Monday, November 19, 2012


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus 
MRSA is a “staph” germ that does not get better with the first-line antibiotics that usually cure staph infections.
When this occurs, the germ is “resistant”to the antibiotic.
It is normal for healthy people to have staph on their skin. Many of us do. Most of the time, it does not cause an infection or any symptoms. This is called “colonization” or “being colonized.” Someone who is colonized with MRSA can spread MRSA to other people.
A sign of a staph skin infection is a red, swollen, and painful area on the skin. Pus or other fluids may drain from this area. It may look like a boil. These symptoms are more likely to occur if the skin has been cut or rubbed because this gives the MRSA germ a way to “get in.” Symptoms are also more likely in areas where there is more body hair due to hair follicles.(MRSA link)

And it is UGLY. Its probably one of the most terrifying experiences I've ever had. One that I'm so unbelievably thankful Josh will never really remember...but the effects of this situation will definitely effect him the rest of his life ~ mentally and physically. 

It started out with a small pimple looking whitehead. Ironically, as much as I enjoy 'picking' (as my family likes to put it because as gross as it sounds, I do enjoy picking at peeling sunburns and zits. Get over it, I know its gross. LOL) I was not picking this. Why? For the simple reason it was right above Joshua's groin and I didn't want him to get an infection with a dirty diaper. It showed up on Thursday and I didn't think anything of it. On Friday Joshua was pretty grumpy, but I really thought it was due to him pushing 2 top teeth at once. Low grade fever, lots of snot, drool, GRUMPY. What I didn't realize was that this 'pimple' was very painful and getting bigger fast. In my defense, because Josh is so dark, seeing a 'red' spot is very difficult.  In fact I only noticed it Friday night as a HUGE pimple that as I wiped my poor little baby off, I didn't realize I had put pressure on it and it popped with a loud wet popping sound and TONS of greenish yellow puss came out and he screamed. I felt AWFUL!!!! I didn't know what to do so I wiped him off as gently as I could and put his diaper back on. The next morning his groin area was actually hot to the touch and extremely swollen and he would instantly begin to cry and look very worried that I was going to touch the hurting area. It was hard not to wipe it off since I knew it was getting wet with urine. And sure enough when I opened his diaper Saturday morning it had a huge head on it again. I honestly did not know what to do. I applied a little pressure as I was wiping him off again and more greenish puss came out but this time it was thick and stringy. His fever was still low grade so I gave him a small dose of tylenol to help with the pain, thinking this was going to go away now that it had popped again and seemed to drain. After the puss came a small amount of blood so I stuck a bandaid on it and wrapped him back up in a diaper. I noticed he did not want to be on his tummy and he did not want to straddle my side when I held him. I had to almost cradle him out and away from me. It was so sad...I cried with him a few times. On Sunday his little groin was so swollen and it had also spread up towards his hip. Because I have gone to school for radiology, I knew a little bit about infections and if it spreads what to look for or the possible complications. Rob didn't have to work until Sunday night so I took Josh to Urgent Care where the nurse there said that because his fever was low and he wasn't dehydrated that I could just wait for the appointment I already had for Monday with Dr.Ryan. 

