• LOCATION: Washington
  • AGE: 20
  • LENGTH: Two Months
  • SOURCE: Hospital Acquired

Before getting C. diff, I was a normal twenty year-old—going to college, working, and more worried about my GPA than the possibility of a hospital infection or even dying. After being admitted to the hospital to have a small bowel resection, the night before my release I came down with a high fever of 104, a heart rate in the 160s, and a blood pressure of 160/120 (which was almost double my normal of 80/60). For the next six hours, two nurses and a doctor never left my side as they worked to get my fever, heart rate, and blood pressure under control.

I was taken to have imaging done and started to throw up before I got to the scanner. I was then rushed to emergency surgery to check for a leak or obstruction—there weren’t any. I was then transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where I tested positive for C. diff. The worst part being that the previous week my doctors were told of the constant diarrhea I had while in the hospital. I had a surgery done three months earlier with the exact opposite happening—I was constipated—which should have been the first sign.

I spent a week in the ICU where I was kept almost sedated because of pain. I was hooked up to everything they could have me hooked up to: nasogastric tube, peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC), feeding tube, total parenteral nutrition (TPN), and multiple bags of fluids. I was finally able to get out of the ICU and onto the general floor before I was allowed to go home.

Three days later, I ended up back in the emergency room with pancreatitis and C. diff. I was once again admitted because I had been unable to eat, drink, or keep down anything. While there, I finished off my two-week course of vancomycin. I was released on Monday, and by Thursday I found myself once again in the emergency room with C. diff that had come back so bad the doctors could tell just by a CT scan.

I was given another two weeks of vancomycin and sent on my way. I suffered from lots of cramping, as well as a high heart rate and extreme fatigue. I slept for hours on end. I then was referred to see my primary care provider who had me see a gastrointestinal doctor to discuss other treatment options. I have received one round of a fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) which the doctor said went great. However, I am now one week post-op and still dealing with C. diff symptoms. I will go in for testing to see if I still have it.

I am still extremely tired, cramping, and have a heart rate that is only being controlled by medication. I have found some relief because of the anti-cramping medication, muscle relaxers, and Tylenol. I know I haven’t had it as long as most, but I am waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel—and an assurance that I have rid myself of C. diff so that I can get back to the activities I once enjoyed. I hope this helps you in your struggle and that this brings you some sort of comfort to help you keep on fighting!

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