Big diff – poop wages war on diarrhea
As one of the foremost “poop correspondents” on the internet it falls on me (no pun intended) to bring you this explosive story. Here’s my report filed from the trenches…
Recently, Brea thoughtfully tipped me off regarding some interesting news in the medical world. News that was right up my alley (so to speak).
To put this succinctly, poop transplants are now being performed as “last-ditch treatments” in the fight against an illness known as clostridium difficile or more commonly as “CDF/cdf” or “c. diff.”
According to Wikipedia, c. diff “is a species of Gram-positive bacteria of the genus Clostridium that causes diarrhea and other intestinal disease when competing bacteria are wiped out by antibiotics.”
The disease can be remarkably hard to treat and can be fatal. According to a story in the Associated Press, C. diff is “a germ that so ravages some people’s intestines that repeated tries of the strongest, most expensive antibiotic can’t conquer their disabling diarrhea.”
In dire cases, a new treatment consisting of a “transplant” of fecal matter from a healthy person is performed. A doctor in the story claims, “[fecal matter] is the ultimate probiotic.” (Probiotics are live microorganisms thought to be healthy for the host organism.)
I can only imagine how that doctor/patient consultation goes down. “Your problem, as you well know, is diarrhea. Our plan is to take poop from someone healthy and put it inside you. Poop will be the solution to your diarrhea.”
Sounds ass backwards to me.
It’s a little more complicated than that. The transplant procedure involves relocation of an “entire bacterial neighborhood” from the healthy donor.
Here’s the fun part. C. diff is thought to commonly be a “nosocomial infection.” That’s just a fancy way of saying the C. diff infection is often the “result of treatment in a hospital or a healthcare service unit.”
You go in for health care and come away with a little unplanned bonus. Interesting how that works, eh?
According to Wikipedia, a stay in the hospital up to two weeks represents a 13% chance to pick up the C. diff infection. A stay of four-weeks or more and that rate jumps to a whopping 50 percent!
I wish I was making this stuff up. All I can say is, “I’m not shitting you!”
As a poop correspondent, I’ve often sat around spending my free time daydreaming about things like hand washing rates. (Hand washing represents a substantial chunk of my “Poop Manifesto” I’m hoping to release someday.) We’ve all heard the stories about public handrails with more than 500 different sources of fecal matter on them. Or how people in public restrooms tend to wash their hands more often when they are being watched.
As a civilization we are apparently not big on the whole concept of hand washing and cleanliness. Even though science has told us about the dangers for a long time now.
Imagine a place where you think hand washing would reign supreme. Imagine people who you think would be best at it. It isn’t too hard to surmise that a place like an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) within a hospital might be such a place, right? And that people like doctors might be experts at washing hands, right? We’ve all seen the surgeons at Mash 4077 like Hawkeye, Trapper John and B.J. Hunnicutt “scrub” before working on patients. For them it was a big deal.
As it often turns out, it’s no big surprise (at least to me) when reality turns out to be just a wee bit different.
When doing my research, one thing I noticed was that the ICU industry (for lack of a better term) seemed to be bragging about hand washing rates of 97%. My reaction: How the hell is that something to brag about in a frickin’ hospital???
But it’s worse than that. Much worse. Studies have found that hand washing rates in ICUs are appalling low. Even after “awaresness campaigns,” specialized training, and even when employees are told that their hand washing will be monitored. And these are the people that take care of the sick?
One study found that within an ICU setting, there was a hand washing rate of 72.8%. Nurses were best with a rate of 97.5%. Technicians came in second with a rate of 47.7%. Are you ready to guess who came in last place? Yep, doctors, with a rate of 37.6%.
37.6%? Holy shit!
The study also found that an “educational program” about hand washing improved the hand washing rate among nurses and technicians, but not doctors. Said the study, “No statistically significant changes in the handwashing behaviour among doctors was observed during the study period.” Is this the “God complex” at work? Apparently doctors don’t like to be told what to do, about anything, from anyone. Oh, put your hands on me, doctor! And some people actually want to date doctors?
