Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Things you don't want to know

  1. Why you don't want that nice close up spot in Garage Number 1 (it's a bitch to get out of).
  2. What times lunch is served in the Market Place (11 to 2, and the asian line is long, but worth it).
  3. Whether or not the nurse has any kids (2 and they're sick today).
  4. Exactly how long it takes to get to the hospital at "x" time, how long to park and which elevator really moves faster (in the morning 30 minutes, no traffic 15 and the service elevators are much better).
  5. How to restart the infuser when it beeps that there's a "partial occulsion patient side" (well, I'm sure as hell glad to know that now, because I've listened to those alarms for way too long!)

So, Pete's back in the hospital.

I guess it was 2 weeks ago, I noticed that there was a red spot around the pump site. On Thursday, the 11th, I noticed it was red, warm and blanched to the touch. So, I get on the phone to the neurosurgeon, his PCP, and the baclofen office at TIRR. That day the neurosurgeon's nurse was on vacation (and he was, as always, in surgery), his PCP was out sick with the flu, the regular nurse, and Pete's doctor, at TIRR were both out of the country. So I interfaced with the doctor's secretary, Rosie, who ran the doctor down for me, got a prescription for antibiotics called out and set up an appointment for the next Monday.

Pete went by himself (which was a tactical mistake on my part, hard to ask questions when you're not there) and the doctor said "yup, looks like an infection to me, take these pills and I'll see you next Monday". Wednesday evening, however, I was alarmed to see that the redness had spread significantly and the "warm" was now "warm to hot". Thursday, I started calling all the same people, and getting the same responses, but we were scheduled to go see the nurse on Friday morning at 9:00 a.m. She took one look at it and made a 'holy shit' face and said "I'm going to go see if I can get the doctor on the phone" in that calm but urgent nurse voice. I got Pete admitted to Methodist at 10:30. He's been there getting iv antibiotics since then. A resident went in on Friday evening and drew the perimeter of the infection site to see what happened. Yesterday, it appeared the infection had retreated to where it was last Monday.

This morning, Pete called me at 6:45 to tell me a different resident was in, said the infectin wasn't gone so probably surgery to remove the pump. I spoke to America (the nurse's name, and I love it) this morning and she said that's what the resident told her and he said there was no change in the infection area. I told her that wasn't true, that it had receded a good bit and the swelling had gone down. She said she'd send Dr. Simpson in to look at it and he'll make the call if we continue the IV or wean Pete off the baclofen and remove the pump.

What could cause an infection at the pump site after 6 months is a mystery to me, and to the doctor. It does not really matter because there is a significant infection in there that needs to be addressed. This is obviously not a positive development for us at all. I would say the odds are about even that they will be scheduling him to remove the pump and later reimplant it. This means this entire process of surgery, recovery, laying off therapy and then going inpatient will have to be started all over again. None of this is consistent with our plans to get our lives back.