I have been very quiet this month because I have been ill and fighting a bacterial infection. The following could be offensive to your sensibilities, and I hope I don’t shock anyone by speaking about it, but it is good to know if, like me, your immune system is compromised by another health issue. (diabetes)
Somehow I have picked up a nasty bacteria out in the wilds of the public areas downtown. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised as in my observation only about 5 to 10% of folks around here bother to wash their hands after visiting the restroom. (Although strangely, this isn’t the case with Costco shoppers. They seem to wash every time!) Through research on the web I’ve discovered that my bacterial invader lives everywhere, and in specific forms that can attack us, animals and plant life as well. For humans it is most often caught in the hospital and attacks the lungs causing pneumonia.
I never worried about this because I always wash my hands. By doing so I always thought I was safe. I have avoided using hand sanitizers and scary antibacterial soaps with “Triclosan”, because I felt this helped my immune system to build up natural defenses, that our society as a whole has been hell-bent to destroy for many years.
Not any more! I have no scientific evidence to back this up, but I now think that , at least for me, it has become a “when in Rome” situation. The super bugs are out there and need to be attacked; at least when in public.
I asked my home care nurse how I could end up with this bacteria, Pseudomonas, when I am so careful about hand washing and using a paper towel to get out of the restroom in public places… and she said:
“You go into the restroom, use the facilities, wipe, and you have infected yourself because you picked up the germs on the way in.”
I guess in this day and age we need to wash before and after in public?
I am now on large doses of a strong antibiotic, administered two times daily for seven days, which is delivered via a port put into my arm. Why? Because the regular antibiotics given via the normal oral route do not work! At the end of the antibiotic series another test culture will be done to be sure I am well. (If the bacteria goes into my kidneys it is harder to get rid of.)
Not so nice.
As I sit here and read what I have written I think I sound like one of those nut jobs who send out the chain emails you get so often. But, hello! I am seriously freaked-out about this.
OK – End of public health scare advisory
You can now roll your eyes and tsk-tsk at me if you like, I won’t see you, but I feel better for letting you know about this.
16 thoughts on “I hesitate to tell this ladies, but…”
I think it’s important that people are more aware of this problem and thank you for posting your experiences.
I’m glad you caught the problem and are dealing with it, but your story’s also a cautionary tale about the overuse of antibiotics. Not only do some doctors overprescribe them, too many patients demand them when they’re not indicated. Between the over-use of antibiotics and the unwillingness of people to vaccinate themselves or their children, we’re setting ourselves up for some bad situations in this country.
You’re not weird and I ALWAYS wash before even going into the stall because your hands are already dirty from everything you’ve touched before, so why wouldn’t you? Having said that, as that famous coach said, “The best offense is a good defence” and your Immune System is exactly that. Having strong, healthy gut bacteria as the first line. Also, as our bodies have developed over millennia with the foods we eat, the more “original”, less “fiddled” it is, the happier we are overall. This is such a massive topic but when it comes right down to it, as GranMa always said, “You are what you eat.” So sorry to hear about your PICC line Lynda, that’s a really rough go (You may have noticed you hit a chord on this one; ) and do be sure to take extra care of your liver and kidneys with all those meds flowing, ‘k?
And did you know the number of micro-organisms in the human body outnumber human cells by 10 to 1?
Best part is, they’re all part of our normal composition. Without all of the “good bugs” we couldn’t even survive, never mind be healthy; )
I love knowing how things work! (And figuring out why they don’t; )
During Fall and winter, I turn into a hardcore germaphobe. I keep Lysol spray and wipes in every room and I keep a germX pump that u make everyone use to wipe their hands. I also take airborne. I certainly hope you’re mended soon. I’ve been there and it’s tough. I’ll be thinking of you!
Oh wow. So sorry you are going through this. I never, ever thought of “picking up something on the way in.” Food for thought there. Hope your final culture comes back clean!
I’m so sorry you’re suffering, and you have my absolute sympathy – I narrowly avoided the IV antibiotics myself just recently, and 4 course of ABs later I’m trying to restore my gut flora. When I first started reading this post I thought it was going to be a different kind of infection; I misread one word in the following partial sentence “…wilds of the public areas downtown”. Was this some kind of delicate euphemism, I wondered? All those Dreadful Warnings from our mothers about what you can pick up from toilet seats. Well, they were right, but differently…. Get well soon. xxx
My mind must work in the same way as Kate’s. 😊
What rotten luck,
Sorry to hear you’ve been ill. I sure hope you are well on the road to recovery. Just my personal opinion but I believe we are way too germophobe. We’ve destroyed our own natural immunity with all the chemicals we use in our daily lives.
Sympathies, Lynda, from one of the non-ladies who knows you.
Costco recently opened its fourth store in the Austin area.
Sorry to be late to comment – I’ve been in Nebraska helping my youngest sister recover from encephalitis and recoup from brain aneurism surgery. I’m sure she could relate very much to what you speak of. She’s been trying to avoid getting anything on top of what she’s dealing with.
Kate and Linda touched on the two subjects on my mind as I read about your plight. The tendency of over-prescribing antibiotics and the antibiotics in the meat industry, and also the fact that once you’ve been on any antibiotic, you have to deal with an out of balance gut. I’m so sorry you’re going through this… seeking treatment just leads to another problem it seems. I’m sending positive thoughts and love your way for a speedy recovery!
It stuns me when folks don’t wash hands! Mostly it’s just gross, but you have described the devastating side effects.
Healing thoughts to you!
I’m so sorry to hear you had this issue, but I’m glad you wrote about it. I hope you are now completely well, and haven’t had to worry about kidney interaction.
Ugh. So sorry to hear you haven’t been feeling good. Hopefully you were better for the holidays. Thanks so much for leaving a comment on my blog and staying in touch!