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How I Feel Today 01.18.14

17 Jan

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

Temperature             98.1

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:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004520/

MRSA

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:

  • Chest pain

  • Cough or shortness of breath

  • Fatigue

  • Fever and chills

  • General ill feeling

  • Headache

  • Rash

  • 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

Folks I share this with you because MRSA is a very serious issue.  Earlier in the NFL pre-season, MRSA was discovered in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice facility.  One player was infected and out for several weeks, and there were several other incidents across the league. It is becoming more and more common and striking far and wide.  In my case, in the last 2+ years I have spent as much time in the hospital for MRSA related issues as I have for pneumonia.   Normally when I am released from the hospital the pneumonia has become a non-issue, but the MRSA continues, and that is normally why I am on antibiotics for up to 20 days after a hospitalization.   During hospitalization, MRSA just makes everything else about pneumonia worst.  Every symptom you have with pneumonia is doubled or tripled because of the MRSA.  I really don’t believe that MRSA has its’ own set of symptoms, at least so vastly different that a COPD sufferer would be able to say, “Oh! That’s my MRSA acting up.” If you look as the symptoms above you see they would be almost identical to those of a person with COPD.  Another significant aspect of MRSA is that it learns.  It learns the power of the antibiotics you are given and finds ways to make those antibiotics ineffective.  My doctors get me off antibiotics as early as possible in order for their drug of choice therapy to be affective. Also, there are a finite number of available antibiotics to effectively fight MRSA.  For me that’s the worst part, because I have had the opportunity to use most of the available drugs.  I now have MRSA with me 24/7; it has taken up residency in my left lung, and is in remission (for the lack of a better term).  You can be pretty sure that the next time I have pneumonia, the MRSA will act up and become part of the problem. But that’s the thing; it doesn’t have to and may not.  But my doctors always look for it immediately. 

Folks I do hope you find these words and phrases beneficial.  I also hope you have a pleasant day and great weekend.  Smiling another post complete and out in a timely manner.  LOL LOL. Thank you for your continued support, good thoughts, and as always your comments welcomed are encouraged – take care, Bill

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004520/

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/about/index.html

http://www.nih.gov/

 

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20 responses to “How I Feel Today 01.18.14

  1. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

    January 17, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    Another solid three after this traveling week is pretty awesome my friend. Have a great weekend. 🙂

     
    • FlaHam

      January 17, 2014 at 11:17 pm

      Paulette, Yes and already I am working on week 4. Take care, Bill

       
  2. Brenda

    January 17, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    I really like your scientific use of the medical term crap. LOL I’m glad weather was good and all was well traveling. You’re an inspiration. My husband and I decided to get rid of the mold in the bathroom that was causing me asthma. Yeah! Cheers, Brenda

     
    • FlaHam

      January 17, 2014 at 11:16 pm

      Brenda, Smiling, I am glad you liked the medical term LOL. I appreciate that. That is a very wise move, it will free you up considerably. Take care and be safe. — Bill

       
  3. Rosey

    January 17, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Thanks for the MRSA info, I’ve wondered about it and if it was something permanent. Glad you had a safe trip! Wish I’d known you were in Atlanta, that’s where I live 🙂

     
    • FlaHam

      January 17, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      Rosey, Had I known I would have loved to have met you. Maybe the next time I am up there. I am glad the MRSA info helped. As for MRSA being permanent, I have been told by nurses and doctors alike that once you have MRSA you have it. I was also told that most nurses and doctors have it in their system. Rosey, please believe me I am not the authority on MRSA, if you have any questions you should talk to your doctor.

       
    • FlaHam

      January 17, 2014 at 11:14 pm

      Rosey, I forgot to sign off before I hit the send button, sorry about that. Take care, Bill ____________________________________

       
  4. huntmode

    January 17, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    Bill, I love that you are detailing various words or acronyms. The MRSA is very important to understand. My cousin who died about two years ago, within my age bracket or two, had breast cancer that flared up again, complicated by pneumonia and MRSA. Your explanation helped increase my understanding. Thank you.

    So, I think you’ve had a solid three weeks of 3.0 within the new scale. Fantastic! And that you got to travel. And come safe home. Well done!

     
    • FlaHam

      January 17, 2014 at 11:22 pm

      Hunt, Thank you so much for your continued encouragement. As I was telling Paulette, I am already working on week 4. I have already forgot what the old scale was, this is the new me, and I have a new scale. I am glad my weekly word thing is working out. Not sure what next weeks’ will be, but I am sure it will pop into my head. my wrapping one of the many terms that have been used around me. I am really glad that my explaining words and phrases as I see them and apply them is help you and others. Thank you! Take care, Bill

       
  5. rebecca2000

    January 18, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    I’ve had MRSA in my finger and it sucked. That said, sorry you’ve dealt with it.

    I’m currently coughing crap up and then choking on it. I totally understand.

     
    • FlaHam

      January 18, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      Rebecca, As nasty as it is, that is the very very very best thing to do, cough every bit of that carp (pc word for shit) out of your lungs. Cough until your chest hurts, it will do you good. But, if your still coughing crap up Monday get your butt to the doctors, you don’t want to mess around with this. Trust me. I know. Take care, Bill

       
      • rebecca2000

        January 18, 2014 at 1:48 pm

        Thanks Bill. Yeah, I’m good about going to the Doc when I need to.

         
        • FlaHam

          January 18, 2014 at 3:10 pm

          Rebecca, I am glad to know that, because that is the key, so like I said if you still coughing up crap Monday, take your butt to the Doctor. Make sure you take care of yourself. — Bill — Smiling

           
  6. benzeknees

    January 18, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Again, thanks Bill for explaining MRSA! You are a font of knowledge. With me being in the early stages of my COPD diagnosis, I am especially interested in learning everything I can about this dread disease.

     
    • FlaHam

      January 18, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      Benze, It will be thru understanding that you get the most out of yourself. You have already learned that the only dumb question, is the one you don’t ask. I will help as much as I can. — Take care, Bill

       
  7. Chatter Master

    January 18, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Bill, you are defining COPD for us, and redefining how one can live with it. I’m glad you had another stellar week. I hope the travels were productive and happy. 🙂

     
    • FlaHam

      January 18, 2014 at 10:30 pm

      Colleen, I am just putting the word out, and hopefully helping a few folks along the way. The travel was purely for fun, and I would go back again in a second. As always thank you for your sweet words of encouragement. Please take care, Bill

       
  8. jmgoyder

    January 18, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Thank you, Bill, for defining MRSA. I had never heard of it before and it is frightening. I admire you so much for the way you cope with everything so cheerfully and positively and generously. Jxx

     
    • FlaHam

      January 18, 2014 at 10:42 pm

      Julie, I know I throw terms and phrases out all the time, and most folks are to polite or to embarrassed to ask. And that’s okay. But I have this wonderful soapbox to stand an preach from so, I will take the time to try and help. As always you offer such wonderful encouragement, it couldn’t be better or nicer. Thanks! Please take care, Bill

       

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