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Part III: My Seriously Serious UTI Treatment

Posted Sep 29 2012 12:00am
WARNING: Some people may find the pictures in this post too graphic because they show needles in my arm.  See Part I and Part II for background on this post. 

What should have been a simple UTI turned out to be a two and a half week adventure. The doctor(s) at the hospital decided that instead of oral antibiotics, I needed to have five more days of intravenous (IV) antibiotics. 

WHAT?!  That's a seriously serious treatment. 

In the end, I think my diagnosis was pyelonephritis, which usually means the infection has reached the kidneys.  Though the CT scan of my kidneys (and surrounding area) was clear, the Attending Physician (the doctor in charge of the Resident doctors who had been caring for me) explained that she was concerned the infection was working its way to my kidneys -- which is probably why I was experiencing a cramping pain in my lower back.  She also did not like the way I had not responded to all the oral antibiotics...thus, the IV antibiotics. 

She said a nurse would come to my house to teach me how to administer my own IV treatments and let me do it on my own if I felt comfortable.  If I didn't feel comfortable, the nurse could come back every day to help.  Wow.  It was a lot to take in.  Having a nurse go to a house to administer IV antibiotics seemed like something only really sick people have happen. 

As a parting gift from the hospital, I got to keep my peripheral IV line (i.e, an IV needle in my arm) so that I didn't have to get stuck with a new needle every day (see photo below).  Notice the fashionable green and white striped hospital gown sleeve. 


 
Sure enough, I learned how to administer my own IV antibiotics -- a surprisingly involved process.  It was a little creepy at first, but I could handle it.  The home IV was not like the kind I had at the hospital (you know, with a bag and a pole).  Instead, the medication was packed in a little balloon-like ball that used pressure instead of gravity to move the IV medication through the tubing (see photo below).  
 

Unfortunately, the IV needle in my arm didn't make it the full five days.  It slipped out of place after a couple of days, so I had to get it removed.  The home nurse tried to insert a new IV, but my veins would not cooperate (or she was not particularly skilled at inserting IV's).  She finally gave up and used a butterfly needle to administer my IV treatment (see photo below).  Because the butterfly needle could not stay in my arm day after day, the nurse had to come back each day to do the rest of my treatments. 


As a result of the myriad of oral and IV antibiotics (and despite my best effort with high doses of probiotics), I ended up with a really fun (that's sarcasm) vaginal yeast infection.  All I can say is thank goodness for prescription antifungal medications. 

I am happy to report that I am fully recovered from my first and worst UTI, though I'm now paranoid that I'll get another infection that is just as bad or worse.  Ugh.  Please send my urinary tract good thoughts.  :)
 
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