Side story: My wife worked in a doctor’s office. It was a small office where people sat a few feet away from the restroom. When someone did their business you could hear every “plop,” if you know what I mean. More importantly, however, you could hear if running water was turned on. Running water that would imply that hand washing was taking place. And guess who used the restroom and didn’t turn on the water before coming back out? Yep! The doctor! One of my favorite expressions used to be, “The doctor will fee you now.” But I think that’s old and busted. From now on, I’m updating my phrase to “The doctor will pee you now.” It think that’s a lot more apropos.
So, it seems to me, we just might have identified at least one culprit when it comes to nosocomial infections, eh? Do a serious internet search regarding the problem of simply getting health care workers to wash their hands and you begin to get an idea about the magnitude of the problem we’re facing.
The good news is that, since getting it’s humble start in hospitals and such, C. diff now seems to be making headway in the “outpatient setting,” also known as the general community outside of hospitals. You know, where people like you and me live our daily lives.
Humans! Is there anything they can’t do?
Thanks, Brea, for getting me started! 🙂
Happy employees have dead spouses
Employers know that happy employees are more productive. They know that employees dealing with too many outside stressors or issues may experience a drop in productivity.
I can only assume that’s why my wife’s company (a health insurer) only covers employees – not their spouses.
If something deadly should come along and take out the spouse the employees get five days to grieve, after which they are expected to get that nose right back on that grindstone.
Even more rewarding is the benefits themselves. Of course I don’t know this information firsthand. It was related to me by my wife, who I shall refer henceforth as The Covered. She’s been experiencing intense pain in her shoulder for a long time. Her physician sent her to an orthopedist who in turn prescribed, among other things, weekly massage therapy.
The Covered went to her first visit with the message therapist where the primary event turned out to be The Covered bursting into tears and bawling like a baby in front of the doctor, patients and staff. It turned out that due to the nature of her insurance it was going to cost $150 a visit and we simply can’t afford $600 a month or more in our budget. The staff was very kind and did some extra things for her know that it was The Covered’s first and final visit.
Without those bothersome therapy sessions getting in the way I guess that frees up The Covered to focus all of her time and energy on being the best employee she can be! How will it all turn out? I don’t know. I’ll be dead by then.
Shout Abyss on America’s Got Talent
I’ve been thinking a lot about my “talents” lately. America’s Got Talent has been running advertising about cities where you can go to audition. I have no idea what the audition process is like, but I’d love to go except for one wee little problem: I can’t identify my “talent.”
I’m assuming everyone has one. Even me. So what the hell is it?
I’ve been thinking about it and I do have some talents. One talent I have is sitting cross-legged. I can sit cross-legged all day. I’m pretty sure I can build a Las Vegas caliber show around that one.
Another talent is dice rolling. I’m sure 90 seconds of that would be riveting. If I make it past the audition I promise to keep bringing bigger and bigger dice. Roll them bones!
I have an incredible talent for getting cut off while driving. Try as I might, I can’t figure out a way to translate that to the big stage.
I think I sing pretty good, but only in the shower, and I’ve already done that this year (shower, I mean) so that’s out, too.
Getting strange cats to sit on my lap might work. I seem to be pretty good at that.
The only other thing I can think of that I’m good at is balancing the remote controls (all seven of them) on my belly. There are remotes for the TV, cable box, stereo, DVD player, ceiling fan, simulated fireplace, and even a super remote that tells the other remotes what to do. Yeah, this is undoubtedly probably the best of all my talents.
I mean, come on! I’ve got to have at least one watchable talent, right?
I do know one thing, though. Whatever my talent I’m going to probably need a little extra oomph to take my act through the succession of humiliations that AGT calls shows. And for that you need to have an ace up your sleeve. What might that be? Usually it takes the form of a compelling backstory that makes the judges and voting public think you are cuter than you really are and therefore they put you ahead of other more talented people.
The backstory has to be compelling. An element of drama is extremely helpful. Overcoming some condition that makes other people think “how in the hell can they still have a talent?” is also a plus. When all else fails rely on a medical condition.
Somehow, whatever it is, the backstory always comes out. Then we can hear the judges gush about what a “good person” the contestant is. No, it isn’t the talent that is good. It is the person, and it is because of the backstory.
I watched the highlights of the last season and in at least one case the judges asked the perfect lead-in question of Michael Grimm at his very first audition. Because of that lead-in we all knew from the first time we saw him he was doing it all for grandma and grandpa. Awwwwwwwwwwww!
