11/2/13

From the Mail Bag

It has been quite a week here at the Three Cat's Ranch. We've all been at loose ends waiting on pins and needles for the tide to turn on Mike. He is much better as I write this, and we are hopeful that he will be able to leave the hospital on Monday. That will not be the end of this road, however. Chances are, he will be on a liquid diet for some time, and he may still be facing a surgery. I'm going to give you a more detailed update toward the end of this post, along with my personal Public Service Announcement about what caused this illness. But for now, I want to tell you about all the fun items I received in the mail this week. And, believe me, it was sure nice to get a little surprise in the mailbox each day with the rest of what's been going on.

First, I received my October doll quilt from my partner Patty. Isn't this pretty? It took me a bit to see all twelve points in the star. I love the fabrics she used.


Here's the fabric from the back along with a little sunglasses case. If you look closely at the sunglasses case, you can see that it has two pockets. Patty uses this little case to hold two rotary cutters. What a great idea! Thank you, Patty.


Then, I was just blown away to receive this little guy from Nancy who blogs at Yellow Mound Quilts. Nancy knows that I am partial to sock monkeys (I mean, haven't I said so enough times on my blog?), and said she couldn't resist stitching him out for me.


This little guy arrived on a day when the news about Mike was particularly bleak, and I think it was the only time I smiled all day. Thank you so much, Nancy, for your thoughtful gift.

Then yesterday, I received this nice pack of Aurifil thread, which was my prize for being voted the Best Pet-Themed Quilt in the Pets on Quilts show a few months ago. Thank you to Lilypad Quilting for hosting the event, and thanks to all of you who voted for Smitty and Gracie's quilt. As you know, I love thread as much as I love fabric, and I'm thinking these colors look good enough to eat. I won't though. I'll use them for sewing.


Finally (and I do mean finally), my new iPhone arrived a few days ago. It took positively forEVER to come. I chose the white one, and apparently the white ones are sought after. It took more than a month from ordering to receive it. And also, finally, I was able to take possession of the case for it. Do you remember my poll? Well, I was absolutely amazed at the number of you who chimed in to help me pick a case. The "Cats in Love" case actually won the poll, and I ordered it. But then weeks went by with no shipping notification. Finally, I received a note from Zazzle saying the case was unavailable, and I would need to choose something else. Since the Yin and Yang Cats was the second choice in the poll, I ended up with that one.


If you know anything about Zazzle, it's a site where things are ordered first and then manufactured. It seems the Cats in Love was discontinued for some reason. Zazzle made good by offering me a discount on my second choice and I ended up spending half as much. I'm happy, and I like the Yin and Yang Cats. And thanks to all of you for helping me make up my mind.

So that brings me to the medical portion of this post. And I'll just start off by saying that Gracie has been missing her favorite human. She so wanted to give him some nose rubs a couple of nights ago that she snapped this selfie and texted it to him.


Yes, it seems that Gracie (whose brain is mainly fluff), is well-versed in the art of selfies and texting. I think she's the one who runs the battery on my phone dead. Anyway, all of that to say that I feel a need to give you some details about Mike's illness. It all came about rather strangely, and so I want to pass along this information because I think there is an important message for all of us in this.

Mike has an infection known as clostridium difficile (commonly, c diff). You may be aware of the developing crisis over so-called superbugs that are developing because of the overuse of antibiotics. C. diff is just one such bug. It seems that many of us harbor this particular bug in our guts, but usually, it is kept in check by the other bacteria that live within us. Certain antibiotics kill off the protective bugs, and that allows C. diff to take hold, releasing toxins and making some folks very sick (more information here).

So, in Mike's case, this all started as a simple tooth extraction on October 8th. At a routine visit, his dentist discovered a crack in a tooth. It was recommended that the tooth be extracted and that he begin the process for a dental implant. Nothing unusual there. (I had my own dental implant a couple of years ago with no problems whatsoever.) While the tooth was being extracted, Mike was started on an IV drip of clindamycin and then given a prescription for oral clindamycin when he left the office. He did just as he was told. The problem is that clindamycin is one of the worst offenders for causing c diff infections, and that is exactly what happened in Mike's case. 

Now, I'm not an epidemiologist or an infectious disease specialist, but after this experience, Mike will certainly never take clindamycin again if there is an alternative drug available. I too will avoid it in the future, if possible, and will encourage my sons to do the same. I'm bringing this up just to raise awareness of the risks we all face from overuse of antibiotics. And to be clear, I'm not saying the dentist did anything inappropriate in Mike's case. Still, we must all be good stewards of these life-saving medications by taking them only as directed, taking them only when necessary, and finishing any course of antibiotics that we start. We can also hold our doctors accountable by making sure that antibiotics are only used when nothing else will do. With this particular drug, it seems all too risky for causing this potentially life-threatening infection, and so it would be worth inquiring about potential side effects whenever an antibiotic is prescribed for any reason. 

Okay, stepping down off my soapbox now. Don't any of you get sick.

To close, I want to thank all of you for your supportive and concerned messages over the past week. We aren't yet out of the woods, but things are definitely looking better. It has been a long and lonely week, but your many messages of healing thoughts and prayers have buoyed my spirits, and that has meant a great deal to me. Thank you for being such good friends.

23 comments from clever and witty friends:

Junebug613 said...

