Friday, June 8, 2012

Flesh Eating Bacteria Story (II)

Visiting Daddy

Ok, so we got checked in to Jacob's hospital room. I went outside and made some phone calls to our families. I was scared not knowing what was to come next. I have taken many Health classes in school/college and understood alot of the terms the Drs. and nurses were using regarding Jacob's health. None of them were good. There was some talk of possibly needing surgery, removing parts or all of his foot or possibly even his leg depending on the severity of the bacteria infection. The Drs. told us that had we waited til later that day to come, Jacob would be choosing Life or Limb...both could not be saved. This helped Jacob understand the severity of his condition a bit more.

For hours that day, nurses were in and out of the room more times than I can remember administering different types of antibiotics through IVs. He had Tetnus shot updates and his blood drawn about 3 more times. There was no improvements through out the day, however, things did not seem worse. The fever was not down either, but not getting higher. His white blood counts were 27,000. (normal is between 5-10K; mortality is 30,000)

Enter Dr. Williams, 5:30pm, the infectious disease Dr. He studies all kinds of weird diseases and treats people with them. (OT: I asked him what the weirdest one he treated was the African Sleeping Sickness. the guy couldn't even stay awake for his appointments, all from the bite of a TINY fly! how cool!) So, Dr. Williams took a look at Jacob's foot and said that he felt the antibiotics just needed some time to kick in and in a day or two we would see a healthy Jacob again. OK, good news...or so we thought.

Enter Dr. Geideman, 8:00pm, (remember him? He was the 1st Dr. Jacob saw regarding the foot. He was the one who put the fever and the bump together and made the connection) He made some small talk and then rolled the cover back off Jacob's foot. His demeanor changed and he said "O my God. they said it was bad, but not this bad!" He took the nurse by the elbow and left the room without another word. Jacob and I just looked at each other, both of us thinking "this is not good!" He came back in the room minutes later and asked when Jacob had eaten last. It was about 5:00pm. Dr. Geideman said, "oh ok. well don't eat anything else tonight after midnight. nothing to drink either, because you are going to the OR first thing in the morning." he went on to explain what he felt was happening in Jacob's foot. Basically his plan was to open the wound area and cut back until he came to healthy tissue. He explained that if there is alot of puss that is not a good thing at all, yet he was hoping he would not find any. He said he thinks they got some good antibiotics inside of Jacob early enough to create a barrier around the areas already effected in his foot. This would stall the bacteria's spreading progress. But all that could not be determined well without opening the foot. We also warned us that if things were not as he was hoping, worst case scenario would be loss of tissues and bones during surgery. In other words, they plan to remove everything they absolutely have to in order to keep Jacob's over all health in good standing, even if it means taking his foot off.

We knew what we were stepping into, and it didn't sound pretty.

The next morning, the nurses showed up to take Jacob down stairs to the OR. I was allowed to go with him to anesthesia until they wheeled him back to the gurney. Jacob was having much anxiety, especially since he had never even been put under before. He did not know what to expect. The drugs were administered, and I prayed with Jacob then left to go wait in the surgical waiting area.

As I sat there, I felt SO alone. I knew that God was with me and Jacob, but I honestly just wanted a visible person there to talk to and "hold my hand" through the waiting period. I had my head in my hands and was praying and when I lifted my head, I saw someone I knew walking towards me. It was youth pastor from our previous church. WHAT A BLESSING! He sat and talked with me to pass the time. We prayed. He was sent from God. I was not expecting anyone to come.

About an hour after coming to the waiting area, Dr. Geideman came to let me know the surgery was over and Jacob was in recovery. He said,  "Jacob still has a foot! However, when i cut the foot open, there was a lot of puss. A. LOT. I was not happy about that, but I put a drain in it that will remain til tomorrow sometime. There was some dead tissue we cut out, but not much. We took blood cultures to grow the bacteria in to see what kind of bacteria we are dealing with. This will be the hardest part--waiting." He assured me Jacob was doing fine and would be ready to go upstairs in just a bit.

Whew! Jacob had his foot in tact! That was a blessing! Back to the room to stay hooked up to the IV antibiotics, and start pain meds.
Surgery was Friday. On Sunday, we were told that Strep Group A was the culprit. We had lots of questions! like how did he even get this!? Turns out its just one of those bacterias that we all carry. Yep, right now you have it- its just not active, and its VERY unlikely that it would become activated. Also, it can creep in through dry skin, a crack in your skin or some kind of trauma that will give it a breeding ground. (The bacteria thrives on dead blood.) The bacteria also may present itself in an area that does not fit any of the said descriptions, that is because it enters through a place and travels under the skin eating the tissues as it spreads until it presents on the outside. That is why it was so important that we got to the hospital when we did, because you truly cannot assess the real damage being done just by looking on the outside.
We would spend 6 days in the hospital, which turned into being called "the first hospitalization" since later we would return.

Following are the progression of pictures of the foot until we were to return to the hospital about 1 week later.
This was just the next day after surgery. Taken 2 days after the picture in the first post. Compare them here. The black is the tissue dying where the bacteria has eaten it away.    

Day 4 in hospital
Comparing the good foot to the eaten one :(

Day 6 in hospital

Day 2 back home

The white rubber band thing that looks like a tendon is not. It is fragile tissue. I have to get the other pictures from Jacob's thumb drive, but as i did the dressing changes over the next day or 2, all that yellow and black fell off with the dressings each day. It was VERY painful. 
To be continued....

1 comment:

Dusty said...

It's still so crazy to me how all that happened! I'm glad that he is on the mend now though! Is he still limping?