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Unread 08/03/2004, 11:15 PM   #1
SeanT
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Another...your tank can be dangerous thread.

I never posted about this as I do not know the EXACT cause within my tank and didn't want to start a panic.
However, I feel that the lesson to be learned thru my ordeal is worth sharing: Wear gloves!

On a Thursday July 1st. (After rearranging some things in my tank the night before) my thumb felt very tight and painful like I jammed it badly. Very tender.
The next morning it was red and swollen. That afternoon I had red streaks to my wrist...not that noticeable as I was sunburned.
That early evening the streaks were all the way to my armpit and streaking to my heart. It was that fast.
I wanted to tough it out and wait until Monday to go to the hospital, like an idiot.

Then my thumb exploded.

I spent almost 5 full days in the hospital on I.V. Antibiotics.
4 separate Infectious Disease doctors took cultures of my blood and tissue from my thumb...they found nothing.
After explaining to them my type of aquarium they agreed that it was the likely culprit.
They also bluntly said that if I had waited until Monday, certain parts of my body would likely no longer be attached. Frightening.

Once again, I reiterate to wear gloves and if you think something may have infected you, go to the E.R. immediately and explain to them in a very calm, not insane, voice where you believe it may have come from.
I tell you, a few of the doc's thought I was looney but one of them was from Miami and had some vague knowledge.

Here are some pics.
These are pics I took BEFORE I went to the hospital.
The immediate physical change to my thumb (in a matter of an hour or two) was scary as hell.

Remember, ABSOLUTELY NO PHYSICAL TRAUMA CUSED THIS WHATSOEVER!

It is hard to gauge as my other thumb is not in the picture (holding camera) but this thumb is over twice the diameter of the other.





The size of my thumb kept getting larger and larger until it literally started to split. It freaked me out severly/

The infection is no longer with me (this happened a month ago),
My thumb is still swollen and the nail is long gone. Good news is it should grow back.


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Unread 08/03/2004, 11:21 PM   #2
xcreonx
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Pretty!

Possibly a mantis shrimp hiding out in the live rock?!


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Unread 08/03/2004, 11:24 PM   #3
eastshores
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God.. that is bad.. the minute I saw streaking tho I would have gone to the ER. That is a tell tale sign of poison.


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Unread 08/03/2004, 11:31 PM   #4
TippyToeX
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OMG Sean, that must have been very frightening. I am glad to hear you made it through well. A good lesson to share and I thank you for it.

It is amazing just what a person can get from sticking our hands in our tanks. Just reading Steven Pro's article Mycobacterium marinum confirmed to me that I will always wear gloves.


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Unread 08/03/2004, 11:38 PM   #5
Mouse
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Did something punture the glove? Or spill into it from the top?
That is something you really dont hear about much, hope you find the cause soon.


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Unread 08/03/2004, 11:41 PM   #6
SeanT
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I was not wearing any gloves.
I did have the TINIEST of cuts on my the tip of my thumb BEFORE I started working in the tank.
Some organism/toxin/etc must have entered thru there.
I wasn't bitten or stung by anything that I can tell.


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Unread 08/03/2004, 11:50 PM   #7
Flameangel
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Thanks for sharing this. I know better but I never wear gloves. Tonight I am sitting here with a little cut on my index finger that I got from my tank today.

I am very interested. Did you have a fever before you went to the hospital? Do you know the name(s) of the antibotics they gave you? THis would be good for us to know so we can tell the physicians if we ever have to go to the ED.

Thanks,
Connie


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Unread 08/03/2004, 11:51 PM   #8
thedude
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From what you described you had blood poisoning (red streaks heading for the old ticker). Somehow bacteria got in through a cut/opening and started the infection.

It seems a little strange that the dr's couldn't culture something from that mess. It looks like there should be enough bacteria in there for a thousand cultures!

Hard to say if it came from your tank or not.

Glad it turned out ok.


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Unread 08/03/2004, 11:52 PM   #9
Ron Leversee
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Oh, My!!! That is eye oppening!!!

Thank the good Lord you got to the ER in time to stop a real disaster...




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Unread 08/04/2004, 12:14 AM   #10
SeanT
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Thanks.
Yes, I did have a fever coming on the day I went to the hospital.
The antibiotic was (sounded like) rocephin(sp?). row-seph-in.
No idea how to spell it.