What lovely surprises you received! So happy to hear that Mike is improving. I'm sure he misses Miss Gracie too. We are keeping our fingers, toes and paws crossed that Mike keeps improving and gets to come home Monday! It is scary that something given to keep us from getting ill, could be so dangerous. Thanks for the information.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Happy you got some smiles in the mail. Continued prayers for both of your.

Sher S. said...

I'm glad to hear Mike is doing better. It's strange that this happened to him due to the antibiotic. In fact, I'm in the process of testing for c diff. All your information on all of this has been extremely helpful to me. Thank you for sharing with us. Will continue keeping both you and the fur kids in my prayers.

Judy1522 said...

As much information that is around about the overuse of antibiotics it always surprises me that people still are not getting it. It also just kills me when I hear someone offer to give someone their leftover medication when that person appears to have the same problem.
That is pretty scary for Mike to have contracted that when he followed all the doctors orders. I am so glad he is getting well.
Thank you for sharing the story so we can all be aware and question the side effects of any medication we take. I always have to kind of laugh at the commercials on tv that give all the side effects of a medication as they always seem worse than the original problem.

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

Thanks for the information. I'm passing it on to my family.

Lyndsey said...

I'm so pleased Mike is getting better. Your information on antibiotics is very timely as we go into the winter period when more of us will suffer infections. The overuse of antibacterial sprays is also a potential problem as they kill all bacteria, harmful or not, and allow the really nasty harmful ones which are often resistant to the sprays to get a hold.

I love all the goodies you've received in the mail this week. The sock monkey is adorable and the threads are such beautiful colours. Like you, I also got a new phone, not an iphone because I'm an android girl so I chose the Samsung Note 3. I love the smart case you've got.

LindaSchiffer said...

I am so sorry to hear that Mike has a C diff infection1 :P My Mom came down with one about a month ago - twelve excrutiating days in the hospital. :P Hope he gets well soon!

Linda

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

Oh boy, looking out for antibiotics as per your advice and that of many of the professionals too. Here's to a trip home Monday and better health soonest.

Ray and Jeanne said...

Thanks for sharing the C diff info. So glad that Mike is coming home - it appears that he is on the track to recovery, thank God! Praying that the rest of this journey goes well for both of you. ~Jeanne

Tami C said...

Thank you for sharing his story and warning us to be aware and ask about side effects! I always thought that we were safe because we hardly take any antibiotics and therefore overuse of them is not something to worry about. Now I know different! I'll be passing this information on to my family. I am very happy that Mike is getting better all the time. Your sock monkey is just adorable and happy that it brought you a smile!

Angel and Kirby said...

I am so glad you liked the Sock Monkey. The doll quilt is very cute. My husband was in the hospital for a skin infection. The gave him clindamycin in large doses. he had an allergic reaction to it and was breaking out in a rash on other parts of his body. He stopped taking it and they gave him some thing different. he is still having problems and is taking the clindamycin in smaller doses but he is also taking probiotics. I have passed the info on to him.

Kristine said...

Oh yuck. Glad he's doing better, but I've heard that C diff is awful. I hope he does get to go home Monday. Such a scary illness!

Dana Gaffney said...

Reading the comments I'm surprised at at how many people know about c diff, I'd never heard of it until you told me to look it up and I'm fascinated by the comment that mentions probiotics, could adding them to Mike's diet help prevent something like this again?

Dasha said...

So good to hear that Mike is on the mend & will be home soon. I loathe & despise antibiotics! Although very helpful in times of dire infection, they are so overused that things like these super bugs get a hold. I simply don't take anything I don't absolutely have to. Oh. And were you aware that there is a definite link between chronic fatigue and being given antibiotics in childhood? Hugs to you both.

Jacque said...

I've gotten some education this morning....c diff is something we all need to know about, so thank you for helping all of us. :)
Love Gracie's selfie - smart kitty! LOL

Lynn - JnL4God said...

Thanks for the update and sharing of your lives. Still praying for you all. And sending hugs.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I've always been the 'do I really need a medicine?' type person. I hate to take anything. Still praying for both of you. Hope Mike can make a full recovery, and avoid surgery.

A Nudge said...

What a lot of neat stuff, Barb. I really like the hexie shaped doll quilt even thought it isn't EPP.

So glad to hear Mike is better.

Colleen said...

You and Mike are in my prayers.

Sarah said...

Glad to hear Mike is on the mend!
I had my gallbladder out this summer and was given several antibiotics in the hospital. I was also advised to eat activia type yogurt on a daily basis to replace the good bacteria in my stomach that the meds were potentially killing. It worked for me...

Sarah said...

Great to hear you sounding brighter. So glad that Mike is picking up.

Kate said...

So glad to hear that Mike is doing so much better. The over use of antibiotics is a very scary problem. We are very careful to only take antibiotics when they are truly necessary.

You got some fun stuff in the mail. The sock monkey is so cute.

Debbi said...

I've been away from the computer for a while and just read today about Mike's illness. I contracted antibiotic induced c. diff. when I was in my 30s (about 10 years ago). Unfortunately, the nurse practitioner I was seeing because my doctor was busy did not know about c. diff. herself. She instructed me to take anti-diarrheal medication, which exacerbated my condition. Mike was lucky to have seen a doctor who knew what was going on. I was sick for two months and was on the verge of being admitted to the hospital myself before my doctor actually saw me and got me properly diagnosed. Thanks for sharing the info with everyone. It's REALLY not a fun illness to have. All the best to Mike. I'm glad to hear that he'll be coming home soon.