Friday, December 02, 2005

Staph Report

I’ve been sick as a dog for the past few days and work on the doors has come to a halt. I’m convinced I have the Asian Bird Flu but those lap dogs down at the CDC are no longer returning my calls. This is all part of a huge conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of Government and Corporate America. I’m sure of it. My doctor says I’m paranoid and delusional from the fever and is trying to convince me that there is no conspiracy and it is not the Asian Bird Flu. Obviously they’ve gotten to him and he can no longer be trusted.

If all that weren’t bad enough, I also have a Staph Infection on my – um huh – right cheek. Picture a giant pimple about 3-inches in diameter that sticks up 3/8 of an inch and is filled with you-know-what. Oh, and did I happen to mention that it is maybe one of the most painful things I’ve endured in years? This has the potential to get even worse and is sort of house related.

About a year after I moved in to this house I got my first lovely Staph Infection. This one took the form of a huge, disfiguring growth on my left forearm. I didn’t have a regular physician because I hadn’t been to a GP in about 15 years, so I just went down to the County Open Door Clinic (That was a surreal experience in and of itself). They cleaned out the ping-pong ball sized growth on my arm - without and anesthetic - gave me a shot of penicillin, wrote me a prescription, and sent me on my way. The next day I got a call from the clinic. It turns out the strain of staph I had was immune to penicillin and I would need another prescription. Fortunately I hadn’t filled the other one yet.

Eventually my arm healed and I thought things were ok. A few weeks later another infection showed up, this time inside my nose. Unbelievably painful. This time I decided to use the medical insurance that all these companies I’ve been working for all my life have been paying through the nose for. I opened up the phone book and called the first doctor I found. Dr. Adams was able to squeeze me in that afternoon.

I was at the office for maybe an hour and I never saw a doctor. Most of that time was spent filling out paper work or sitting by myself in a little room. For about 10 minuets I saw a Physicians Assistant (PA). Apparently this is the way a lot of doctors offices are run these days. The PAs see the patients an then report back to the doctor who is squirreled away in an undisclosed location. I told the PA about my adventure at the clinic and he pretty much dismissed everything they had told me. We were going to start from square one.

After talking with me briefly the PA was sure I had gotten this from my house. He thought it was from my claw foot tub. I take baths exclusively in my ultra-hip 6.5-foot long, 1895 claw foot tub. He was not a big fan of old houses. At one point, when we were talking about my neighborhood, he said, “I wish that whole area would either gentrify or get bulldozed, one or the other.” He said he would write a prescription and give me a series of 3 shots over the next 3 days. When the nurse came back in to give me the first shot I asked her what it was. She said penicillin and I refused the shot. She said if I was going to refuse the shot I would need to wait to see the PA before I left. I told her I was done waiting and he can call me if he needs to talk to me. I don’t think the PA listened to a word I had to say about what the doctor at the clinic had told me.

The next day I got a call from Dr. Adams office. It turns out the stain of staph I had was immune to penicillin type antibiotics and I would need a new prescription. You can imagine my surprise. I got the new prescription and the infection healed. A few weeks later a new one showed up. This time on the back of my hand. This one did not come through the skin but stayed sub dermal. The left side of my left hand swelled up to about twice its size. I had found a new level of pain.

I went back to the doctor, excuse me, The PA. He said he would write me another prescription and I said that I wanted to talk to someone else. He agreed and made an appointment with a Doctor of Communicable Disease. An actual, real live doctor. Seeing this doctor was actually a nice experience. I only sat in the little room for about 5 minutes before he showed up. The first 15 minutes of the appointment he just asked questions about me, my lifestyle, my family, ect. There was actually a since of curiosity about him. He then looked at the scars and blemishes left from the past infections and told me that the strain of staph I had was becoming more and more common. He said at one time it was mostly associated with prostitutes, drug users, and prison guards. How pleasant. I told him I didn’t know any prostitutes, drug users, or prison guards. He had already guessed as much because he had actually listened to the words as they came out of my mouth. He said now days most people who get this particular strain are not associated with those types of individuals.

I asked him if it was possible it could have come from my house because it was at one time a feculent hell hole filled with prostitutes and drug users. He said he doubted it but he wouldn’t rule anything out. He seriously doubted I got it from the claw foot tub, either. He told me that 8 out of 10 people are probably walking around with some form of staph infection in there body and it is mostly kept in check. He said I had probably had it for a while and it could be all the work and stress of the house may have played a part in it, but there was really no telling. He gave me three prescriptions but said there was no silver bullet for this. He warned me that I would probably get more infections before it cleared up. He was right.

Over the next 6 months I got a new infection about every 6 weeks. They became less and less painful and lasted for a shorter and shorter periods of time. Up until this lovely little thing showed up on my butt I don’t think I’ve had one in more than a year and a half. I really hope this isn’t starting up again. I’ve got way to much to do. Some of these things can really put you out of commision for a week or more. Today is the first time I’ve called in sick to work since my hand swelled up with the other staph infection. I’m really not accustomed to being sick. I don’t deal with it well.

4 comments:

Patricia W said...

Your situation sounds awful and scary. I know this might sound like quackery but I would increase my intake of fruits and vegetables containing vitamin C and also start taking garlic supplements. For a while I was constantly dealing with mild never-ending sinus infections that wouldn't go away and had doctors forever giving me antibiotic shots only to end up with yet another mild infection shortly thereafter. Once I started the garlic and vitamin C they disappeared completely. I don't know if it was the garlic or the power of suggestion, but either way it worked. It's good to know your outbreaks are becoming less frequent and milder as time passes. As for the PA or whoever that was that said the entire area should be bulldozed, I say "take a long walk off of a short pier". All this world needs is more new shit (McMansions) to litter the landscape. Where do these fools come from, some back room corporate robo-mill?

Anonymous said...

Staph infections are on the rise here in Houston Texas.Even our pro football locker room had to be dis-infected cause the players were coming down with staph.Doc says nutrition isnt the problem.The problem is the over use of antibiotics.

engr charlie said...

I know it's been a while since this post, but maybe you still respond?! I was wondering if in retrospect you've decided it was in fact caused by your house. I have recently been sensitive, i believe, to my basement (moved to this house in last year) and for the first time in my life got an insane bunch of staph infections. If you could, could you email me back (if this thing doesn't notify people to responses to comments?) asdfjkl.zxcvbnm@gmail.com
Thanks!
C

Greg said...

Charlie,

No one, aside from the PA I saw, thinks this is from my house.