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Susan Griffith

Susan Griffith
Survivor

As we enter our third week of shut-down for COVID-19, I think of my own excruciating years fighting infections. As this pandemic explodes, exactly like my illness did, I am compelled to write about it.

For me, it began in May ‘12, eased up going into the winter of ‘13, then almost completely shut me down as summer came around. In ‘12, I sought testing, and my primary care gave me a script. I was feverish, headachy, and with digestive pain and dysfunction, but the tests revealed nothing.

The lab technician was nonchalant. “There are lots of false negatives,” he said. If that first test had been effective, I would have been spared years of itching, pain, dysfunctions head to toe, the waiting, the unfruitful tests and conversations with a host of doctors – Gyn, G.I., EMT, pulmunologist, spinal, cardiac, neurological and primary care doctors.

My insurance and co-pay cost came to $440 for a test which was worthless. My entire seven years of medical expenses has cost something close to a million. All I really needed was antibiotics to repress C-diff, anti-fungals to fight Coccidia, and anti-virals to fight a particularly virulent strain of herpes. Testing for Coronavirus seems to be better, but no one knows what the future holds. (Sepsis and C. difficile, Sepsis and Fungal Infections, Sepsis and Viral Infections)

My many blood tests revealed constant inflammation and anemia, and I had phenomenally low blood pressure for years, but nothing to reveal the actual problem. Without adequate testing, each of my infections, in turn, had to be visually observable. Doctors had to actually see the cankers in my mouth and crotch, see that my colon was nothing but a bloody rag, minus muscle and nerves. The Gyn was the only one who actually used a microscope right there in the office to verify the worst case of vaginitus he’d ever seen. What a relief, after so much agony, when the different specialists finally saw, so I could then receive a script to begin healing.

The colonoscopy that revealed my colon’s critical condition got me admitted to the hospital in the fall of ‘15. This was when the pressure from the GI department came on. They were so intent to either remove my colon, or put me on immune suppressant drugs. (Sepsis and Impaired Immune System) Not ready for surgery, I did the immune suppressant injections three different times, each time for four months. This is the period of time even the manufacturers themselves recommend, just to find out if the drugs work or not. Each time my condition worsened. So I knew and the manufacturers themselves advertise that these “wonder” drugs increase infections, as I experienced each time. Thankfully, in ‘15, my GI doctor also prescribed Vancomycin, a very strong antibiotic which, after two courses, decimated the C-diff.

It was only the power of the antibiotics, anti-virals, and anti-fungals that healed me, along with incredible meds from Dr. Gundry M.D. Now that I have the eyesight and strength to use my computer again, I found Sepsis Alliance. I realize that my diagnosis wasn’t primary or even secondary. Even though it should be obvious to my GI and my Infectious Disease doctor that sepsis is what I had, Ulcerative Colitis, despite my protests, remains my official diagnosis. I’m so happy to once again be writing, reading, jogging, and enjoying life again; but my seven years of agony that really shouldn’t have happened will never be forgotten, especially when I know that what I experienced is common. Look at the prevalence of SSI (surgical wound infection), which costs hospitals an estimated 10 billion a year: https://www.journalofhospitalinfection.com/article/S0195-6701%2817%2930135-4/pdf

The catastrophe sweeping around the world is turning out just as microbiologists have been predicting. There’s so much to know, ways to prepare, prompter lab services, palliative care, and better equipment. This is why I write, to put emphasis on the fact that medical discoveries to repress a hoard of enemy microbes is long, long overdue.

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