Good day folks this is my weekly report for the week ending 01/18/14. I will rate the week a solid 3. It has been a good week overall. Thankfully when I left Tampa to go to Atlanta the temperatures here were close to the temps in Atlanta, and coming back because of a cold snap the temps in the Tampa area were close to those in Atlanta, allowing me to forgo the burden of adapting to massive changes in temperature in short periods of time. I will talk more about the trip and travelling alone in a bit, but now is the time share as I do my current medical situation. I really am doing fine. I have a continual nagging cough in the am and pm, which I will attribute to the Mucinex I take twice daily. The sole purpose for this medicine is to break up the crap that resides in the bottom of one’s lungs. The TV commercial for Mucinex is probably one of the best animated shorts that truly represents what this medicine is all about. It makes you cough that crap up. Those of us with diminished lung capacity truly appreciate having whatever additional space we can acquire in our lungs and coughing this crap out really does have an overall positive impact on your lungs.
BTW — crap is a medical term for the shit in my lungs.
I have been sleeping well (all things considered) especially for me. I have little aches and pains but I am 64 and I have not lived a stellar life, and even if I had, I suspect the aches and pains I have come standard, with the package, and I am okay with it. I do haves some chest discomfort, but this has been addressed with my Heart Doctor, and he is okay with it, again it seems that lots of folks have some level of discomfort in their chest. My is extremely brief and happens when I awake in the morning. I guess I will start to really worry about it the morning I wake up and don’t have it.
Vitals on 01/16/14
Blood Pressure 110/66
Heart Rate 103
O2 Level 94/95
Last PT/INR 2.1
Weight = to friggin much but less that this time last week
I spent the earlier part of the week in Atlanta Ga. I drove up on Monday and returned and Wednesday, round trip over 1,100 miles. I travelled alone, stopping as necessary, and functioning as anyone else. It was easy; the only PIA was all the crap one has to travel with. But having whined about it, if you make a list check and it twice, and pack accordingly, it really isn’t that big a deal to travel alone with COPD. I guess the single most important thing about it is letting people know you’re doing it and checking in periodically. Having COPD does not confine you to the Den or Living room. It doesn’t mandate that the longest trip you can make is to the doctor’s office, it really doesn’t. It takes a little courage, and a good bit of planning. And after you do it 2 or 3 times, you stop fretting and get on with your life. Besides normal packing, the things I took for me for this trip included: a week’s worth of medicine, both my portable concentrator and the one I use in home, my nebulizer and Cpap machine. I try to pack all medical stuff in one bag, cloths in the other. When I check into the hotel, I generally get one of the hotel staff to help me get the crap to the room. Once there I am setup in 10 minutes and then let the visit begin. I do nebulize before leaving the room, and I do carry my next dose of medicine with me. Really pretty simple, and the joy of being out and travelling and being independent makes me feel great. Enough on this subject.
This week’s word is M R S A. Over the last couple years I have said that while I was in the hospital with pneumonia, that I was also battling MRSA. I don’t believe I truly defined what MRSA is or the impact it has to the body. Hopefully this will help those that need a deeper understanding. I am going to start out with “book” definition of the term. Because I will be talking about MRSA today, I am taking the info from: The U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) the world’s largest medical library. Its electronic services deliver trillions of bytes of data to millions of users every day.
The NLM was founded in 1836 and is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland.
I have edited the information provided by NLM for the sake of the blog, the complete reference material can be found at this link:
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; Hospital-acquired MRSA (HA-MRSA) MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. MRSA is a “staph” germ that does not get better with the first-line antibiotics that usually cure staph infections. A.D.A.M. When this occurs, the germ is “resistant” to the antibiotic.
Causes, Incidence, and Risk Factors: Most staph germs are spread by skin-to-skin contact (touching). A doctor, nurse, other health care provider, or visitors may have staph germs on their body that can spread to a patient.
Once the staph germ enters the body, it can spread to bones, joints, the blood, or any organ, such as the lungs, heart, or brain.
Serious staph infections are more common in people with a weakened immune system.
MRSA infections can also occur in healthy people who have not recently been in the hospital. Most of these MRSA infections are on the skin or less commonly lung infections.
Symptoms: It is normal for healthy people to have staph on their skin. Many of us do. Most of the time, it does not cause an infection or any symptoms. This is called “colonization” or “being colonized.” Someone who is colonized with MRSA can spread MRSA to other people.
A sign of a staph skin infection is a red, swollen, and painful area on the skin. Pus or other fluids may drain from this area. It may look like a boil. These symptoms are more likely to occur if the skin has been cut or rubbed because this gives the MRSA germ a way to “get in.” Symptoms are also more likely in areas where there is more body hair due to hair follicles.
MRSA infections in patients in health care facilities tend to be severe. These staph infections may be in the bloodstream, heart, lungs, or other organs, urine, or in the area of a recent surgery. Some symptoms of these severe infections are:
Cough or shortness of breath
Fever and chills
General ill feeling
Wounds that do not heal
Signs and tests: Your doctor may order a “culture.” This is a sample from a wound, blood, urine, or sputum (spit). The sample is sent to the lab for testing. This testing can take a few days to finish.
Treatment: Draining a skin infection may be the only treatment needed for a skin MRSA infection that has not spread. A health care provider should do this procedure. Do not try to pop open or drain the infection yourself. Keep any sore or wound covered with a clean bandage.
Severe MRSA infections are becoming harder to treat. Your lab test results will tell the doctor which antibiotic will treat your infection. Your doctor will follow guidelines about which antibiotics to use and look at your personal health history. MRSA infections that are harder to treat are ones in:
Lungs or blood
People who are already ill or have a weak immune system
You may need to keep taking these antibiotics for a long time, even after you leave the hospital.
Expectations (prognosis): How well a person does depends on the severity of the infection and their overall health. MRSA-related pneumonia and blood infections are associated with high death rates.
Prevention: The best way to prevent the spread of staph is for everyone to keep their hands clean. It is important to wash your hands properly.
Health care workers and other hospital staff can prevent staph.
Visitors also need to take steps to prevent spreading germs.
If you have surgery planned, tell your health care provider if:
You have frequent infections
You have had a MRSA infection before