Marching On

Some people go off food when they’re unwell, others take to their beds. I think I’ve discovered a new phenomenon which has yet to be documented in any medical journal. Whenever I succumb to an infection in my head, I lose all appetite for blogging. To understand this, you have to realise that the blogsphere represents the outside world, a world which crumples at my feet each time illness strikes. The battle of the bugs continues…

St. Valentine’s Day marked the beginning of this particular episode. I woke with a severe headache and as the day wore on, pain and pressure started to build behind my right eye. My GP prescribed a tetracycline antibiotic, Doxycycline which has been the stalwart of my treatment in recent years. My symptoms subsided but a week later, my right eye began to close over with swelling and the pain and pressure returned in my head. On account of my previous history, I was seen urgently by a specialist. A swab ruled out MRSA but this new resistance to Doxycycline, was a definite cause for concern. I was started on a cephalosporin antibiotic, Keftid which seemed to work well so after two weeks the dose was reduced with the plan that I would continue on it long term to break the cycle of chronic infection. That plan fell apart when another bacterial superinfection took hold last week. The headaches gradually returned and my life ground to a halt once more. This time my GP prescribed a different cephalosporin antibiotic, Suprax which I’m happy to report, appears to be taking hold. The headaches have eased and so has the sense of despondency which accompanied them. Where to from here?  Who knows but for today anyhow,  I’m happy to have had my world open up again. On I march.

im-gonna-be-sickWhile on the subject of  nasty bugs, one of my regular readers kindly sent me details of a worrying outbreak of the Norovirus (Winter Vominting Bug) in Limerick. This highly infectious virus is usually found in our hospitals and can be potentially dangerous in the very young or old. The outbreak occurred on a college campus which has been temporarily closed while infection control measures are implemented by the HSE. See press release.

It seems that healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) are no longer confined to hospitals. The bugs are marching on.

19 Responses to Marching On

  1. Grannymar says:

    Glad you are having a good day Steph and hope it leads to many more.

  2. Bendy Girl says:

    I’m just the same! Sorry to hear that this infection isn’t clearing, but fingers crossed the new antibiotics will break this cycle. Perhaps it’s worth thinking about an appointment in Leeds, although can you be seen in the UK on the NHS?
    Hope you keep feeling better, BG x

  3. Steph says:

    Grannymar – Thanks! I’m improving by the hour. Fingers crossed it lasts this time.

    Bendy – Sorry to hear that you are also struggling with chronic infection. As if you didn’t have enough to contend with 😦

    I am not covered by the NHS and my insurance company does not entertain medical bills from the UK unless treatment is prior approved and is unavailable in Ireland. When I had my surgery in the UK, the NHS milked my insurance company for fees. I had to pay up-front for all out-patient consultations and received very little in return from my insurance. I’m due to see my GP tomorrow to discuss the way forward. At the moment, I’ve no idea what direction that will take but I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure my chances of recovery.

    Hope you too, feel better soon!

  4. Baino says:

    Oh Steph! You’re what we’d euphamistically refer to as a ‘battler’. It must be awful negotiating these highs and lows. I hope you’re out of the woods soon with the new drugs.

  5. Steph says:

    Baino – Highs and lows is right. I can be as right as rain one day and the next I’m floored, often without warning, by an infection in my head. The problem with the skull is that it cannot expand to dispel the inflammation of infection and hence the pain is reflected. It’s actually a relief when the tissues around my eye swell up as the pain usually goes with the swelling.

    I’m very much better tonight so I’m confident that this new antibiotic is hitting those blasted bugs. Hopefully this breather will last longer than the last.

  6. knipex says:


    Above all else watch your health. It is much more important than blogging..

  7. Steph says:

    Knipex – Thanks! I agree. I only talk about going off blogging as it astounds me the way it happens every time when unwell.

    I LOVE my blog, it gives me great pleasure and comradeship. It’s the first thing I look at every time I come into the house but as soon as I’m unwell, I don’t want to know about it. I go from being fiercely loyal to being outright disloyal to it! 😀

    I’m sure this is because my blog represents the outside world which I feel is denied when illness strikes.

  8. Annb says:

    So sorry to hear you’re not well. I was beginning to worry about you over the last few days. So I’m sending you lots of good wishes and big hugs from Galway along with an invite to come and puke on my best carpet anytime!! But just to let you know – that best carpet has been well christened by our champion hurler Rory so you’ll be in the very best of company. Long live cake and wine!!

  9. Joy USA says:

    Hi Steph, I am very happy to hear that you are feeling better. I too and battling MRSA and I too have EDS. Do you know what form of EDS you have? My daughter is type 4 and I am 2 or 3. As painful as EDS can be the MRSA is the most worrying. Evey time I get better I wonder how long it will last this time. Do you find yourself consumed with those thoughts?

    I can’t thank you enough for your blog because of it I have decided not to have my sinus surgery. I have had a bad feeling about all along and your story has helped me to see that I am making the right choice.

    I will be praying for your further improvement. God Bless, Joy

  10. Steph says:

    Annb – Thanks 😀 Your comment brought a welcome giggle to this whole sorry saga.

    I had a good discussion with my GP today and he is agreed that further consultation is needed. Consults with microbiologist and surgeon are now in the making.

