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don't wait if there is something wrong

until last thursday, i was throwing up once every 2-3 weeks for over a month. i made an appt with my dr but could not get in for at least 2 weeks. well last thursday, i noticed my right leg, which is the one that has given me problems for 10 years, pain, bruising, etc, was twice as swollen as my left leg. this is not an exaggeration. i also had big red bumps the size of golf balls all over and it was red hot. i thought it was a blood clot since i had one after my first fusion. well they put me in the hospital for three days with iv antibiotics and pain meds, dialaudid. i did not have a blood clot but a staph infection, celluosis. if i waited for a day or more the infection was so bad, it could have lost my leg if they could not control the infection or worse i was getting an infection in my blood, blood poisioning. lucky the infection was under control and i have to take 2 antibiotics for at least another week.
lesson: don't wait if you suspect something is wrong. don't worry about going to ER and waiting for 4 hours or thinking you are wasting the time of the doctor. if i waited, then it could have been real bad. you need to go asap if there is something wrong. don't worry about paying for it or insurance or other worries. go go and go. i am glad to still be around with all of my legs and arms etc
I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.


  • alexhurtingaalexhurting Posts: 1,991
    edited 04/12/2013 - 9:46 AM
    Good to hear they cought it in time Jon , How did you get the infection ?

    He'll I call 911 when i stub my toe in the leg of the bed ! It frickin hurts, I don't worry about going to er, Heck where else can you justify getting naked and being touched all over by nurses ,

    Best wishes and glad you doing ok,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • i don't know now i got it. they say a sore or cut can cause it. since i teach school, there are all sorts of germs around. unfortunately the nurses were great but i had the hospital gown on all the time. one thing one needs to know. i told all of the doctors and nurses that i was seeing a pain guy when they gave me the dialudid. they thanked me and said no problem giving me the shot. they also gave me the option of having my meds in the pharmacy and then using them but they thought more and decided to use their meds and not mine. it was easier. i also told my pain guy yesterday about the stay and the staph infection. cellulosis is very serious. no wonder no one would tell me about it until i left the hospital
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • Jon,
    I was a high school pincipal, home for February vacation, and got a backache out of nowhere. By the end of the day I had a 104 temp, vomiting, and total body convulsions. I waited too long to see a doctor, and when I finally saw one, he misdiagnosed my symptoms telling me I had the flu. After 8 days, I could no longer walk and ended up going to the ER by ambulance, admitted, misdiagnosed again, and almost died. I too had an infection, mine was concentrated in my spine which led to surgeries, permanent nerve damage, and a massive spinal fusion. If I hadn't waited and been more proactive I might have saved me a life of pain.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • You are very likely to have a recurrence. I have been hospitalized 3 times in the last year. The last time I was transported by ambulance, by the time they got me to the hospital I had a 106.7 fever and my leg was purple from just above the knee all the way to my toes. The moral of the story is to watch your leg, specially before bedtime, it has always come on during the night for me. The doctor said I was very lucky to still have that leg, So watch your leg very closely for any signs of fever or redness or purple. It is very, very serious.
  • terror8396tterror8396 Posts: 1,831
    edited 04/13/2013 - 6:28 AM
    what is disconcerting to me is that the doctors and hospital did not advise me of the seriousness of my condition. i guess they did not want to stress me. i only found out as i was being wheeled out. i am lucky the antibiotic treatment in and out of the hospital have given my leg a second life. apparently one little cut in the leg can lead to this staph infection. celluosis was the condition, spelling?. my leg started having issues after my fusions, the second one. it has not been the same since. just another reason to think about having a fusion unless it is absolutely necessary. another thing to watch out is that i also have to take probiotic medicine due to the fact that one can die from the diahrreah one gets from the antibiotics. i take 2 of them at once. i was warned by dr to take probiotic twice a day or i could die from side effect of antibiotics.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • I think you mean cellulitis, Jon. I'm glad they managed to catch it before it was too late. I've had cellulitis half a dozen times (always in my lower leg or knee) over the last twenty-odd years, and it's definitely dangerous if not treated promptly. If the infection spreads up to your lymph nodes it can get very serious. The warning signs are inflammation that feels tender and hot and gradually spreads, and often fever and a general feeling of illness are present.
  • Our hospital had a patient pass away several days before my last bout (9 days in the hospital) The person thought if he just took over the counter meds for fever he would get better. My daughter works at the hospital and was freaking when she found out I had cellulitis. Please watch your leg closely, it usually reoccurs in the same leg, and comes on very quickly.
  • anyway
    i go back to work tomorrow. i had a vacation for a week and time to heal. i finished the antibiotics and leg looks a lot better. the only thing that bothers me are that the doctors did not tell me the dangers of it. i thought it was weird to go into the hospital for a leg infection. know after research, i know to take this seriously and not to screw around.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • i never go to the er to get pain meds or for treatment for my back. i have only gone for an emergency that dealt with myblood poisoning due to celluosis. they put me in the hospital for 3 days due to the seriousness of the condition, amputation or even death. but going in to get pain meds has never been an option for me. i know some do, but one should not go over the amount that the doctor has prescribed you. some people feel that going over your prescribed amount is not a problem, but i disagree with that. only one's doctor should change one's dosage
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • I also just recently had this infection. I was fine one minute then 5 minutes later had chills, shakes and over a 103 fever. The next day is when I got the redness, swelling and pain so I went to the doc and got antibiotics. The scary thing is this is the fifth time I've had it. The other 4 times I just thought it was nothing and let it run it's course. be careful because we are prone to get it again. Now that I know what it is and the symptoms, I'll know immediately!
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,877
    Jon, I am glad that you didn't wait and got some treatment. Though it is a bear to know that with everything else we have going on, we have to worry about non-spinal issues.

