Navigating Life After An Infection In Replaced Knee

Last updated: August 2022

June 17 I was perfectly fine, and within 6 hrs, I could not put any weight on my right knee and I was screaming with pain.

Why did I end up in the hospital?

I went to the ER and 6 hrs after I arrived there, I finally had a fever, and my blood work confirmed an infection.

This was problematic as my counts were super low due to my biologic - so in normal range. BUT, not if you looked at my counts from 10 days earlier.

Finally, I was heard. They tapped the joint, and 20 hrs later I was in the OR for debridement and clean-out of the infection.

Aftermath of infection

I was in the hospital for 5 days as they tried to identify the bacteria. It turned out to be a very rare one, but they did figure out the right antibiotics to use ... I've been on a mobile IV for 8 weeks and will transition to oral next week.

It will be a very long time till we will know if the infection is gone. If it is not, the journey will become more difficult.

A message for those with RA

The take home message is.. if you have RA and you are immunosuppressed, it is hard for clinicians to evaluate your WBC and diff for infections...You must be vocal and make them hear you. The increase in my Actemra caused mouth ulcers which allowed this bug to enter and settle in my infected joint...Beware be vigilant if something doesn't seem right and you find yourself in a similar situation!

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