C. diff. Added To The List Of Illnesses That Broke The Camel’s Back

 

Remembering the good times spent together during the Summer season.

Dad and I would go hunting, fishing, and boating and spend days together just reminiscing about the good times and the bad times.  We’d talk about the families, how to know when to move forward and when to hold back, when it’s a good time to invest, and the million “what-ifs” that we all experience and wonder about.

Yeah, it’s hard now and missing him more than ever.  It’s been ten years now since he died and it always feels like yesterday.

Sure Dad had heart trouble, his legs were getting weak, bad knees, and ailments that a lot of seniors develop.  It is wasn’t until he contracted a case of whooping cough that really started the ball rolling downhill.  His lungs were never the same, and then there was the pneumonia and in and out of hospitals for care.  It became a domino scenario and eventually the diagnosis of C. diff. was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

We know now that the body can only take so much and the infections mount and the antibiotics in every combination were not working to fight the one bug that went into the new bug that the Infection Disease docs couldn’t even identify.  Super-bug haven and Dad was suffering terribly through each one.  His body was unable to fight the infections any longer and we remember feeling the hopelessness, the grief, the sadness days before he died.  When there’s nothing you can do to help your parent and loved one it tears you up and breaks your heart.  It may be ten years but that pain – the real heart breaking pain will always be remembered and will never really go away.

We get up every morning and we begin our days take care of our families, thrive the best we can knowing that today is going to be better, today we are going to be better, today we are going to be stronger than we were yesterday.  Today is a gift and we have the opportunity to make it better for everyone around us, too.  We can do it and we can help with sharing the information provided by the C Diff Foundation, become an active volunteer and share the brochures and literature to raise awareness.  We can’t bring our loved ones back but we can sure help save lives around us.  With each brochure we give out in the community and tell our stories with strangers who never heard of C. diff. or infections or how to talk with the docs about antibiotics and if it’s really necessary to take one and when we should take one — we can make a difference.  There’s no better day than today to begin making a difference.  It’s not all up to the government and local agencies – we live in our communities – we love our neighbors – so let’s join together and do something pro-active.  Let’s remember our loved ones by doing something to help those living around us.  Raising C. diff. awareness with the C Diff Foundation has found a way in my life, in my families life, and we know that by sharing shows we are caring and I know that my Dad is smiling down upon us from heaven happy that we’re trying to make a difference.  Don’t get me wrong, we’ll always miss Dad, always love him and remember the good times together and no one can take that away or replace him.  We just need to find an avenue to channel the energy and turn it into something positive.

Being a volunteer has become our positive and we do it in our Dad’s memory.  We hope to help other families from loosing their parents to this deadly infection.    Thanks for letting me share my story with others who have walked this hard road and miss their Dads and Moms, too.  Thanks for all you do for others C Diff Foundation, thanks alot.

Yours truly,

 

James Davey

 

 

C. diff. Survivor Shares How Life Is Not the Same After Losses

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It could be Spring, it could be Summer the seasons really don’t matter anymore. 

A loss is a loss in life.  We loose more than we anticipate with any long-term illness and wellness draining diagnosis.  We loose even more deeply and permanently when our loved ones pass away from a multi-diagnosis treated either long-term or short- term  ~ it really doesn’t matter because bottom line — it’s a loss.

 

Clostridium difficile (C. diff.) is gram-positive, anaerobic, and a spore, rod/spindle-shape,  a common bacterium of the human intestine in 2 – 5%. C diff. becomes a serious gastrointestinal infection when individuals have been exposed to antibiotic therapy, and/or have experienced a long-term hospitalization, and/or have had an extended stay in a long-term care facility. However; the risk of acquiring a C diff. infection (CDI) has increased as it is in the community (community acquired) and can be found in outpatient settings. There are significant higher risk factors in patients who are immunosuppressant, ones who have been on antibiotic therapy, and the elderly population.

We know and understand “what” a C. difficile infection is, what we can not understand is what this, and many other healthcare-associated infections,  can do to our lives. 

The acute onset of a C. difficile diagnosis is received, treated, resolved only to have a re-occurrence of the same illness from which one has previously recovered, moving into a the long-term (chronic) debilitating illness.  It’s not the same for everyone as C. diff. is a very individualized diagnosis, as many other infections. 

The landscape of Clostridium difficile has changed over the decades; there are new strains, there are a lot more questions, and increased research is actively taking place worldwide.

The geriatric population used to carry the higher risk of acquiring this infection, however; that has also changed.  It is being diagnosed across the life-span.

C. diff. knows no boundaries, this infection can be acquired by anyone, at any location, at any age.”

 

A loss is a loss in life.  We loose more than we anticipate with any long-term illness and wellness draining diagnosis — one like C. difficile.

Life is not the same after experiencing a loss; The loss of a loved one, the loss of employment, the loss of how the body used to just function without a care in the world.  The Gastrointestinal system endures more than it should especially after encountering three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten recurrences.

C. diff. claims lives,  rips away dreams and the families are changed forever.

The seasons and the holidays come and go, the healing takes time both emotionally and physically.  The losses are many from an infection — one that we can all try to prevent

 

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PREVENTION:

Hand washing is so important, before and after meals, after using the restrooms, before cooking and touching food, after handling pets, and often.  It is the first defense of stopping the spread of germs and increasing personal safety.

