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Wednesday April 23, 2014
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Fungus Among Us



Was there any fungal infection at all? Despite the fact that Dad was in the hospital for three weeks and there was plenty of time for poking and prodding his artificial hip joint and attempts to culture the fungus, no one committed to a clear answer. The doctors concluded that if there was an infection, it must have been a small one, since there were no overtly terrible laboratory results or clinical evidence. That's good, I guess. But what about the pain? What caused it? Possibly related to remaining sutures and scar tissue from Dad's second hip replacement surgery? That's their best guess, so far.

I have at least a couple of takes on the experience. Pessimistic: wow, was this time-consuming, expensive, and painful. That's without going into the breathtaking negligence demonstrated by the compounding pharmacy in New England that prepared the steroid. My dad is back home, but still taking kidney-damaging medication that costs thousands of dollars and will have no effect if he hasn't got any fungus-related problems.

The bright side: well, he's not dead from meningitis, is he? While it's hard to feel my dad benefited from the CDC protocol, maybe he did. The medical staff at St. Joe's did such a full-dress job that we have peace of mind that a sneaky infection isn't moldering in his bones, only to take us by surprise when it's too late.

Score, by my reckoning: negatives, 75 percent; positives, 25 percent (only because it has to add up to 100 percent).

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