Of course, like all emergency trips go, Joshua spiked a fever of 103.9* at 630pm and Rob had already left for work. This temperature is way to high for teeth and he is miserable. God bless my wonderful mother. I called her on the verge of tears and when she answers, "Hi, Honey Bunny." I loose all composure. (What is it about moms that do that to us? Its like this lifeline is immediately thrown to you  as you hear their voice on the other line...) Anyway, my mom drops everything to come help me. She comes ready for a sleepover since an ER visit is one of the longest and torturous events EVER. This is not our first rodeo. But instead of going to the NCMC and daring the fates by encountering another lovely experience of bloody gangmembers or people barfing up their shoes in the waiting area all in one visit, I headed to the newer Emergency Department out at Summit View. I got in right away; apparently I was the only one having an issue at 845pm on a Sunday night. The male nurses were great. (Had I been in a better frame of mind, I may have even joked and called them Greg, RN, but as it was, a crying baby didn't lend me any opportunity for humor.) Okay let me rephrase that: the male nurses were great UNTIL they tried to start an IV line. My sweet baby is fluffy...he also has deep veins...(we later learned from the nurses at Children's Hospital) so they begin to follow through with the doctor's (who had TERRIBLE bedside manners, which I'm not entirely surprised at, but when dealing with a stressed out mom and a SCREAMING infant I think you may want to touch up your 'personable' skills and put on a HAPPY FACE and oh, it would also help if you knew what the heck you are talking about. Just sayin'.)  orders for a pointless IV...And they kept on least 10-12 times. Tops of both of my son's hands, tops of his little feet, and even on the inside of his arms. 

Ask me how awesome it was to have to HOLD my 9month old son down for an HOUR AND A HALF while they jab a needle into his skin and root around for a vein. I SOBBED THE WHOLE TIME. And this is what makes me the most infuriated: THEY NEVER TOOK LABS. THEY NEVER TOOK SAMPLES. THEY DIDN'T EVEN KNOW WHAT HE HAD. SO instead of calling our Pediatrician and asking how to proceed, the doctor ordered a shot that didn't even cover MRSA and he never came in to apologize because he WANTED an IV when this shot could have been given to my baby in his leg, which they ended up doing anyway.  I had no idea what to do!? I had no idea that I could say, "Stop, that is enough." Which just makes me even more furious with myself that I wasn't more brave to go against the medical 'authority.' THAT will NEVER happen again. 

SO at 1230am we left and went home. His groin was now swollen and the infected area was 3inx2in. It was huge and hot and so painful. Each diaper change ended with both of us crying. Joshua had his 9month appointment with Dr.Ryan at 11 and when we got in there and Dr.Ryan saw Josh he came UNGLUED. I was so relieved that I broke down crying...shameful, but I admit, I couldn't do anything else. If I may say, Dr.Ryan and his nurse Christine are the most wonderful people. I know this sounds corny, but without the mushy or weird aspect, I can honestly say that I feel loved by them. Like Dr.Ryan genuinely cares for our family and my kids. I can't say that about many doctors I've ever encountered. After a few phone calls to Children's Hospital, Dr.Ryan ushered us out the door and told me to get down to the Children's ER fast because Joshua's abscess needed to be incised and drained. Rob and I sent the older kids off with my mom and packed up and headed down to the ER at Children's down in Aurora. We were told that we may need to stay overnight, so I packed what I thought we may need. Pulling into the parking garage at 230 we beat it into the ER. It was probably the nicest ER I have ever seen. It was actually more like a museum of pictures and colors and high ceilings and EXTREMELY nice employees. It took my breath away. 

So we were signed into triage and waited...and waited...and....waited. Until about 530pm when we were shown back to a room down the Yellow Hall. Keep in mind that Joshua's last bottle or food was at 1030am...and he's getting super hungry and I'm pretty sure that I looked like Medusa. The lady that was in and out of the ER waiting room, or Hospitality volunteer, was so sweet. I think she read people really well...or just read me very well since she was fast to go ask any nurse she could find pertaining to our case about when Josh could eat since I was on my LAST RESERVE NERVE. (for those of you who don't know what a 'reserve nerve' is...its that nerve that you don't even know is there until you are grappling with your emotions and the veins in your eyes are basically popping out of your head. Or when you begin to looking like  Scrat from the Ice Age Movies.) We had the BEST care!!!! Our ER nurse was AMAZING. After hearing about our visit to the ER just 9 hours before, she was super careful with Josh and had another nurse assist her while she put in an IV. After 2 pokes she had that IV in good!!!!

