Several years ago, my entire immediate family was infected with an antibiotic-resistant staph infection, known as MRSA.
It’s not something we often bring up in the family. As you can imagine, it’s not the most pleasant thing to talk about.
But at breakfast one recent morning my parents agreed to an interview because they want people to understand how something like MRSA can spread.
“Seems like once it got in the house, everybody got a taste of it,” my father, Bucky Erwin said.
It was an incredibly uncomfortable learning curve.
“I have learned the reason this thing has become such a problem, is because of its resistance. Nearly always when you have a problem you go and ask for an antibiotic, and the doctors prescribe them very freely,” my father said.
He and I both went to a primary care physician concerned that the boils on our skin might be due to a drug-resistant infection.
Two years and countless antibiotics later, an infectious disease specialist told us we had a topical strain of staph. The sores were embarrassing and we didn’t know what to do at first.
After visiting the specialist we were told to take what some might consider extreme measures to sanitize not only our communal space, but ourselves.
“We were told to use bleach and water. And you can bathe in it, not a lot, maybe a half a cup to a tub. But we were told it will kill it,” said my mother, Nancy Erwin.
Now that we have it under control, we can joke about it a little. My dad even sang a little tune about the many disinfectant baths.
“Rub a dub dub let’s scrub in the tub. Come on, mama, throw some bleach in here.”
And then my mother chimed in.
“Get out that Hibiclens and let’s scrub down.”
Hibiclens is a brand of topical ointment that comes in a soap form, one of the many cleaning techniques we applied.
“We learned not to use towels twice and to cleanse with Clorox and water,” my mother said.
Now we can laugh a bit. But this costly and painful ailment was really difficult for us. While the boils have disappeared, the scars are still there.