hollowed out, beaten up, and betrayed

I’m still cheerful, although I’ve had a couple of moments feeling the pressures of having had two serious illnesses (sepsis and C. diff)–while I was mindin’ my own business, getting ready to go on my dream trip to Italy.

fatal attraction

It took me a couple of weeks after coming home from the hospital to understand that either of those illnesses could have been fatal.  I’m not running in circles all upset about that, just cogitating here and there.   The Big Mister is my hero again–I only have a few recollections about the hospital, but the one that gets to me is my guy’s face in the ER, looking at me, exhausted on his feet at 1 in the morning after 12 hours in the ER, unwilling to leave until he knew I was being checked into the Hilton for a while.  (It has been around a month now and he still has baggy, tired eyes and I did that to him.   waaaaaaaaaaah!)

past life

About a hundred years ago, in my early 30s, my health went to hell–I was variously diagnosed wrongly with a brain tumor, Meniere’s Disease, Lupus, and um, I’ve blocked out the rest.  Suffice to say I was quite ill and even had body-wide excruciating pain thrown in for which I was on morphine for 3 years.  In order to get to the morphine, though, I had to endure western medicine at its most excitable.

I was poked, prodded, measured, counseled, scanned, and dosed.   In multiples.  I was exhausted and alone and trudged around looking for relief.  My fury erupted when the docs would suggest I see a psychiatrist, and because it was a type of blackmail, I complied, but boy was I hostile.  At least it gave that MD something concrete upon which to pin her expertise and make confident proclamations.

I’m still aware of that time, 20 years ago and how the altered physical self shattered my knowledge of myself and how many of those docs shattered me.  There was the ear, nose, throat guy, a shiny, pretty plastic surgeon to the Anchorage shiny people, who interviewed me briefly, then began to exit the room.  As he crossed the threshold, he threw over his shoulder, “We’re going to have to check for a brain tumor.”  He kept walking.   Bastard.

now

This time around with the medicos, I was prescribed antibiotics to get the sinus infection cleared up before I flew.  I’ve had antibiotics occasionally, but I usually just rest until things pass.  I’d always understood that these meds could cause, shall we say, intestinal infortitude.   In not one experience with an MD did I hear that the antibiotics can be the cause of a life-threatening condition.  Never, ever, ever.

This condition is called Clostridium difficile diarrhea, or C. diff for short and not sweet.

This condition caused my kidneys to shut down.  Caused big fevers.  Caused life-threatening dehydration.  Caused dangerous low blood pressure.  Inched me toward death, but not too close.

Ed. Note, Sept 2012:  I wrote this piece one month, to the day, out of hospital, having no clue how effed-up my brain was.  The septic shock caused my kidneys to shut down.   Both the C. diff and the sepsis were responsible for massive dehydration, fever, and very low blood pressure.  I had to effin’ figure this out on my own because NOT ONE of the hospital folk told me anything, nor did my family doctor.  Yep, I’m angry.

I’m also still recovering and continue to struggle with my physical strength and brain power.

And not one MD has ever told me about this possibility because it’s so rare?  Holy crap, people!  How dare you?!  You did not disclose to me this threat to my life, but you will bitch at me if I decline a Pap test?

Big Brother is tracking

This threat is not that rare, folks.  Here in the USA, C. diff is being tracked by the Centers for Disease Control, the same people who collect statistics and who scare us to death with the epidemics of flu– Swine, Avian, or seasonal– take your pick.  The UK is also tracking it.

take care of yourselves

Talk to your medicos about antibiotics and C. diff.  Save yourself from my situation, which is that for the rest of my life I will have the propensity to repeat the toxicity that could kill me dead.  Also, C. diff spores are very difficult to kill in the environment, so I have felt like a pariah–I’ve had to stay away from people, just when I could have used visitors during my lengthy recovery.

overuse of antibiotics

Understand that the overuse of antibiotics is directly responsible for this condition.  People develop the condition in the hospital and care centers from contaminated surfaces.

Educate yourself about antibiotics.  Parsing the word itself gives us clues–as humans, we are filled with biota, which are living organisms that work in concert keeping our complex systems functioning.  Pretty amazing, really.   So, shouldn’t we wonder what happens when we kill off some of those guys?  What happens in an imbalance?  Nature abhors a vacuum, etcetera and so forth.  There will be a reaction of some sort.  Could be good.  Could be dead.

so there!

I’m going back to watching McHale’s Navy so I’ll become my calm self again.  Then I’m going to see a naturopathic doctor and get all this stuff sorted so I can go on my damn trip and get on with my life.