(on a side note: the one thing about adoption that I think many people question or as an adoptive parent, I have feared is not having that strong attachment with my child. That he wouldn't want me or he wouldn't be attached to me...after our first ER visit all of those doubts were OBLITERATED. My son reached for me as he cried and once in my arms, CLUNG to my neck as though for dear life. While not in the circumstances I'd ever want to be in, the Lord has been faithful in answering my prayers as well as breaking those damaging chains of fear regarding attachment with my precious son. And since that night he actually HUGS us. He reaches for us and smiles while reaching, knowing that a loving embrace is sure to come.  And he snuggles us...which is by far the sweetest thing.) 
We met the Med Student and shortly after her, our ER doctor came in. Seriously, I am so thankful for quick prayers. Ones I didn't even know I had uttered, but ones loud enough that the Lord heard and ANSWERED ~ STAT! Our doctor was HILARIOUS. He was honest and very knowledgable, however his bedside manner was exactly what we needed. The perfect combination of quirky and sarcastic and kind. It sounds like it couldn't be like that, but he was. Joking with Rob and I while we waited for his direction. It turned out to be a very good thing that I didn't rebelliously feed Josh since we were told to prepare for Joshua's little surgery. Because he was only 9 months old and it wasn't a long nor intense surgery they were only going to partially sedate him: a conscious sedation with Ketamine. When the nurses started to get everything ready in our room Josh was highly suspicious and was not happy when he saw our nurse come at his IV with a needle. Poor baby... :( But the doctor warned me that it'd be less than 10 seconds for the Ketamine to take effect. Holy crap, he wasn't kidding...he went limp right away. Rob said that Ketamine is basically a horse tranquilizer. But safe that Josh wouldn't remember the pain. Even while being sedated and they began his procedure he started to cry and they had to hold him down because he began to move. I couldn't handle it. I also hadn't eaten in  24 hours and began to feel extremely weak and almost faint. The doctor told us to go to the cafeteria for something to eat since the surgery would only be 15 minutes and it'd take Josh at least 30 minutes to come out of the sedation. 

We ate and came back to hear Josh losing his ever lovin' mind. HOLY CRAP. Rob ran into the room and snatched him up and Josh immediately began to calm down. I was in shortly after him and when Josh heard my voice, even in his dazed state he began looking for me. Once safely tucked away in my arms, he stopped fussing and the nurse had us moved into a different room. The doctor came in once we were settled and told us how things had happened. Joshua actually had 3 abscesses. (What was once known as a 'boil' is now known as an 'abscess') Two of which had to be drained and the 3rd was just beginning. The first 'pocket' was 1cm under the skin and they drained 5ml of puss from it. THAT IS HUGE!? The second wasn't nearly as deep nor did it have as much puss. (We didn't learn until 4 days later that these abscesses had been caused by MRSA.) After being moved to our own room, we were told that Josh would have to stay hooked up to an IV for 3 heavy doses of Cleocin; one dose by IV every 6 hours. They had to monitor him while he had these and to make sure there wasn't further infection. I was relieved...other than Natty's brief jaunt to the ER resulting in 5 stitches to her lip, this was our first surgery type procedure for any of our kids. I don't do as well as I'd like when my kids are in pain like this and I'm completely uneducated in what to do. However, being in that little room without any sort of time reference, I had no idea if it was 3pm or windows was weird! Rob left around midnight to go get a few things, including Joshua's pillow and favorite blanket. It was so sweet; as soon as Daddy walked in with his blankie and pillow and I situated him on it so his IV wouldn't be in the way, Joshua nuzzled his blanket and moaned and immediately fell asleep. It was wonderful since my beloved hubby brought me my pillows as well so I could sleep. Other than waking up groggy for the nurses checking or administering meds, we all slept until 9am.

