Monsters Inside Me - Bacteria, Lyme and Foreign Objects - Post 3
Another write-up, as I understood the programme, after watching the new series Monsters Inside Me aired by Discovery/Animal Planet.
Monsters Inside Me - Post 3
Case 1 - 21 Year Old Male - California
One spring afternoon, he visits his parent’s home. His father notices he is wearing sunglasses and he is moving a bit slow. He is feverish, achy and has a sore throat. His father notices underneath his chin all the way to the top of his head, he looks swollen. He removes his son’s sunglasses and notices that his son’s eyes are yellow. He immediately takes his son to hospital.
Doctors check him over. The yellowing of the eyes show a problem with the liver. Something is attacking his liver. He is rapidly deteriorating. His breathing is bad. What is going on in his chest? A CAT scan is performed. Doctors suspect double pneumonia?
He is transferred to intensive care where he is put on intravenous antibiotics to combat the pneumonia. The doctors tell his parents that the infection has taken charge and is consuming him. His father is haunted by memories, years ago they had a baby who had died and he feared he was going to lose another son.
His case is reviewed by another doctor. The doctor begins to consider a hunch he has after looking over the CT scan again. He sees a clot and thinks it could be Lemierre’s Syndrome, which can be deadly. It is a bacteria. It enters the bloodstream. Abscesses form. Bacteria penetrate from the abscess into the neighbouring jugular vein in the neck and there they can cause an infected clot (thrombosis) to form. The bacteria are seeded throughout the body by the bloodstream. Pieces of the infected clot can break off and travel to the lungs blocking branches of the pulmonary artery bringing deoxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs. It can cause shortness of breath, chest pain and severe pneumonia.
The boy is fighting for his life. He is sent for surgery the next morning. They are concerned the clot could move. The infected portion of his jugular vein is removed. He appears to improve but four days later his recovery comes to an abrupt halt. His head hurts, the pain is unbearable. His right eye is protruding from his eye socket. An emergency MRI scan is performed on his brain. He is seen by a Neurosurgeon. His brain is riddled with bacteria. He undergoes more surgery. During surgery the medical team open up his skull, they find abscesses. They work hard to save his life.
He remains in hospital and continues on antibiotics until the bacteria is gone. His condition slowly improves. Three weeks later he is allowed home.
Case 2 - Young 13 Year Old Girl – Maryland
She is a young girl who loves to explore the countryside. She spends a lot of time in the woods. She also enjoys soccer. One day when she is playing in a soccer match, half way through, she begins to feel out of breath and fatigued.
The unexplainable fatigue continues for months. She is constantly lethargic. Her mother takes her daughter to the doctor who arrange for tests to be carried out.
Blood work reveals Hemochromatosis. It is a genetic condition. The body absorbs too much iron and can cause extreme fatigue. Usually it begins in your 40’s. She is too young to be suffering symptoms someone in their 40s could have. They prescribe her medication to reduce her iron levels. She has to go in once a week and have her blood taken.
Her constant fatigue continues. She is not improving. She is spending a lot of time in bed. Her levels of iron are slowly reducing but she isn’t feeling much better. She quits soccer, many of her past-times she feels she can no longer continue with. She feels she is being robbed of her life.
Doctors begin to question the girl’s symptoms. Is she imagining them? Her mother doesn’t know what to think. For the next two years the young girl continues to struggle on.
One morning she feels a sharp pain through her entire body. Her mother takes her to another doctor. The doctor wants to do further blood tests. Four days later she returns to the doctors for her results. She tests positive for Lyme Disease.
Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection caused by a tick bite. Early and common symptoms of the disease is a pink or red, circular rash that develops around the area of the bite. The rash is often described as looking like a ‘bull’s eye’ rash. There can be many symptoms to Lyme Disease. Fever, headache, fatigue, joint pain, muscle pain. Left untreated other symptoms can affect the sufferer ie., heart symptoms, nervous system.
She is prescribed a three week course of antibiotics but she feels worse. She is so confused. Why isn’t she feeling any better? For the next two years she sees many doctors.
She is suffering chills, sweats and feels cold. She goes back to her doctor, the same doctor who diagnosed the Lyme Disease. The doctor is confused why she still feels sick. The doctor tells her she is cured from the Lyme Disease, it is out of her system. The girls resigns herself that this is how her life is going to be, a life of pain. She drops out of school because she is no longer capable of coping.
At the end of her tether she makes another appointment with another doctor. He orders a series of blood tests to confirm a suspicion he has. He confirms that she has Babesiosis – (Babesia Microti was also mentioned but I didn’t quite catch what was said). This is a protozoan parasite. It targets and destroys red blood cells. As they wipe out the cells, oxygen levels drop.
The spleen normally removes the bacteria but with a compromised immune system it is much harder to eradicate. She is prescribed antibiotics and anti-parasitics. She begins to show signs of improvement.
Years ago, she was bitten by a deer tick. Her mother recalls removing the tick but never gave it a thought of a potential disease occurring much later. She was about 6 years old when she was bitten. After removal of the tick, she does remember the bull rash. The doctors are now sure that this is how she contracted both Lyme and Babesiosis.
It can take several years before symptoms appear. Many things can trigger it, including stress.
She has to take medication for a long time but she begins to feel like she is getting her life back.
Case 3 - Middle-aged Woman -
One morning she is having a shower. She feels something strange in her breast. She visits her doctor and undergoes a series of x-rays. They see cysts. The doctors want to remove the cluster of cysts.
A week later she has surgery to remove the collection of cysts. The surgery goes well. She is sent home to recover.
She starts to feel heat in her right breast. She opens her nightgown and sees that her breast is red and enlarged. The doctors had told her this may happen and not to be concerned. Less than 24 hours later she knows something is wrong. She feels a peculiar sensation. She feels wet and she is alarmed to see blood all over the bed. Puss is oozing out. Why is it her right breast when she had surgery on her left?
She is taken to hospital. Surgery is performed and the breast is drained. They still don’t know what caused it. Her biopsies are fine. Her breast begins to heal.
One day at work she feels a lump on her breast. What is going on? The lump is growing. She goes to the doctor, a new doctor. The doctor tells her there is something growing inside of her. She is scared. The doctor did not elaborate on what was inside of her, in her breast. She becomes hysterical. She is sent to the same hospital where her first procedure was performed. The surgeon opens her right breast and the lump is removed. Three hours later, after the surgery, the doctor tells her the problem has been removed. He tells her that two SURGICAL SPONGES were left inside of her from a previous surgery. (The type of sponge doctors use to help soak up blood).
What was occurring in her body was that her immune system cells were attacking the foreign objects but her cells were unable to break down the sponges.
She is extremely angry as to why this could happen. How careless! How can this happen?! She had many questions.
Unfortunately, situations such as this DO happen.
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