Thursday, June 25, 2009

Yeast? Fungus? Staph?

One of the incisions in my ankle isn't healing as it should -- I'll skip the details in case my reader is queasy about such things. The bottom line is that there seems to be an infection. The most likely candidate bug would be staph, as it turns up everywhere, even in operating rooms.

So this morning Mike Stahly, PA, took a swab to send to the lab, and sent me off to the pharmacy with a scrip for a mighty powerful oral antibiotic ($15 per tablet) to start with while awaiting the lab results which will more closely pin down the exact species of critter threatening the healing of my ankle.

This afternoon Dr. Stahly called to say that the initial lab results were -- interesting? Some kind of yeast, it seems. Or maybe a fungus? "Answer Hazy," according to the lab's Magic 8-Ball. Until they see more growth in the Petrie dishes an exact identification isn't possible.

We don't like "interesting."

We like our infections to be caused by easily-identified common beasties for which the course of treatment is well-established. Yeasts or fungi are, in contrast, more puzzling, and require more specialized knowledge.

So we're adding a powerful anti-yeast infection drug to the mix tonight.

"This is the same stuff we women take for our yeast infections," said Mrs Elliott, unhelpfully. "I guess that makes you a girly-man."

Sigh. What I have to put up with around here.

In the next few days the lab will have a better idea what's inflicting me, and on Tuesday we see a Dr Jon Lutz, MD (Bend Memorial Clinic Infectious Disease Department) who is said to be quite well-versed in your more obscure menageries of flesh-eating micro-organisms.

In the meantime, my accountant (Michael Savuto, member CPAs Without Borders, and author of Compassionate Accountancy Is Fine But How The Heck Do You Expect Me To Pay For My Daughter's Tuition When You Never Pay Me? [2009, Simon and Schuster]) warns me that we need to talk about my 2008 taxes, and we need to talk about them now.

Apparently the IRS doesn't have a form you can fill out if a limb is being gnawed away by bacteria and you could use a little delay.


  1. So sorry to hear about this setback, Jack. Hope the antibiotics do the trick.

    If your doc hasn't told you already, here's some important advice: The antibiotics will kill off the beneficial bacteria in your gut, so you need to get some acidophilus capsules from the health food store or eat some yogurt every day to replenish them. Otherwise you're going to have a lot of GI problems, which you sure as hell don't need on top of every thing else.

    Good luck.

  2. Yep yep yep, good advice. Doc said to get some cheerfully active yogurt and add it to the old diet. Since the calcium in the yogurt blocks absorption of the antibiotic*, I can't eat the yogurt, or any calcium-rich foods, within 2 hours of taking the antibiotic. On the other hand, the anti-yeast stuff wants to be taken with food so as not to irritate the ol' GI tract.

    I'm gonna need a professional scheduler around here just to keep track of things.

    PSH first caught my attention in The Talented Mr. Ripley. The man has some acting chops. Magnolia.

    * Levaquin, "...used to treat severe and life threatening bacterial infections" -- now that's reassuring!

  3. "* Levaquin, "...used to treat severe and life threatening bacterial infections" -- now that's reassuring!"

    Chill, dude -- I had a doc prescribe Levaquin for what he thought was a prostate infection but turned out to be nothing. (The idiot didn't even do a urinalysis to see if there actually was an infection -- just assumed it from the symptoms. I don't have a high opinion of Bend doctors generally.)

    But the point is that Levaquin and its counterpart Cipro are prescribed pretty routinely.

    "I can't eat the yogurt, or any calcium-rich foods, within 2 hours of taking the antibiotic."

    Acidophilus caps work just as well if not better. I take them because I have lactose intolerance.

  4. "Acidophilus caps work just as well if not better."

    That's handy to know. I wasn't sure how well they worked.

    I do like the taste of plain Greek- or Russian- style yogurt, tho', so I'll just work around the timing issues.

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