too salty for Mr. S.  He calls the kitchen to see if they can send him a “low salt” meal.  They send him a meal.  It still tastes like it’s too salty. He calls the kitchen again and come to find out, in this food they used a salt substitute. He becomes exasperated with the kitchen staff trying to get a low salt meal.  Finally, around 10 PM, we ask the nurses again when the doctor’s will be doing rounds. I want to speak to them before I go home.  Dr. Pearlstein finally comes by about 10:30 PM, and he explains what’s going on.

Mr. S’s blood cultures have been unusual.  The first blood draws on Friday were negative.  The second set on Saturday, three of the four blood draws on that date were positive.  They grew bacteria.  The third set on Monday were negative.  So it’s unusual.  They didn’t see anything significant on the echo cardiogram.  There is one valve that’s leaking a teeny, teeny, tiny bit but it’s nothing to worry about and it’s possible he was born with that.  Many people live with this slight abnormality and have no problems.  It’s unknown if it was caused by the bacteria or not.  One of the mysteries to us is, how did Mr. S pick up this deadly bacteria?

Dr. Pearlstein tells us that he will be speaking with the infectious disease doctor (ID) in the morning about Mr. S’s case.  He gave us the impression that, depending on the results of the blood cultures, Mr. S may be on oral antibiotics, IV antibiotics for two weeks, or IV antibiotics for as long as six weeks.  The IV antibiotics would be given through a PICC line, at home, every four hours.  I would be trained on how to do this. Up to this point, I’m not convinced that the tests could not have been contaminated but I’m willing to listen to arguments.

Thursday, November 1st, 2012
When I get to the hospital in the morning, they are drawing blood from Mr. S again and bringing in antibiotics through and IV.  They said they were ordered at 7:30 PM last night. I’m like, wait. I thought that decision hadn’t been made yet. We spoke to Dr. Pearlstein at 10:30 PM, and he didn’t tell us that the decision had already been made to do IV antibiotics.  We thought there was still the possibility of oral antibiotics..  We halt the IV antibiotics until Dr. Pearlstein can come speak to us. 

In the mean time, Mr. S has a novel idea.  He calls the kitchen and puts himself on a “heart healthy, no salt” menu plan.  Success!  The lunch and dinner selection arrive with no salt which he says is edible. Now he’s able to add his own salt to taste.  He’s a much happier hospital patient now.  Pearlstein and the two Doogie Howzer looking residents (Dr. Wang and Dr. Ayoub) come by with Dr. Pearlstein and explain things. 

It’s the ID doctor who is directing the care.  (This is someone we haven’t even seen yet.)  There are apologies all around.  We go over everything with Pearlstein again about the cultures that came back positive.  Mr. S is convinced that all the different individuals who drew blood samples were not using sterile techniques and that it’s possible that they got contaminated through the blood being drawn, and that he never really had this deadly bacteria in his blood.  I'm also thinking that this might be a possibility now. Mr. S hasn’t had any recent cuts or scrapes. He’s not an IV drug user; he just can’t figure out “how” he could have gotten this bacteria in his blood.

So, after that, Dr. Pearlstein explains everything again. That the IV antibiotics he got in the emergency room could have contributed to suppressing the bacteria; that the bacteria could be hiding someplace else in his body.  So Mr. S relents and says bring on the IV antibiotics.

Then the doctor tells us they want to do another test.  This time they want to do a transesophageal echocardiography endocardiogram.   They put the echo instrument down his throat which will give a clearer picture of his heart and valves.  There’s some slight risk with this procedure, but it’s relatively safe.  With this procedure the will know for sure if there has been any damage to the heart valves (endocarditis).  They will do the test tomorrow.  So the order is given that Mr. S cannot eat or drink anything past midnight. They will do the test early in the morning.  Then we learn that this is the last day for the attending, Dr. Pearlstein on this schedule of rounds.  Dr. Wang will be moving on, too.  Tomorrow we will get a new attending, Dr. Sadia Zafar.  Dr. Ayoub will still be on the case a bit longer.

