Infection Abjection

Panic took over as I sat in my PCP’s office yesterday waiting for a blood draw.

M had just told me that I would be heading to the hospital for an indeterminate stay if my white blood cell count was above the acceptable range. Hospitals aren’t as scary for me now as they were before MS forced me to spend more time in them, but I haven’t had to stay in one, and the thought of spending Christmas there had me contemplating sneaking out and beginning a life on the run. They do have my address, after all.

My C. diff recovery had been on the decline for the previous few days, the old symptoms slowly coming back. I’d been feverish each evening, more enervated than usual. It didn’t feel like I was getting better anymore, especially at 3 a.m. Friday in the bathroom, when I made an appointment to see M later that morning.

We talked about my symptoms, the fact that I’d never quite gone back to normal after the last round of C. diff.

After my blood was taken, the lab went to work immediately on processing it. I tried to distract myself with Facebook, but my eyes kept turning toward the door, my ears listening for any sound that might be M approaching. I forced myself not to think too much about the logistics of a hospital stay: how I’d get the things I needed, what I’d do about teaching classes on Monday, what we’d do with all the food bought for our Christmas Eve gathering on Tuesday, how much I’d miss my dogs. And Alvaro, I guess.

M returned looking concerned, but it was more about the complicated prescription she had to write than the lab results, which were fortunately fine. I’m back on vancomycin, but this time for a month, tapering down each week, 89 pills instead of the 40 I did last time. I have to be optimistic that this will finally return me to normal because I have to be infection-free in February to get my next round of Ocrevus, and the options for C. diff beyond this involve a very expensive drug of last resort or a fecal transplant, which is just as horrifying as it sounds. So I’m going to believe.

This morning, I woke up in my own bed, and it has never felt so good. My revised Christmas wish is simply to enjoy the holiday and time with my family. Given the alternative one I would have had in the hospital, I’m sure I will, grateful for all that’s going right in a period of what will hopefully be soon-to-be-forgotten upheaval. Meanwhile, I’m sending wishes for happy, healthy holidays to all of you.

What more than $2,000 of antibiotics looks like


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