My name is Denise. I am the proud mother of 2 wonderful daughters, Emily and Jeanne. Emily is 5 years old. She is funny, kind, outgoing, compassionate and her teachers say she tells the best stories. Emily is a survivor of MRSA infection. Jeanne is 3 years old. She is funny, sweet, easy-going, thoughtful and her teachers say she isnâ€™t afraid of anything! Jeanne is a survivor of MRSA infection.
I had never heard of MRSA before July 2004. I only knew that Emily got sick much more often than any of her friends did. It seemed like as soon as she finished one course of antibiotics, she got sick again and went on another course of antibiotics. After two sets of ear tubes and numerous infections, her ENT cultured the drainage from Emilyâ€™s ears. Two weeks later, the test results showed MRSA and I found out the reason why my daughter wasnâ€™t getting better.
It was at this point that I learned about the terrible void of information available about this bacteria, even in the medical community. I began to read anything and everything about MRSA that I could get my hands on.
We took Emily to a Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist. She was treated with a 5 week course of Zyvox. I took comfort in the thought that with proper diagnosis, she had a good chance of the treatment being effective. The medications that are effective against MRSA are powerful and they come with their own set of risks. Emilyâ€™s blood count had to be monitored while on the Zyvox and she had certain food restrictions. She was pretty weak from being sick for so long and MRSA seems to make a person â€œout of sorts.â€ Emily had been on many courses of antibiotics before this that had held the infection at bay, only to come back again as soon as the medication was finished. The doctors had told me that if the Zyvox didnâ€™t work, the next step would be Vancomycin. So, we prayed a lot and, thank God, the Zyvox worked! In October, Emily was pronounced MRSA infection free!
In the meantime, Jeanne got an ear infection. She had rarely been sick until now. Her ear infection got bad really quickly and her eardrum burst. We feared the worst. The ENT cultured her infection and we were happy to find out it was not MRSA. Jeanne was treated with normal antibiotics and the infection cleared up nicely. The fluid in her ears did not. The doctor advised us to have ear tubes put in, so the fluid could drain. It was affecting her hearing and there was concern of possible hearing damage.
Of course, we were afraid that having tubes put in would make Jeanne more susceptible to getting MRSA. We asked the ENT, we asked the Infectious Disease specialist, we spoke with the pediatrician. At the time, I did not know about hospital acquired infections. I did not know that MRSA as an ear infection is extremely unusual. I did not know that the CDC defined a surgical site infection as one that occurs within one year of having a foreign body implanted. I did not know that it takes a certain amount of time for MRSA to develop into an infection or to incubate. I was simply frightened at the idea of my 3 year old having ear tubes put in. So, we waited. We postponed the surgery until Emily was considered infection free. Since the fluid was still in Jeanneâ€™s ears, we then proceeded with her surgery.
Within 6 weeks, Jeanne had MRSA infection in both her ears. The surgeon had taken a sterile culture of the fluid when he operated, so we know she was MRSA free at that time. Over the New Year weekend, my sweet little 28 pound 3 year old had pus and blood oozing from both her ears. Her infection was cultured, she was put on Bactrim, but continued to get worse. The doctor then prescribed Zyvox for her for 3 weeks. One of the ear tubes that had just been put in got pushed out from the severity of the ear drainage. Emily had a recurrence so for a period of time, both my girls had active MRSA infection.
This was a very difficult time for me. I was very frightened. Since ear infections tend to be more painful at night, it was not unusual for me to be up and down with my children crying in pain for most of the night. I reached out for support on the internet, to help me cope with what was happening and to try to find answers out about how this could happen to two small children in one family.
Many people offered me their support at that time. When Tony Field, Chairperson of the UK MRSA Support Group, learned about my daughtersâ€™ infections from another group member, he contacted me by e-mail. Tony provided me with invaluable information and provided me with many resources. We remained in contact while my daughtersâ€™ were both ill. Emily & Jeanne call him their friend Tony from England. They would send him e-mails with smiley faces and animal pictures and Tony would send them assorted photos of animals like chickens and cats. It was a bright spot in a difficult time for our family.
Another person, from the Yahoo support group, held my girls in prayer. She prayed that God would use our situation for good. I clung to that prayer like a drowning person would cling to a life preserver, praying over and over again for my childrenâ€™s health and for God to use our situation to help others.
My children have been MRSA infection free for about 3 months now, thank God. During this time, Tony and I have remained in contact. Tony and his wife Barbara offered to come to our country to help spread awareness about this infection in our country, just as they have done in their own country. My stepson, James, agreed to accompany Tony and Barbara on their tour of the USA and keep a journalistic chronicle of the trip. James introduced me to his friend and colleague, Jeff Beyrau, Director of Prizefighter Films. James, Jeff, Tony, Barbara and I all agreed that the best way to make this campaign as effective as possible was to create a documentary about MRSA and Tonyâ€™s fight against it.
Working towards creating this documentary for me is like a prayer in action. I thank God every day that my childrenâ€™s infections didnâ€™t spread and that they are both infection free and in good health today. I pray that God will use our situation for good. If one life is saved, if one limb is saved, if one family is saved from the suffering caused by MRSA infection, it will make every effort worthwhile. What happened to my children should not have happened. I canâ€™t do anything to change that. But I can help raise awareness about this and try to prevent it from happening to others.
Contact Denise at firstname.lastname@example.org.