For the past week I’ve been tied up helping to care for my dad who had surgery a couple of weeks ago on his leg to restore circulation and heal an infection in his foot. The operation went very well, he was steadily improving and then over the weekend he spiked a fever, had chest pain and difficulty breathing. So off he went in the ambulance for a check over at the local hospital (not the one in which he’d had the surgery). Although the ride in the ambulance was smooth, the experience at the hospital was VERY bumpy indeed. On Monday morning they said they thought he had a touch of pneumonia and on Wednesday they said, “Transitional pneumonia and a hospital-acquired infection” which was not a happy combination. But from Monday night he continued to improve steadily and was doing very well on Wednesday night. From Monday night on he had no fever, his white count was not elevated, blood pressure was good.
Thursday morning a resident comes in and tells Mom that the blood cultures they’ve done the past couple of days have both come back positive for MRSA, and they think the infection is coming from his foot, so they want to amputate the other leg that afternoon. Mom was there by herself at the time, and all she could do was cry. Dad was so shocked he couldn’t even speak. My cousin came in a few minutes after all that and began calling the doctors in and asking questions. The head doc comes in and he agrees with the resident, and makes the comment that it shouldn’t be too traumatic for Dad since he’s not using the leg. That gets her Irish up and she lets him know that Dad most certainly DOES use the leg, it’s how he gets from the bed to the wheelchair and from the chair to the commode, etc.
She finally tells the docs that we want Dad to see the surgeon in Roanoke who operated on his leg just two weeks earlier (and who saw him at his office only one week earlier and was very pleased at how well and quickly Dad was healing). The surgeon was on the computer, looking at Dad’s hospital reports (both the same hospital system) and he said something didn’t add up. He couldn’t imagine how Dad could get that bad of an infection in such a short time. So he starts the ball rolling to get him transferred to Roanoke. They tell us that it may take a couple of days to transfer him down there.
Meanwhile I am rather stirred up over all this. I am caring for Dad at night and I see the steady and really GOOD improvement he has made from day to day. If he had an infection in his bloodstream like MRSA, he would be deathly sick and getting worse. Instead, each day has seen him stronger and much improved, pretty much back to his old self and getting strength back.
Friday morning comes and the resident comes back in and says the blood culture is now negative! Imagine that. Either the infection miraculously disappeared or their lab tests were WRONG (and as much as I trust the Lord to work miracles, I suspect the latter in this instance) and that means they would have taken off Dad’s leg the day before IN ERROR. Last week’s SS lesson was on the Man of Romans 7, and let me tell you I suddenly discovered how “alive” that old man inside me was when I hit that morning. Had either of those Radford doctors been there when I came to stay with Dad, I would have shared pieces of my mind I couldn’t afford to lose, possibly in words I forgot I knew how to say.
As Ray Stevens says in one of his songs about doctors, “Practice, practice if you must, but why must they always PRACTICE on us?” Never, never ever will I accept a doctor’s word as an educated opinion again.