Fighting the infection in my brain


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Enter a new department to help with my case – Infectious Disease (ID).  Dr. Arrieta is the president of the medical staff and division chief for infectious disease at Choc. He and his staff came up with a plan to rid myself of the infection.

What is great about the brain is that it’s sealed and made so nothing gets in. What’s bad about the brain is if you have an infection, it’s hard to get something in there – antibiotics – to treat an infection.

Step one, they have to identify the bacteria, and then decide on the weakest antibiotic to kill the infection within the shortest time.  This philosophy and approach is so we don’t create super bugs by making infections less susceptible to stronger antibiotics.

The bacteria was identified as gram-negative meningitis – Enterobacteraerogen.

Bacteria growing in CSF – left and Blood – right… it’s has the consistency of jello

Luckily, the bacteria was very antibiotic susceptible (killed easily) and susceptible to an antibiotic that the brain would allow in to treat the infection – Cefepime.

One thing about long term IV treatment, is that it’s not done through a typical IV in the arm used for treatment; the hospital will put in a Peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC line) – a line that goes right into an artery.  It’s more stable and safe for long term treatment. I had PIC lines inserted twice for the 4+ months of antibiotic treatment.

I was put on a 3 week course of IV antibiotics (Cefepime).  The first few days of antibiotic treatment were pretty brutal.  What happens when the antigen kills the bacteria cells is the cell wall burst and introduce toxins into your body (brain).  So the initial doses of antibiotic were brutal causing high temperatures – 105 degree – nausea, restlessness and just feeling like crap x 10.

The other thing is that according to infection disease protocol, a temperature doesn’t start until about 102 – the elevated temperature aides in killing the infection, so I had times where I had to run hot for the greater good.  Also, when you try to cool the body, the work the body does to stay warm makes you even hotter so cooling measures were not part of treating my temperate, I had to gut it out.

Long term hard core antibiotic use does bome with a price too. A couple side effects I suffered from the long term antibiotic use were thinned hair, yellowed my teeth, and with out taking Zophran, I was really nauseous most of the day.

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