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37 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Debra Kolkka
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 14:02:42

    I hope you get back on track soon. This is powerful stuff you have been through.

    Reply

    • lahgitana
      Mar 16, 2012 @ 16:38:06

      Hi Debra! Yes it is. Today is a pretty good day–I’ve felt a little more like myself. I still plan to come your way–just waiting until I’m strong and sassy again!

      Reply

  2. heretherebespiders
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 14:06:39

    My first impulse is to say, I don’t know what to say. But that’s totally unlike me, so let me proceed to ramble. I’d like to offer a big hug to Big Mister – as the only one around when as you said company would have been very welcome he did a great job, and if he looks worried and tired, the only thing that you can blame yourself for is being so special to him that he is able to feel that way (Hell, I’ve never met you and have known you less than half a year, and sometimes I want to ask for your phone number so we can have a long chat).

    I am curious as to the end result of what happened in your 30’s, as I had similar medical issues and was eventually diagnosed with…um… fibromyalgia. Over 10 years later and there’s no sign of any of those old symptoms in me. I always called bullshit on the FM diagnosis – it seemed to be what they said when they didn’t have a goddamn clue. In retrospect, it was stress – which in more recent times has showed its ugly face in even worse physical symptoms.

    The body/brain mix does odd things at times.

    I sure hope you recover soon and get back to feeling like a human bean again. And not only because I’m selfish and I miss you.

    Reply

    • lahgitana
      Mar 16, 2012 @ 16:45:34

      Hi Spiders! Yes, I got the FM bull puckies, too. What a stoooopid word. Muscle pain. Yea, thanks for clearing that up!! We should talk shop sometime, Missy!

      I hope that I soon am back to my bean-ness instead of ill-ness. Fortunately, I’ve been too sick to miss me, if you know what I mean!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply

  3. Kathryn McCullough
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 14:15:45

    Bless your heart, dear friend. You’ve been through a hell of a lot. Hang in there and get back to feeling like yourself soon. I miss you, dear heart!
    Hugs,
    Kathy

    Reply

    • lahgitana
      Mar 16, 2012 @ 16:47:57

      Thanks, Kathy, for stopping by and for the good wishes. Since I’m convinced of the interconnectedness of all things, I’m also convinced that your good wishes make their way to me easily on the express!

      Reply

  4. minlit
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 14:22:14

    I try to steer clear of antibiotics. My kids are like snot fountains from October to March, but I think that’s part of the deal with kids. No point trying to change it.
    If you need something to watch and haven’t seen it yet, get the BBC’s modern day Sherlock. It is amazing. Series two even better than series one. I really think you deserve an ipad to help with recovery…..

    Reply

    • lahgitana
      Mar 16, 2012 @ 16:51:13

      The Big Mister is in the other room and just hollered out, “snot fountains”! hahahahaaha! The naturopath gave me probiotics for my nose! Yaaaaaaay! Who knew there was such a thing?!

      As soon as I read your comment, I went over to Netflix and ordered up Series 1 of Sherlock! Thank you!

      Reply

    • lahgitana
      Mar 16, 2012 @ 17:00:55

      ooops! I almost missed the iPad comment! >:-D

      The Big Mister, or Big for short, said he wasn’t gonna buy one for me, that I’d have to be well enough to buy one for my own self! Smart move on his part!

      Thanks for the tip, though, D! >:-D (Me buying the iPad: “Oohhhhh, poor me, I’ve been so sick and near dead, so I NEED to have a treat. How about an ipad!”)

      Reply

  5. lahgitana
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 16:40:00

    Before I reply to each of you, may I just say how great it feels to be back with you! You’ve buoyed my spirits that have taken a beating. So happy I felt up to writing and posting! Now I have company!!

    Reply

  6. nadbugs
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 19:44:06

    Good grief. What an appalling saga. What a roller-coaster ride. And what a joy to have you back. Paws crossed for the naturopathic way. May you mend in your very own way, well assisted by your customary spunk and sass.

    Reply

  7. JustI
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 20:13:42

    Wow! You have been through the wringer! I’m glad to hear you are doing better. I agree, you deserve an ‘iPad’ treat. It sure beats watching McHale’s Navy. Take care of yourself so you can set sail for Italy with a clean bill of health!

    Reply

    • lahgitana
      Mar 25, 2012 @ 10:16:10

      I’m having a hard time justifying the expense of an iPad with the expenses I’ve just incurred! >:-D but my mind lazes around the idea!

      Thank you for being here, JustI. Glad you’re back from the alien abduction. Did they return you to the place they grabbed you?

