Jan 25, 2008

Invasion of the body snatchers?

Well. It is here, just as I have known it was. It never really left, and I've felt the effects of it since it first arrived just after I returned to Peru from the US at the end of November. At first I thought it was something small and manageable, but then it morphed into more, although I didn't notice it before. I thought it was still small, but then it began to spread. Streptococcus is, luckily, a bacterium that can usually be taken care of by penicillin and its derivatives, provided treatment is early enough and long enough. Mine was neither early enough nor long enough. The doctors here only prescribe 5 days worth of antibiotics, which is not nearly long enough to do away with bacteria. That's only enough for the patient to begin to feel better. Then, usually the ill person runs out of money and can't afford to purchase more doses, so the weakened strain either runs its course or becomes resistent to antibiotics.

So my own little culture of strep migrated through the throat to the left side of my body, and established colonies just above the joints of the elbow, the hip, and the ankle, with the intent of taking over. The 5 day course of antibiotics was enough to get rid of the invaders in all but the ankle...and then 4 days ago, the throat started up again, the ankle flared up and turned a scary color, and I find myself insisting upon 10 full days of antibiotics. Don't hand me something to shut me up and get me out, unless it's a full 10 days worth of antibiotics that can do away with these damned bacterial squatters. After taking the antibiotics for 3 days now, the ankle is reduced in size, with the regular color returning to it, and the nose and throat, although the pain is gone, are producing massive coughing and other nasties that I envision as dead strep bodies being expelled after battle.

I've been tired, cranky, and miserable for the past 2 months, and finally, although I've been coughing my head off for the last couple of days, I can stand being on my feet for extended periods and ride home in the bus without feeling totally crappy. I have 7 days more of antibiotics to take, and by then, I hope that enough strep bacteria will have been thrown into barrels of boiling amoxicillin that the rest will either consent to leave or commit suicide by throwing themselves into the rush of oncoming white blood cells.


zooms said...

Hi Kathleen, Hmmm, now you have me at it, i was really 'poorly' a while ago, but got better, with hindsight,think it was pneumonia, but resisted the urge to get antibiotics thinking I would wait for something more serious to happen, haha, but now have pain in shoulder, am very tired .....and broke- (that's normal,) how did you know your ailments were due to strep infection spreading?

Kathleen said...


My first instinct is always to follow what my body is telling me. I am almost never ill, but here were things piling up on me, and I knew, after checking myself out, that it was strep. I also know that strep can advance into other things, such as scarlet fever, if left untreated.

Luckily, my husband is a pharmacist, and we have acess to the medical community here. A trip to the hospital and a couple of consultations with his doctor friends confirmed what I had suspected and had been saying: it's STREP, and a 10 day course of meds is required. I wish I had realized what it was earlier. My own fault.

Wooly Works said...

My 5 most dangerous words are, "Maybe it will go away." I didn't know you were still suffering with this. I'm sorry. Strep is scary stuff and really the only thing I'll consent to take antibiotics for. You know, a good course of probiotic will be in order when this is all over or you'll be sick again sooner. You already know that, but I'm just playing mother, so be kind to your gut once your body is back on track.

Frances said...

Scary indeed. Hoping that all those microbes will give up pronto, and you will soon be back to 100%. And back to knitting, knitting, knitting.

Do you know about the New York shop Purl Soho, and its excellent site www.purlsoho.com
There is also a sort of journal called the purlbee that you might enjoy.

Kathleen said...

Suffering...I can't say I think I'm suffering. When I think of suffering, I think of something un-endurable. This has been a big BOTHER to me: everyone here thinks I am a huge stick-in-the-mud because I get tired early and because I don't want to spend my evenings dancing. And I guess I am, because if they did not INSIST that I go somewhere, I would stay home in bed. I'm dead tired after work. I sleep nearly all afternoon between classes. I haven't given my house a thorough cleaning since before Christmas. I haven't gone running with Celeste for about a month and a half. I don't call or talk to anyone really, because I would be only be talking about how crappy I feel. I'm so tired of being tired, but it's just been a big bother.

But when anyone asks how I am, I say the same: I'm fine. Not suffering at all, just moody, cranky, a stick-in-the-mud, and tired.

I have been on the verge of ordering colloidal silver, but haven't found a reliable source yet. There is nothing like that here in Lima, that I have found yet. Anyone know of any good sources?

Frances, I do know about purlsoho! I have seen the blog and the website,and they are great!

JC said...

I hope you are feeling better by now Kathleen. What a misery. I had it once, years ago, it seemed like I slept for months on end. Hugs to you and beautiful celeste.