Saturday, May 26, 2012

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus and other fun stuff

Last week I was traveling for work. While away I got a call from my mom and learned that she was sick again. In the past 9 months she has had at least one case of shingles and it sounded like it was back. This sucks for her on so many levels. First there is the discomfort and general yucky-ness of being sick. Next because she is in an assisted living facility she is quickly quarantined which results in depression and sometimes after days of being alone she suffers from confusion. I got home from my work trip on Tuesday night and I phoned her on Wednesday to see how she was doing and she seemed OK. On Thursday I stopped in to see her and I learned that a nurse and Dr had been to see her the day before and the Dr had mentioned that it looked more like MRSA.
I am no health care professional and so had to google this mystery disease as soon as I could. It turns out it's Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus which is as scary as it sounds. It's painful and communicable, can be fatil, and likely being passed around her facility.
My poor mom! She has painful sores all over her body and basically feels like shit. She is confined to her apartment and the facility is delivering her meals to her there.
I went over on Thursday to pick up her laundry, she is not allowed to wash anything at the facility. I also spoke to a friend who was a nurse and asked her about this MRSA. She said that if she has had it more than once (they now feel her past case of shingles was more likely misdiagnosed MRSA) then it's going through the facility and we need to identify how she is coming in contact with the steph. Mom and I talked about the ways she comes in contact with the people of her facility aka SC. It's only assisted living and not a nursing home so while she has someone help her bathe a few times a week, monitor her meds and check in on her a few times a day, the physical contact is actually limited to a handful of times a week. The one thing that seems suspicious to me is the fact that the facility washes her towels and beding.
So, Friday we started new protocol. All her laundry comes to my house in a blue basket for washing where it is put into a hot water cycle with bleach and then a second cycle of hot water rinse. From the dryer it is folded and placed in a white basket. I went to CVS and picked up a giant bottle of hand sanitizer and put that by her door. Everyone who comes in or out of her apartment is required to sanitize their hands.
Thankfully she is on massive amounts of antibiotics and pain medication.
Until next time.....