Infection

I recently went thru an awful experience and I am just putting this out there to hope that all with a pm or pm/defib or defib...will be more diligent than I was. I had a red spot develop on my chest to the left of my pm towards the bottom. It kinda hurt, I thought it was a spider bite, It never really went away, then started to bump up, go down, bump up. I went to my general physician, my cardiologist, my general physician, back to the cardiologist, then a 3rd time to the cardiologist and the PA told me its an infection, it has to come out, got sent for bloodwork, admitted to the hospital for 4 days, then sent home because they did not detect any infection in my bloodstream. Follow up appointment with the cardiologist the following Tuesday & he says it must be an adhesion (which is what all were telling me prior to the PA visit). I told him it really hurts, By this time the lump had gotten much bigger & started to head. I asked him what is this pops, what do I do. He says...if you get a fever or it starts leaking, go to the emergency room, otherwise come back in 3 months. I lasted a month, the pain was so bad, the lump was getting bigger, stil creating that head. Looked like a big boil. I have pictures of it. So I get in the office, the cardiologist says, let me see if we can lance that. Meanwhile the PA comes in & says, its infected, it has to come out, they should of done this last month when I had you admitted, the Cardiologist comes back in and says lancing is not an option, we have to take it out. So I meet with aThoracic Surgeon, I get admitted withing a few days...I am septic. Vegetation is growning in my heart. I have a temporary pm hanging out of my neck for 2 weeks so they can try and clear the infection (thats another story). Blood Cultures every day & blood tests, I am getting an intravenous flush 2x a day of this harsh antibiotic, I have this suction contraption over the spot where the lump was cut off my chest that gets repacked daily. I was in a LOT of pain, sick from the antibiotic, the drugs...I was bruised where my veins would blow. My PICC line had to be changed 4x, and a 5th time the line pulled down. I survived the hospital, the questionable few nurses and the infection, thank you Lord. I was sent home to change my own would which was gross/freaky as heck, I had to do my own infusions 2x a day. I was a complete mess. But I survived. Not happy with what I had to go thru, all the poking & prodding, the drugs. Only to get readmitted 2 more times because I developed Pericarditis & I still have it. It is painful & not pleasant when I have a reoccurrence. But I survived. Again, I am grateful. I survived.


2 Comments

You've been thru alot!

by BarbD - 2019-03-11 12:52:21

That sounds awful. Not sure how they let it get that bad!  I'm glad you're on the road to recovery. Was your pacemaker newly implanted when it got infected? I assume they had to replace the unit and leads?   

Got that T-Shirt Infection

by shirley d - 2019-03-11 17:15:16

Signs of infection are hard to pinpoint...or can be, Yours sounded pretty obvious! Mine lead us a merry 9-month dance.

As posted previously after 9 months trying to recover from shoulder surgery, pretty much bedridden, having convulsions After many GP visits (remember they got stuck on the shoulder op and didn't look any further) I finally landed with a locum at my nearest medical centre who believed me when I protested their easy diagnosis of depression and subconscious sabotage! ( months of "There is nothing physically wrong with you, it is all in your head:" yes, even the convulsions.

I was referred to a Specialist Physician who confirmed through blood culturing (10 days) and elimination of any other area of potential vegetative growth that the infection (CRP count sky high), had to be on my pacemaker. They were right it was. I had contracted a staph epidemidis infection and was not delusional. 
The cardio admitted he was surprised when the PM was removed and a mass became apparent in the right atrium, he thought it was the shadow of the lead.
I spent 2 weeks, post removal of PM, in hospital on huge doses of intravenous antibiotics - antibiotic chemotherapy. (Good luck trying to find a new vein every 8 to 12 hours!) Then home for the next 4 weeks with huge doses of oral antibiotics. Also on Warfarin for the first time. Struggling with high INR, couldn't seem to get the right dose. 
At least we now have a concrete diagnosis and a way forward. Such a relief. 
After this incident, I often ask for a CRP count to be done if I am feeling under the weather and am worried about infection...such an easy marker. I have just had a new PM inserted and all is well. Any surgery, dentistry etc, no matter how small will be prefaced by a course of prophylactic antibiotic! That is a neurosis I am willing to live with.

Be kind to yourself and demand treatment for as long as it takes....and ask for a CRP count!

My cardio reckoned I was at the most 2 weeks away from a serious stroke!

The best of luck, it takes time to come back from a thing like this.

Regards

Shirley

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At age 20, I will be getting a pacemaker in few weeks along with an SA node ablation. This opportunity may change a five year prognosis into a normal life span! I look forward to being a little old lady with a wicked cane!