Following my previous post (I Have An Alien On My Leg), the saga against the bacterial world continued for quite a while…
I’m finally cured from my injury/infection/whatever in my left calf. I can move and flex my ankle without a problem. In fact, the wound has been almost healed for several weeks now. And yet, I’ve been afflicted by the aftermath of it.
Before I go on, keep in mind that due to the widespread, decades-long abuse of antibiotics, staph and MRSA are a concern to everyone. During my ordeal, and while talking with the doctors that attended me, I’ve learned a few things.
What you may consider an appropriate shower and body/clothing cleaning habits may no longer be sufficient if you fit one or more of the following categories:
- Grapplers, Wrestlers, Judoka and Jiu-Jitsu fighters,
- Combat Sports Practitioners,
- Bodybuilders/fitness competitors in constant contact with benches, other shared equipment and tanning boots,
- Dancers (usually exposed to other dancer’s sweat),
- Construction workers.
If one or more of these categories describe you, you better learn a bit more about about staph and MRSA. If you do any of the above activities, you better start taking at least one daily shower with an anti-microbial. If you think your regular shower gel is going to do the trick, you may be headed for a nasty surprise.
If you do one of the aboves, common shower stuff won’t cut it. Period. Use an extra body humidifying lotion if you must, but you better use an anti-microbial to wash and scrub your body at least once a day… and the sooner you are out of work, martial arts training, the gym or tanning boot, the better.
If you don’t believe me, just keep reading…
In any event, this story is about me… because everything is about me, dammit!!! Hmmm, sorry… anyways…
It was about 3 days after I noticed a mildl swelling in my left calf (see my previous post (I Have An Alien On My Leg), just a couple of days after a friendly match against fellow grapplers. Silly me I thought it was a pimple or something, and like the guy I am, I tried to squeeze it. BIG MISTAKE.
Originally I didn’t know what the swelling in my left calf was, but after checking into the ER, it was confirmed it was staph. Thought a culture was never taken, there is no doubt in my mind that it was MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Later, it was determined that surgical drainage of it was required. Jus to recap, this is what it looked like 24 hours before going to the ER (keep in mind that it blew up to the size of a ping pong ball in less than 24 hours):
The surgical drainage consisted in getting injected who knows how many cc’s of who knows what in the affected area. That made the thing swell even more. After that, it was cut open and drained, the skin lifted out of the muscle from inside out with forceps, and then had gauze stuffed into the wound… all of that without local anesthetic. Ouch. I’m supposed to stay put and wait at least 48 hours before the gauze is removed.
During and after the surgical drainage, I was prescribed the following:
- Propoxyphene N 100 (substituted for darvocet) as a pain killer 3 times a day (I got a supply for 2 days).
- Sulfameth/trimethoprim (Bactrin) as an antibiotic twice a day for 7 days.
Everything fine and dandy, except that I could not walk well. My leg is swollen from ankle to knee, and I need to use a walking cane. But to make matters worse, just 24 hours after the surgery, I’m having a reaction against Bactrin.
I’m like holy shit! Really. I’ve used Bactrin before, but apparently never in such quantities. Tremors, palpitations, red face, from blushing to greenish to blushing, swollen lips, and pain on my left arm. I barely made it (I drove myself) to the ER around 11PM.
After a couple of hours, I’m fine, physically exhausted but fine. The doc took me out of the bactrin. In it’s place, he prescribed me clindamycin (300mg) every 6 hours for the next 3 days.
Now, this is bad news for me. Bactrin is the antibiotic of choice against MRSA. This limits what I will have available in case I get another infection (which is very likely since I won’t give up martial arts at all.)
That was over 6 weeks ago… the wound is fully closed, still tender, but closed. And yet, during all this time, my body and system were just out of wack. I blame it on the ordeal I had to go through. I don’t believe it has to do with the surgery. Painful as it was, it was manageable. I completely believe it has to do with the initial infection and the subsequent prescription of antibiotics.
The surgery took place on March, the 8th. It is now April, the 18. For the first time in weeks, I feel healthy and strong. God willing, I’m resuming training tomorrow.
I want to make people clear that I’ve always taken 2 or 3 showers a day, at a minimum. All it took was for my skin to get in contact with an infected gym surface. No cuts, no nothing. Just an opportunistic bacteria (in this case, MRSA) that infected a pore or hair follicle. That’s how little it can take to get this.
Now, I take at least one shower a day using an anti-microbial soap (Dial), plus I made sure to take a full body surgical scrub using Hibiclens. Furthermore, I now carry pureil, cotton swabs and polysporin in my gym bag at all times. If you think your regular shower gel is going to do the trick, and if you do any of the activities previously mentioned, you may end up having a nasty surprise.
If you are an athlete, sports practitioner or construction worker, don’t be stupid, and don’t be ignorant about staph and MRSA.
And just to cement this idea firmly in your head, this is what my leg looked like just before the gauze was removed from the wound:
And these are pics after the gauze was removed and the wound was cleaned.
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