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here is a picture of my lovely throat right now
it’s pretty graphic so you’ve been warned
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When I was six years old I contracted Streptococcus pyogenes and couldn’t play outside with the other kids. I had to swallow big red pills to try and fight the infection. I had a chronic sore throat, and wasn’t allowed to eat ice cream or drink anything that had ice in it— doctors said it will go away within a couple of weeks
I had it for two years.
At eight years old I was already a champion at swallowing big anti-bacterial pills. But this gram positive, alpha hemolytic infection would not leave me alone. It is one of the most known causative agent in the world, and I couldn’t rid of it. They couldn’t rid of it. I yelled at them, I cursed them, my mother cursed them, my father cursed them.
My lungs started to feel heavy around that time, it was hard for me to be active, sometimes my throat wasn’t sore, and those weeks were the nicest, they were the most relaxing.
At night I would cry, I would lose my breath.
After two years of doctor visits, they found my immune system was getting too weak to fight the bacteria, they tried every possible antibiotic out there, but it just would not stick. It seemed to be only getting stronger. They said the words “heart” and “rheumatic” a lot.
My body was attacking itself.
They tested me for penicillin allergy, set me on a table stomach-down, pulled down my pants and shot me full of it. Twice.
I couldn’t walk for three days, I couldn’t use the bathroom for a few more.
All the symptoms went away.
I ran with the kids a few months after.
Last year, when I was taking microbiology at the university, I was setting up a sheep blood agar to plate some general bacteria and see some growth. In the midst of me plating, I had a nose bleed. A professor walked in and said “INOCULATE IT!”
I swabbed my nose fast with a cotton stick, plated my blood on the agar, and came back next week to find it duct taped by the lab instructor with the words
I went straight to the books and tried to figure out what it was by the lysing of the blood.
And there it was, my dear old friend Streptococcus pyogenes. I was very worried, I thought I might have contracted it again. There was no way, I thought. I haven’t had any symptoms.
Turns out it’s dormant as in I will always carry it with me. Inside of me. To never show symptoms again. To never have to worry about it.
A sleeping little pathogenic strain.
I can’t help but think of e. e. cumming’s
“(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it”