On December 25th, 2017 I came back from Paris with a horrible travel bug. The day after I landed I went to Urgent Care because my primary care doctor was off for the holidays. I initially decided to go to Urgent Care only to get some fluids because I was feeling so dehydrated but the doctor convinced me into taking an antibiotic to kill anything that could be upsetting my stomach after traveling. He wrote me a prescription for Cipro and sent me home. If there is one decision I regret in my entire life is that I decided to take the Cipro thinking that it would make me feel better.
A week after taking the Cipro I started to feel like I had a fever coming on. I decided to take a shower and get in bed early to rest up before I got sick. The next morning I woke up with the worst fever I have ever had in my entire life. My body was in so much pain that I could not sit or lie in one position for more than a minute without squirming in pain.
Later that evening my fever broke, but what followed was even worse. I was going to the bathroom 10-15 times a day not understanding what was wrong with me. I thought I had the flu or maybe food poisoning so I decided to just wait it out for a few days until it passed. But it didn’t. I made an emergency appointment with my doctor and told her everything I was experiencing. She told me to get a stool test and that we would meet in a week for the results and sent me home. I felt reassured that it wasn’t anything major but I still was not feeling well or like myself. I lost 9 pounds in two weeks, had extreme muscle weakness and no appetite.
Two days after that appointment I woke up in a panic. I was having heart palpitations, my hands and feet were sweating and I felt out of breath. I spent the rest of that night on the bathroom floor because I was so weak and anxious that the only thing that was comforting me was the feeling of the cold tile on my face. It was the lowest point of my entire life.
The next morning I woke up and went to the emergency room. I was having heart palpitations and feeling extremely weak and about to faint at any given moment. Blood was drawn, X-Rays were taken, all sorts of other tests and scans were performed but everything came back negative. I left the ER more traumatized and distraught than before I went because now I had a $4,000 bill and no answers.
My doctor called me the next morning which was something that I was not expecting. My heart was racing when she was talking to me because I felt like there was something terribly wrong. She told me that she decided not to wait until the appointment because my stool sample came back positive for C diff. At the time I was working as a researcher at a hospital in the GI department so when I heard “C. diff” I immediately thought of all the sick patients that I had seen at work that nearly died from it. I was so confused. How could a healthy 24 year old get C. diff? How did this happen? My doctor informed that the culprit was the Cipro I took. If I had just rested and not taken the medication the Urgent Care doctor had prescribed I would’ve been completely fine and recovered from the stomach bug with fluids and rest. But I, like millions of people, trusted a doctor who prescribed me a medication that changed my life. I trusted a doctor to make the right decision for me and my body which ended, but being the worst thing that has ever happened to me.
When I think back to the moments I was laying in bed, sweating, crying, feeling confused like I was going to die it still brings tears to my eyes. That was the worst mental and physical pain I have ever been in and it is something I wish no one ever has to experience. I sincerely hope that we can get to a place where doctors discuss the life-threatening side effects of antibiotics and offer alternate solutions to healing so that we don’t lose more innocent people to this completely preventable disease.