November 2nd, 2012
I get to the hospital before 8 AM, just in case Mr. S is the first procedure up.   He’s already hungry and can’t wait for this to be over.   Noon comes and goes.  No procedure, so no lunch. Mr. S is really hungry now.  Meanwhile, one of his good clients called.  It’s a kosher bakery. Their huge oven (this thing is bigger than an SUV, just very narrow), the burner is not staying lit.  Mr. S tells the baker that he can’t come because he's in the hospital.  They try some things and the baker calls back that they were able to get the oven going again. However, the baker is worried that he won’t be able to get through the weekend. Mr. S has worked on the oven before and he knows what’s wrong.  They need a new electronic burner ignition.  The current one is very old and out dated.  Mr. S gets on the phone and starts calling around for parts.  He locates the parts.  He calls the baker, tells him how much the parts will be and that he should have these on hand in case the oven won’t stay lit over the weekend.  Mr. S is a single man shop, but he has a friend in the industry who could install the parts if needed over the weekend.  However, the parts need to be picked up today since the supplier isn’t open on Saturday.  Mr. S gets approval from the baker to buy the parts and I’m the designated gofer to pick them up.

In the meantime, there are some good signs. Mr. S's cough is almost completely gone.  He no longer has a temperature and he doesn't have the body chills anymore.  He no longer has any pain from the kidney stone.  Although the nurses have been watching for a passed stone, they haven't seen it. Mr. S doesn't really need his sleeping bag anymore.  (It did help that one of the student nurses found the thermostat in his room after he asked where it was. Mr. S learned that the temperature in the room was set at less than 68 degrees. To him, that explained everything and why he still had the chills.  Once he got the room temperature back up, he was a much happier camper.)

At 2 PM the cardiac unit calls and said they are ready for Mr. S.  I get some information from the nurse on the phone that it’s already approved to install the PICC line, and the PICC nurses will be coming up to the room after the thoracic procedure to instruct me on how to administer the meds.  I’m totally confused. I guess I didn’t realize that this had already been decided, and that there was no option for oral medication.

I go down the the cardiac unit with Mr. S, say goodbye then leave the hospital to go pick up the oven parts and deliver them to the bakery. I make it back to the hospital in a little over an hour.  Mr. S is still in the procedure room, even though we were told it should only take 10 to 30 minutes.  He finally gets out about 3:45 PM.  The drugs they gave him to relax him didn’t work.  They had to give him Michael Jackson’s favorite drug, Propofol.  (For those of you living in a cave, Dr. Conrad Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson.) Normally, they do this procedure by using “pre-op drugs” that make the patient sleepy, and they don't put them completely under anesthesia. However, those drugs didn’t work on Mr. S, so they had to use propofol to put him to sleep to get the scope down his throat.  The procedure took longer than expected because he had to wake up from the anesthesia.

I waited in the cardiac unit to speak to the doctor who performed the procedure.  He told me the valves looked fine and there did not appear to be any evidence of endocarditis from the bacteria.

This was good news.  In our fantasy world, we thought that Mr. S could then go home with oral antibiotics, but the PICC nurses were waiting for us back in his room.  It’s 4 PM, and the end of their shift and they don’t insert PICC lines on the weekend.  If the PICC line didn't get inserted now, they would have to wait until Monday.  They start to explain the procedure and how complicated it is. One of the things they mention is, Mr. S will not be able to lift more than 10 pounds with the arm that has the PICC line inserted.

We want to speak to a doctor first, because we are also hearing now that another test has been ordered that will probably happen tomorrow.  So even if the PICC line was put in, Mr. S couldn’t go home over the weekend.  Mr. S is totally bummed out now.  We want to speak to a doctor.  It’s 4:20 PM. When the PICC line nurses hear we want to speak to a doctor first, they go home. Mr. S is going to be there for the weekend.  We ask the room nurse about speaking to Mr. S’s doctors.

