29-year old and a mum. Her son at the peculiar age that thrives off mum’s love and affection. “Why are you always so cold and mean to me?” She tells him “No, I love you. But mum is sick and she doesn’t want to infect you.” – “But I don’t care if you infect me.”

That woman suffers from a Multiple Drug Resistant (MDR) Tuberculosis (TB) in Peru. Her husband left in fear of being infected; she relies on her elderly mother for shelter and rarely goes out. She fears her friends knowing about her disease because she does not want to be ostracized, much as she is used to being rejected.

A courageous young nurse braves the possible dangers of visiting very infectious patient’s home for treatment and voluntarily refuses to wear a mask around them – “It’s like speaking with someone through a glass.” Her greatest project is in earning her client’s trust; to convince a bleak young man to take experimental drugs for the course of an intensive 6 months in hopes that one of the many antibiotics given will treat the mycobacterium from multiplying and surviving inside his body. These medications are experimental, they are expensive, and they are toxic.

Two determined doctors set out on a none profit business to cure patients rejected by their own government the right to possible treatment , on terms of liability and expense- to even begin developing a new antibiotic, half a million is easily blown off with no significant result. These two doctors contribute by developing a personal clinic to hopefully find the cure. They resort to ‘borrowing’ these expensive antibiotics from their faculties in their own countries and importing them to Peru, at risk of their career and lively hood.

A healthy, athletic, elite football player died one week after his championship. He was infected, flushed with antibiotics, examined by specialists of almost every vital organ; His father was confident “My son is ——–  ——– , he will not die of some minuscule bug. The young man died at the age of 21.

My teacher’s fiancé went blind for a few months from a bacterial infection on his hand that disrupted his spinal fluid, multiplied to such an extensive state that it pressed upon his optical nerve. Imagine your spouse, waking up one day upon a few sore back days “Honey , I can’t see you anymore.” – He was lucky.

A grown man in the United States, weakened from his surgery for his removal of his bacterial infection that had engorged into such an overwhelming size in his abdomen, it resembled the size of an adult’s hand, quietly wept as he voiced his biggest fears upon agreeing to intake an experimental treatment. “There is nothing you can really say when you’re at the point of choosing whether you want to be a guinea pig, or just die; I’m afraid this experimental drug won’t work. Bacteria are getting smarter and smarter and I never thought I’d have to fight this hard a battle.”

The Peru government had begun action in acclaiming all patients of TB to follow a strict regime of antibiotics supplied. Of most 2/3rds are cured of their disease permanently. But there remains those who have a highly drug resistant form of the bacteria, and in lesser words, they are left to die. It is not a public save, but a public death as this transparent infection is carried on through each generation, waiting to harvest into something destructive. Beyond the boundaries of one city, or a country, nation, nor continent. It is everywhere.

It’s all a merry-go-round

Rx for Survival : A Global Health Challenge