Staph Infection? FatAss!

This was originally posted to my blog site, Diabetes Odyssey.

So, this post needs a lot of setup because there are several factors in play.

  1. I am highly prone to staph infections for some weird reason. I always have been. So I can recognize one pretty easy in most cases.

  2. I have a frozen shoulder caused from my heart surgery…nearly two years ago.

  3. I have been overweight since I hit puberty, but it hasn’t spiraled massively out of control until this past January…and it’s not from poor eating habits or lack of exercise. I’m still trying to figure out why I’m gaining weight when my lifestyle dictates I should be losing.

OK, so two evenings ago I was lying in bed and my hubby walked into the room. From the position I was in, he could easily see the under-back side of my left arm.

“Tamra? Do you know you have red marks under your arm?”

“Where?” I asked as I tried to reposition my arm (which is the one with the frozen shoulder).

Hubby got closer and examined the spots. “They look exactly like the staph infection craters you get.”

■■■■! I think to myself as I get up to go to the mirror. Hubby takes a picture of the area because my poor eyesight can’t focus enough in the mirror to clearly see the spots. I look at the picture but it doesn’t look like anything serious, but when I touch the largest red spot on my arm I can easily feel the classic staph crater.

“God damn it!”

These infections come with no pain, itching, or anything like that; so they are easily missed if I don’t closely examine my entire body daily.

The next day I have an eye appointment so I don’t bother to go to my primary doctor. I hate more than one doctor appointment in one day. But I do call his office and make an appointment for first thing the following day. I don’t get in with my primary because he isn’t in that day. I end up with a doctor I’ve never seen before. This is typical with my doctor’s office.

After waiting nearly an hour past my appointment time, which really irks me because I’m like the second appointment of the day…why the delay?, I finally get called back. My weight is still frustratingly high, my BP is 132/68. The nurse asks me a ton of questions that I always get asked at this office. Then I wait just a few minutes for the doctor.

“Hi.” She says kindly as she walks in. “So, you have a rash or something on your arm?”

“No, I’m pretty sure it’s a staph infection. I’m prone to them.” I say as I take off my shawl.

“You are diabetic?”

“Type 1.”

“How is your control?”

“My A1c is 7.7.”

“OK.” She walks over to take a look at my arm. This is when she notices I can’t lift it all the way. She asks, and I explain the frozen shoulder.

This is where things get weird. This doctor goes off on a tangent about why it is so important to be getting therapy for my shoulder…and why I need to lose weight.

I swear to you she not so delicately makes note, points out, flat out says I’m fat, obese, overweight, big, about fifty times during this twenty minute visit. She may have well outright called me a fat ■■■.

I know she meant well. I know I need to lose weight. I’M TRYING!

It wouldn’t have bothered me if my weight problem was just a matter of me overeating and not exercising. But I don’t overeat, and I do exercise. The point is, it hurt so much because I’m trying so hard to lose weight, but the opposite is happening! And this doctor doesn’t know me, so she just assumed I’m some kind of lazy pig.

So, my visit about a staph infection became a lecture about exercises I should do at home to cure my own frozen shoulder, followed by a long lecture on how I need to eat healthy and exercise more because I’m fat.

“Diet soda. Don’t drink it, give it up and you’ll lose 15 pounds in a month.” She said, along with many other helpful tips.

Finally she prescribed antibiotics for the staph infection. “You’re right, it’s staph.” She confirmed.

“I am proud of you for working so hard at improving your health, your A1c is a good indication of your hard work, it’s never too late to get healthy.” She ended the visit on a positive note, at least.

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Huh? A “kind” doctor who doesn’t listen to you and babbles on about everything you already know? This is not kind. I’d say it’s rude and inept and self-centered in a way that true healers never are. I know it’s hard, but I hope you can find a work-around to politely (or not) re-direct her bad and clueless energy next time. My doc is good now, but it took me several years to find her. Blessings…Keep us posted on the staph infection. I haven’t had one yet, but it is something many of us fear, so thanks for letting us know some signs and treatments…

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I get a lot of low-grade staph infections. these ones show up first as just red marks on the skin, no pain or itchiness or anything like that. Then they start to crater (sink in) in the center and when you touch it you may feel an empty pocket or void under your skin. Once I get on antibiotics they clear up very quick.

I’ve also had a really bad staph infection that started like the low-grade ones but then very quickly became abscessed and extremely painful. It was also cratered on the surface, and turned from red to black with a white puss-like look right in the center that I guess was the scab (or plug). Very gross and unpleasant. This one took over a month to treat! And I now have a dark puffy scar.

Yeah, about the doctor, I am going to avoid ever seeing her again. She really rattled me. I didn’t realize how bad she’d hurt my feelings until later in the day. Later in the evening I started crying and realized I had gone all day without eating. Even after the realization, I still didn’t eat. :frowning:

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Any possibility of a hypothyroidism? Both gaining weight regardless of diet and exercise as well as frozen shoulder are symptoms. T1 and Hashimoto’s often travel in pairs. If your doctor isn’t astute enough to catch the symptoms and order a lab, she might not realize that TSH isn’t an adequate measure by itself. Free T-4, Free T-3 and antibodies are necessary for a basic assessment, and really good doc will order reverse T-3 as well to assess whether your cells are resistant.

I’ve had thyroid tests done recently, but I’m not too sure about exactly what tests were involved. My endo says my thyroid tests came back normal. I’ll be sure to talk to her in more detail at my next visit.

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