    Joy – Hello and welcome! I have an apology to make to you. I did see your previous comment a few days ago but failed to reply as I had to batten down the hatches for a few days.

    I’m sorry to hear your story. You are the second person to contact this blog because of problems with MRSA as well as EDS. As I don’t know enough about your sinus or MRSA history, I cannot comment on whether or not you should consider surgery.

    I was diagnosed with Type 3 EDS following repeat structural problems and abnormal scarring following surgery. I am, in fact, supposedly clear of MRSA but still heavily infected with the Staph aureus bacteria. It took almost two years of treatment with antibiotics before I managed to rid myself of a positive MRSA status. I then had major surgery in 2007 to remove the osteomyelitic (dead) bone from my forehead and have remained clear of MRSA since. Because chronic Staph A infections continue to recur, I do find myself thinking just like you said…

    “Every time I get better I wonder how long it will last this time”.

    I’m generally a very positive person but at times, it’s hard not to feel despair. I cope with any feelings of despondency by expressing my worries loud and clear to the medics in charge of my care so that no stone is left unturned.

    Thank you for your well wishes. I hope you too find answers to your prayers. Take care.

  11. Joy USA says:

    Hi again Steph, Thank you for getting back to me, your blog is the only one I have ever found interesting enough to read, comment on and keep up with. Your story is very compelling but I am sure you would much rather have a boring story to tell.

    My daughter actually has EDS type4 (vascular) and OI type4 so she has a pretty painful life. Dislocates , breaks bones almost everyday. She is the oldest of 5 people in the world to have both EDS and OI (Osteogenesis Imperfecta)she just set a new age record when we celebrated her 33 birthday. I am 55 and mostly I break ligaments, tendons sub flex my knees and I have had at least 9 hernias post-op. I bend but don’t break LOL my daughter bends and breaks :>( poor thing.

    Do you mind my asking how old you are and when you found out that you had EDS? Does anyone else in my family have EDS? hope I’m not being to nosy it’s just been a very long time since I found someone else with EDS. Joy

  12. Steph says:

    Hi Joy

    Thanks for your kind words. A nice start to St. Patrick’s Day!

    Your poor daughter! OI and EDS is a cruel hand of fate. I, like you, bend but don’t break. I was 36 when EDS was diagnosed (now almost 52) following repeated failed surgeries and a catalogue of medical problems. My diagnosis was made by an eminent physician (we do not have an EDS specialist in Ireland) and I was labelled Type 3, Hypermobility, but as you know there are many derivations of this. My EDS appears to be mild compared to others but nevertheless, it has had a significant impact on almost every aspect of my life.

    One of my UK blogging friends, Bendy Girl whose blog is ‘Benefit Scrounging Scum’, has much more contact with the EDS world. If you visit her blog you’ll find a host of other EDS fans plus links to the UK Support Group and EDS National Foundation (USA).

    I hope this is helpful!

  13. Joy USA says:

    Hi Steph, Happy St Patty’s Day
    Thank you for Bendy Girls blog, she is a hoot. My daughter goes by Pop-a-part guess having a debilitating illness gives you a good since of humor.
    May the sun shine, all day long,
    everything go right, and nothing wrong.
    May those you love bring love back to you,
    and may all the wishes you wish come true!
    ~Irish Blessing Joy

  14. Steph says:

    Thanks! Joy

    It’s been a beautiful day here. The sun did shine on Ireland for Paddy’s Day and judging by the news coverage tonight, our National Day has been celebrated right around the world. It’s made a welcome break from all the economic woes!

  15. Joy USA says:

    St. Patrick’s Day is huge in America, they turn all the rivers green and drink green beer all day. i went to a St Patrick’s Day party once years ago and a good friend of mine and my husbands (a doctor) showed up in green scrubs and drinking beer from a urinal. i thought I would die laughing, I’ll never forget that. We are such a melting pot of people that we celebrate just about everything from all over the world. I guess just about the only Holiday that belongs just to America is the 4th of July. It was beautiful here today also, sunny and about 75* I baked a birthday cake for my soon to be 35 year old son. he has to stop having birthdays,,,he is making me feel old. LOL Have a Blessed week. Joy

  16. Steph says:

    Thanks! Joy

    Don’t fancy the urinal idea much but I’m sure it looked hilarious!

  17. […] a Bug’s Life I had an infection in my head recently which recurred repeatedly despite treatment with antibiotics. An antibiotic called Suprax […]

  18. Jack says:

    I had a similar problem after a sinus opp. Took long term antibiotics, but the situation just got worse. Told the specialist that the anti-biotics he is using is not working, then get more swabs and same old result. You really need a doctor who is extremely clued up when you have something like this. Self studying also helped me alot, ’cause a lot of doctors think they know too much, and everything doesn’t allways just work the way they were taught in university. There could be other possibilities than simply streptococus.
    Hope you’re doing well!!

  19. Steph says:

    Jack – Hello and welcome.

    I couldn’t agree with you more. It really pays to be well-informed and to take an interest in your own treatment.

    Unfortunately, I’m heading for more surgery later this week. Tune in and read all about it…

    I hope you’re keeping well. All the best.

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