We left Tuesday afternoon and were back in to see Dr.Ryan every day for the next 10 days. Wound checks are something else. Especially on very RAW emotions. I was a mess. Josh would begin to tense up and it was all I could do not to start crying...WOW. At one point Dr.Ryan had said that I would have to learn how to 'repack' Joshua's incision. UHM NO. And not only No, but HELL NO. The incision was packed with 10in tape and each day I had to remove a small part of it so that it would close from the inside out. This was bad enough seeing it drain, knowing that I had NO idea what it was supposed to look like. I'm an EXTREMELY visual person. I learn by watching and not knowing was SO STRESSFUL for me. One diaper change resulted in the last of the tape coming out. I almost freaked. Fortunately, I had the doctor's office on speed dial and they told me to come in right away and they'd check it. This is why I love our Pediatrician office...SUPERB SERVICE. 

After 7 days of a HORRIBLE tasting medicine and trying to get it down him, Joshua is completely healed and back on track. Now, because we found out it was MRSA we have to be very intentional about keeping an eye on his 'pimples.' It doesn't matter if it turns out to be nothing and goes away on its own, I'm probably more along the lines of OVERTHETOP. I have scoured the internet for information on MRSA. I always try to take Western Medicine with a grain of salt and do what I can naturally to work the preventative measures thing. I often get information from several natural websites, including Dr.Mercola's website. It was there I learned that there is a specific enzyme in living garlic that actually KILLS MRSA!!!! Just a week after our trip to Children's Josh got another little pimple. I was taking NO chances. Smirk if you will, but I immediately put my baby in a warm bath with minced garlic. Oh yes, he smelled to high Heaven and my older children called him a baby onion for the rest of the day! But guess what, that pimple was gone the next day. And just 3 days ago he got another pimple, and this particular one grew and was looking VERY scary to me when I remembered the garlic. You know it, I RAN my happy rear to the cupboard and found a sprouting garlic clove and actually put it right on this little pimple. After an hour I removed the garlic juice, cleaned this spot thoroughly, and put a bandaid on it. That little pimple was gone in 2 days. Call me crazy, whatever you want...but I'm the one who has lived this with my precious baby and I don't give a rat's patoot if you think it probably wasn't or that garlic had nothing to do with it. I KNOW it did. Heres a little bit more information that I've learned: 

  ~  MRSA infections can also occur in healthy people who have not recently been in the hospital. Most of these MRSA infections are on the skin or less commonly lung infections. People who may be at risk are:
  • Athletes and other people who may share items such as towels or razors
  • Children in day-care
  • Members of the military
  • People who have gotten tattoos

