Clostridium difficile – The Abuse, Misuse and overuse of Antibiotics.

I don’t usually soap-box.  However, I think it’s really important that no one ever needlessly go through what I’ve been through for the last eight weeks.  This blog is not for the faint of heart, so if you are easily grossed out you shouldn’t read it, but the information is really important. I didn’t edit this for punctuation, because I’m still sick and I just want you to know what is out there!

We live in a day and age where some doctors dole out antibiotics for everything.  It all started when I got strep throat a couple of months ago.  I will be the first to admit that it sounds like Strep would require a good round of antibiotics, however, that’s true only if it’s bacterial and most strep is viral.  A good dose of steroids would probably be the better option, I got both.  Three days after completing that course of antibiotics, I got an ear infection and didn’t want to be sick when I went on vacation.  I ran to the doctor and got another round of antibiotics.

While we were in Florida, I was extremely lethargic.  I had a good time, but it took everything I had to drag myself to the beach, and two days of our week long trip, I just stayed inside and slept most of the day.  I know my “mates”, who were with me, were probably about to kill me, because I just didn’t have it in me to get up and wash dishes or sweep the floor like I usually do when it’s my turn.  Of course, as usual, my hubby took up my slack and spoiled me.

When we got back I kept telling him something wasn’t right.  That is when the vomiting, diarrhea and nausea started.  I missed a few days of work, and ended up at the doctor’s office.  He gave me fluids, said I was very dehydrated and this was the first time I heard of Cdiff or Clostridium difficile.

He told me he thought the good bacteria had been stripped from my system, due to the two rounds of antibiotics I had.  However, he didn’t tell me that the result is life threatening and that the road ahead could be very difficult.  I took the new antibiotic he gave me (Flagyl – there are only two available for this particular problem.)  And four days later, was back in his office for more fluids.  This went on for six weeks, including a trip to the hospital where they swore I had a kidney stone, doped me up and sent me home.

Ironically, this has all happened to me before in 2008.  Somehow, after 6 weeks of fighting it then, I got better on my own.  That’s a crazy thing for someone who has a weakened immune system like I do.

Anyway, back to the story.  Sunday, I called my best friend, because we had a house full of kids and Keith had to watch them, and begged her to take me to the hospital.  I was doubled over in pain.  I really thought I was going to die.  And actually, now I know that this particular problem that the doctor so casually brushed over in the first place, could have killed me, had I not forced my way back into the hospital.

I was fortunate, because when I got to the hospital this time, I was in so much pain that they rushed me a critical room.  They were all around me working to control the pain, and figure out what happened.  It was hard to tell them everything, since I had a huge amount of agonizing pain to get through, but I told them everything I could remember.

They immediately admitted me and ran all sorts of tests.  The outcome??  CDiff.  Cdiff in layman’s terms is the tearing down of the good bacteria in your gut by antibiotics and it can kill you.  The doctor that treated me had it once and he lost 12 lbs in 1 day.  I lost 10 in two days.  Not the diet plan I was looking for. They put me on the other drug that cost $800 for the course and said, if this doesn’t work, it’s not good….so we are just going to pray it works.  Basically, they will put you on another course for 6 weeks and then it’s surgery….life changing surgery.

I’m still really weak.  I have a boatload of meds to take, and I get sleepy real easy.  I can’t go to work….heck I can barely get out of bed.  But here is the gist….antibiotics are overused.  If you have to take them….if you are on your death-bed with pneumonia and NEED them for a BACTERIAL infection, take them.  However, take the entire course.  Don’t leave the bottle half full when you decide you feel better.  NEVER take anyone else’ antibiotics because you think you know what you have.  That yeast infection you get every time you take one, is your body’s way of saying HEY THIS STUFF IS NOT GOOD!

I’m eight weeks in on my fight against CDiff.  I really hope you will heed the warning and realize that the cure to everything is not a round of antibiotics. A girlfriend of mine reminded me of something.

My pediatrician, thank God, almost never gives antibiotics.  The first one I went to in Baton Rouge, a well-known and liked doctor, put my son on them every time we walked in the building.  His teeth are now ruined.  I’ve spent upwards of $10,000 trying to fix them and that’s not an over exaggeration. They still need to be bleached because they came in yellow – not even close to white.  He hates it.

Anyway, I can remember leaving the doctor’s office so mad sometimes when I thought the kids needed antibiotics, but I’m super glad now that “Bucky”, has never been a drug pusher. Since I changed from the drug pusher years ago (I think CJ was 6 months old), my kids may have taken 2 rounds of antibiotics each.

Hope you read this long dissertation, and that somewhere in the back of your mind you file this under – good to know.

In the mean time,  The Keepers will be back up in a few days for sale!!!! YAY and I’m working on the edits for Jamais Vu, albeit slowly.  My editor is so awesome though, that i feel like it won’t be put off too long.

All of your well wishes, prayers, love and the fact that you keep supporting me, even when I’m incommunicado has made me so happy.  I love you guys so much.  The internet has brought me close to so many people I would have never known, and kept me close to the ones I already loved.

Stay safe.

Monique O’Connor James


8 thoughts on “Clostridium difficile – The Abuse, Misuse and overuse of Antibiotics.

    • Well it is what it is….and most people don’t know!!! It’s scary!!!! We are a society that believes in killing all germs and that’s not the thing we need to be doing….some germs are good 😀

  1. Wow, I probably had 4 bottles full of antibiotics when I was going through Strep, bronchitis and pneumonia. I did not know about cdif. But I did have some of the symptoms you described. I ended up taking probiotic capsule to get back the good bacteria in my system. I believe that had helped me. I hope everything works out.

  2. My doctor isn’t much of a pill pusher either (especially with cage’s severe allergies), but she hates that I refuse flu shots for myself and cage. Like I told her – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I’ve only ever had the flu (slight case) once in my almost 39 years and cage hasn’t been to the doctor due to illness in over 2 years (and that was the 2nd time he almost died on us from an allergic reaction to omnicef – which landed him in the hospital overnight). as a matter of fact, not sure cage has ran a fever or had more than a slight sinus issue (mostly due to allergies) in almost 2 1/2 years. And I’m convinced the excessive amounts of antibiotics cage did have to take when he was born and in the NICU fightin ABO incapatibility is why we ended up having him lose his front 4 teeth and have to have 3 capped that had cavities.

  3. Wow! I had c-diff last Thanksgiving on top of Hypokalemia ~ Low Potassium ~ nasty stuff too! Spent a total of 9 days in the hospital…. I feel U Monique and I pray for you always my friend!

  4. Wow! I had c-diff last Thanksgiving on top of Hypokalemia ~ Low Potassium ~ Being on 100mg of Lasix a day will strip your body of its potassium too~ dangerous, deadly, and nasty stuff too! Spent a total of 9 days in the hospital…. I feel U Monique and I pray for you always my friend! Yogurt with live active cultures will rebalance your system, I only take them when I absolutely need them now!!

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