    For everyone, Jon is making such a valid point as well as others that have posted. You dont want to wait until its too late!

    But what is too late??

    Sometimes, we just have to know our bodies. When there is something that is beyond wha we have dealt with before, it may be time to call in the guns.

    For so many of us long time chronic pain folks, we have had more flareups than the sun has sun eruptions. In the beginning, we may tend to rush to the ER or to our doctors for help.

    As time goes on, we begin to understand the difference between a flare up and something that is new and potentially harmful.

    How do we decide? Unless you are like Jon, Alex, Tam and myself (among many others), we there is something that is wrong, you should contact your doctor. I am not saying that on the first day you should do that, but after a couple of days and the problem increases, its time to make the call
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Wow, I'm so sorry this happened to you, but I'm really glad that they caught it in time so you did't lose your leg or worse, your life. I'm amazed at how many people have said that there's a high chance of reoccurance because once they had this happen to them, you're much more likely to get it again - so be sure to keep an eye on yourself.

    As for why they didn't tell you the significance while you were in the hospital, I don't know but suspect that like you said, they didn't want you to stress out. That could make things worse. My brother had a staph infection in his heart and they didn't tell him how close he was to death, but told us. We were asked not to tell him, that they would when the time was right.

    Anyway, thank God you're ok and thanks for sending out this important message. It's important for everyone, but very, very important for anyone with Diabetes - one little cut with what seems like a little infection can cause amputation like it did to my brother.

  • terror8396tterror8396 Posts: 1,831
    edited 04/17/2013 - 7:07 AM
    thanks guys
    one more comment on this. i was not sure of when it was too late until i looked at my leg. my right leg has always been more swollen than my left. it also has major bruising due to some circulation issues that are not fatal. it is like not noticing that you have gained weight. everyday, it looks the same. i only noticed because it felt like my leg was blowing up literally.then i noticed large red bumps all up and down and an overall red color with burning pain, and stupid me, i was going to wait until the next day because i did not want to spend 4-5 hours in er. i went to my local at night then they sent me to the er. i still did not want to go. they wanted to put me in the hospital buy i argued against it. i finally came to my senses and accepted what was going on. the drs did not explain what was going on or the dangerous things that were happening. i did not find out until i was leaving. so if i listened to my stupid self, i might be without my right leg or worse, the dirt nap. so a case in point. do not wait even if you think it is not that bad.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
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