One of the residents, Dr. Ayoub calls the room.  She tells Mr. S that the infectious disease specialist doctor stopped by our room earlier and explained things.  She talks about how this doctor is really good.  Mr. S asks, “So she’s like Dr. House?” I get on the phone with Dr. Ayoub. I tell her, no, the ID doctor did not stop by. Dr. Ayoub describes the ID doctor to me.  She’s tall, slender, with blond hair.  I tell her again, that the ID doctor did not stop by our room.  Dr. Ayoub assures us that she will be by later.

So, now we wait for the “Dr. House” ID specialist.  The female “House” comes by about an hour later with a team of residents on rounds.  She asks Mr. S to explain what happened to him from the beginning.  She asks him a bunch of questions that the other doctors did not ask.  She listens to his heart, his lungs and his abdominal sounds.  She examines his skin, his nails.  She notes Mr. S picks at his nails, but she mentions his toenails are good.  She asks about any boils or skin lesions that might have shown up. (None.) She notes some reddish rash on his forehead that he might have gotten when he was out on the commercial fishing boat.

She asks if he has tattoos. (No.) Mr. S doesn’t smoke or drink and has never done IV drugs.  It’s a mystery as to how he could have picked up this bacteremia that could destroy his heart and kill him.  We go over again the possibility that the three out of four tests could have been contaminated.  Again, we are told “No. The type of bacteria that would be found on the skin would not be the same.” And then the tall, slender “Dr. House” asks if Mr. S if he picks his nose.  It’s like a spot light on Mr. S’s hygiene habits.  He comes clean and admits that he does.  Even though he knows it’s a bad habit, he always has explained it it terms that are related to his work.  His nose is a filter, and when the filter gets plugged, he can’t breathe.  He explains that blowing his nose has never worked adequately for him. .  This could be the likely entry port for the staphylococcus aureus. This link states that: “A significant proportion of cases of SAB originate from colonization in the nasal mucosa.”  After listening to “Dr. House,” go into great detail why she believes that he has this infection, I’m convinced that Mr. S does have this bacteria in his blood and the best course is to treat it with IV home care antibiotics, no matter how difficult that may be for us.  The only thing different that Dr. House mentions is the fact that he will be in IV antibiotics for four weeks verses two.

After the ID team leaves, Mr. S and I talk about how this treatment plan will affect his ability to work.  I don't see how he will be able to work and keep the PIC line clean. It will also affect my ability to attend court hearings for the time he’s on these medications, since I am the one who will have to administer the drugs.

At around 8 PM I finally leave for home to get some rest. Now that Mr. S realizes that his bad habit could have infected his blood, he's up lat into the night, searching the web on his phone for staphylococcus aureus bacteremia and nose picking.

At home, Jumpy is doing much better and almost back to his old self.  I decide to put him on some homeopathic treatments that have worked for him in the past.  Once Mr. S gets home, then I can arrange the timing to get Jumpy in for the Xray and follow-up care.

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012
When I wake up in the morning, I have several emails from Mr. S about staphylococcus aureus, the medications that are best used to treat it and nose picking.  He’s on the phone with me early, talking about how on the web, he’s found web pages that say the staphylococcus aureus bacteremia from nose picking is temporary.  That the body’s immune system takes care of it.  He now thinks that the three of four positive blood tests could have been from him “temporarily” having bacteremia.  Maybe all this antibiotic medication is overkill, and he doesn’t really need it. (Remember what I said about letting your spouse surf the web unsupervised?)

I stay home for most of the morning, trying to get my daily chores caught up.  Laundry, house cleaning, plant watering, yard work, and refilling the hummingbird feeders. Every half hour or so, Mr. S is calling me, reminding me to bring him things he’s asked for.  He’s now asking for the Nasaline device. (I’ve been trying to get him to use the Nasaline for a couple of years as a cold and flu preventative, but this hospital experience is what it takes for him to now want to use it on a regular basis.)   I get to the hospital around 2:30 PM.  Mr. S still hasn’t had his CT scan yet, which means he’s not been allowed to eat or drink.  Right before I got there, he demanded they give him a glucose IV drip because he felt like he was starving.  I really feel for Mr. S's nurses because it's always something with him.

