MRSA on the Trail

     We get the local newspaper each week and that’s about all of the news we see at the end of the Trail.  We cancelled our satellite television last year and we rarely look at the news on the internet, there just aren’t enough hours in the day.  Sometimes newsworthy items are forwarded to us by friends or relatives who think we might be interested in the subject.  This past week I had reason to be interested in the news and actually  bought two newspapers in one day.  Let me back up…

     Kids will be kids and part of being a kid is getting scrapes, bruises and bumps.  There’s also the normal growing pains kids experience when their little bodies are trying to stretch out.  Put those things on top of playing tackle football, wrestling with friends and getting kicked during soccer and most parents don’t pay too much attention to whining about aches and pains. That was the weekend of October 12th; Friday night football fun, goofing around on Saturday and soccer on Sunday.  Monday morning Josh was complaining about his ankles and knees being sore and I didn’t give it a second thought, I just sent him away on the bus.

     Monday afternoon we brought the kids to the Community Center to open skate for hockey.  Josh was complaining about his knees as he stepped out of the truck, he could barely stand up.  We wanted to take him to the doctor but he wanted to skate.  He got laced up, headed out to the rink and almost immediately fell down on his knees and broke down.  His knee was bleeding and he could barely stand. 

     We brought him to the clinic where we waited and waited to see the on call Doctor.  After examining his knees we saw sores on both of them and they were swollen and hot.  Josh was in obvious pain and it kept getting worse.  When the Doctor finally walked in I was taken aback; she didn’t look old enough to be a Doctor and her name tag didn’t say Doctor either.  She looked at Josh’s knees with obvious concern and as she pressed here and there Josh writhed with pain.  He had a fever and after examining him she sent him over to get his blood drawn.

     I had to carry Josh over to the lab because his legs hurt so badly.  He got his finger pricked and then we went back to the Doctor’s office to wait some more.  Poor Josh, the kid was distraught and completely wiped out.  When we saw the "Doctor" again she told us we needed to start IV Antibiotics that evening.  She was worried the infection was in his joints or bones and wanted to get a treatment started right away.

     We went back over to the lab area and thankfully Mike returned with a Pokemon book from the Book Fair just in time.  A nurse was trying to put Josh at ease before she stuck the IV into his little hand.  Mike held the book in front of his face and that took his mind off of everything going on around him.  About thirty minutes later we were done with the IV and headed home with an exhausted and sick Josh.

     Then comes the news…  Some of our friends had seen the news Monday Night and MRSA was all over it.  The symptoms were similar to what Josh had and as I started reading more and more articles and getting more and more phone calls on Tuesday I freaked out more and more.  Josh was scheduled for another IV session on Tuesday evening and I hoped to talk to a Doctor then.  None were around and so I continued my information quest on the internet that night.

     Fear, like I have never felt before, consumed me by Wednesday morning.  With Josh at home, unable to stand up, I thought my world was coming to an end.  I was so worried and so concerned about him that I couldn’t think about anything else but him.  He was scheduled for another IV session on Wednesday night but a call from the clinic came early in the morning.  They needed to see Josh that day and change treatment plans right away.  Now, if that doesn’t make your adrenalin zoom, I’m  not sure what would.

     It was confirmed, Josh had MRSA, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, a bacteria resistant strain of Staph that had just killed someone in Virginia and that kills more people than Aids every year.  Not a comforting diagnosis at all.  The "Doctor" who didn’t instill much confidence in me on that first encounter, had done her homework and had Josh’s blood work tested on Monday.  The results were in by Wednesday and a new treatment plan was started by Wednesday afternoon.  My Josh wasn’t going to be another person making headlines for being killed by a super bug in Minnesota thanks to a great "Doctor."

     Josh went in for a check-up yesterday and everything looked good.  The antibiotics are working and he’s running around on his legs without any pain whatsoever.  He will continue on his antibiotics for another week and will have to be careful to keep future scrapes and cuts clean.  Chances are he is a carrier of MRSA as most of us will be sooner or later, just like we are with regular Staph.  We’re always good about handwashing but will be even better about it now. 

     We’re not sure where or how Josh got MRSA.  His school is clean, his classroom is cleaner and he hasn’t been in a hospital recently.  It’s out there and has been for a long time and it’s only going to become more and more prevalent.  We are just so thankful for the excellent care Josh received at the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic and the North Shore Hospital in Grand Marais.  We appreciate all of the care and concern from our hockey family in Cook County, and all of our friends and family.  We will be forever grateful for the fast-acting, intelligent, caring and wonderful "Doctor Zaller."