Saturday, February 2, 2013

How Steph ended up in the ICU

i do not make new year's resolutions, but i did decide to start blogging again last month....this is not what i wanted my first post in 8 months to be about.  but i am thankful that the outcome was a good one. 

first i want to thank everyone who prayed for us, kept us in their thoughts, and i want to thank my sister who has helped us out in several ways during this ordeal.

a couple of weeks ago steph confided in me that she had what she thought was a cystic zit on her...uh....well...the top of her butt crack.   (we would later find this was not the case)

several days went by and it was uncomfortable.  then it began to swell larger and larger and become very painful.  at this point i began to get nervous and the what ifs set in because of what my mom, sister and brother in law had been through...i will explain that later.   i told steph if sitting on the heating pad and hot showers did not bring a change for the better, or if things got worse we needed to make a trip to the e.r.

with insurance, the thought of going to the e.r. for a large cystic zit on your  butt crack would be embarrassing to say the least.   since the hubby is still unemployed, we are still without insurance.  steph did not want us to end up with a large bill over something so 'stupid'.  i told her i would rather have a hospital bill than a bill from a funeral home.  

last tuesday steph was in pain, and she just did not look right and i could not put my finger on dad's words rang in my head....follow your gut.  always follow your gut.  

the next morning steph woke up crying and could not stand up.  this cyst had become the size of a golf ball and the area around it inflamed to baseball size.    we have fluffy butts around here, so this whole time it had been hard to figure out just how big this thing had become. 

the hubby and i took steph to the e.r. and found that what she actually had was a pilonidal cyst.   this is a very common occurance actually.   these are usually easily treated.  they are lanced and drained, packed and the patient sent home on antibiotics and then a follow up with a surgeon.  

the e.r. doc nummed her up, and used a syringe to suck out the some of the gunk to send off to culture to check for staph and/or mrsa, along with a few other boogery medical things.    then he lanced it.   i all but keel over changing a boo boo band aid on a loved one, and max's two major bike accidents that i had to clean and dress and take care of  nearly sent me over the edge.   being in the room was for my baby girl.  i did not want to leave her side, or her feet actually during this process.   even though i could not see her boo-boo, watching the doctors face as he drained this freaked me thing we know there is a parade of medical peeps coming in to take a look at this thing.   it was quite a show.   this cyst went 3 inches deep.   in the medical world this was an awesome site...for the   and the smell.   oh there are no words.   one little nurse in training had to leave the room.  i tried not to get the giggles as i thought how i would never complain about the hubbys onion ring farts ever again.  

so the doctor packed her wound with about 6 or 7 feet of packing and sent us home, and we were given the phone number of the hospital surgeon, and a clinic surgeon to follow up with, as sometimes surgery is required to remove this particular sinus cavity to keep this from happening again.   oh, how are we going to afford this.   ok God, i hope you have a plan buddy.  

we joked and giggled on the way home.   we decided all she needed to tell fellow employees and her students was that she had a cyst on her tailbone.  

this is when it got scary. 

we got home, steph went to her room and i went to the kitchen and started making phone calls to get her in to see a surgeon.   i came back to our bedroom to change clothes and steph was standing in the hall way violently shaking, her color was odd, she was breathing strange.   she said she was not cold but it seemed at first she had really really bad chills.  i tucked her in my bed with a heating pad and space heater and called the e.r. to see if she was maybe having some type of allergic reaction to something.   they told me to try warming her up, or bring her back.  

this time i listened to my gut and we loaded her back in the car and took off for the hospital.   half way there i wish i had listened to my gut a bit better and called for an ambulance.   steph was losing consciousness. i had to keep shaking her to wake her back up.    in my head i yelled for everyone who  had passed over to not let her die on us.

by the time we got to the e.r. her temp, in less than an hour had gone from normal to 104, and that was with 3 motrin in her she had taken as soon as she got home.   her heart was racing and her blood pressure was 50/30.   there were times when the machine would not even register the bottom number of her blood pressure. 

many hours later we were in the i.c.u.    she was in septic shock.    we would also be told later that she had toxic shock syndrome.  i never knew you could get that any other way than what we had all grown up hearing about....using tampons.     the infection, since it was contained in the cyst, and had no way of getting out, had caused the toxic shock syndrome.   at that point the packing, or what we have lovingly started calling it...butt stuffins were removed because that would just continue to hold the infection in, however to keep the incision from healing outside in and trapping infection in a pocket, just the last inch or so is packed with medicated packing, butt stuffins.  this will allow the wound to heal from the inside out so that there should be no infection trapped inside causing this problem again.   there is though a 40% chance this could happen again, then she would definitely need surgery.