      Reply

  8. sweetdaysundertheoaks
    Mar 17, 2012 @ 04:36:10

    So happy to see a blog post from you and I can hear your great sense of humor shining through. That was some tough stuff L but you are tougher. You are one strong brave woman and your Hubby sounds like the best. I am sending recovery and recouping vibes and wishes so that you can get on with that wonderful trip to Italy!

    Reply

  9. Sharon
    Mar 17, 2012 @ 10:47:55

    Holy cow!

    Reply

  10. IsobelandCat
    Mar 17, 2012 @ 16:02:46

    Excellent post.
    Years ago, I mean about thirty, there was a documentary here called the Overworked Miracle that warned against overuse of antibiotics.
    Did we listen?

    Reply

    • lahgitana
      Mar 25, 2012 @ 10:20:00

      No we didn’t, did we, Isobel. We used them willy-nilly, not being fully aware of the risks. I wonder exactly WHEN the medicos connected C. diff with antibiotics and near-deadness? grrrrr….

      Reply

  11. Linda
    Mar 22, 2012 @ 14:07:18

    I was beginning to worry about you with no new posts, almost called. I can fully understand your frustration with western medicine. See the prescribing of antibiotics far too often at work. I worry about MysLys because she is prone to upper respiratory infections that often do require the antibiotics to clear them up.

    After having a severe problem with a form of inflammatory bowel syndrome in Oct
    (RX several heavy duty antibiotics) it was suggested to me by my acupuncturist to begin taking of probiotics. I have been using them ever since although I did have a reoccurrence after my ankle surgery which I believe were a result of the pain meds which I will say were absolutely necessary. Anyway I have started to consult my acupuncturist for many of my healthcare needs. I am a true believer in alternative medicine.

    Keep getting better Loris :)

    Reply

    • lahgitana
      Mar 25, 2012 @ 10:25:00

      Hi Wingo! Isn’t it weird that acupuncture and massage and herbs are considered “alternative” medicine? Seems to me they are “classical” medicine! Natural anti-biotics are well-known–garlic, for instance!

      Yes, I started taking Saccharomyces boulardii, specifically cited as good defense against those pesky C. diff bacteria. I’ll take that with me on my lengthy trip and not new-medicine antibiotics. yaaaaaaaay!

      Glad you’ve found healing modalities that are gentler and more respectful of our systems. I like acupuncture, too!

      Reply

  12. Sharon
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 07:32:20

    And on top of all that, you’ve been tagged! Very happy to read you’re on the mends. http://hyperactiveinefficiency.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/oh-i-say-and-i-say-it-again-i-been-tagged/

    Reply

    • lahgitana
      Mar 25, 2012 @ 10:26:20

      Thanks, Sharon. Yes, today I continue to feel more like myself. I confess at times that I just wanna get on the damned airplane right now, but that kind of travel is rigorous in the best of health!

      why’d you tag me?! >:-D I’ll go look!

      Reply

  13. rumpydog
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 08:03:17

    I’ve heard about the dangers of over-use of antibiotics, but I think you’re the first person who has told me you were directly affected by that over-use. I will investigate this c-diff further.

    Have a great time on your trip!

    Reply

    • lahgitana
      Mar 25, 2012 @ 10:14:23

      You know, Rumparoni (“and they call him Rumparoni!”), I understand the amazing benefits of antibiotics. It’s the nondisclosure that gets me angry. C. Diff will horrify you when you read about it. I was too sick to know just how sick I was. And that I could die.

      Thank you, RumpyDog–as soon as I get scheduled, the whole world will know!

      Reply

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  16. ShimonZ
    Jul 16, 2012 @ 09:47:57

    I’ve been getting to know you a bit; reading about your adventures, and listening to your health difficulties, and I’m sorry you went through such a hard time. My best wishes for a complete recovery. I’m sure you learned a lot from the experiences. But I would like to point out that doctors have a very difficult job. They’re human beings too, and make mistakes, like all human beings… especially when they’re over worked and under pressure. People put too much faith in doctors, I think. They can help us, at times. But they can’t really perform miracles.

    Reply

    • lahgitana
      Jul 16, 2012 @ 09:59:19

      Welcome, Shimon!

      Yes, that is a lesson I’ve had to re-learn–doctors being infallible; apparently it didn’t take the first time! I will continue to have expectations, however, of communication and disclosure from humans who are dispensing medicine. I thought I was well-informed because I have tried to be.

      And yes, there has been learning over these last few months. Especially the lesson about making plans and the Universe laughing! I’m still too foggy to articulate other lessons, but I’m really hoping they are there!

      Best to you and thank you for stopping by, Shimon–
      Laurel

      Reply

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