Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Germs are NOT for sharing

Anyway, so I’ve been impregnated again by the said caboodle-hole.

Pregnancy really changes your perspective on things. For one, paranoia.

Now I’m paranoid on a good day - I’ve always had mild OCD which I manage to keep reasonably under control in my every day life and doesn’t affect my work too much - but being pregnant elevates my paranoia to a whole new level.

Working with HIV patients on a daily basis, there’s always that fear in the back of your mind that you’ve picked it up somehow. It didn’t help that at a recent conference I attended we were given statistics of doctors
who have seroconverted after exposure to HIV infected blood – some supposedly through blood splashes on the skin. Freakin blood splashes on the skin! Now, I’ve had blood splashes on my skin – who amongst us hasn’t – so that made me worry to no end. Then I thought to myself that I should have myself tested again (my last HIV test having been as an intern after a blood splash. The patient turned out to be negative though, thank God! And so did I) but like most doctors I am terrified of having HIV and even of having an HIV test. It’s ridiculous I know. I’ve discussed it with other doctors before and even though we keep telling patients to “know your status”, the truth is, we're terrified of being tested ourselves in case it’s positive. Anyway, so I reasoned to myself that if I was positive, I’d better find out now since I’m pregnant and it would be irresponsible if I did have it and passed it on to my baby. So I got tested ... and it was negative! WHAT - A - RELIEF!!! Even caboodle-hole was relieved because it basically meant he didn't have it either (and his risk is even bigger than mine. He even went and pricked himself recently.)

Then my assistant got diagnosed with TB (by me FYI) and I started worrying that I had that. I worry about TB everyday anyway but now I felt like it was really possible that I had it. Nevermind the small fact that I was asymptomatic.

I’ve since seen to two people with suspected MDR TB and every day at least one undiagnosed TB patient comes into my room coughing their freakin lungs out. Great. So I’m spending the majority of each day breathing in TB bacilli infested air.

Then, to add to my paranoia, I’ve been having sacro-iliac pain. Now, I know that it’s because of the pregnancy, but at a recent talk, this HIV medicine guru presented a case study about a guy who had chronic sacro-iliac pain which turned out to be caused by a retro-peritoneal TB abscess. I know that I don’t have a retro-peritoneal TB abscess, but I just can’t stop thinking about it.



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