A bit of background to start with for those who don’t know me! I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) 30 years and since then various parts of my body have ceased to function in a meaningful manner. My bladder is the most recent part to refuse to co-operate with everyday life. It just doesn’t work anymore. I have a supra pubic catheter fitted (a tube fitted just below my belly button directly into the bladder) and an external bladder; this makes me more very susceptible to Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) and ultimately sepsis. Such was the case recently when I was admitted to hospital with sepsis. I also had the added complication of stones in my bladder which increase the chances of infection. MS is taking its’ toll on my body but be warned that I will not go down without a fight.
C-reactive protein (CRP) levels are used to determine infection levels and are determined by blood tests. 99% of people without a chronic illness have a CRP level of less than 10 whilst a raised level under 100 is indicative of a fungal infection and a raised level over 100 is indicative of a bacterial infection. These figures are important in determining what course of treatment to follow. My CRP level on admission was in the region of 350.
Within a very short time after admission I was administered an intravenous (IV) antibiotic and fluids. Over the next week the level reduced to about 200 which wasn’t low enough or reducing fast enough. It was time to change antibiotic to something stronger which resulted in the level reducing to the 100 mark but doggedly refused to go any lower. The doctor decided that I could go home to continue my recovery and I was given a strong oral antibiotic to continue at home and the CRP level continued to decrease.
As I mentioned earlier I had stones in my bladder which needed to be removed in order to lessen the ongoing chances of infection. Bladder stones are not all that unusual and the removal procedure is called Litholapaxy and mine was scheduled for two weeks after my initial release and it is carried out under general anaesthetic. I was advised that a General Anaesthetic and MS don’t often work well together and the recovery time may be slightly longer than usual but I was I was very pleasantly surprised to learn that the procedure had gone very well and I could be released later the same day.
Unfortunately I will always be prone to infection as a result of my compromised immune system; some of the medications I take to slow the progression of my MS and treat the symptoms contribute to the increased risk of infection. There is no certain way to completely eliminate the chances of another infection. I, and other People with Multiple Sclerosis, have to live with this threat constantly hanging over us.
I am now super vigilant of the initial signs of a UTI. The early signs are cloudy urine and/or an elevated temperature. Dehydration also plays a part.
Infections sneak into the body sometimes unknown to us so it falls on us to be super-vigilant – don’t ignore even the smallest cut or graze; it may seem insignificant at the time but wash it and disinfect it immediately. If you notice anything ‘brewing’ consult your doctor immediately. Remember that there are no guarantees of an infection free future.
Nocturia is the medical term for having to make one or more visits to the bathroom during the night; the need to pee after going to bed. An artificial bladder negates that particular problem.