Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Fear of Bugs
Often when working in the medical profession one can get a case of hypochondria. I have a headache equals I have a brain tumor. My toe aches equals bone cancer. A sore throat automatically equals strep, and don't even get me started on chest pain. We love to diagnose our friends and family, and they are more than happy to share their aches and pains. It's a win win situation really. But sometimes, if you let it, it can start to fester and grow in your mind. A little bit like an infection. Which is the source of my post, an infection. And the source of the infection was my poor patient's urine. It was diagnosed with VRE. Vancomycin-resistant-enterococci. Say that ten times fast. That's why we in the medical world like to shorten everything into acronyms. Much more convenient. Anyway, VRE is an especially potent little bugger that likes to share it's defences with other bacteria. Kind of it, don't you think? I went to some websites to see the likelihood of someone exposed to VRE becoming a carrier or contracting the disease, like myself. Basically, the only documented cases of VRE have happened in a hospital. If you don't want to get VRE, don't go to a hospital. Well, that's lovely. Another website says to avoid contact with people who have VRE. That's rather a no-brainer, but thanks. Today, being my day off work, I keep thinking I'm feeling ill. I'm warm... do I have a fever? I feel a bit achy. My stomach feels queasy. Am I infected? Or is it all in my head? All this to say I'm a bit paranoid I'm a carrier and if I ever take antibiotics for anything it'll attack me. And one more thing, if you ever shake my hand, you might want to strongly consider washing yours quickly after.