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Unread 08/04/2004, 12:21 AM   #11
Jaffa
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Frightening!


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Unread 08/04/2004, 12:25 AM   #12
horkn
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disgusting.. but it taught me a lesson. glad you are doing better. hell, i lost my left big toe nail from an abrasion in the flipper while snorkeling in fiji. i didnt put much thought into it til it turned black, and hurt like hell. it didnt help that i got certified as an open water diver during the vacation, sine that had my foot underwater a lot more than it should have been at that time. well, the sinus problem didnt help either, making it hard for me to equalize, but i passed with flying colors


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Unread 08/04/2004, 12:26 AM   #13
s13silvia
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geez sean, good to know you're ok ..

you may not have suffered any trauma, but looking at those pics put me through some


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Unread 08/04/2004, 12:29 AM   #14
DMK
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JESUS !!! that's crazy. in the colder months i always have paper cut like slits on my finger tips. do u have the slightest idea what in your tank could have caused that?


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Unread 08/04/2004, 12:52 AM   #15
Oyster
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Mother of god thats Gruesome!I am so glad that you are better!Thank you for steering me Right....Youre lesson doesnt fall on deaf ears.


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Unread 08/04/2004, 01:08 AM   #16
Reefmaniac1
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A friend of mine from another site described something like that happening to him about 15 years ago. You don't think about this kind of thing because generally, salt water is GOOD for a cut/scrape. But obviously, there are some bugs in the water that will take advantage of an opening. Moral of the story for this guy is that he NEVER goes into his tank without (at least) elbow length gloves on.


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Unread 08/04/2004, 01:18 AM   #17
burton14e7
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Looks like you have good ca/alk you got corraline on your thumb..good shades of green purple n red.


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Unread 08/04/2004, 06:38 AM   #18
mps9506
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I can tell you I saw Sean the afternoon after his thumb started hurting. It was only swollen, no discoloration.
Then he called me a week later to tell me he had been in the hospital and almost lost his thumb. It didn't look that gruesome immediately. Sean thought intially he had a bad jammed thumb or hairline fracture.
Mike


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Unread 08/04/2004, 06:57 AM   #19
David Groos
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That is Really scary, especially seeing how I had my arms in my tank for three hours yesterday rearanging live rock and removing my CC bed. I do believe it is gloves from here on out, not to mention less toxins from my skin.


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Unread 08/04/2004, 07:00 AM   #20
TJReef
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Good one burton14e7, that gave me a good laugh. But seriously, thanks for posting this Sean. I'm glad you're OK. It's good for us to hear that things like this are possible so if something does happen we take it seriously.


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Unread 08/04/2004, 07:07 AM   #21
Flipturn88
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Wow...it's sometimes hard to believe that our tanks are capable of such harm. I sometimes get stung by my anemone, which makes my arm tingle, but I've never considered the effects of the micro-life before...

Glad to hear you are okay; that was one knarly infection!


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Unread 08/04/2004, 07:10 AM   #22
TANGBOY5000
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I agree, what were those docters doing? I just can't fathom how they couldn't culture something from that mess.


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Unread 08/04/2004, 07:34 AM   #23
chewie
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Good lord Sean! Glad you're OK. I have never worn gloves in my tank, even after numerous stings, but will seriously consider them.

Thanks for sharing (no pun intended )


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Unread 08/04/2004, 07:41 AM   #24
shred5
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WOW gross.. thank god you went to the hospital.. alot of people ignore problems and cuts and what not that they get from their tanks. I have had rashes and I have been bit several times by things in a tank.. I know a girl that got stung By a capret anemone and she almost died. I have heard of peoplpe getting real sick from zoo's.. I stick my hand in my tank and never really think about ti till you see something like this...

Dave


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Unread 08/04/2004, 09:13 AM   #25
swedge
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Quote:
Originally posted by TANGBOY5000
I agree, what were those docters doing? I just can't fathom how they couldn't culture something from that mess.
Well the problem is that some bugs need very specific conditions to be cultured. Yet when a lab trys to grow bugs from a submitted sample those very specific conditions might not be met by the general culture media used to normally isolate bacteria/bug growth. Unless the lab has an idea what it is trying to isolate, it might not be able to grow anything from the sample. See, a nice Catch 22. For example most Mycobacterium are very difficult to isolate and grow in the lab, while E-coli grow almost on anything.


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