Sunday, July 31, 2011

July 31 Update 2: Blood Infection

I'm stuck on the IV again, getting two different antibiotics.

I mentioned the fever Thursday night after the biopsy in the News from God post on Friday. I had a decent fever (103o) on Wednesday before the biopsy, then again Thursday night. Both fevers went away with a dose of Tylenol, but after the second one they got me hooked up to an IV of antibiotics.

So I'm living the tethered life again.

Friday morning, when I realized I was starting to lose my hair, which I'll cover in the next post. My last free hours before being tethered again.

I don't have any cells to fight infections with, so the doctors have to fight it for me. Not being tiny antibodies, they are unable to identify the bacteria by vigilantly traveling around my bloodstream, so they drew blood and looked at it under a microscope.

What's interesting is that they had to take blood twice to find out the problem.

The area where the PICC line goes into my arm was occasionally itchy and somewhat tender to the touch, as well as slightly more red than they would like. So what they needed to know was whether I just had a local infection, requiring dealing with the PICC line, or something more extensive.

Apparently there's a type of bacteria that will stick to the plastic in the PICC line. You can't get it out with antibiotics. You have to remove the PICC line.

Kind of like whooping cough. The bacteria that causes it can be killed with antibiotics, but that doesn't remove them from your lungs. They're hooked in there, and it takes a while for your body to remove them. That's why it's called the hundred-day cough.

So they drew blood through the PICC line, and they also drew blood the standard way, with a needle inserted into that big artery (or vein?) in the middle of your arm.

It turns out the infection was in my blood. Fortunately, the two antibiotics they began with were just the right ones to work on the class of bacteria--related to strep--that I have.

I'm still hooked to the IV, and they add a bag of the antibiotic on some sort of schedule I haven't bothered to learn. (I did make sure it wasn't what was causing the evening neck aches the last three nights, though.)

My temperature has stayed steady since Friday, so apparently they've got it right!

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