Some (health-critical) advice and a rant
If you haven’t read it yet, the power of the antibiotic is about to come to an end as the polymyxin resistance gene that is readily passed between common bacteria is no longer threatened by our favourite (after anti-depressants) medication.
Simply put, there will very soon be nothing to stop a common cold becoming pneumonia and worse. Expect death rates to rise and help to be pretty slow arriving – as far as I can see, there isn’t yet a workable, tested and approved alternate/solution.
How did this happen?
Largely over-prescription, including feeding antibiotics to cattle to increase financial returns.
Oh yes. It’s also due to us not finishing the course(s) of antibiotics we’ve been given.
“Make sure you finish the tablets,” say our GPs. No explanation why – I only found out why recently and I’ll share it with you; it’s scary.
If you don’t take all of your antibiotics, the germs that made you sick will retreat and you’ll recover, but there will be some of the little buggers that remain. They will build a resistance to the drug and then in a very short space of time, your antibiotics will become irrelevant. Then you’ll get really sick.
And could easily die as a result – because there’s no medical cavalry coming to your aid any more.
I’ve just hit middle age and in all my years, not a single doctor has ever shared this gem with me before. Now we are all beginning to understand.
This isn’t scare mongering – you have been warned.
London. Most of you know that we’re here because my father recently succumbed to his constant bronchial problems and there’s no-one else to deal with dismantling and disposing of what remains of his life.
It’s been way harder than I could have imagined; I dont think we ever really understand family history until it stares us in the face from every photograph and scrap of paper we touch.
’nuff. We’re staying (while we can, it’s being sold to pay death duties) in my father’s flat in Putney. Both of our kids live across the city, in the near eastern suburbs around Hackney and we’ve needed to take quite a lot of things across to them either for storage and/or keeping, or a planned car boot sale. That has to be preferable and more respectful than just simply throwing the old chap’s life away.
So, twice this past weekend we’ve driven across the city. Saturday was not very busy and it was a slow drag. So much so that yesterday (Sunday), we loaded up the car with a sense of wasting a significant portion of our own lives sitting in traffic.
And, right we were. Sunday traffic is generally light, but the inexplicable and countless arrays of traffic light controlled junctions ensures that progress between stops is now measured in car lengths, rather than city blocks, or fractions of a mile. Marooned in the gordian knot around the Elephant and Castle yesterday, I watched as the first of a pair of junctions admitted just three cars before switching to red and allowing the next junction to release those three vehicles and stay at green while no others cars passed – there weren’t any more, they were all in the queue at the preceding light with me.
Idly, I counted eighteen sets of lights controlling those and the subsequent (only 30m away) junction. I’m told this is now standard in a city grinding to a halt.
Our trips across the city took around an hour and a half (it’s about 15km) to get to Hackney and more than two hours on both days to get back. Imagine what that must be like in the rush hour.
What’s going on?
The drug-resistant bacteria are so scary. Having a biological scientist for a husband, I have had the importance of finishing the course of antibiotics drummed into me so that came as no surprise. Another contributing factor (but also due to lack of education of the consumer) is some people’s insistence on being prescribed an antibiotic when their infection is viral. Antibiotics only work against bacteria. They are totally useless against viruses.
In South Africa, one of the first infections to develop drug-resistance strains was TB because the time for taking the medication is so long (18 months) and people stop taking their meds once they feel better. Poverty and lack of access to health care are all contributory factors in this non-compliance with a medical regimen but the biggest killer of all is lack of education. (And you thought you could rant!)
Packing up someone’s life is very difficult. Not least because it forces you to face your own mortality. Good luck with the process. Allow yourself as much time as you need to process everything. You are all in our thoughts. As for the traffic lights, might I suggest an engaging audiobook or some belting tunes to take your mind off the vagaries of traffic controls. 🙂