Wednesday, December 27, 2006

So Here's What Happened (the Condensed Version):

Rating: SL

My beloved partner, L, got a staph infection that got into the bloodstream. The staph toured around for a time and then decided to move into the epidural space (that's the space between the spinal cord and the vertabrae surrounding the spinal cord) and settle down. It was so happy there that it invited some relatives, had some kids, added rooms onto the house (in medical terms, the house it builds and lives in is an "absess") and well, you know, once that happens, there goes the neighborhood.

So L had surgery on Nov 27 to remove the absess, and is on IV antibiotics to kill the staph that's still "on the road" in the bloodstream. The surgery went very very well. They got the whole thing out, the neurosurgeon is brilliant, the Infectious Disease doctor is fantastic.

After eight unbelievably fucking horrific days in ICU (more on that later) L is recovering faster than they expected.

Then, after a few days in a regular hospital room, L realizes that the left arm isn't working the way it should, and there's still a lot of pain. They do another MRI, and find that some of the staph that was still on tour in the bloodstream had moved into the recently cleared-out epidural space and had begun building again. This time, however, the nasty little buggers have not gotten nearly as far along, so the absess is much smaller than the first one. So they give the antibiotics a few more days to see if they can break it down. Nope. They have to go back in and get it.

The good news is that for this second surgery, L is actually much healthier than for the first: no longer sick as a dog and running a fever of 103. Now, there's no fever and the antibiotics are already on board and L is just much much stronger. So it sucks about having to have surgery again, but it's really really good that they found it much earlier this time, and L is in much better shape.

The second surgery goes brilliantly. L is recovering much, much faster this time! Only spent about 14 hours in ICU and is now back in a regular room, walking around, eating food that has NOT been pre-chewed, and generally looking unbelievably good for someone who just had neurosurgery.

And yesterday--Christmas Day!--L was discharged from the hospital. Still has antibiotics administered every 8 hours by IV, but here's where L's medical training comes in VERY handy...
the medicine and other necessary supplies are delivered to the house, and L has a PICC line (basically, an IV line that just stays in all the time) so L is able to actually push the meds and the saline flush and the heperin flush -just needs help getting the tubing rolled up and stashed in the stretchy webbing that keeps it out of the way in between doses. How much am I loving modern technology????? A LOT!!!!!!!!!

Seriously, we are so profoundly grateful. It is a joyous Christmas season. Thanks and praise be to God! We are most richly blessed.

We are also, through this experience, made more acutely aware than ever of the evil running rampant through this world. The evil of pride that obscures one's professionalism, the callousness that allows people to view pain as justified, the petty competition that is perfectly willing to make a patient's body the battlefield in a turf war, the need to WIN, at any cost, that makes one willing to look another person in the face and tell a bold-faced lie, to denigrate the dignity of another human being, and to violate the rights of both patient and partner.

But I digress... more, as I said, on those points later.

Right now, I am happy. Grateful and relieved and, as we face the long road of recovery and healing from wounds of both body and soul, profoundly joyful. Tidings of comfort and joy, indeed.

Oh my yes, God is good.

yours in the struggle,


At 8:27 AM, Blogger Swandive said...

(((((((((((((Max and L)))))))))))))))
Prayers and love.

Do you and your partner have the whole legal/medical thing in place? My beloved and I are just crossing that bridge.

At 8:45 AM, Blogger Kirstin said...

Yay and alleluia, and welcome home L!

(((((((((both of you))))))))))

At 12:18 PM, Blogger Blue Wren said...

Max, I'm so glad to hear that your partner L is on the mend and back home again after such a truly rough time. I've been on the support side in situations of serious illness like this, and I know first-hand how exhausting and mentally devastating it is. You have both been very brave.

I'm glad they released L from hospital so you could both be home on Christmas, secure in your compassion and care for one another. It's just another day, but it's a special one.

May L continue to get stronger and healthier as each day passes. May you have many renewing naps. And may you both enjoy a loving and happy New Year.

At 2:49 AM, Blogger Max Rainey said...

Swan, Kirstin, and BlueWren, thank you. So much, for so much.
And, BTW... are you three checking out each others' blogs? 'cause you should.
L continues to get a little bit stronger every day. It's the best Christmas present ever.
yours in the struggle,

At 7:24 AM, Anonymous Swandive said...

Just stopping by to say hello.


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