Fieldset
2nd month of treatment

White Orchid shares her experiences of her second month's treatment for tuberculosis...

I woke up vomiting. Walls seemed waving in front of me. Where is the sink... It was nighttime when I came to my senses again. I looked around. There were a couple of other beds in the room. "Oh my God what is this mess I’ve got into", I thought. Literally got into.  Due to hallucinations, it seemed to me (maybe you know surrealism movement in visual art, Salvador Dali paintings belong to it, but I'm not а fan of this style) that a part of me was hanging down through the couch I was lying on, and that the mattress itself was part of my body.

- Eat something - the voice of my ward neighbor sounded. - You can’t do it on an empty stomach. In the morning it will be necessary to take the regular medications again.

- I should survive - I decided - I won't give up. And fell unconscious again.

Briefly about the medications:

The second line TB drugs used for multi-drug resistant TB (MDR TB) and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR TB) treatment are very toxic substances. It has nothing to do with what the word “antibiotics" means for ordinary people. Their side effects are much more severe than of the drugs used for drug-sensitive TB treatment. I would characterize the second line TB drugs as:

   TOXIC SUBSTANCES you would not agree to take for any money.

On the contrary, you would give anything just to get out of hospital right now, get out to nowhere, with nothing in your pockets, just to get out healthy of this hell.

 

The main side effects in the second month of treatment, if anyone is interested, are:

- Stomach roaring with pain;

- Heart pierced with needles;

- Vomiting several times a day, feeling sick all the time;

- Any sound you hear seems like somebody is talking to you from a well;

- You fall from dreams into reality.

 

What’s happening? I am not asleep, but I can clearly see some short films slowly replacing each other. It's me! Ahaha. Yes, that’s what happened, and this happened as well. My life events are somehow being reversed. See, I'm looking out of the stroller – here is my mom’s dress. Sure! She used to wear it.  

  <>- Hello, any complaints? - the voice of my doctor brings me back.

- Aches all over my body, doctor.

- Everybody suffers the same here, stay patient, it will be ok.

Dying is not frightening at all, if those were the scenes which people usually see before they die. My deepest memories resurfaced. It's exciting to watch a well-made movie about yourself. )) To live? Yes. There was only one character I'd never spotted in perceived reality, a smudgy wild girl, in those videos. She was running and jumping like my shadow, but was not linked to me. It felt like there was some unfinished business. As though there was something I needed to do to bring her peace. More about it later.

 

Even if you face the strongest side-effects, the TB treatment is not cancelled, just for your understanding, until you find yourself in the intensive care unit. With any other disease the medications would be thrown out to a trashcan immediately if it caused at least 2% of the side effects the MDR TB and XDR TB treatment brings.

I knew I had to force myself to move. I knew I won’t have enough strength to come back. My first five-minute walk. When I saw this, both time and my pain stopped because of this unearthly beauty. Click here to play the musical accompaniment to this page and enjoy viewing.