I'm not presently on any antibiotics but I've been on TPN since July 09. I originally had two picc lines in but that was because at the time of my surgeries in July, I had a whole bunch of post-op complications and infections. So I was on multiple antibiotics, including meropenem (which is the same category of antibiotics as your ertepenem). I was also on Flagyl for a while. It protects our GI mucosa / treats the GI infections against anaerobic bacteria, typically seen in abcesses.
Anyway, my TPN is being tapered off now, finally. So my arms will alas be free of IV lines. I can't believe it's been so long already. As far as the time period for when my fistula shrank, it really varies. In August, when my fistula was officially diagnosed, it couldnt even be localised because I had so many surgical incisions (I had an emergency laparotomy - open surgery where they just opened up my abdomen through a midline incision and took out my guts, literally. not all of em tho!). The initial drainage was bilious because I was NPO and that drainage was about 1500 mL per day. By the time I was discharged in October, the drainage went down to 500 per day and by November, it was down to 50 mL per day. And my fistula was quite small, clearly by the diminished drainage as well. However, I was started on Methotrexate in November and that caused my fistula to increase in size and possibly create a second fistula. I was readmitted in December for neutropenic fever and at THAT time, my drainage was at 1800-2000mL/ day. We assess my drainage at home with measuring cups that we got from the hospital. I wasn't shy in taking things from the hospital once I was discharged.
I understand your pain, CROHNSPT. I get pain too, but now it's mostly burning pain from my skin being excoriated from the drainage. Are you using gauze for your drainage? How frequently are you changing the dressings? I am using ostomy bags that I'm getting from the hospital. I spent so much money on my health insurance last year when I was in the hospital, that, until April of this year, my supplies are all free of cost now. I wish I could help you out, my friend. If you need help with anything in terms of what bags to use or what worked for me, let me know!
but one more thing: i DO NOT HAVE CROHN'S DS. I know this forum is for that, but I was initially diagnosed with Crohn's, only to later end up in a different miserable state. The disease I have has no forums, so this is the closest I can relate to.
A survivor of CAPS - Catastrophic Antiphospholipid Syndrome with infarcts in one kidney, spleen, liver, and intestines in July '09
Surgeries: cholecystectomy, partial enterectomy x 2 with surgical complication of EC fistula
Meds: Lovenox daily subQ injections, Metoprolol for hi BP
Previous Meds: Ritoxan, Methotrexate, Plasmapheresis, innumerable blood transfusions, and antibiotics galore.