This is topic So I checked into the ER today... in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by Primal Curve (Member # 3587) on :
... because I think I contracted tetanus of all things. I mean, I feel like I'm living the the 19th century. All I need is whooping cough or the scarlet fever and I'll have the 19th century disease trifecta.

It all started a week ago. On Monday evening, I was replacing the fuel filter on my car (it crapped out on me- a story for another post) when, whilst I was prying on the fuel line, the screwdriver slips and jabs me in my left hand- deeply.

Now, mind you, my hand is covered in gasoline, grit, oil, rust and dirt from the road. Naturally, it hurt like a mother. We're talking a stabbing with a very blunt instrument (a phillips head screwdriver).

Like the macho guy I am, I shrugged it off and kept working. Later, I cleaned off my hands with waterless mechanic's hand cleaner. And, uh, that's about it. A few days later, the wound became infected.

So, I swore at myself for not cleaning it more thoroughly, and got down to business. I launched a campaign against the microbes by thoroughly cleaning my hands and the wound (pulled off the scab and cleaned underneath) and then used hand sanitizer followed by a healthy dose of neosporin. I couldn't bandage it because it was on my palm, but I kept my hands clean and kept reapplying neosporin. The wound began to heal quickly.

However, a few days ago, I woke up with a stiff, painful jaw. "Crap" said I, but I swore it off as just coincidental. Maybe I punched myself in my sleep- I don't know. Today, however, it was worse. I chatted with a few friends at work and, after some deliberation, I hit the ER.

Let's just say the doctor's eyebrow was raised.

"Tetanus." Says she.

"Well, I know it sounds silly." I reply.

"You do realize that we get very few of these cases anymore."

I quicky respond, "I know, I'm feeling hypocondriacish today. It's probably just dental, but considering the fact that I can't tell you the last time I had a tetanus shot- except that one time in 3rd grade when I ran across a bonfire and stepped on a nail, and the fact that I had a nasty, dirty wound about seven days ago..."

"Okay," she says, the scepticism still present in her voice, "I'll give you the Booster and the Tetanus Immune Globulins if you want them."

"Well, I figure it's better safe than sorry, right?"

I get one of those condescending smiles in reply.

So anyways. I doubt that I actuall got tetanus, but I went in anyways. I'm not normally one to run to the hospital, but I figure, it's better than saying "whoops, I guess I did get tetanus, and now I'm dead!"

Now it's time to make a dental appointment...
Posted by Farmgirl (Member # 5567) on :
so... she didn't want to do any kind of test to confirm if it was tetanus or not? Just give you the shot and go?
Posted by Elizabeth (Member # 5218) on :
Did she suggest you follow up with your physician? you should.
Posted by Primal Curve (Member # 3587) on :
Two shots and a pat on the back. [Smile]

I'm not suprised. They give both to anyone who actually contracts tetanus anyways.
Posted by Primal Curve (Member # 3587) on :
Yes, a followup was recommended. She also reaffirmed my intent to talk to a dentist.
Posted by mackillian (Member # 586) on :

Did you know there's a rise of cases of whooping cough around here?!

Posted by Farmgirl (Member # 5567) on :
Well, the late stages of tetanus are no fun. So I am very glad you played it safe, rather than sorry.

It is worth enduring a little doctor sarcasm if it might have prevented something much worse.
Posted by Teshi (Member # 5024) on :
From Wikipedia:

There are, on average, around 150 cases annually in the USA.
Wow, you're a statistic!

EDIT: I'm nervous now, and wondering when I last got my last tetanus shot!

[ May 04, 2005, 04:10 PM: Message edited by: Teshi ]
Posted by IrishAphrodite19 (Member # 1880) on :
Whoho! I got my last tetanus shot less than a month ago! But that is because I am going on a mission trip to Bulgaria and I will be at a higher risk and therefore my doctor told me to make sure my shot was within the last 5 years and not the normal 10.

Posted by Theca (Member # 1629) on :
Also, fyi the tetanus shot usually has diptheria included (diphteria/tetanus shot) and diptheria protection is good to have on board when leaving the country.
Posted by IrishAphrodite19 (Member # 1880) on :
That's good to know. I also got a Hepatitis A vac and an oral vac for Typhoid. I feel so special now. How many of you have those? Hum, hum?!

Posted by Amka (Member # 690) on :
Every child under the age of 8 has had Hepatitis A if their parents go through the required vaccinations.
Posted by ludosti (Member # 1772) on :
*ears perk up* Did someone say Bulgaria? I sent you an email Irish. I've had those vaccines too.... [Wink]

I'm glad you erred on the safe side and went into the ER, PC. Your little one needs a safe and happy dad. [Smile]
Posted by TheHumanTarget (Member # 7129) on :
After my last bike accident, they gave me a tetanus shot as a precaution. Is this unusual?
Posted by Enigmatic (Member # 7785) on :
I had a similiar experience with a doctor's condescending look a while back. About 2 years ago there were a few reported cases of Tuberculosis (sp?) at the local community college (not quite an outbreak). So a bunch of people had to get tested. One of my roommates got tested, it came up positive for exposure to the disease but negative for infection. The school doctors told her that meant anyone she's in close quarters with should also get tested. So I did.

I explained to the doctor the full story of why I was there and that I was supposed to get a test.
"For tuberculosis?"
"Yes, there were some cases at the college."
"of TB?!?" - with a horribly condescending smirk.
"So you think you need to be tested?"
"Considering my ROOMMATE tested positive for exposure and a DOCTOR told her to have her roommates get tested... YES!"

btw, I didn't have tuberculosis.
Nor did I have SARS, but that's a different story.

Posted by Audeo (Member # 5130) on :
I had to get a tubercolis test before they'd let me move into the dorms, it was mandatory. Also most of the time you get a dpt vaccine, diptheria, pertussis, and tetanus all at the same time. Pertussis is also known as whooping cough. [Smile]
Posted by Theca (Member # 1629) on :
I'm not sure what you mean by most of the time. Kids get the kind with pertussis diptheria, and tetanus, the DTaP. Older kids and adults get the booster kind with diptheria and tetanus, the Td.

[ May 04, 2005, 08:59 PM: Message edited by: Theca ]
Posted by Primal Curve (Member # 3587) on :
Mmmmmm.... sore arms....
Posted by imenimok (Member # 7679) on :
One of my "favorite" parts about working in an emergency room was having to walk through a closed door labeled "Isolation" to register a patient. I somehow missed all the TB and meningitis exposures. Darn.

Good thinking, PC. I hope you feel better soon.
Posted by plaid (Member # 2393) on :
Normally one gets a tetanus shot every 10 years. For folks who're more likely to be exposed to rusty metal frequently, it's recommended that you get a shot every 5 years.
Posted by DavidR (Member # 7473) on :
I don't remember when the last time I had a tetanus shot but it was probably when I was in the Marines, which would make it sometime between 7 and 13 years ago. The only tetanus shot that I actually remember was when I was young, about 7 or 8 years old and I had stepped on a board with a nail in it.

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