Sep 20, 2008

On Salmonellosis, Immune Systems, and Human Limitations

The bacteria Salmonella typhimurium, my new enemy

I recently had the misfortune of experiencing a relapse of an earlier Salmonella typhimurium infection. I suspect that I caught the original case in Europe, and it seems that the recurrent case is a result of coming into contact with an antibiotic-resistant strain, as the prescribed Ciprofloxacin only knocked back the S. typhimurium for a few days.

A week-long regimen of sulfamethoxazole seems to have succeeded in sending me back to Wellville, but I remain drained of energy after the second, more severe infection. Unlike illnesses I experienced as a younger man, this month-long bout with recurrent Salmonellosis has left my immune system depleted, sent me into a mild case of anemia from hemoglobin loss, and has significantly reduced my ability to work long hours.

At the peak of the infection, I was able to manage only an hour or two of anything approaching physical exertion, and even a single one-hour lecture left me exhausted, almost unable to walk to the car to drive home and collapse. More disturbing to me is the exasperatingly slow rate at which I seem to be recovering my strength. I recall even into my thirties being able to bounce right back from even a severe case of the flu, but I find myself sapped of vigor even after 30 minutes of cutting the grass this evening.

Age, then, is likely a contributing factor in my post-infective sluggishness, and I suppose it is evidence of my ego that I stubbornly push myself to my reduced limitations. I want to return to the level of activity I enjoyed in mid-August, but my body refuses to accede to my demands.

Thus, I drink plenty of fluids, take vitamins and acidophilus capsules, and impatiently await my return to physical normalcy. I cannot say that I am content with my lot in health, but there is little I can do to speed up the process.

But hey - at least I did not contract Ebola hemorrhagic fever, right? And with the weight I have lost, weight loss pills are nowehere near top of mind for me.


microdot said...

Recovery is the most frustrating part of being sick.
I had the flu in February like I never had it before...I was unable to get out of bend for 3 days and when I did, I collapsed in a dizzy wretched mess!
I remember, thinking, this is it, you've had it....then I got better.

Take care...

historymike said...

Thanks, Microdot. I cannot recall ever being so sick that a day or two did not find me about back to normal.