Here's a fact: Elaine has MRSA.
After the surgery the surgeon came out and told us how everything went. He mentioned that beneath the skin around the stitches, Elaine's finger was infected and there was an abscess, which he drained and cleaned and then did the surgery as he planned. For that reason he put her on an antibiotic.
I don't remember if he told us he took a tissue sample or not, but he did, THANK GOD HE DID, because I got the culture results in an email from the lab. The result was that the sample had tested positive, twice, for moderate growth of MRSA.
That's it. That's all the email said. Usually when I've been emailed results it's followed a few minutes later by the doctor saying, "everything's normal, you're fine." This time, not only was everything NOT FINE, I had no further direction or course of action.
I picked up the phone to call the doctor, but called my Mom instead, to tell her what happened and ask her to pray.
Then I called the doctor. I got a nurse in the orthopedic office. She immediately sent someone to go alert our doctor (hand surgeon) that Elaine was positive for MRSA. Then she filled out a formal phone message for him and told me to expect a call from him soon. I waited an hour and a half and then called back. She said she'd been unable to hear from him and sent another message and paged him. She checked to see if anything had been ordered for Elaine and still nothing.
I waited and prayed and sobbed into my husband's shoulders.
And waited and prayed more.
The nurse finally called back and told me our doctor had been consulting with three other doctors (not sure what kind, I'm hoping one was a dr. of infectious disease, but I didn't have the presence of mind to ask) to determine what the best plan would be. The culture responded best to a certain antibiotic, which is what they were planning to dose her with, but they were still determining the correct dosage. In the mean time, I was to take her to get blood drawn, and we set up an appointment with Elaine's pediatrician for tomorrow morning.
I took Elaine to the lab (poor sweet child) and she did as well as could be expected. They took four tubes of blood and only one (SED rate) result has returned. Her SED rate is 27. Normal adult (from what I know) is between 0 and 20. So this shows that her body is very obviously fighting an infection.
While I was getting the blood drawn, the doctor called and talked to Superman, explaining the switch in antibiotics, and saying the prescription was ready to be picked up. I was sad to miss getting to talk to the doctor, but it was convenient that I was already there to get the meds. The doctor asked about Elaine and how she was doing and I am so relieved that EVERYTHING has gone SWIMMINGLY since surgery. You would never even suspect surgery, if it weren't for a giant purple cast and occasional fussiness (but she's teething with her canines, so honestly, the poor girl has lots of reasons for pain!) Her cold is almost completely gone, she never had a fever and has accepted the cast quite willingly. The fingers outside the cast (thumb, ring and pinky) are perfectly normal - no swelling, hotness, redness or rash. She's not even favoring the cast arm, and will swing it around, thump on things with it, and use it to crawl when playing "lion." The doctor made it very clear that if she starts fighting the cast and wanting it off he personally wants to see her. Of course we'll alert them if anything else changes as well.
I suppose she picked up the MRSA in the ER when she got stitches. Either that or it's community associated MRSA. I don't know which I'd rather. I did my best to keep her finger clean/dry, but with a very active, teething toddler it's tough. She would pick at the bandaid, or put them in her mouth and get it all wet when it was on, but of course if the bandaid's off, then the finger's even more exposed. I did the best I could.
The antibiotics she started (clindamycin) are the real deal. They would cost $200 something without insurance and are used only for serious bacterial infections. She'll be on them 3 times a day for the next two weeks. A few days before the end of the 2 weeks is her follow up appointment for the surgery at which point I expect they'll remove the cast to take out the wire in her finger, and then probably re-cast her for a few more weeks.
I wish wish wish I could cut a little window in the cast to just look at her finger. Just seeing if it was inflamed and swollen or not would make me feel so much better (or worse.) I know that for now, though, the best place for it to be is in that cast where the environment is as sterile as it's going to be, and hopefully the antibiotic will knock the rest of the infection out.
Dear God, I hope so.