I’m writing Part Two for today’s update because it would be easy for misinformation to spread by word of mouth. Especially if someone gave you a verbal summary of today’s update, you will want to read all the way to the end. 🙂
We haven’t made it to the hospital yet for our evening visit. However, we received a phone call from the medical team this afternoon with details we want to share:
Justine: No breathing spells so far! She’s on track for Friday homecoming. I’m still not sure I believe it because we’ve been here before. But maybe this will be the week!
Although she passed her first hearing screen, the team performed a second one now that she is off antibiotics. This is standard procedure. She did not pass in her right ear. This is also normal. Premies often fail their hearing screens yet go one to have normal hearing.
Also, a hearing screen is not the same thing as a hearing test. A screen identifies things that may or may not be a problem. A test finds actual problems. The team will do another follow-up just to be safe, but no one expects there to be any issues. She has not exhibited any behavior that makes us think she can’t hear.
Jayce: The nurse practitioner feels good about him leaving this week. She said it was silly to delay his homecoming just because of the liver ultrasound on Friday. So, she moved the ultrasound to tomorrow! How thoughtful. Now we are looking at homecoming for BOTH of them on Friday. Heaven help us.
That leaves the final part of our update.
As you might know, there is a type of staph bacteria resistant to antibiotics. This is MRSA. Healthcare communities such as hospitals are particularly vigilant about screening for MRSA because it is a dangerous place to pass that particular bacteria around.
Because of that, the NICU regularly screens infants for MRSA twice a week. Today, Jayce tested positive for MRSA colonization. This is not the same thing as being infected with MRSA.
One more time for the people in the back: This is not the same thing as being infected with MRSA.
You and I have many types of bacteria growing on our skin. This could include MRSA. In fact, from my reading this afternoon, about a third of the US population already has it benignly. Often inside the nostrils, oddly enough.
Bacteria is a problem only when it moves to a spot it’s not supposed to be. This is true of other bacterias too, such as e coli. If e coli is on your fresh fruit or in your digestive system, you’ll get sick. But e coli naturally occurring in your excretory system is fine.
Likewise, MRSA living on your skin is not a problem. MRSA infecting your body via a cut or compromise in the skin could be (is not always) a problem. Sometimes (but not always) it’s a very serious problem.
Jayce testing positive for MRSA colonization means that it lives on his skin but is not infecting him. This is the same thing as being a carrier. I am actually a carrier for a certain type of strep, just like Mom. Neither Mom nor I actively have strep.
So, what does this mean? Great question. I have a few follow-up questions for the medical team, but from what they’ve already told us and from the reading I did this afternoon, here are a few highlights:
Washing hands is important. Properly covering cuts is important. Taking regular baths/showers is important for everyone in the household. These are all everyday common sense things we already do.
While he’s at the hospital, Jayce has his own room for the safety of medically fragile infants. Once he’s home, he does NOT need to be in isolation from his sister, us, visitors, or other children.
His nurses and visitors will wear a protective gown when entering his room. Nurses do this to protect other patients. We do it to protect Justine while she is also in the hospital and we go back-and-forth.
The docs say the colony may live on him for a while. One medical site I visited said it can last on children for several years. It does not limit his social interactions or daily activities.
I am not a medical expert but hopefully I’ve been able to articulate what IS the case and what is NOT the case. If you want further information, I found this and this FAQ helpful.
We will let you know where things stand with the homecoming as Friday gets closer. There is light at the end of the tunnel!