Thank God for antibiotics. We mostly don’t die from simple infections anymore.
The first was penicillin, discovered in the 1940s after British scientist Alexander Fleming observed the effect a specific kind of mold was having on infectious bacteria. Since then, antibiotics have been recognized as one of the greatest advances in therapeutic medicine. Prior to their introduction, doctors could do little for a variety of conditions beyond suggesting hope. * Prior to the 1940s, contracting syphila-gono-trich killed more than your social life.
I’m a fan of antibiotics. Some aren’t. Perhaps they’ve been more fortunate than me; I harbour bacteria a lot.
Some people think modern medicine is a façade that hides a global conspiracy. They like to tell stories about big pharma, about how it’s out to destroy us all, how it does things like keep the cure for cancer secret, as it cancer was a single entity and not the collective name given to a variety of different diseases that react in a variety of different ways and have different treatment protocols.
They also share meaningless drivel about vaccine conspiracies, proving once again that Occam’s Razor needs to be taught to everyone from the age of five up with annual refreshers to ensure they remember.
I agree that big corporations are a problem. Like the others, pharmaceutical companies have too much power and make too much money. Left unattended, they behave poorly indeed. I still don’t think they’re trying to control the world. They just want most of the money.
But I’m grateful. I’m grateful I’m not about to die from a simple ear and sinus infection. It started as a head cold that thought it was a steam engine. It wouldn’t quit. I think it had dreams of growing up into pneumonia. I think I can.
Eleven days of snorting and some emergent ear pain convinced me the time for antibiotics was nigh. A trip to the clinic confirmed my self-diagnosis. Three days of Keflex in and I’m feeling better. I love modern medicine. I can once again bend over without feeling like my head’s going to explode.
Reducing the infection in the wound I’ve been carving into my chin is a nice side-benefit.
I’ve been cutting again. It becomes more problematic when my depression and anxiety are up. Reality is a difficult place at times these days. It’s challenging even for those without mental illnesses.
I try very hard not to cut but this weird, dissociation happens when I’m anxious. When I pull myself out, I find myself bent over the counter in front of the bathroom mirror with bad things happening to what was once a minor imperfection on the skin.
Once you give in, it gets hard to get out.
For one thing, the conditions that led you to cut still exist so the urge is still there. Additionally, the wound is most definitely imperfect. The infections that inevitably arise add insult to injury. And in that weird and warped part of my brain, defective logic tells me that if I can just cut right, if I can just get the infection and everything else out, I will be perfect.
It never works. I know this. You can’t cut things better. I still dissociate and engage.
As long as an infection persists, the drive to cut remains strong. The wound is a siren song. Even covered up with bandages – I’m long past the time where I feel odd wearing bandages on my face in public – the urge remains because I know imperfection lies underneath.
Surgery and antibiotics are a game changer. They help close the playing field. Once the wound is sealed up, it’s easier to pull myself out of the cycle. Unfortunately, my surgeon is not available to do this at the present moment. It’s not a COVID priority.
I should’ve gone into the clinic for antibiotics a week ago. I knew I needed meds. The running infection probably contributed to the sinus and ear problems. But although I can go out in public wearing a band aid on my face, visiting an unknown doctor, necessary because both my GP and surgeon were fully booked up, and explaining why I need drugs still brings up a lot of shame. It’s a risk. For every medical professional that either understands or is at least empathetic, there are four who treat you as though you’re fundamentally defective.
But thanks to a spreading infection the miracle of antibiotics, things are improving on the chin front.
Because for all that I’m used to presenting a bandage-covered face in public, I prefer it when I don’t have to.
Outside interventions a la antibiotics are great. Outside interventions of any type are great. Except for friends and family. I do not want to talk about it. But I’ve used other techniques to break myself out of a cutting cycle. Upcoming social events I can’t get out of that will feature a lot of people are a good stick. Whatever works. I like being dragged off the a runaway horse.
Interventions provide the pause we sometimes can’t get to on our own. The pause gives us a moment to catch our breath, and helps us get back to making better choices.
Like choosing to not.
But although I don’t want to be doing the things I’m doing, when I’m in it, it can be hard to get out.
Like I said, thank God for antibiotics.
* American Chemical Society International Historic Chemical Landmarks. Discovery and Development of Penicillin. (accessed May 14, 2020).