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Christmas time... Reflection...

Posted Jan 22 2009 6:55pm
I'm not gonna put a dampener on my blog, I love Christmas but this time of year was never going to be easy I suppose. Today in my minds eye was one of those days I thought I'd never see. This time last year I was on a high dependency unit in hospital and not very pleased about it. I pushed the hospital Christmas dinner to one side in a complete huff. I had caught pneumonia from a previous admission which is another story altogether...
In summer 07 MRSA managed to get through an arterial line in my arm, it travelled into my hands and all my fingers causing a deep cellulitis infection around my hand and all my fingers. I couldn't even put my hand on the bed to move myself about, it was red, swollen and very painful. After months of strong antibiotics it cleared up from all but one of my fingers. Around October time my index finger was still red and by then looked a little deformed. My Dr just shrugged it off as remaining infection but said he'd do an x-ray to rule out other possibilities...
The results weren't good (I will upload the actual x-ray taken when I go on my other laptop) and as soon as they came in I was referred to an orthopaedic surgeon. He told us MRSA had caused 'bone death' in the last bone in my index finger and because of chemotherapy treatment I was waiting to have for my lung disease it needed to be completely eradicated, if it was it could re-enter my blood stream it could cause serious septicaemia. He agreed one more week of antibiotics and if it was no better further intervention was needed. Surgery, I said "erm I doubt very much my lungs would cope with that!"
"No" he replied "under local anaesthetic". I don't know what sounded worse. Long story short I had the first of 2 operations. The first not being very successful, he had to remove so much dead bone that the joint collapsed and my finger just looked more deformed. The second one proposed to go ahead in late November still has some mystery about it as to exactly what happened and what went wrong. I was last on the surgical list on a cold day last November. Due to the nature of the operation I was told I'd need K-wires to hold the healing bone in place as he planned on removing the joint completely and pinning raw bone edges together. Due to the fact the wires needed to be left in place for upto 6wks I needed good antibiotic cover. I remember spending the best part of a day on the surgical ward and being terrified but knowing I was in safe hands...
Various Drs came to try and get some IV access for the antibiotic, Vancomycin which I've had on many occasions for MRSA. All the Drs that came to get IV access failed including some ICU Drs. So it was left to the anaesthetist in theatre. Late that day I went down to theatre, I remember saying goodbye to mum and being wheeled into the anaesthetic room. I remember being attached to the cardiac monitor, the Drs preparing the local anaesthetic and the anaesthetist began slapping my arm in a bid to bring up some veins. The next thing I remember is looking at a clock... I had no idea where I was, who I was, I couldn't speak, I couldn't move, I had gathered something somewhere had gone wrong but I didn't know what. My bottom lip felt as someone had punched me in it and my throat felt as if I'd been strangled. As I started to come round more I started to listen to conversations. I heard the words 'brain damage' and 'cardio-respiratory arrest' thrown around a few times but I didn't actually believe they were talking about me. I tried to speak but as I opened my mouth the words just didn't come out. I scowled back at the clock. 2hrs had passed, what had happened in 2hrs? Where did they go? Some hrs later in the ICU my parents explained what had happened. I had suffered a serious anaphylactic reaction to the antibiotic. I had swelled around my face and throat I then stopped breathing, my blood pressure dropped and my heart suddenly stopped. The sore lip and throat were from the breathing tube that was quickly inserted. I was without a heartbeat for almost 2 minutes which had caused oxygen starvation to my brain and hence the reason why when I was told something a few minutes later it would need to be repeated... I was suffering from mild short term memory loss from the trauma and oxygen starvation. I remember very little about that time, I don't even remember not being able to breathe in the anaesthetic room. Also other details, some I wish I didn't remember and the fact that 7 days later the operation went ahead and was successful. My memory did fully recover but is now not 100% due to the morphine I take. Unfortunately the stress my lungs had been put under that week led to me developing pneumonia which led to me spending Christmas 07 in hospital. I believe it left some lasting damage behind which I feel has contributed to my rapid deterioration this year.
I'm glad to be spending this Christmas at home and on a years reflection I'm proud to tell you about what I've managed to live through...
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