How antibiotics saved my life
Antibiotics are one of the most common medications I can think of. Most parents are familiar with the drill: your child gets a cold; it lingers over a week and develops into an ear or sinus infection so you head to the doctors to get an antibiotic. Within a day or two, they’re feeling much better and ready to jump back into life!
Last year, antibiotics became a part of my daily life (3x a day) for nearly 5 months and are a huge part of why I’m still alive today. My health battle started with a simple case of mastitis. I had experienced it at least four other times in my life, sometimes requiring antibiotics and other times using natural methods for relief. By the end of the first day, my body hurt, I had a fever, my brain felt foggy, and I collapsed after climbing a flight of stairs. Thankfully, three weeks before I had set up a doctor appointment for the following day, so I [literally] crawled into bed and went to sleep.
The next morning, I could barely stand up without falling; my head would pound every time I’d try to get up. I took Tylenol to help with my head and fever but I knew this wasn’t just mastitis. I called my doctor and they were able to move my appointment to earlier in the day. By the time I arrived, my heart rate was through the roof, I wasn’t making any logical sense, and my EKG (heart rhythm monitor) was showing abnormal patterns.
They prescribed antibiotics for my infection and gave me an urgent referral to see a cardiologist. I survived because they gave me antibiotics, and also struggled for 5 long months because they missed the warning signs of sepsis. Sepsis occurs when common infections (like a UTI or mastitis) travel into the blood and essentially turn your blood to poison, eventually causing organ failure and death if not treated urgently.
After the initial infection, I suffered from 6 additional infections including one which turned the whites of my eyeballs yellow. I showed symptoms of Alzheimer's (at 26 years old) and continued to have heart problems. I would start to cook a meal, and not remember that I had done that. I didn’t know how to use my computer, though I had used it every single day before becoming sick. I didn’t remember how to sort and fold laundry. And my body would shake and I’d lose circulation in my limbs because of infection in my heart. This was one heck of a battle; I needed miracles (you can read about them here) and antibiotics!
I can’t stress how fortunate we are to live in a country where antibiotics are readily available. Many of my friends and Malawi have shared about not being able to find a medication when they needed it. Imagine having a sick child, needing antibiotics, and being handed a script and told to go find it. You’d walk town to town, pharmacy to pharmacy in search of the medication and then have to figure out a way to pay for it while your loved one suffered (you can learn more about the healthcare struggles in Malawi in Birth in Blantyre).
Though our health system isn’t perfect, we have so much to be thankful for. Companies like Singlecare can help you receive discounted prescriptions like a triluma discount, dental care, and eye care and even video doctor’s visits! Many parts of the world could only dream of that kind of service! The next time you’re feeling frustrated with medical bills, wait times with insurance companies, or doctors that are missing the mark- remember how fortunate we are to have first world medical care!
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is a writer & tired homeschooling mom of five.