max and i spent the night with her and bill went home for the night.   later the next day after lots of saline and 3 different antibiotics by i.v. 4 or 5 times a day,   steph's heart rate and blood pressure had normalized enough to move her down the hall.   a c.t. scan showed the infection had not spread to tissue outside of the cyst or bone. 

saturday night steph got to come home.   sleep deprived we all slept off and on in odd shifts.  by monday my brain finally seemed to be able to process what had happened.  it is amazing how your brain goes in to survival mode during a crisis.  

we joked on the way home how when you go on vacation you get a tshirt, and she gets to come home with a neato souvenir mug.  

max and i caught the crud while at the hospital, but thankfully  not the flu.  seems there were quite a few flu patients.  i am thankful that i am hearing impaired.  steph said that when the nurses would open her door she could hear people barfing.  

they sent steph home on one of the meds she received by i.v., clyndamycin and now has developed an allergic reaction and we have switched meds.  

tuesday we see the surgeon.  i am hoping that we will no longer require butt stuffins.   my sister, who is a nurse, has been coming over to change this every other day.     no matter how many times i gave my self a pep talk and tried to put my big girls panties on, there is just no way i could get my self to stuff packing in to an incision in my baby girls body.  

i posted this on my blog since it was too lengthy to post on facebook, but also to share just how fragile and amazing we are all at the same time. 

a couple of years ago my brother in law had either a pimple or ingrown hair on his elbow.  he ended up with an abscess burrowing in to his elbow a good inch or two.   

last year my sister had the same thing on her groin area.   she ended up having to have a patch of tissue removed about 5 inches long and 3 inches deep.  she had staph.  she too went in to septic shock and kidney failure.   the change from something the size of a pimple to a mass of infected tissue happened overnight.

my mom, a few months after my sister, was bit by a spider on her back.  within a day or two my mom also ended up with a mass of infected tissue on her back and had to have a dinner plate sized tissue removed, down to the muscle layer.   she had staph, and ended up with mrsa.  

my mom and sister had in recent months before this happened had the strep virus.  

steph's cultures did not grow staph, and this actually puzzled the doctors.  they thought for sure she had staph.    but she hadnot had strep for years.  

i am not saying there is a connection to step and staph, but makes you wonder.  

we all have staph on our bodies, and most of us do not end up going through what i have seen family members go through.  

i asked 2 doctors at the hospital if there was any connection in any of this, some sort of buggy germ we had all passed around and both told me that staph, and the results i have had family members go through is becoming more and more common.  we have over medicated and our bodies are not able to naturally fight these bugs off.  

i am so thankful that everyone in my family has come through these events and are healing.  

on the way to the hospital with steph when she had become septic i was thankful we were a loving family and that we hug each other several times daily and tell each other daily many times we love each other.....the two usually go hand in hand.   but, i still would not have told her enough how much i loved her.  i told her over and over on the way.   just in case i never got the chance to again. 

don't ever take what you have right now in this moment for granted.  


  1. am so happy you were there and that now she will be okay. i wondered with your other posts what had happened. take care! xoxo

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  3. I read your post with tears in my eyes...being a mommy, I knew how horrified you were as all this was going on. So, so scary how fast things can go wrong. So, so thankful for a happy ending. I could picture your family group hugs...we do those every time we can all be together...always my favorite part of getting important to let our loved ones know how important they are every chance we get. Thanks for sharing ♥♥
    Big, Huge, Humongous Hugs to all!!!
    Love you ♥♥

    1. i was horrified on the way back to the hospital, but i did not realize how much my brain was in survival mode until the monday after steph came home and i found myself in the kitchen having a panic attack from what felt like it all hitting me at once.

      just the week before all of this i was a bit sad and irked at the same time that the kids all lock themselves away and are one their gadgets and devices chatting with friends, and then i thought i would rather them be doing that, than not to have them at all.

      before too long they will all be off living their lives and so i have to squish them and squeeze them all i can now. it goes by too fast, doesn't it?!

      thank you nancy for you too! big, huge, humongous hugs to you from all of us. smooches too!