I am so grateful you all have shared information regarding Staph infecctions! I am a firm believer that knowledge is power, and I value being an informed patient. I just wish I would have been armed with this when I was first diagnosed with MSSA two years ago!
I realize some of you have already read my story, so I apologize. However, there are some new folks who seem to have a very good grasp on how MSSA works, so I am posting my story along with some new thoughts.
Maybe you can provide a little insight and possibly answer a question or two.
Two years ago (almost to the day) I had an external fixator placed to fuse my right ankle. Four weeks later, I had a dramatic increase in my pain level. I went to the emergency room 3 times before they determined my ankle/leg was infected where a battery had been placed for a bone growth stimulator. I have never been in so much pain!
I was hospitalized and more tests were run. They took a culture and learned it was MSSA and following a CT scan, they found it had reached the bone. They put me on daptomycin.
Eight weeks later, my drs assumed it was safe to go off the antibiotics. It was rough because I was very afraid that the infection would return. I was surprised to learn there was no test at the end of treatment to determine whether the infection was gone or not. Due to the amount of time I had spent in excruciating pain (1 week solid pain level of 10 with NO relief) and 3 trips to the ER before I was diagnosed or before anyone could help me, I lost faith in the medical industry. I certainly did not trust that the infection was gone or that it wouldn't return.
As it turned out, the infection did not return and I was able to recover from my fusion without further incidences. Now, fast forward 14 months when my ortho performs a bunionectomy to correct my great toe on the same foot/ankle. He inserted two pins that protruded from the end of my toe to correct my very crooked toe. I was nervous to say the least. Not because I doubted his ability, but due to the difficulties I went through in my prior recovery.
Approximately 2 weeks post op I noticed my toe turning more and more red and the swelling increased while the drainage was nasty. I called the dr and he started me on an oral antibiotic. I had to call again 3 days later to say there was no improvement. He directed me to the ER where his residents examined me and determined I needed to start on Vanco and be admitted for observation.
Five days later I was discharged with another picc line and vanco. The symptoms had drastically improved. Because there was nothing to biopsy or culture, the drs assumed it was a case of cellulitis. I was concerned there was a chance it was osteomyelitis, but they assured me it was not in the bone because the pin sites did not look infected. They could not do an MRI because the metal pins were still in my toe. I proceeded with 4 weeks of Vanco.
At the end of those 4 weeks, I was taken off the Vanco - again there is no test done to ensure the infection is gone. I was happy and relieved to put that chapter of my life behind me and get on with the healing process.
However, two weeks later the pain in my great toe was a 10 and the other symptoms returned. I went immediately to my ID Dr. He determined we stopped the antibiotics too soon and either the infection was in the joint or in the bone. He coordinated efforts with my ortho - both of them wanted an MRI, but until the results were back I would start back on the Vanco.
It took 2 weeks for the results of the MRI. My ortho was not satisfied with the initial reading of the MRI because it mentioned "probable osteomyelitis" which he believed was actually residual evidence of the metal that had been in my toe (the pins had been removed during my hospital stay). Finally, his "colleague" read it and determined the same - it was osteomyelitis.
After another 2 weeks of Vanco I was taken off and it was assumed it was gone.
Now, I have this constant fear in the back of my mind that it will return again in one way, shape or form or another. Why did I have osteomyelitis twice? Why did it take so long to diagnose? Why did my ortho not believe the first reading - it was almost like he didn't want to admit the initial diagnosis or treatment was correct. Did he not want to admit he made a mistake?
I am afraid to have any other procedures done. I have had 7 surgeries total on my foot/ankle in the past 8 years. I still have issues with it, and I am afraid there will be something else we need to do that will put me back in the same spot. What if I had something like dental work done? Would the infection come back in another area?