Ebola Clostridium difficile

aliensIf you are sick and tired or hearing / reading about the ebola virus, go watch paint dry somewhere else. You have my blessing. I am not an expert about ebola or any other infectious disease. Good-bye. Seeya when I paint the Landfill Living Room purple.

In this post, I am really not writing about the ebola virus specifically. I am writing about my own horrific experiences dealing with a relative who contracted a different infectious disease, Clostridium difficile, commonly referred to around hospitals and nursing homes, etc., as C. diff. C. diff is not ebola. It is contagious but healthy people don’t often catch it and I didn’t, even though I spent many days in a hospital room with a woman who suffered greatly from it, aka my mother.

We had already made several emergency trips to the yooperland during the fall preceding my mother’s contraction of C. diff and her subsequent death. Each of those other times, we would visit with her in the hospital and all of us would joke around with the nursing staff. There were some iffy moments but generally she would recover and take the bus ambulance the several blocks back to her beautiful little assisted living apartment. She lost a little ground each time but she was still totally with it mentally and determined to move forward.

This time? OMG! We got there and had to “suit up”. Gown, mask, booties, glubs. New ones every single time we entered the room. What? I don’t want to dis the staff at that small hoosegow but no one explained to me what C. diff was when we first got there. They just shoved gear at us. I think someone shoved a piece of paper at me at one point. I’m pretty sure I didn’t read it with my deathly ill mother over there moaning in her hospital bed.

After a couple days, the trash was overflowing with used gowns and stuff. When were they gonna pick that stuff up? Then there was the changing protocol for how to secure the room. For most of the duration, the door was open (that would be my preference). One nurse researched C. diff and totally freaked out and I had to endure an entire day of isolation in my mom’s room. With the door shut. Yet they didn’t care if I left, etc. An arrogant doc made a visit and cavalierly said, “I don’t know why they are doing all of this.” Well, for one thing *you* are in here for five minutes a day tops. More “lowly” staff members are in and out all day. *I* am here for hours on end! Geesh!

What I am trying to say here is that I do not think that all hospitals, even in our first-world country, can be relied on to handle infectious diseases appropriately. Every time I read about Mr. Duncan’s horrific sojourn in the Dallas hospital, I think about all of the “protective gear” I threw into an overflowing bin in my mother’s hospital room where she was dying in a way that she didn’t want. I don’t think that anyone caught C. diff from all that stuff but ebola may (or may not) have been a different story.

I am scared about ebola too, make no mistake. I know that my chances of contracting it are practically nil. I think that the symptoms that lead to that death are horrific. I have had a few vomiting / diarrhea viruses in my time but, as horrific as they were, I always knew that I would resurface and I did. Ebola is a scary thing. It seems like we haven’t figured out the contagious period though. Why did so many of Thomas Duncan’s relatives *not* get ebola but two of his nurses did?

I’ll leave that for all of you to think about.

3 Responses to “Ebola Clostridium difficile”

  1. Margaret Says:

    He wasn’t contagious then because he wasn’t showing the symptoms that cause the loss of bodily fluids. He did have a temperature, but not the icky rest of it. That’s what I believe anyway. I’m not one bit scared of ebola. If Senegal can get it under control (and they share a border with Guinea and have relatively primitive medical facilities), surely we can? Our problem was lack of preparation, and perhaps some arrogance that it wasn’t going to affect us.

  2. Aimee Says:

    RNs are the front line, and in this case they were not supplied with appropriate protective gear. I’ll spare the gory details. Ebola is real, and we will get up to speed here. My heart still goes out to the countries in West Africa who struggle with lack of supplies and health care workers in the face of this virulent virus. Let’s keep sending positive thoughts and energy to these young nurses who are paying the price for our lack of due diligence.
    Let’s also send compassion to all those who suffer from the ravages of C. Difficile.
    And be grateful for every day of our good health. I certainly am!

  3. elizabeth carter Says:

    I think they should have a longer quarantine time. At first it was 21 days then it was lengthened to something like 45. For the Dallas hospital people the end of quarantine is Nov. 7.
    I wonder if people die from this, will our belongings be contaminated, things worn and recently used? Will everything have to be burned or buried ? Seriously it could be like the plague. I’m prepared to meet my maker as they say.