Archive for the 'MRSA' Category

Those poor bunnies

Most places you work in have occupational health people. To make sure you’re not gonna be some health liabilty before you start. For medics, this means you need to be vaccinated against some lovely diseases and also that you don’t have any lovely diseases to give the patients.

My experience with OH people is always that they’re a bit intense, a bit weird. This is on a vast experience of at least three of them. Now my apologies if you know some OH people and I’m offending you. That’s not my intention. But maybe this level of intesnity and caring about things that no body else does is required on the job. They’re not wrong I just find it hard to agree with themĀ  with the same amount of oomph.

Sorry for the rampant judgementalism, but it’s what I do in blogs. I don’t really mean it. There’s lots of things I feel and think on first impressions but reason will always (i hope) dominate my actions.

So… The one in the hospital is lovely but very (very) keen to ensure i’m not imorting the lovely MRSA into the population. Now i’ve written on this before but things changed today.

I got a discreet phone call from the OH woman today, let’s call her Margaret because… well… that’s her name and I don’t think confidentiality is an issue here. Well it wasn’t even a call it was a subtle message to my pager. All it read was ‘call 2601’. No name, no reason.

Incidentally in the hospital here you can send text messages to people’s pagers. You can send them to all the docs at once. Worked well till they had a juniors vs seniors cricket match and then some text banter got out of hand and all of a sudden it was a bit personal, and a bit sensational and the papers would have had a field day. So they stopped that.

Anyhow I got the feeling Margaret would have added ‘turn around slowly and head towards the phone on your left, when it rings say the password and act normal’. But she didn’t and i’m grateful.

I rang the number and once the decryption kicked in Margaret answered and told me to call by her office. Again I got the feeling she would have added ‘come alone, and make sure you’re not followed’ but she obviously knew that ‘they’ were listening so she left at that.

I called round to her windowed office and sat down. She pulled the curtains. I got scared. This was a lady who stuck a needle with TB in it into me on monday just for reaction. OK so that was to prove I was immune but still…

‘Well Andrew your swab results are back’. And I knew what was coming. Cause it was a foregone conclusion. Yes… I was MRSA positive. As surprising as a sunset, or a kiwi liking rugby or a 6hr waiting time in an A&E department.

I think she expected me to cry, or even sniffle a bit, so I obliged by pinching the inside of my leg with my hand in my pocket and thought of watership down (so sad, all those poor bunnies…). I was going to follow that with a ‘how long do I have doc’, but I was pushing my luck already.

So I ended up getting re-swabbed up my nose, my face and places I dare not speak of before the watershed. Always wondered why they made the sticks on those swabs so long…

I’m still allowed to work but I have to walk round the hospital ringing a bell and shouting ‘unclean’. Well no, I just made that up (though the rest is mostly true), I had to get a prescription for body wash stuff (yeah I know i’ll have to start washing) and lovely antibiotic ointment to stick up my nose.

The ointment provides an interesting conundrum. All they give you is the ointment and instructions to rub 1cm of it (i know, what the flip is a cm of ointment when it’s at home) up my nose twice a day. So I now spend 5 mins every morning with my little finger up my nose rubbing this stuff around. All it does is make my eyes water and sneeze.

The idea is to clear ‘nasal carriage’ of MRSA. Though this seems a bit silly since it’s been at 6 months since I examined or treated a patient using my nose. Nasal-led surgery is now largely discredited and illegal in many countries so I reckon the patients were safe anyhow.

I’m tempted not to go through this ludicrous ‘decontamination’ but they re-swab me next week and I think if I fail again I might end up deported or sent to Tasmania, or the south island or worse. Probably lurgan…

Margaret complained that things like this always happen on a friday, and that last friday a similar thing happened when she got the results of a staff members bloods back. They’d got a ‘needlestick injury’ (sticking a dirty needle in yourself by mistake) off a patient. This staff member’s HIV test had come back positive because of it. I was genuinely shocked and enquired what happened next, disturbed by the fact that she would compare that event to mine. She said it was a ‘false positive’ (faulty result) and laughed as she stuffed the swab up my nose. I edged slowly toward the door, stifled a fearful sniffle and tried not to think of all those poor bunnies.


July 2022