Monsters Inside Me - New Series, Episode 1 - My Write-Ups
Monsters Inside Me
New Series, Episode 1
I’m writing some posts after watching Monsters Inside Me aired by Discovery/Animal Planet. I’ll be sharing the episodes and my interpretations as I understood them.
Case 1 - 9 year old boy.
The boy was a keen ice-hockey player. One of the best in his team. His parents noticed he was having problems on the ice, falling and not playing to his usual best. One of the first symptoms they noticed was his lack of concentration etc. His parents did say that he did suffer high fevers and ear infections from time to time but what they noticed recently just wasn’t normal behaviour from their son. His concentration got worse and he seemed to stare into space like not noticing who was around him.
One evening, his father lifted him up to take him to bed and the boy started screaming to put him down as he didn’t want to be touched. His father knew instantly that something was seriously wrong. He was rushed to ER and it was found that there appeared to be something wrong with his brain. The doctor at first thought it was a viral infection. The doctor prescribed anti-viral medications but the boy’s symptoms only got worse. He started to have tremors and his eyes started to roll. He couldn’t see properly.
He was taken to the intensive unit. Encephalitis was thought to be the cause. MRI showed inflammation. Steroids were prescribed and the boy had to be induced into a temporary coma in order to protect him from whatever was afflicting him. Soon after he appeared to lapse into an even deeper coma. Doctors were still unsure what was wrong with the boy.
After one month in a coma the boy began to open his eyes. He began to breath on his own and his sight also improved. But the doctors were still unsure what was wrong with the boy. They were worried he would relapse. The boy was then referred to an Infectious Disease Doctor. The boy’s parents received a phone call later as tests showed the boy was suffering from an Acanthamoeba infection. The parasite enters through the skin or nose. It finds its way to the brain where it can cause total destruction.
Although the boy appeared to be better, the doctors could only wait and see what happened. Was the boy near water or in an infected swimming pool? What was the cause? Was it air conditioning units. All of these questions were asked. A normal healthy immune system can fight infections such as these and with little symptoms but when it is compromised and taken over that’s when it can be very serious.
The boy was near to death but because he was a fit and tough little boy he survived. Acanthamoeba can be found anywhere and it can be deadly if not caught early. It is very rare but nonetheless there have been cases.
The boy did make a full recovery.
Case 2 – Fit, young man.
2007, very fit, young man started to feel unwell. First symptoms were sore/pains in stomach, he also felt achy and had severe headaches. 2 days later he went to see his doctor because his symptoms had not lifted. The doctor thought it was a virus. He spent a week in bed but his symptoms just got worse and worse. He started having low grade fever and pounding headaches. The pain in his head was vice-like. He’d never felt pain like it.
His wife noticed a very strange symptom where she said it was like he’d almost lost control of his own mind. She said he started talking gobbledeegook. He was a computer worker and his wife said he started talking in computer language. This was startling for her and she knew something was seriously, seriously wrong.
He had one week of crippling symptoms. It was found he was suffering from Malaria! He was prescribed anti-malarial drugs but they didn’t appear to be working. A week later, more blood was taken and 23% of his blood cells had parasites (the worst the doctor had ever seen). It was explained that 1 teaspoon of blood contained 5 BILLION parasites!!
Malaria is a plasmodium parasite and it is the deadliest parasite on earth! If caught early enough, treatment is successful.
The man had caught the parasite in the Dominican Republic. He had been on an anniversary holiday with his wife.
IV drugs were given and it was found that the malaria parasite numbers began to decrease in his blood. A few days later he was discharged from hospital. But one week later, his wife noticed him talking funny again, in computer language and thought oh oh, this isn’t right and rushed him straight back to hospital. His blood was tested again and the test was negative. Although this wasn’t normal for a recovering patient to show symptoms the doctors thought it could be some kind of post-malarial condition and they could only wait and see what happens. He showed negative for the parasite and all they could do was wait. They said it was something like post malarial syndrome (I can’t recall exactly what they said).
The man made a full recovery.
Case 3 – Marathon Runner.
A young man who was a keen runner and trained regularly. Very fit indeed. He was very rarely ill. One day he was out having a run and began to feel more tired than usual. He was training for an upcoming marathon and thought perhaps he should take a break and rest. He had low fever. He questioned a cold or flu. His symptoms continued and he was plagued by fever and fatigue. He went to his doctor. A routine general exam was given and the doctor thought virus or flu.
One morning the man wakes and his bed is soaked, the sheets are very wet. He was having terrible night sweats. He returns to his doctor. The doctor questions a tick borne illness? Lyme disease. Babesiosis to be exact. The man’s symptoms worsen. He is barely able to get out of bed. The doctor gets his results and the lab results are negative. The doctor then refers him to an Infectious Disease Doctor . A CAT scan was performed. All organs appeared to be normal apart from his spleen. His spleen had swollen to 5 times its normal size. There was a risk it could burst. The doctors were perplexed, what was causing this. All tests were showing negative for whatever they tested for. Something was causing the spleen to enlarge but they weren’t sure what. They HAD to get a diagnosis or the patient was going to die. They had one final option and that was to remove the patient’s spleen. This was a last resort but in order to save his life, they had no option. The date for the op was scheduled but before the op, 48 hours before to be exact, they did one more set of bloods and had them tested. It was LEISHMANIASIS. Once inside the body, this parasite feeds on organs and hijacks the immune system. Once inside the body, it heads for the liver or spleen. It can destroy organs.
The man was given heavy antibiotics to fight the parasite. The doctors wondered how the parasite had got inside his body? The blood sucking sandfly is the carrier. The parasite enters through the blood and feeds on white blood cells.
The man had been in Greece one year ago and it was thought that he had picked up the infection back then and it had taken 1 year for symptoms to show. This parasite can lie undetected for a long time. It is a very successful parasite.
Neutraphils in the blood normally kill invaders or parasites such as these but these parasites overcome the neutraphils. They live in the cells. They can live in human blood cells very easily indeed.
The man fully recovered.
If left untreated, eventually, over time this parasite can enter every organ in the body and you can die. Without treatment, the outcome is not good. I think they said no vaccines are yet available.
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