Monday, October 11, 2010

Thanks for the Memories, thanks for the MRSA

So I got a couple of (let's use normal-person language) red bumps just below my right knee last week. They were itchy and looked like mosquito bites. I really thought nothing of it. I figured since I've been doing a fair bit of trail running lately that it was bugs or some fern that I brushed into.

Nagging thought--"don't remember getting bitten, don't remember brushing into any ferns". 

Then I was sure it was spider bites since we're still at war with a hefty arachnid population that enjoys our windowpanes for web-related activities. But know in my heart of hearts that most spiders cannot actually bite enough to leave a mark on human skin. 

Then a few more of these mystery bumps arrived on the scene, along the side of my right lower leg. Ok, that is weird. Didn't look like bed bugs (washed everything and flipped the mattress just in case) and Tobie does not have a single mark on him. 

Itchy. Annoying. Spreading. 

Then 2 nights ago as I was falling asleep I had a sudden flash of me starting an IV on a patient with MRSA this summer, the lesions on her arms looked pretty much EXACTLY the same. 

Image. Out of mind. Enter state of denial. 

Finally last night I dove into my textbooks and emedicine to look at the beginning stages of cutaneous MRSA and behold it looks like a folliculitis and often is mistaken for a "spider bite". 

Cue litany of curse words. 

Ok, I have worked in some seriously filthy disease-riddled-inner-city emergency departments, as well as some rural places where so many of the patients had the MRSA warning on their chart we started joking that it'd make more sense to start flagging the ones who didn't have MRSA instead. Eleven years since my first hospital placement in nursing school---how many thousand exposures have I had to the whole gamut of infectious bacterial options? 

So I have enjoyed being blissfully unaware of my bacterial flora and fauna--while subconsciously knowing that I likely added MRSA to the list of "bacteria that live on me" a long long time ago. 

But I am pissed, more than a little freaked out, and slightly grossed out. Upset. I don't think I am blowing this out of proportion. One of the nurses I worked with 2 summers ago had to go on NINE WEEKS of IV vancomycin for a cutaneous MRSA infection. 

So I started myself on Bactrim DS---I know, I know...I should have had the wound cultured before starting ABX but I couldn't get an appointment today at the school and I have no car/no money/no time/no idea where to go in the city. Hopefully will be able to see a doc tomorrow as I only have 3 days worth of Bactrim. So bloody frustrating!


And that is my Monday morning.


The 1642h update:

Couldn't get an appointment until tomorrow. On advice of a friend I popped over to one of my former profs (who is awesome) to get some advice. Pretty much as soon as I opened my mouth I started getting all teary and emotional which made me annoyed and embarrassed which only made the situation worse.

She was really nice about it but I felt like an IDIOT. Now I feel like an IDIOT with a staph infection (that is probably not MRSA) who had a nervous breakdown in front of a prof that I like/respect.


Ok I'll admit. Stress levels are running at an all time high.

I work in the ED and see patients with this all the time. So I think the combo of stress, proximity, panic, irrational thoughts lead to a  massive  slight overreaction. Worst thing is, I've always laughed at the whole 'studentitis' phenomenon where you believe you have most of the diagnoses you are studying in school.

Gahhhhhhhhhh! I need a holiday.  


OMDG said...

Wait, you can write prescriptions for yourself?

Albinoblackbear said...

Ha! No (I wish). I should have clarified. I brought with me a small pharmacy in order to avoid having to go to the doctor (and spend minimun 50 euro) if I had something like a UTI or something minor that I could dx and treat.

Medical Mojave said...

Oh wow! That is scary. I hope you are able to get into the doc asap.

BTW we have those white/blond spiders and they do bite. Hubby is allergic to them so he looks like brown recluses have munched on him for dinner. They always struck at night, but I never had a mark on me, ever.

I think at one point, we sprayed Raid on the mattress.


Sarah Glenn said...

Honestly, I've always wondered why they were labeled 'spider bites'. Are spider bites (as opposed to other bug bites) that common everywhere but in my universe? I do live in a rural state and everything...

H said...

Hope it doesn't turn out to be MRSA, but either way, thought you might enjoy this...

Anonymous said...

Poor ABB :(. I wouldn't worry about the tears. You are in a tough spot and I should think you are allowed (at least) one free Freak Out pass. :)

Maha said...

Eeek! Fingers crossed it's not MRSA though I would also break down if I thought I had it.

Bostonian in NY said...

Reassuring email sent...sounds like you've got lots of stress with some med-student/ED nurse syndrome thrown in.