How ironic that only two posts ago I discussed superbugs and their potential implications for our medically fragile girl. Grace was admitted to the hospital again two days before we left for our vacation. She had cellulitis again, this time in her right middle finger and left knee.
The knee was surprising; she had a small wound on that knee that didn’t look great but it never looked terrible, but the day she was admitted her knee became red and hot. Presumably the infection came from the little wound that wouldn’t heal. That infection could have gotten very bad – her joint could have deteriorated very quickly. Luckily, it got better quickly and has been mostly fine since. We dodged a bullet, as my hubby would say.
Unfortunately, her finger has not healed so well. When we were in the ER, the doc cut into her finger to try to culture some gunk (medical term) but instead only got blood. They cultured that anyway, and we found out she has MRSA – methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus. We all carry staph on our skin; it’s a bacteria that usually lives in harmony with our bodies. The everyday variety of staph is MSSA – methicillin-susceptible staphylococcus aureus. MSSA can become resistant (MRSA) when an infection is not fully treated before completion of antibiotics. So, it’s not really that surprising that her staph infection has become resistant – after all, two posts ago I discussed how many short courses of antibiotics she’s had since March. However, this time has been different.
MRSA is no joke. Her finger has been up and down many times since we left the hospital three weeks ago, and we’re still not out of the woods. A week after we left the hospital, the finger was not progressing well and I called her infectious disease doc to set up an appointment. Two days later, the finger was very swollen and bright red with white at the tip – there was no blood supply to the tip due to the tremendous swelling and infection. We started the two-day drive home the next day, and that night she got a fever. She was hot, she was cold, she was shaking – it was reminiscent of the rigors of last October. The next day, I gave her Benadryl in the car so she’d sleep. She slept most of the way home, and was fine when we got back. By the following day, when we had a follow-up with her regular pediatrician, the finger looked fine except for the swelling. Since then, it’s gotten red and then gotten better. The swelling has gone up considerably then come down somewhat. The knee has been red one day and fine the next.
Her little body is waging a war on MRSA, and it’s not yet certain that she’ll win – each day is a new battle. We are going to try the homeopathic remedy of adding tea tree oil to all of her bath and laundry products, and continue to give her strong probiotics and multi-vitamins. If the infection worsens, we will take her back to the hospital. But we will help her in her fight every day; we will help her win this war.