Dammit! Yet another obstacle in my path! I don’t have a compelling backstory.
Or so I thought.
Then it occurred to me. I do have a personal tragedy I’ve overcome, still deal with every day, and I’ve turned around into a story of heartwarming triumph. It could be just the ticket to me achieving fame on AGT.
I’m talking about, of course, my trials with IBS, also known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Yes, I can’t wait to get on stage at AGT and talk about my trials with IBS. No doubt I’ll go far. At least as far as my bowels can take me!
“This means the world to me. Tonight I’m going to attempt something on stage that I’ve never done before. Also, there really isn’t any need to mention this, but my IBS is acting up. I don’t know if I’ll even be able to perform. But I really want to progress in this competition. This is my dream and I want this so bad. I hope America likes me. Tonight I’m going to attempt 8 remote controls on my belly at the same time. If things don’t go well I could be seriously injured or even killed. I know a lot of people with IBS are counting on me tonight and I want to be their inspiration. I want to be a role model for the IBS community.”
Stay tuned, stay tuned! You surely don’t want to miss me on TV!
Let’s weed ’em out
Coming soon to a state ballot near you: marijuana AKA cannabis.
Seems like all I hear these days is pro-legalization news. Pot was criminalized on a lie. Pot isn’t all that bad. Look what you can do with hemp. Driving while stoned isn’t as bad as being drunk. Yada yada yada.
Well, BAH FUCKING HUMBUG!
I often find myself on the wrong side of the popular vote. I guess that makes me a Lone Wolf. A renegade. A man outside the law. Meh.
How many laws are on the books that you don’t agree with? Well shit. What’s that got to do with it? Most laws in our country existed before I was even born. There was no “acceptance period” when I reached a certain age where I was ever asked which laws I agreed with and which ones I didn’t. That’s just tough noogies for me. I have to live with it. That’s life in a democracy like ours I guess.
When marijuana comes up for legalization in my neck of the woods – which is an inevitability – I will personally vote “hail no.” I find that shit utterly disgusting. I don’t like the way it smells, I don’t like the “culture” built around it, and I don’t understand the overwhelming desire to intoxicate oneself. For the record, however, I understand that some folks may have a legitimate need to ease pain and suffering in their lives. In that narrow definition I can support use. Of course, “medical marijuana” is one of the most abused concepts of all time. That makes it ever-so-tempting to shut the door on all use. The rest of this post has nothing to do with those who have a legitimate need.
I get it. Life sucks. Life is hard. Life is pain. But you can choose how you respond. You have choice. You have free will. You can decide to take on life and grapple with it. Or you can check out and go to La La Land and float on a cloud. In my ever so humble opinion the time spent on that cloud is time wasted. (Pun intended.)
I’ve been reading and hearing about the “whaaaaa!” situation in Humbolt County, California. The county is economically depressed. If it wasn’t for marijuana, proponents claim, the county would be even worse off economically than it is now. They say that marijuana is the county’s #1 cash crop. I saw a video of a self-styled Humbolt County “businessman” in a fucking suit extolling the virtues of the plant. Is it just me or did he take the easy way out by basing his livelihood on an illegal business, one that is highly profitable, and one that he now wants to legitimize and have a head start on corning the market? I could give a shit less about him. Me? I’m just a humble law-abiding citizen who’s salary is a pitiful fraction of his. Why the fuck should someone choosing to obey the law matter? Why should the criminal be rewarded?
According the Wikipedia’s cannabis page, marijuana is the #4 cash crop in the United States. Imagine the market that exists to support that? Wow. And in states like California, New York and Florida it is the #1 or #2 cash crop.
You know what that tells me? That too many damn people are spending too much damn money to intoxicate themselves and live on a cloud rather than deal with real life.
When you factor in what we spend on pot, alcohol, other illegal drugs, and abused pharmaceutical narcotics I can only imagine what a whopping number that must be. For completeness we should probably include cigarettes (perhaps the most addictive force known to humankind). Hell, throw in caffeine (Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Red Bull, etc.), too. It’s all drugs, right?
Stop and think about what we do as a society. The need to check out of reality is incredible. What if all the resources, time, money and energy spent on all that shit could be used for good? Can you imagine how different this world could be???