At 4 PM he finally gets the contrast CT scan and back to his room by 4:30 PM where he is ravenous to eat the home cooked beef stew I brought him.

For the rest of the evening, all we can talk about is how is Mr. S is going to work if he’s going to be on IV drugs at home for four weeks instead of two.  The medication has to be delivered at a slow drip, over the period of an hour.  So every four hours, he has to be hooked up to the IV for an hour.  There are a few small jobs he will be able to do, but one large project he’s in the middle of, (designing and installing a new control for a second refrigeration system on a different commercial fishing boat), will be difficult to impossible.

Sunday, November 4th, 2012
So that brings us up to today.  We won’t know until Monday if the last test came out fine, if he will even be released on Monday or how long he will be on the IV antibiotics at home.  If Mr. S is not released before Tuesday, I'll have to drive to Norwalk, CA to get a mail-in ballot form for Mr. S.

I’ll let everyone know what we learn tomorrow.  In the meantime, thank you everyone for your continued support, and for reading T&T! Sprocket

Mr. S waving to T&T readers from his hospital bed, 
Saturday evening. You can see his sleeping bag,
favorite pillow and IV. He didn't want me to take 
his photo,since he hadn't shaved in a few days.


katfish said...

Thank you for the update...
Oh My! Sprocket you had me snorting I was laughing so hard! Now, I don't want anyone to think I'm laughing at Mr.S' problems,just your description of the past few days. You have to keep your sense of humor in between all the chaos and the "hurry up" and "wait" that comes with today's medical care. Welcome to my life...
I'm thankful my dh is on the last 4 days of his 6 week antibiotic infusion therapy...and that when he has been septic 3 times this year...he has had NO interest in researching online...very thankful..he can take a trip with Mr.Sprocket on De'Nile just as well without it. LOL.

It is good to be proactive with your medical care, especially when you have a rotation of providers such as it always seems to be in a teaching hospital....
Hopefully you both will be home soon. Encourage Mr.S to take it easy...The antibiotics that are used are no cipro... my dh has been sleeping alot. Hang in there sister.(((HUGS)))

Anonymous said...

get well soon mr. sprocket!

Anonymous said...

Best wishes to Mr. Sprocket.

I stopped searching the web about medical issues. It makes a man my age think he's about to kick off.

David In TN

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the background information and the updates. I have been wondering about Mr. Sprocket and you but didn't want to bother you while you are so involved! My best thoughts and prayers go to you both!


ritanita said...

Feel better, Mr. Sprocket!

Sprocket, thanks so much for the update. I've been very worried about him and you.

You are doing a yeoman's job at balancing what has to be a very difficult time.

I don't envy you having a web-browsing spouse when it comes to illness. My DH is the same and every time he gets sick, he has the worst-case scenarios in his head!

Anonymous said...

Thank you the very entertaining write-up!! Frustrating times for Mrs. Sprocket, the cat, and the nose-picker.

Anonymous said...

Praying for Mr. S's speedy recovery & that everything works out for your business! My b/f was admitted a few weeks ago to the Hospital for Congestive Heart Failure but is recovering fine.... trials and tribulations of life. (((HUGS)) to both of you!

Anonymous said...

Well, I already knew you were brilliant, but with this entry it's confirmed that you're a narrative genius. Never a more compelling story of a kidney stone has been written. One of my favorite posts ever. Even the picture of Mr. S is positively brilliant. The photographic composition! The mystery! Beautiful job with this post, and I hope (and know) that everything will turn out all right for you both through the end of this disaster.

Sandy said...

Golly... I can't get on the web for a few days and everything gets turned upside down!!! Kudos to you, Sprocket, for managing a difficult situation with cat and Beloved both passing things... have to agree with other posters that you have outdone yourself in reporting this time... intending that by the time you read this Mr.Sprocket is home, the meds are doing their job, he is doing his, and allowing you to do yours, for the highest and best good of all concerned, so be it and so it is! Whooooooooo!