Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thank you, Sir Alexander Fleming.

Who's he?  In 1928, Sir Alexander Fleming observed that colonies of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus could be destroyed by the mold Penicillium notatum, proving that there was an antibacterial agent there in principle.  That was the birth of antibiotics.  It would be 20 years before they would be available to the public.  Today, I am very happy that they are.

After suffering with a bad cough for 10 days, I went to the doctor yesterday.  When I say "bad cough", I mean it.  It was the kind of cough that turns you inside out and your not sure if you're going to throw up or give yourself a brain aneurysm.  I am well aware of those super bugs, and I don't want antibiotics if they aren't necessary, but if the doctor told me I had a virus and would have to ride it out, I thought I might slap him.  Luckily, he didn't;  I have bronchitis.

About 10 hours after my first dose, it was like someone flipped a switch... no more rattle in my chest and my cough was milder and less body wracking.  Today, I could actually get off the couch and do something for longer than 10 minutes.  

We are lucky to be living now... a time when there are medical weapons to fight bacteria.  (I hope we'll never live to see a time where those weapons are rendered useless.)  Medical advancements are being made all the time.  I was reminded of this when I was reading "Little House on the Prairie" to Pipsqueak.  The whole Ingalls family was in bed with fever n' ague for days.   They thought they got it from eating watermelon grown in the creek beds.  Really, it was malaria from mosquitoes.  That was a dangerous time to be alive.  I supposed we've got bigger threats now: terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, and all that. The life expectancy in the late 1800s was about age 50.  I think I like our odds. 

4 comments:

She sure is strange! said...

Goodness gracious!! Thankful for antibiotics here too. I had that same cough, with the same fears, most of the summer but it was (just) allergies. A friend of my mom's lost her 65-yr-old husband to a coughing fit, it triggered a heart attack!

I'm hoping you're completely healed very soon!

Molly

Aunt Becky said...

I'd probably (seriously) be dead if it weren't for antibiotics. Glad you're feeling more human these days.

Vicki said...

Glad you're feeling better. Too bad there's no "cure for the common cold" yet, I could sure use some antivirals.

Kitt said...

Bronchitis! Yuck. I had it several times in China (the air pollution is terrible there). That's where I picked up my preference for flu shots in the hip. Got lots of penicillin that way.

Yay for antibiotics. Hope you're feeling 100 percent soon.

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