Necrotizing Fasciitis is an interesting title for a post, but I just finished reading Complications, and the last case in the book dealt with this bacterial infection commonly known as flesh eating disease (or disorder). This bacteria enters through a small cut, scratch or other break in the skin and begins to eat away at the underlying tissue. Yeah gross I know! In a number of cases by the time it is caught it has spread throughout the body, and since it doesn't respond to antibiotics it is very difficult to treat. The case in the book had a positive outcome, and the woman's leg was saved, although they did have to cut it opened and scrape out the dead and dying tissue along with a number of other things necessary to rid the body of this bacteria.
There are a couple of reasons why this story, and a lot of the book stuck with me. First of all this disease is gross and it freaks me out, secondly, the author writes this story with a passion that is rarely seen, and thirdly, I get bumps breaks bruises cuts and blisters all the time at work, what if I am unlucky and somehow end up with this bacteria in me. OK, am I freaking out, after all this is a fairly rare occurrence, but lets take into account the injuries of this week.
1) Cut and swollen thumb from moving a fixture.
2) Two open blisters on my feet from my dress shoes in the humidity of Florida
3) Cut on my pinkie from a halogen light that broke while I was changing it
4) A slice across my palm from a security tag I was trying to remove as a customer pulled the garment violently from my hand
5) I scraped knee from a violent fall up the escalator.
Now this is five visible and possible entry ways for this bacteria in just one week, which would average out to 260 opportunities per year. I am not loving my odds. Yuck Yuck Yuck. I know there are other things that I should be worrying about, hell like tetanus, but I have had my tetanus shot and tetanus will not eat you body from the inside out, with very little warning and devastating results.
I guess this is the sign of a good book, not only did I feel for the doctors involved in the case, and the patient, but I also I was worried for people who may end up with something as devastating as this, including myself. OK, maybe not a sign of a good book just a sign of my neurosis and self centered attitude.
The one final thing that freaks me out, the doctor guessed right and that is why they were able to save this girls leg. THE DOCTOR GUESSED, yes maybe it was an educated GUESS, but it was still a GUESS!
Oh yes and have I mentioned YUCK!