Before C Diff: Appendicitis
My wife and I went to a friends BBQ one summer evening. For lunch that day we had Thai food (Phad Thai) and a few hours later I had a bit of a cramping stomach. At the BBQ party I had to sit down without moving because it felt like I had some terrible gas that was hurting me just to move. I laid in the car for 30 minutes or so, before my wife came to check on me. I didn’t think I had appendicitis, but she suspected it, and then I got on board. A few hours later I was in the ER listening to a doctor tell me that I needed surgery.
I had the surgery and was on IV Cefazolin prior to and after the surgery. Little did I know that I had picked up the CDiff bacteria somewhere in that hospital. Was it on the surgical instruments? Most likely not. Was it in the patient room? Was it on something I ate? Was it on the hands of one of the hospital staff? I’ll never know.
But, I did come home from the surgery just fine. A few days later, however, I had some diarrhea. Hmmm, that’s odd. But, then it got worse. I was going within an hour after everything I ate. I was worried something had gone wrong with the surgery, so I called the surgeon. Guess what I he told me? “Eat bland diet and call me if it doesn’t get better.” Well, it didn’t get better, it just kept getting worse.
I called the surgeon again, “Well that might suggest an infection, you’ll have to see a doctor about that.” What? You did this to me, why do I have to find another doctor, is what I was thinking. No one cares more about your health than you do! So, my online research began for what this could be.
Fixed (so I thought)
I suspected C Diff after reading a few articles. I went to a GI doctor who started me on Metronidazole and took a stool sample that confirmed the diagnosis (another story for another day). Bam, it “cured” me. Within 24 hours the cramps stopped. Within 48 hours the diarrhea stopped. Thank God!
After a few days of metronidazole, I started getting a terrible metallic taste in my mouth. It seemed with every pill I took, the taste got worse. It was like it was in me and I could even smell it. I finished the antibiotic after 10 days and all was well.
If the C Diff could talk, it was saying, “It ain’t over, gimme some time.”
It’s just a cold, here take some Amoxicillin
A year went by and I had pretty much forgotten about the C Diff and my appendectomy scare had healed nicely. I caught a common cold and didn’t want it going to sinusitis, so I thought I needed some antibiotics. I went to the doctor and got some amoxicillin. On the third day, it had risen. It was gone for a year, but suddenly I felt the unique feeling of “needing to go” that it brought the first time. It’s like you need to go constantly, even if there is nothing “to go”. And when I would eat, the thunder would roll.
I immediately called the GI doctor back and he put me on metronidazole again over the phone. I was confident that this would whip it into shape again, no problem. And it did, within 24 hours again I was feeling much better.
I took metronidazole for 10 days and thought I was “cured” again just like the first time. But, two days after the last bad-tasting pill was down, I had the now familiar, low-side grumble. I was almost home after a 3 hour drive from my Grandparents town. I thought nothing of it at first, because, gosh, I’d just had the cure-all for most anything, antibiotics right?
Within 24 hours I was seriously reconsidering what was going on. That antibiotic didn’t finish the job! I was blaming the anitbiotic for not working. It seems to always take a day or two minimum to get into see a doctor and by that time I was miserable.
When I did get in he didn’t want to prescribe anything without another stool sample. Grrrr. One stool sample coming right up. “Yes, you have C Diff (thanks Doc) and here is your next round of metronidazole.” Ok, so I took another 10 days of metronidazole and started researching day and night on the internet for better information. [TODO: insert relapse statistic here]
With this round of metronidazole, it took longer to get feeling better. It seemed the C Diff had quite a grip on my intestines. But, a few days into it I start feeling better. I finish the 10 day round and cross my fingers.
My first baby is born!
A few days after the last round of metronidazole, I get the familiar grumble feeling again and, since I’m a professional stool sampler now, I go straight to the lab to get the sample kit and make a doctor’s appointment.
While I wait for a couple more days to get in to see the doctor, my wife goes into labor and we are about to have our first child! I’m nutty with excitement.
I start feeling hot and realize I have a temperature. Geez, I can’t be sick in the hospital while I’m in the hospital trying to encourage my wife during labor and delivery! Yes, you can and you are.
I knew that metronidazole alone wasn’t going to cut it this time. I needed the holy grail (to me) of antibiotics at the time, vancomycin.
I didn’t eat for two days, just trying to feel good until I could get into the doctor. I remember washing my hands every five minutes while at the hospital trying to keep a clean environment. While my wife is in labor I complain to the nurses that I’m getting a fever with C Diff and would love to get some vancomycin.
They confirm that I have a fever and call a doctor who prescribes vancomycin for me. The only problem was that they had NO VANCOMYCIN in the hospital and had to start searching for some. I was scared. Thoughts of toxic megacolon were plagueing me while we took care of our new born baby. I remember thinking how unfair it was that I was sick like this while we were having our baby.
Finally, vancomycin is found and it has to be picked up by one of my family members at a pharmacy far away. My wife was in labor dilated to a 6cm and I had stayed by her the entire day until now. I remember my brother in law showing up with a brown bag that had the good stuff in it. I had a fever and could barely stand with dizzyness and weakness from not eating. I took the bag, popped some pills and headed to the cafeteria. It had been something like 24 hours and we weren’t at a 10cm yet. So, I thought it would be fine to run downstairs grab a sandwich and run back up.
I at the sandwich on my walk back up and when I got to the room, it had metamorphosed into a delivery room with bright lights and surgical gowns. I got to watch the birth of my first baby, but I almost missed it. It was, I think, the best experience of my life!
Switch to Vancomycin
Saccharomyces who? TODO: describe more here and refer to details on Florastor page