Monday, November 12, 2018

C Diff Awareness Month

November is C Diff Awareness Month. My mother died from advanced dementia brought on by repeated relapses of clostridium difficile (c. diff).  C. diff is an antibiotic-resistant gastrointestinal infection that kills more people than HIV, AID, and drunk driving combined, yet people are not very aware of the danger they and their loved ones are in. 

Deaths from c. diff aren't reported in the media  I have a feeling if they were, we would be shocked. C. diff infections and related deaths in nursing homes, where our most vulnerable relatives are, are not reported to New York State government. At least in Massachusetts where Mom died, her death had to be reported to the state government, but it was not publicized (until now). If we are to protect our relatives and stop c. diff deaths, this has to change. C. diff infections and deaths must be reported and published. We need to know how well facilities are or are not controlling and eliminating c. diff infections and where not to let relatives go.

I miss my mother every day.  Last fall she was in the hospital every full moon from August to October, twice with a septic episode, once with a fever.   I've been reliving it emotionally, since I had to be strong last year.  It's been hard, especially since at work I have to help medical offices request procedures that allude to what my mother had or experienced.  I keep feeling like I have to get into the car and drive somewhere to visit Mom, but I can't anymore.  

I've never really enjoyed the winter holiday season and I'm not looking forward to it at all this year.  For years, my maternal relatives only paid attention to Mom and me when it suited them, maybe once every few years combined.  We only celebrated the holidays together by ourselves.  Now there is no one else.  Even my cats aren't getting along very well right now.  

Use antibiotics only when you really have to. Be careful of where your family members go for medical treatment or hospitalization.  Make sure all surfaces are cleaned.  Clean them yourself if you want and do it repeatedly.  Research the facility where s/he is.  I think how well they take care of the patient is also reflective of how well the facility is taken care of.  We need figures on patient infections and deaths from c. diff to be released to see how safe our relatives will be.  I tried very hard to get Mom out of the awful place she was in, but it was already too late.    For more information please visit the Peggy Lillis Foundation.

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