Mallory has MRSA and I’m not freaked out. Seriously.

Miss Mallory has contracted a staph infection that tested positive for MRSA, yet I’m not freaked out.  Well, ok, I’m a little disturbed but I’m not ‘The sky is falling!’ kinda freaking out.  This is just your run of the mill, ‘My baby has something wrong with her’ garden variety unease. 

It all started last Friday night when I noticed a hard red lump just to the north and west of her buttcrack.  For those of you that are directionally challenged, that’s the upper left buttcheek.  At first I thought that it was an irritation or bite of some kind but realized I needed to call in backup.  Bless my mom’s heart, she stopped by our house close to 9 o’clock on her way home from her 12 hour shift at the hospital to take a look at MJ’s tushie to tell us that we needed to call our doc to get an appointment in the AM. 

Got in to see the doc around 10AM Saturday; she took a look at it and let us know that we would be going straight to Children’s Hospital’s Urgent Care because it would need to be drained and treated as an abcess.  At that point she mentioned MRSA, but cautioned us not to get too wrapped up or worried about it.  Had to wait a bit for the Urgent Care to open but were the first inside.  Long story shot, the tech got all gowned up and then we had to help hold her down as she was given 6 shots of Lidocaine surrounding the lump.  The worst part was when they sliced into it with the scalpel – she screamed the whole time 😦  They packed it with gauze, told us not to let it get wet for two days,  and to follow up on Monday to get it unpacked and examined.  We also left with a prescription for Bactrim.

My babysitter had notified us weeks in advance that she would need November 1st off so Mallory was supposed to go to a substitute day care that day.  Unfortunately, with an infectious open wound (even one that was covered), we couldn’t exactly take her to the day care.  I stayed home on Monday and took her to Children’s Hospital downtown to get her wound examined and unpacked as well as find out where her treatment would go from there. 

We waited in the Urgent Care waiting room for almost 2 hours (yes, the majority of the parents waiting were using the urgent care as a doctor’s office during office hours.  This made everyone’s wait miserable.  My restaurant-style pager finally started lighting up so I turned it in at the desk; they told me that it was dying and they would call my name when they were ready to take her back.  When I asked when she would be seen, they took a look at why she was there and told me that their department didn’t handle abcess rechecks; those were handled in the Emergency Room.  I kept my cool, but let them know that I was not pleased about having to keep my daughter waiting for close to 2 hours in the wrong area when I could have been directed to the appropriate area when I checked in.  They sent us to the ER, with the REALLY sick kids, to wait some more.

Luckily, it was only about an hour wait there before we were in and out; the tech who performed Mallory’s initial procedure saw us waiting in the room and when he heard what happened he grabbed the attending doctor and had MJ seen right away.  They removed her packing, examined everything, and placed a big gauze pad with tape on it.  Now we were instructed to soak it a few times a day to encourage all of the stuff that might be left inside to work its way out.  I broke down on the way out of the hospital to get Mallory some Cheetos as a special treat for being such a great patient kid while we waited.  Of course, it was almost 2 hours past her naptime so she passed out in her seat on the way home; she didn’t even make it out of the parking garage before she was fast asleep with orange drool on her chin.  Poor kid… she turned 18 months old that day.

On Monday night I started feeling crappy; it felt like a sinus infection hit me like a ton of bricks.  MJ’s dupa (that’s Polish for ‘butt’) started looking much better with the swelling receding and the redness abating throughout the week.  We didn’t relish giving her the Bactrim every night but saw it as a necessary evil.  On Thursday I was diagnosed with bronchitis and the beginning of pneumonia so I was off work Thursday and Friday.  Friday morning I noticed that the spot felt a little more hard than it had been earlier in the week.  I called our doc and she arranged for us to come in on Friday evening to evaluate things and let us know if we were going to have to go through this all over again. 

Rolled through the door on Friday and she confirmed what I thought – it was getting hard again 😦  She was hesitant to put Mallory through that again and instead, asked us to come back first thing this morning.  At this appointment she also let us know that the test results came back positive for MRSA.    I went up to my parents’ place about 40 minutes away after that and put a compress in her diaper, followed by a bath while we were up there.  We took her there today dressed in her jammies and our doc was surprised that the swelling went down.   Today she took 2 baths and we soaked her site; it seems to be making a difference.

From here, we’re going to keep soaking her at least twice a day to encourage all of the infection to drain.  Her antibiotic runs out on Monday so the doc wants to see her again on Wednesday evening to monitor what the infection’s done since the medicine ended.  Our goal is that it will be scabbed over and normal looking.  If not, we’ll reexamine options including having it redrained and/or a new course of antibiotics.

I have to admit, I was freaked out when our doc started mentioning MRSA because I wasn’t really sure what it was except that the media was freaking out about it calling it a worse menace than SARS and bird flu.   I’ve been doing a lot of research and talking with medical professionals and found out that Mallory having just one bout of infection isn’t a lot to worry about.  Everyone (yes, this means you too) has opportunistic staph bacteria including MRSA strains, lurking on their skin; it just takes a single microbreak in the skin for those germs to start setting up shop.   Sure, it’s scary now but in the scheme of things, it’s not quite as scary as cancer.  I will begin to worry if she gets another infection like this because that means that she’s more likely to be a MRSA carrier.  If that’s the case then the treatment is a little different and includes crazy baths and nose swabbing.  I’m not going to get worked up about that… yet.

In the meantime, we’re going to do just what we’ve always been doing – universal precautions.  This includes washing our hands after using the restroom, changin MJ’s diaper, or working with her wound site.  I’m also going throughout the house on a germicidal spree killing everything in my path so that we don’t infect anyone else in our house with either MRSA or bronchitis.  This goes way beyond dust bunnies.

This week hasn’t been easy but that’s okay.  Mallory hates when anyone takes her pants off because she assumes we’ll be taking off the band-aid, but that’s ok too; she doesn’t complain about multiple baths in one day.  I’ll try to update on how she’s doing in the next week or so.