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Twist

Posted on April 15th, 2014

Dave!I had been doing so well.

Then today I twisted wrong, and searing pain ripped through my ribcage so intensely that I thought I was going to pass out. It died out after a couple hours, but now I'm more than a little worried that I've done something to set back the healing process.

Guess there's just no easy recovery from getting hit by a car.

And on that note...

Ever since getting a tetanus shot, I've been a little on edge.

Sometimes when I'm chewing it will feel like my jaw is tightening up, and I start to wonder if the vaccine didn't work and I've contracted lockjaw. Then that's about all I can think about for hours.

But the bigger issue is the vaccine itself. From Wikipedia...

Tetanus vaccine is a vaccine composed of deactivated tetanus toxins. This vaccine is immunogenic but not pathogenic and is used to prevent an individual from contracting tetanus.

And that's not all...

The type of vaccination for this disease is called artificial active immunity. This type of immunity is generated when a dead or weakened version of the disease enters the body causing an immune response which includes the production of antibodies. This is beneficial to the body because this means that if the disease is ever introduced into the body, the immune system will recognize the antigen and produce antibodies more rapidly.

What if they accidentally shot me up with LIVE tetanus toxins instead of deactivated ones? That wouldn't be a good thing, now would it? This would certainly explain why my jaw keeps feeling like it's tightening up!

If you don't hear from me again, I'm probably dead.

After writhing in agony for hours.

   

Armed

Posted on April 10th, 2014

Dave!Last night I decided to stop taking the pain-killers I've been on since getting run down in France. I don't like the way drugs mess with my head, and this time it was more debilitating than usual for some reason. I wasn't just having trouble concentrating at work... I was having trouble concentrating while watching television, and that just isn't done.

The pain in my ribs is breathtaking, as expected.

But it's the pain in the arm where I got my tetanus shot that really took me by surprise. My arm aches. Every movement feels like somebody just punched me. Hard. I Googled my pain only to discover that, yeah, this is totally normal. Tetanus shots are brutal. So now I am questioning this foolish decision to live life drug-free, as I am a real weenie when it comes to pain.

I'm also questioning getting a tetanus shot, but that ship has sailed.

And then there's this...

Have a good night!

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Lockjaw

Posted on April 2nd, 2014

Dave!"Tetanus is not a fun way to die."

My smashed ribs were really tender when I boarded the plane yesterday, so I bit the bullet and popped the Oxycodone I keep on-hand in case I have a kidney stone attack. This kept me (relatively) comfortable throughout the flight, for which I was grateful. By the time we landed in Seattle I was considering not going to the doctor at all, as I was feeling considerably better than when I left DutchyLand.

Until I reached up into the overhead bin to grab my bag.

Searing pain shot through my entire side, and I suddenly couldn't breathe. I'm guessing the drugs must have worn off after my ten hour adventure in the sky.

Not wanting to drive under the influence of Oxycodone, I retrieved my car for the (painful) two-and-a-half hour drive home. Where I did not pass Go. Did not collect $200. Did not even drop off my suitcase. Instead I drove directly to the walk-in clinic to see a doctor.

An hour-and-a-half plus three X-rays plus many hundreds of dollars in deductable later, I found out that nothing is broken. It would seem I merely have a hairline fracture in one of my ribs or something. It hurts like hell, but my lungs aren't punctured and I'm going to live.

At which point the doctor looks at the scrape on my head and asks when was the last time I had a tetanus shot. From what I could recall, it was in 1998 when my brother and I went to Bangkok. This caused the doctor to suck wind through his teeth and inform me that somebody who travels as much as I do should really stay current with my tetanus shots, which expire after ten years. Oops.

I was going to pass because I don't like injecting crap in my body that's not the sweet, sweet release of freshly-cooked black tar heroin, but then the doctor tells me that "tetanus is not a fun way to die." He looks really serious about it, so I get the damn shot.

Turns out the doctor is right. Wikipedia explains it thusly...

Tetanus often begins with mild spasms in the jaw muscles—also known as lockjaw or trismus (aka "lockjaw"). The spasms can also affect the chest, neck, back, abdominal muscles, and buttocks. Back muscle spasms often cause arching, called opisthotonos. Sometimes the spasms affect muscles that help with breathing, which can lead to breathing problems.
   
Prolonged muscular action causes sudden, powerful, and painful contractions of muscle groups, which is called "tetany." These episodes can cause fractures and muscle tears. Other symptoms include drooling, excessive sweating, fever, hand or foot spasms, irritability, swallowing difficulty, and uncontrolled urination or defecation. The episodes can also cause destruction of elements of the nervous system through viral cell exchange.
   
Mortality rates reported vary from 48% to 73%. In recent years, and approximately 11% of reported tetanus cases have been fatal. The highest mortality rates are in unvaccinated people, people over 60 years of age or newborns.

They even provide a nice painting of tetanus in action...

Frisian Flag

Doesn't that look like buckets of fun?

So... if you want to die a drooling, urinating, defecating, mess... as your muscles rip apart and cause bone fractures (i.e. in excruciating pain), by all means skip out on getting a Tdap shot.

As for myself? I'm hoping to keep the drooling and defecation to a minimum when I die.

Though I think we all know the odds of that are slim.

   

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