Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Enter the Contradictory World of "Baby MRSA"

About a year ago I was in so much pain from the chronic ear infections I'd been having for months. After several trips to the doctor, Wellness Clinic, and the ER, I went back to the emergency room. This time someone decided to finally take a culture from my ear. After all the doctors I'd seen, and that includes two visits to a ENT specialist, no one bothered to take a culture. The results: MRSA. (I wrote about this last year for Book of Thoth: MRSA and Morgellons: Jangled Messages.)

I was once again put on various anti-biotics. It seemed to work for awhile, after another round after the first. Things calmed down.

What I found interesting during this process was the consistently confusing and conflicting responses from medical people. Downright cavalier at times, which contrasted strongly with the news and information about MRSA found in the media and on the internet. When I asked why it took so damn long for anyone to take a culture, I was told "No one thinks about MRSA," this followed by a laugh. I was told "Everyone has MRSA" and other lame things. (It's true the "bug" is all around and we harbor it, so to speak, but that factoid does nothing to explain specifics of an individuals case.) Meanwhile, schools were closing due to MRSA outbreaks, students and staff were getting MRSA infections. I followed protocol and informed my district but I didn't get one response from anyone. I take that back: one nurse said, via email, she'd inform the lead nurse but I didn't hear anything after that.

So I finally seem to get rid of the thing, or the Alien Crud as I call it, since my eyes were literally blood red, completely, and all kinds of other gross things I'll spare you from reading about. I still would have mild ear/eye infections off and on throughout the year, but assumed it was just "stuff" one gets from working in an elementary school. I never thought it was MRSA again since one doctor told me the MRSA was gone. I asked about a culture; she told me it wasn't necessary.

This past June, I got hit hard with infections in both ears and both eyes. Particularly my left eye; which is still giving me blurry vision. This time around it was not only blurry, alien red, and generally gross, but painful as hell. It was so bad I couldn't see well enough to drive. Light bothered me; I often wore those silly solar shield shades indoors. If I took off my glasses, people assumed I was hung over, or on dope. Great.

So I'm given all kinds of drops and oral antibiotics. The oral antibiotics made me feel insanely weird. As awful as the ear/eye situation was, the effects of the antibiotics were equally as bad. I stopped taking the pills, and was given a different kind, which seemed to work and other than making me drowsy, no bad effects. The infection seemed to clear up.

A few weeks later, it was back. Literally overnight; first the ears, then the eyes. Like someone turned on a switch. Back to the doctor, more stuff, after a week or so, went away.

Couple weeks later, back again! I was feeling ever so slightly wobbly over it but things seemed okay, I drove to the coast to visit my mother, by the next morning I was feeling pretty bad. Tired, just ... crappy, and the ear and eye thing all over again. As tired as I was after driving over two hours, I drove myself straight to the emergency room when I got back to Eugene. I was tired and had to shake off the visions of my going home and getting into bed.

At the emergency room the doctor took a culture; results wouldn't be back until Monday (today) but in the meantime, he prescribed both ear and eye drops, and oral
antibiotics. These antibiotics were sulfur something or another, and made me feel horrible. It was so horrible that I stopped, continuing with the drops, which did help.

Results of the culture came in today, and I was told I had "Not MRSA, but MSSA. You're prone to having it." I'm "prone to having it?" Just lucky I guess. Apparently it's like having Baby MRSA. Brief research on the Internet tells me they're of the same bug-strain-alien weirdness-whatever, but MRSA is worse and seemingly resistant to everything, while MSSA isn't. While MSSA is resistant to most antibiotics, it isn't to all of them. I did some quick searching on the Internet and ended up confused.One site said you can't have MRSA then have it go away and get MSSA which contradicts my experiences, unless someone was wrong about the results in the first place.

So in some ways it's fine; cultures have been taken, not as bad as some who have MRSA, or, and, MSSA, -- and yet, I am still unsure of what the story is. I still can't see well out of my left eye, my ears are much better but still infected, it's the third bout since June, medical personal seem downright jocular over the whole thing, and information on this MRSA/MSSA "bug" is confusing, contradictory, and doesn't jibe with the casual, almost trivial attitude from nurses, doctors, and school administrators.

Compare this attitude and the conflicting information surrounding MRSA/MSSA with the swine flu madness. Health officials, school administrators and governors have been meeting this summer to prepare for the worst, but, don't panic they tell us. We're told we'll need two injections of the vaccine for it to work, but that the swine flu will mutate into a "normal" flu. Yet murmurs of mandated vaccinations are in the air. The rush has been on to test the vaccine -- including infants! -- but don't panic, even though there might not be enough for everyone. In both situations: MRSA and swine flu, we're made to feel both silly for worrying, and stupid, even irresponsible, for not taking it seriously.

Well, I'm off to put more drops in the old alien eyes. Just in time for the new school year to begin!

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