Andrew Phillip Cowell
WE all value our health, but the fact is, we all get sick from time to time. When we get sick, treatment comes in various forms — orally, or (ouch!) injectably, and many of us don’t like being jabbed (the writer being something of an exception — he has a voluntary flue shot every year). Patients generally are terrified of penicillin shots, which have an awesome reputation for causing pain, and the champion of all injectable penicillins, is the greatly feared Benzathine penicillin also called Ultracillin (the name says it all).
Wow! The stories one hears about ultracillin are scary. The writer has heard of patients — even tough guys — crying of bruising that lasted for weeks; of patients having to sleep on their sides or backs. I intend to show, from personal experience, that these stories are greatly exaggerated, or that patients are wimps; or (most likely) they just don’t know how to react when they get ultracillin pumped into their buttocks.
All of which reminds me — many years ago (before I went to university and became a social worker) I underwent a medical orderly’s course. I hated administering penicillin injections to my patients, and I always tried to come up with innovative non-injectable treatment regimens.
To be sure, potential painful injections (like penicillin) should not be prescribed flippantly, but far better to give the patient a good “wallop” of 8ml Ultracillin (4ml in each buttock) than to battle on for weeks with slow acting oral treatment (which was what was happening in my case).
We must now look at streptococcal infections. There are three types: A, B, D. Group A strep infections affect the throat (commonly called “strep throat”) whilst group B causes pneumonia, and sub Group B S can lead to meningitis, bacteremia; skin and soft tissue infections; urinary tract infections; osteomyelitis; arthritis and (in pregnant women) chorioammionitis.
Group D streptococcus is implicated again, in bacteremia; meningitis; urinary tract infections; septic arthritis; neonatal sepsis; and vertebral osteomyelitis. A thoroughly nasty litany of nasty disease, make no mistake, streptococcus bacteria is no friend of humanity.
No friend of mine either! I had my first bout of strep throat when I was 10 years old, and then had it, on a semi-annual basis till I was 19 years old. Streptococcus B S then visited me, via a long-lasting bladder infection, which started in my late 30s, and has troubled me down through the years — hopefully, it’s gone now. But the original strep throat has returned — in 2014, and again this year, and I have to accept the very real possibility that it may become an annual visitor, as will the ultracillin shots become an annual health necessity, ouch! But no matter! I’m not nearly as scared of them as I was prior to Wednesday, 7 September 2016, when I had the two unforgettable jabs pumped into my bottom — 4ml in each cheek and I survived it. I walked out of the surgery, feeling a bit sore, to be sure, but I was by no means crippled, or in agony. And I slept on my side that night — a bit uncomfortable, but not bad. I slept well.
Now, it gets even worse! There is a definite link between streptococcal infection, and rheumatic heart disease, rheumatic fever to quote my doctor:
“(Is) . . . a late inflammatory complication of pharyngitis, that is caused by group a haemolytic streptococci . . . (it) affects heart valves among many other organs (it) . . . is a multi-system disease characterized by involvement of heart, joints, central nervous system, skin, and subcutaneous tissues.”