Thursday, October 15, 2015

The appearance of MRSA

You haven't heard from me in a long time, I know. I miss writing. I've been so insanely busy, I have literally not had any time to myself in which I wasn't trying to sleep. Raising four kids takes so much mental and physical energy... school conferences, doctors of all sorts, activities... I mean, thank Gd. But it's hard, and it's especially hard with pain.

Things have been crazy, but mostly OK, personally and in my family's corner of the world. I say it that way, because we all know that things in Israel have been anything but OK, with the terrorist attacks going on. But I am not going to write about them, or how we have been effected.

I need my blog for other intense, pressing things in my life.

So, even though I still don't completely believe it is going to happen, my surgery is still scheduled to happen on Monday (the 19th). Why do I say that I still don't completely believe it is going to happen? There have been two times I've had surgeries scheduled, I showed up as scheduled, and for different reasons they didn't happen on that day. The first one was for the PVNS excision. My parents had come from the US to help out with the kids after surgery. I showed up in Ichilov hospital at the appointed time, and went through the check-in process. When I got to the orthopedist, he apparently wasn't aware of the skin grafts and scars covering the hip where he needed to operate. He said he wasn't properly prepared, and that we'd have to postpone until he “maps out” his plan to operate. The surgery wound up happening about three weeks later, with the partnership of another orthopedist, but my parents couldn't stay to help out.
The second time I went in for surgery and it wound up not happening was, of course, last summer with the whole allergic reaction thing. That is the procedure which is supposed to be Monday.

Do I have any reason to think it may not go forward? Well, ...yeah.

I got a call from my doctor a few days ago. She told me that the nose swab culture test I did as part of the pre-op tests came out Bacteria Positive. Positive for MRSA. Yeah, I was shocked. MRSA is another hospital superbug. I asked her how that could be. She asked me if I'd been in the hospital recently, and, of course, the answer is a big yes. I spend most of a month in the ICU with my friend who was on a respirator. She said “Bingo”. I am carrying the bug, but it's not making me sick. It is in the mucus membranes of my nose. I remember doing these swabs every time I was preparing for surgery, but until now it never came back positive.

One thing that this means is that doing that test may have actually saved my life. I am now using antibiotic cream to eradicate the bug, and I have a few other antibacterial instructions, as well. If I went in for surgery with this bug active in my system, I could have gotten very very sick after surgery. AGAIN.

Yesterday I had pre-op with the anesthesiologist.
Today I had my pre-op with the orthopedist.
Both were at Assuta hospital in Tel Aviv. Lots of traveling, very, very hard for me. I had scheduled both appointments for the same day, but something messed up- I'm not sure if it is the hospital, or my cell-phone scheduling program, but after begging and pleading with the orthopedist's secretary yesterday, there was no way to change it. So I came twice. It is what it is.

Today I had a talk with the orthopedist regarding the whole issue of MRSA, and pre-op antibiotics. He said he's going to consult with an infectious disease doctor. As of yet, we don't know if we'll use pre-op antibiotics or not. The orthopedist said he usually does do pre-op (also called prophylactic) antibiotics, but is not convinced that it actually makes a difference. I won't go into his whole explanation of that, but it sort of made sense. Except that this is me, and that means everything is not usual. On the one hand, prophylactic antibiotics caused me a huge problem last time, and in fact caused the surgery to be canceled. Now my antibiotic "repertoire", if you will, is smaller. I don't want to risk that happening again. On the other hand, I am MRSA positive, and treating it with topical antibiotic cream. What if it's not eradicated by the cream, and having surgery will cause it to bring on a full-fledged infection? It's very, very scary to me.

Does that mean things are still up in the air? I think not. I think the surgery will proceed on Monday. The orthopedist didn't seem overly concerned (but that doesn't make me confident). What I do know is that if Hashem wants it not to happen, it won't.

I am ready to do the surgery on Monday. I want it over, I want to be on the other side already. I want to get on with life. I am scared, and nervous, and this whole MRSA thing (which the orthopedist says he's seen about 50% of the time, but articles I have read say only 2 people in 100 carry MRSA) is making me feel more pressured.

I want to get rid of the pain, and I want to play horn again. That's my plan.

What is Hashem's plan?

This is scary. But I want a chance like anyone would to have a life with less pain. I have tried many ways to deal with it, and nothing can make the tear correct itself. It only hurts more and more as time goes by.

I want my life back. Pain is a very lonely way to live life. Most people don't have full-time pain, and most people would not withstand what I am going through. So why should I? I want an experience that fixes what we set out to fix. Then I can move on.

Can I move on without this procedure? Of course. With pain. But can I do what my heart wants to do to enrich my life (play music)? No. Living with pain is too all-encompassing. It takes triple the amount of energy to get through the day as it would (I imagine) getting through the day without pain. 
There is a fix for this problem. I want it fixed. Why am I faced with this infectious disease thing again? What am I supposed to learn from it? The phrase "no good deed goes unpunished" pops into my head. Spending time in the ICU with my friend this summer left me with this problem, even though I was *so* careful about hygiene all the time.

Another challenge for my emmunah (faith in Gd). What ever is supposed to happen is what will happen. I have to be satisfied with that for now.


  1. I'm holding your hand, IYH the surgery will all go smoothly and you will be on the path to a pain-free life. You are right, it takes so much more energy to go through a day with pain. You are so strong. Your focus is in the right place. You are a wonderful example to so many when you appreciate the brachot in your life, even through the veil of pain. Love you Sare, and wishing you a refuah Sheleimah. XXXOOO Dev from NJ

  2. Let me know. Can I visit you on Tuesday evening?

    Love, Miriam

  3. I'll be in the hospital in Tel Aviv Tuesday evening... Assuta. Let's be in touch. XO

  4. As I just wrote in an email (in a first attempt to post this comment) I'm davening for you. May you have a speedy and complete recovery!