Sunday, October 28, 2007
10-28-07 MRSA scare
I had a pimple looking thing on my right calf.
Usually I don't get panic striken over a pimple, but this time I asked my sister who works as an R.N. in a nursign home to have a look at it. It didn't hurt, but it was puss filled, and weeping and red around the edges. Nursing homes and hospitals have had a lot of experience with staph infections, which is what MRSA is and which is why I asked her opinion. I asked her if it looks suspicious.
It did, so I went to the Urgent Care Center just in case.
Now, how did I happen to have this "lesion"? Who the hell knows. I don't share towels with anyone except my husband (which has now stopped until they get the culture back from the lab). I don't go to gyms and share gym equipment. However I do ride a "public" form of transportation - I use the university shuttle bus system to get from the parking garage to my building. But I also attended church and sat on communal chairs, and was in the food court at work, and at a restaurant. I could have rubbed the back of my leg on a grocery store "buggy", or a display case, or anything. Apparently MRSA and other staph infections can live for hours on surfaces.This one little spot is in the middle of my calf, on the back of my right leg, easily a place that might be hit by the back edge of a chair.
So the Dr. looked at it, and wasn't sure so he cultured it. I get the lab results in 3 to 4 days.
Until then I have to use Dial antibacterial (liquid)soap, neo sporin and scrub my "spot" every 2 hours, dry it well and apply a bandage. I washed all the clothes I had worn on Saturday when I first saw the spot, using Lysol in the water. I had to wash the bed linen also using Lysol. It's smells like a nursing home - ICK.
The Dr. was an old guy, and he said MRSA was something that the press just blew out of porportion. It's a staph infection that's been around for MANY years. If caught early it responds to SOAP and WATER and frequent handwashing and cleaning. It's not a plague, it's not going to kill you generally speaking, but if left untreated, in patients with supressed immune systems it's going to be a problem
At first the nurse and Dr. didn't think it was more than a pimple, or a fire ant bite, until I told them I had been on anitbiotics for 10 days because of a recent root canal. Apparently that suppressed my immune system for a time, so it just "might" be more than a scratch,bite or a pimple.
Now for my problem. Do I mention this to the people I work with, before knowing the results of the culture, thus putting people in a panic (because the new media has everyone anxious about it.) Or do I wait? If I tell them now they might get angry for coming to work. If I say nothing and wait and it does turn out to be MRSA then they will be angry that I didn't tell them before.
I think I'll just tell my supervisor - not the whole world - and let her know that I am just waiting for the lab results.
I will do what the Dr. says, I will wash every 2 hours, change the bandage AND wear long pants so no one notices. I hope that will be enough.