Special contact precautions for prevention of the spread of infection can vary from strict isolation of the patient and such measures as wearing gloves, and a gown and healthcare professionals must use care when handling infectious material and soiled linens.

No matter what the diagnosis or status of the patient, hand washing for everyone – before and after each contact is imperative.

 

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In the care of patients for whom special precautions have not been assigned, gloves are indicated whenever there is direct contact with body fluids. Gowns are worn over the clothing whenever there is a positive stool test for C. diff. infection, and the possibility that one’s clothing/uniform could become soiled with infectious material.

When a definitive diagnosis of an infectious disease has been made and special precautions are ordered, it is imperative that everyone having contact with the patient adhere to the rules. Family members and visitors will need instruction in the proper techniques and the reason they are necessary.

 

 

PatientwashinghandswhelpOffering the patient a basin of water with soap, and a dry towel,  to wash their hands will also help. The patient is not exempt and this important infection prevention method will reduce the spread of germs and also reduce the reintroduction of the germs to your loved one — the patient.

 

Pill-bottlesAnd limiting the use of Antibiotics — discussing the diagnosis with the healthcare provider and knowing when they will be helpful treating  symptoms will also curb antibiotic resistance and prevent acquiring  C. difficile.

To listen to a live broadcast with Dr. Hicks and Dr. Srinivasan from the CDC and their discussion on  “How to use antibiotics wisely and how everyone can help in the fight against antibiotic-resistance,” on “C. diff. Spores and More” Cdiff Radio click on the following link

http://cdifffoundation.org/2016/02/10/using-antibiotics-wisely-how-everyone-can-help-in-the-fight-against-antibiotic-resistance-worldwide/

 

For more information on Infection Prevention, Antibiotic Resistance, Advocating for a loved one,             C. difficile information on “home care” and more ~ please visit the C Diff Foundation website     www.cdifffoundation.org

 

Life will not be the same for us and we can all make a difference from today forward in helping others save lives and prevent  C. difficile infections worldwide.

 

CandleLostLovedone

A loss and a journey through C. difficile infections

My mom was admitted to the hospital with dehydration and diarrhea in the beginning of December 2012..  She was quite weak and could not walk.  She was pumped up with fluids, but seemed to be getting worse and worse.  The hospital released her to a “rehabilitation facility” which was really a nursing home, to gain the strength in her legs.  She progressively got worse and was now vomiting.  She was sent back to the hospital and they did all kinds of tests, but found nothing.  Again they pumped her up with IV fluids and sent her back to the nursing home.  She was too sick to rehab and just liyed there for a week.  We had her sent back to the hospital.  Now they did an endoscopy and other tests.  We were told she had C diff.

I had never heard of C diff and no one explained to us all the precautions we all would have to take.

My mom was not isolated at first and we didn’t know any better.  She was sent, yet again, to the nursing home less than 24 hours after beginning Flagyl.  The nursing home did not put in place any precautionary measures for her having C diff. My mom got deathly sick and a terrible allergic reaction from the Flagyl, so the nursing home doctor stopped it.  We asked for the Vancomycin which the doctor refused to administer.  He wanted a “wait and see” approach.  She laid there for a few days and got sicker and sicker.  When I visited her the next day (Christmas Eve) she was not making sense,  and didn’t recognize me.  I called an ambulance,  and she was admitted one last time.  The doctors began the Vancomycin,  but it was too late.  She died a few days later.  She was transferred into ICU, and at 4 am I received a phone call from the hospital that she died….”her heart stopped”, they said.  She suffered terribly.

Throughout this whole ordeal, I had begun to have diarrhea too.  When I told my sister, she told me that it was my IBS acting up from my nerves, which made sense at the time.  I was diagnosed with  IBS at 19 years old.  On and off I (since my mother’s death) have been suffering with diarrhea and stomach issues.  I went to the doctors several times and had a sonogran, cat scan, and numerous blood tests done.  All tests came back fine.  My diarrhea at this point (March 2014) was pretty bad.  Then in July, my doctor sent me to an allergist, and the allergist told me to have a stool sample and test for parasites and food poisoning. I explained to him how my mom died and that we should test for c diff too.  Needless to say,  my test came back positive for C diff!

My mom had died a year and 7 months deforestation! I know I contracted the C diff from her! I was prescribed Flagyl.  I began to have strange symptoms about 6 days into it.  I had gotten a sore throat, and my right arm began to swell and turn a purple shade and felt hot and tingly, and I had the same hot and tingly feeling in my throat, mouth and tongue.  My tongue turned gray/black with a thick white coating and swelled.  After 12 days on the Flagyl, I stopped taking it.  At this point, I could not get applesauce down my throat, and felt extremely nauseous and too weak to walk.  So now it’s close to a month since treating the c diff, and I still have the “toxic” symptoms that I thought were caused by the Flagyl.

The symptoms are not as severe, but are still there.  I no longer have diarrhea,  but I still have gastro issues and have been at the doctor’s every week.  More blood and urine tests, and even a tongue scrapping to see if any fungus or bacteria.  I feel weak, shakey and foggy headed at times…mostly in the mornings.  My blood levels are all normal.  The nutritionist has me on Floristor probiotic and a low FODMAP diet.  This is not only frustrating, but very emotional,  as it brought back to me all what my mother endured before she died.  I’m still looking for answers as to why I feel the way I do, and the doctors have no answers as of yet.

Annie A

9 September 2014