    ~MRSA is any strain of Staphylococcus aureus that has developed resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics, which include the penicillins (methicillindicloxacillinnafcillinoxacillin, etc.) and the cephalosporins. Strains unable to resist these antibiotics are classified as methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus, or MSSA. The development of such resistance does not cause the organism to be more intrinsically virulent than strains ofStaphylococcus aureus that have no antibiotic resistance, but resistance does make MRSA infection more difficult to treat with standard types of antibiotics and thus more dangerous.wikipedia
    ~Commonsense, All-Natural Approaches to Protect Yourself From MRSA
    First and foremost, everyone needs to take the issue of antibiotics seriously. This is of course an issue that must be addressed on a large scale, both within modern medicine and agriculture, but you also need to evaluate your own use of antibiotics, and avoid taking them – or giving them to your children -- unless absolutely necessary. Unless everyone starts to pay attention to when and how they use these drugs, the problem will never be solved
    Aside from that, here are a few other sound methods that can greatly hinder the spread of infectious disease, including MRSA.
        Wash your hands -- The most important of which is to adhere to proper hygiene, such as washing your hands with soap and water. Handwashing, which is one of the oldest and most powerful antibacterial treatments, may be the key to preventing MRSA (staph infections).
    According to a Johns Hopkins study, the best way for patients to avoid such infections is for doctors and nurses to simply wash their hands before touching a patient. This is the most common violation in hospitals. According to findings by The Times, in the worst cases, as few as 40 percent of staff members comply with hand-washing standards, with doctors being the worst offenders.
    But even the best hospitals typically boast no better than 90 percent compliance — which means one out of 10 practitioners may have contaminated hands.
    Guidelines to proper handwashing include:
    • Wash your hands for 10 to 15 seconds with warm water
    • Use plain soap
    • Clean all the nooks and crannies of your hands, including under fingernails
    • Rinse thoroughly under running water
    • Use a paper towel to open the door as a protection from germs that harbor on handles
    Remember to AVOID using antibacterial soaps. These soaps are completely unnecessary and could easily do more harm than good. As a matter of fact, the antibacterial compounds found in most of these soaps are another likely contributing factor to the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
        Invest in copper -- Making door handles, taps and light switches from copper could also help defeat antibiotic-resistant superbugs, according to scientists. Researchers have discovered that copper fittings rapidly kill bugs in hospital wards, succeeding where other infection control measures fail.
    Lab tests show that the metal can effectively kill off both the deadly MRSA and C difficile superbugs. It also kills other dangerous germs, including the flu virus and the E coli food poisoning bug.
    In tests sponsored by the Copper Development Association Inc. (the Latin-American arm of the International Copper Association), a grouping of 100 million MSRA bacterium atrophied and died in a mere 90 minutes when placed on a copper surface at room temperature. The same number of MSRA bacteria on steel and aluminum surfaces actually increased over time.
    It is likely that by installing copper faucets, light switches, toilet seats and push plates in germ infested areas, hospitals and nursing homes could quite literally save thousands of lives each year.
    You could also consider taking the same measures in your own home, especially if you care for someone with chronically poor immune function.
        Use natural disinfectants – As with antibacterial hand soaps, antibacterial house cleaners are also best avoided. A natural all-purpose cleanser that works great for kitchen counters, cutting boards and bathrooms is 3% hydrogen peroxide and vinegar. Just put each liquid into a separate spray bottle, then spray the surface with one, followed by the other.
        Eat garlic – Researchers have found that allicin, the active compound in garlic, is an effective, natural “antibiotic” that can eradicate even antibiotic-resistant bugs like MRSA. An added boon is that the bacteria appear incapable of developing a resistance to the compound.
    However, it is important to note that the garlic must be fresh. The active ingredient is destroyed within one hour of smashing the garlic. Garlic pills are virtually worthless and should not be used.
    Instead, compress the garlic with a spoon prior to swallowing it if you are not going to juice it. If you swallow the clove intact you will not convert the allicin to its active ingredient.Dr.Mercola's link about Garlic
    I want you to know that this is just my opinion and my experience. However, if you are dealing with MRSA, I completely sympathize. It sucks! I've included links to some of the websites I've used. Good luck and I hope this helps!


  1. POOR BABY! I was teary eyed reading about this and now that I have Simmie I feel like I can imagine how scared and sad I would be if he was in that much pain. I'm glad you found some good info in how to watch for and head this off in the future- prevention is SO much better than treatment!

  2. Thats exactly how I feel about it. I totally agree that Western Medicine has its place and that it is necessary at times, like going to the ER at Children's, but I think its foolish not to research what you can do to prevent an ER visit. Watching Josh go through this, knowing it effects the rest of my family, makes it all the more important to me to go to any measure to prevent MRSA. (Everyone kept calling it 'mersa' and I didn't realize it was an abbreviation until I started looking it up! LOL) Its still a bit of a mystery how he got this. I have a few ideas, but nothing concrete.

  3. Oh man- that's so awful! Sorry you two had to go through all of that. It's nasty stuff. So glad that he is healed and doing better!! I loved catching up on your blog. You guys have such a great family.

    1. Awe, Thanks Arianne! Not being on fb has shown me how much I've missed in many friends lives! I hope to keep in touch with you this way. ;) Yeah, I'm still hyper-sensitive to any pimples that arise...but with a LOT of prayer and my trusty sprouted garlic cloves I'm armed for battle! LOL! Honestly I'd never even heard of it before this situation.