Still, I don’t mean to get all hyper paranoid over this MRSA thing, yet there are things afoot that nag at me. (MRSA is a staph infection that is super-resistant to antibiotics.) On one hand, MRSA seems to be poohed poohed; the school district I work for has, as its headline on its website, an article titled “Much Ado About MRSA” which implies that MRSA is no big deal. And in my case, it most probably isn’t. But then I read that other school districts have closed down during MRSA outbreaks, (including here in Oregon, where I live) and we can always count on Jeff Rense, of Rense.com, for good old yellow journalism, with his headlines screaming about not only MRSA but Morgellons, Bird Flu, and other ills -- it’s easy to get nervous about things.
An internet search brought up items about a MRSA epidemic in Oregon, which described perfectly what I have/had. Sorry about the grossness element, but here goes: painful leaking, draining, and crusting ear infections, complete with face swelling and loss of hearing. Yet it took from last spring until a few weeks ago for the ER people, the nurse practitioners at the school district, and an ENT specialist that I went to twice, to figure out that what I’ve been experiencing (all of the above) was this form of MRSA.
Last night, watching one of my favorite television shows, Numb3rs,there was a reference to MRSA. The suspect they were looking for had a MRSA STD (socially transmitted disease, in this case, gonorrhea.) One line in the show was something like “There’s a strain of antibiotics they can give you that can really knock it out, but doctors don’t want to give it to people.” I know, it’s just a TV show, but the undercurrent of “this is some serious crap” versus “it’s nothing, really” is something I can’t help but be aware of. There seems to be two concurrent, opposing memes about MRSA: one from official channels, which is: wash your hands, clean surfaces, don’t share stuff, don’t worry, don’t panic, and my favorite, which I was recently told by a medical person “We all have MRSA.” Then there’s the other view: it’s hard if not impossible to get rid of, inform your supervisor or health department if you have it, school districts might close down, avoid contact with others, take care of your immune system, oh, and the bit about deaths from MRSA . . .
Another strange disease that’s been around for a couple of years now -- Morgellons -- had me thinking about these oppositional views as well. (Morgellons is a disease that causes severe itching, and fibers are excreted from the body.) For a long time, it wasn’t getting any mainstream attention. But now Morgellons is beginning to enter the mainstream news media. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) is paying for a study of Morgellons in Northern California at Kaiser Permanante Hospital. The other day this item from the Los Angeles Times appeared in our local paper, as it did in many papers across the United States:
Morgellons study launched in California: Sufferers, who feel crawling sensations and see fibers coming out of their skin, hope the research legitimizes the illness. ~ By Jia-Rui Chong, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer January 19, 2008
The opening paragraph doesn’t waste time in planting that seed of doubt:
After years of patients' complaints, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched a study into a bizarre -- and possibly delusional -- condition known as Morgellons, in which sufferers typically feel crawling sensations and observe fibers coming out of their skin.
“Possibly delusional.” Why do “they” believe it’s necessary to insert this thought? If others witness, or discover through medical tests and observations, the fibers, it’s hardly “delusional.” It either is or it isn’t. And for a corporate entity like Kaiser Permanante to take part in a study like this, there has to be something in it for them.
The article goes on to quote the CDC, who are concerned, and want to help both doctors and patients:
"We are really at the beginning, I think, of a learning curve about what this condition is and all of its potential manifestations," said Dr. Michele Pearson, a CDC physician who is heading up the study. "Those who suffer from this condition, as well as the family members and physicians who provide care to them, have questions, and we want to help them find meaningful answers."
It’s the jangled relationship between these things: MRSA as being nothing more than “much ado,” Morgellons as being “possibly delusional” with the other side; for example, closing down school districts or starting studies.
I must be missing something. Here’s another example of that jangled disconnect between acknowledging something weird is going on, alongside the message that it isn’t any big deal:
Dr. Mark Horowitz, a Torrance dermatologist who has seen hundreds complaining of Morgellons, said he hoped the CDC study would settle the uncertainty about the condition: "I believe it's a real entity [but] I'll be very surprised if they find anything more than a psychiatric disease."
If it’s a “real entity” then why hold the opinion nothing concrete will be found, and that Morgellons will turn out to be a “psychiatric disease?”
Will they soon announce Morgellons is only a psychiatric disease? By doing this, there’s a false sense of security presented to society. “see, we looked at the disease, found there isn't anything communicable or contagious, or that it’s caused by “them” (chemtrails, chemicals in food, environmental factors, or watching too much American Idol) it’s all in your head.” We can all go back to our business, and feel a brief moment of sympathy for those who are suffering from the “psychiatric” disorder.
The same message is broadcast with MRSA. Just wash your hands more often, and you’ll be fine. I’ve tripled my hand washing and hand sanitizing, and wipe down tables before and after every time I sit down with students. I was doing all this anyway -- it’s a given if you work in a school -- but apparently I wasn’t doing this enough. One site on MRSA suggested that “poor hygiene” was a cause. Well, excuse me, but my hygiene is quite excellent, thank you very much. I’ve done so much hand washing, and used so much hand sanitizer, and been using the spray so much, that my hands have shriveled up like pale raisins. Now I have to lather on loads of hand lotion to combat the dryness.
Anyway, the point of all this ranting is the suspicion I have about what’s really going, compared with what “they” are telling us. It doesn’t make sense. There seems to be a purposeful attempt to lull us into accepting these things as normal and usual, as non-issues, or even as “delusions.” I apologize for the paranoid doom and gloom attitude, but I can’t shake the feeling “they” know a lot more than they’re telling us. The “don’t worry,” attitude, the assurances of calm, the concerned inquiries (as at Kaiser Permanante) are cover-ups and disinformation for something more serious.
Meanwhile, sales of those cute little hand sanitizer bottles, soap and hand lotions have increased dramatically, judging from my stash at work.