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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Susie has C. diff, a potentially Life-Threatening Infection --- or, Stayin' in the Hospital's Not for Sissies

Linda Schroth, M.D., Susie's primary care doctor, called while we were in the Prius on the way back from looking at the new house.  Her voice filled the interior of the car with a disembodied New York accent.  "So the blood work shows you've got C. diff.  It's a common finding in some people who've been in the hospital.  There are two ways to deal with it.  We can leave it alone and hope it goes away on its own, or you can take some medication to try to kill it off.  It's in your intestine and would explain why you've had the Lower GI symptoms you've been having."

Susie's still-Midwestern voice, fully embodied, asks Dr. Schroth if it's worth treating the C. diff or just leaving well-enough alone and monitoring her intestinal white cell count to make sure the infection doesn't get out of hand.  "So I'm about equally split on what we should do."  I love it when a doctor uses the editorial "we."  ".......what WE should do," about an illness the doctor doesn't have, is at no risk of catching from her patient, at least not over the micro-wave exchange at the root of all cell phone calls, and will take her attention from, totally one hopes, when she hangs up with us and moves from the hallway of her back office to the next examining room which holds the next patient waiting patiently for Dr. Schroth to make her Grand Entrance.

Linda continues.  "So if we do nothing, I'm hoping the bacteria will become overwhelmed by your body's natural infection-fighters.  And then we won't be adding ANOTHER medication to your already-overwhelmed body.  But we have to monitor the situation very carefully, and regularly, to make sure the bacteria's not winning this battle.  That would NOT be a good situation for us."

Susie continues the discussion as we turn from Cross Street onto Pine.  We're almost home but I've had enough.  I don't want to hear any more bad news about how Satan keeps throwing IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) in my innocent wife's road to recovery.  

Doesn't this Satan-dude, who's really proving himself to be a Really Bad Ass, a royal pain-in-the-ass as far as I'm concerned, have anybody else in this world of six billion people he can pick on?  Why's he focusing so much of his evil attention, his un-benign intention, on this one particular person.  Is Susie getting Satan's intense heat because for years she dissed him?  Is he jealous?  Is he giving me Professional Courtesy?  Doesn't the jack-ass know I retired from all that legal jazz at the end of March?  Has Satanic Boredom no limits?
       [Editor's Note: since we've been down the Religious Sceptics Philosophical Road before, no, Bob doesn't expect all Dear Readers to feel comfortable with the Old Jewish Bible's God/Satan theology.  Bob's thought hard enough about all these questions to realize there are many ways to look at Susie's medical problems and the theological perspective may in the long run be unsustainable.  Don't worry, I'm a big boy and all, and have that possibility equally in mind when I write "as if" there Really Is a God, who sometimes chooses to intervene in world history.]

So I just switch mental gears and think to myself, how cool is it that I just met Paul Simon in the Wesleyan student store in the new Usdan Student Center?  Susie continues talking to the disembodied doctor with the New York accent.  And I'm thinkin' about how I'm gonna write up my unexpected magical encounter with the legendary little man who made some of the most lovely two-part pop harmony in "Sounds of Silence" with the great curly-haired high-register baritone, Art Garfunkel.  I just ran into my main man, Paul, and was all cool about it.  But still, he's PAUL SIMON.  And I went to Wesleyan in the late '60s when Simon and Garfunkel were THE iconic sound of the Cultural Revolution, Woodstock, Flower Children, Peace and Love, Dude.  

"All You Need Is Love, love, love is all you need........"  [The Beatles, written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon/McCartney] The love of a good woman, the love of THE most beautiful woman you've ever met. Susie's love.  But if her body doesn't kill off the C. diff infection, then this story will not be My Greatest Story Ever Told and God better watch out if I ever get up to the Pearly Gates.

For more information on C. diff, see:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clostridium_difficile
For more on "All You Need Is Love," see:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_You_Need_Is_Love

For more on my chance meeting with Paul Simon, see my next Bob's blog posting.


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