More downs than ups!

Hi folks. Since I last wrote things have been a bit more of a struggle than usual. I must say I have been very lucky up to now, as I think the last time I was poorly was when I had shingles in Nov 2010. I seem to be making up for it atm. To cut a long story short I caught a cough/cold bug and developed a chest infection. It wasn’t too bad but I had to be hospitalised and was pumped with the usual cocktail of antibiotics – drip, IV and tablets. As always I immediately got the runs and my potassium levels went down. However, I made relatively good progress and came out after a few days with a course of antibiotic tablets to take. Everything seemed to be going OK and having been off Revlimid and steroids for a couple of weeks I restarted them after my normal hospital appointment. I then immediately started to get diarrhoea again. I assumed this was due to restarting the meds as I do sometimes get the runs the week after the ‘rest’ week for Revlimid. However, after a few days it didn’t go and seemed quite bad, so I sought advice and after a stool sample was taken I was diagnosed with c.difficile. Now I was aware of this illness, but hadn’t really looked at it in detail. I had had 2 negative stool tests after all. I really think hospitals should be giving patients leaflets about this. I would certainly have got tested earlier.

It’s not very nice (the wind can create a hole in the ozone layer!), it can be serious for older, frailer people, it can be difficult to get rid of (I am on one of 2 different antibiotics which target it), there’s a 20 to 25% chance of  relapse and it’s really tricky to get rid of the spores in your house. Given I’m likely to have antibiotics for infections in the future and could be more prone now, it’s generally annoying. It doesn’t affect healthy adults so it shouldn’t affect Bob or other people, but the spores can be picked up and moved ar0und. Luckily I am a fanatical handwasher these days! Alcoholic gel is not good – you have to use soap and water. So it’s out with the bleach – only thing that gets rid of it on hard surfaces. Lots of washing bedding etc on high heat. And fingers crossed!

So folks – beware! Hospitals, a low immune system and antibiotics are risk factors. Some adults carry c.diff without knowing. So if you get diarrhoea (esp if it’s green!) and wind after antibiotics, at hospital or home, then get tested asap. Hope to be able to say I’m better by the next time I post, but if you need more info, do write.