“Daddy! Daddy! What’s in the bag?”
F walks in the house with a swag bag from the annual meeting of the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons. Hmmm, this swag bag probably won’t have samples of facial products, fancy chocolates or gift certificates. A surgical swag bag…now what could possibly be in that?
F pulls out a sleek copper and black travel mug. Not bad. It has “SurgicalHospitalist.org” printed on it, but other than that, it looks like a great mug and it’s something I can use! What else…
I look inside the bag and see 20 pairs of latex gloves. Seems strange but they are a crucial component of the surgical resident’s daily uniform. Anything else in that swag bag?
Lastly, Ayay pulls out what look like 2 stuffed animals.
“Daddy! It’s a pink octopus! Its eyes are on its legs. It has 10 eyes! This one is mine. And this orange funny monster will be for P-Nizz.”
The octopus is not really an octopus, nor is the orange monster a monster. F has brought home 2 stuffed “bacteria.” The “pink octopus” is Clostridium Difficile, also known as C. Diff. It’s a gut bacteria and if it outgrows your other gut bacteria, it can cause a horrible life threatening diarrhea.
“Ooh. C. Diff is a girl’s name!” exclaims Ayay.
And Tingting’s “orange monster” is Methicillin Resistant Staph Aureus, an aggressive and drug-resistant version of the skin bacteria that causes staph infections.
“It’s MRSA (pronounced Mersa) for short,” F tells us.
“Oooooooh,” says Ayay. “Well, orange is P-Nizz’s favorite color so MRSA is hers. Pink is my favorite color so I get C.Diff.”
“You brought home stuffed bacteria?” I say to F, amazed by the fact that stuffed bacteria even exist.
“Yes, and I had to schmooze with the latex glove ladies…told them how much I liked the way their latex gloves fit and feel so they would give me 2 of their display bacteria for the kids. I could have chosen Hepatatis C, but I don’t think anyone in our family is colonized with Hep C. We’re all colonized with C.Diff and MRSA.”
Oh, how I love my husband! I very much appreciate how he’s preserved his nerdiness as he has moved away from the field of physics/engineering (his initial pursuit) and into the field of medicine. And it’s very sweet that my socially awkward husband (his words not mine) participated in some serious schmoozing in order to get each of his daughters a stuffed bacteria.
I think Ayay is sleeping with her diarrhea causing bacteria right now. Good thing she’s colonized.