New here, but desperate.
I had a fusion with hardware November, '08...(L4-5). All was great until day 15, when the nightmare began. Deep wound staph infection. I got sick on a Thursday, called emergency on-call Doc that night. I got the 'blow off' and was told to contact my surgeon the next day. By Friday, I was incredibly ill. Saw surgeon @ 3:00pm, at which time I was burning with fever and barely able to walk. He said I likely had an infection and proceded to prescribe Keflex, order blood cultures for that day, an MRI on SUNDAY, and probable surgery on MONDAY. I was thinking this was a bit too conservative, and I thought my daughter was going to deck the guy for his nonchalance.
By Saturday afternoon I was totally delirious with fever, and unable to walk at all. That night at bedtime I felt something weird on my bandage and had my fiance check it out. He was horrified to see copious amounts of brown pus oozing through the bandage and literally running down my back.
Off to the emergency room. Was admitted and had surgery Sunday morning by on call doc, who didn't know me from Adam. My surgeon came in Monday and acted like it was nothing. Tuesday morning I was put in isolation and told it was MRSA. Two days later, and after much freaking out, I was told it was MRSA's 'little brother', MSSA.
5 days later, I was discharged, even though I was still horribly sick, and had a catheter as I was still unable to urinate, and forget having a bowel movement. No sense of feeling in either area. Had a PICC line and consequently had IV antibiotics administered at home for NINE WEEKS. ($1000 a day...Thank God for good insurance. The hardware alone cost $55,000.) I am on 1000mg of oral keflex for the remainder of the year.
Now, nearly 6 months later, I am still practically a shut-in invalid. I am in constant pain in my back and right leg. Have been on and off a cane for several months. Finally stopped monkeying around with the original doc, as he was no help. Only temporary pain relief was joint injection of steroids. (almost a week of different, but less severe pain.)
I am totally unable to return to work, cannot walk more than 5-10 minutes, unable to sit for more than 30 minutes, spend 85% of my life lying down (still in pain). I'm still in a very aggressive back brace, and cannot function at all without it.
I have applied for disability, as it is clear that working again is most likely never going to happen. I am not your typical disability candidate (sorry for the stereotype, but visit my local SSA office and you will see for yourself what I am talking about). The process is completely ridiculous, and my 'representative' is a total joke. It may be years before a determination is made, meanwhile we lost 50% of our monthly income.
I subsequently spent another 5 days in a mental health unit due to severe depression and on suicide watch simply because I don't know how to live with this situation. All I want is to be better and to resume my normal life of working, gardening, home improvement and all my normal activities.
I have finally been referred to a specialist with this kind of scenario at the University of Washington, and see him May 26th. I am terrified to be optimistic, but trying to hang onto some thread of hope.
To add insult to injury, I cannot take opiods because they all cause severe (puking) migraines. Darvocet has been the only thing I could tolerate, but I'm sick of living on pain meds. Finally went against all advice and am living on Ibuprofen, with occasional rescue darvocet and rare Flexeril. Also have been given Ativan for anxiety, which I have never in my life experienced. Was given Lithium for the out-of-control depression, but got Lithium Toxicity and will NEVER, EVER go near that crap again.
I truly am a totally normal person, with what used to be a normal life and am so desperate for help I've become pathetic. I feel like a total loser and a drain on my fiance. We can't even get married as planned, as it may affect my disability status.
Isn't this just a hornet's nest of a life?
T in Tacoma.