I am home now after spending the past three days at Swedish Medical Center inpatient with a staph infection. It will take at least two more weeks of IV antibiotics to clear and we don't know if it entered my body through my portocath or another way.
The infection showed up Tuesday in the wee hours as hot, red, tender blotches on my lymphedema arm. At 2:30 PM I went to the physical therapist, who recommended I see my primary care doc. At 3:30 PM Dr. K said "I remember what happened last time*. This looks like cellulitis, so let's admit you to the hospital. No, you may not drive home and get Rik. Your job is to get yourself up to the hospital right away." By 4 PM I was walking in the door to Swedish and by 4:15 they had me in an isolation room. I was hooked up to IV antibiotics by 9 PM and discharged Thursday at 6 PM.
MayoClinic.com defines cellulitis as follows:
"Cellulitis (sel-u-LI-tis) is a common, potentially serious bacterial skin infection. Cellulitis appears as a swollen, red area of skin that feels hot and tender, and it may spread rapidly.
Skin on lower legs is most commonly affected, though cellulitis can occur anywhere on your body or face. Infections on the face are more common in children and older adults. Cellulitis may affect only your skin's surface — or, cellulitis may also affect tissues underlying your skin and can spread to your lymph nodes and bloodstream.
Left untreated, the spreading infection may rapidly turn life-threatening. That's why it's important to seek immediate medical attention if cellulitis symptoms occur."
I will post more as time permits and I get caught up with the rest of my life.
*BTW, the last time means after my lumpectomy in 1999 when the surgical drain left in my axilla (armpit) became infected and developed into toxic shock syndrome. Luckily it was identified by an infectious disease specialist just as it became life-threatening. So you can see why my health care providers take the risk of infection seriously.