Please pardon the extremely personal details, here. The disease MRSA unfortunately gets into our most personal nooks and crannies. To fight it successfully, we have to "get personal." Sorry.
About 8 years ago, my wife worked in a privately-owned parolee supervision facility in Camden, New Jersey. She shook hands with a parolee fresh out of Camden County Jail, she scratched an itch on her hand, and within 48 hours she had a MRSA infection.
We did not understand MRSA well, then. The disease quickly spread to our 3 sons, probably via sweat left behind on the toilet seat.
About a year later, I finally got the disease, and I got it big time. It just about killed me. We have learned a lot. Here is what we learned.
The disease has one great goal -- to eat the iron molecule in your hemoglobin. Its processes, in doing so, dissolve flesh. So, MRSA boils tend to bleed like crazy when they pop -- like giant bullet wounds. If one pops, try to get it to pop in the bathtub. You will understand why when it happens. There will be blood everywhere.
Doctors tell you, "Don't try to pop them!" They are afraid that if you squeeze, they will break on the underside -- into your flesh. This causes a very fast moving, extremely dangerous infection called "cellulitis." If you don't stop it, you will die. (Once I came with about 24 hours of dying. A neighbor of ours -- who did not get it from me -- did die.)
MRSA kills. The variety I had had a 15% death rate -- 1 out of 6 people. Years ago, a client died after I caught it and I sent her a letter without realizing how dangerous it was and how easily it spread. I always wondered, Did I cause that, though the mail?
When, after I, myself, nearly died of cellulitis, I sat down with an infectious disease specialist. He explain that my skin was probably huge invisible patches of MRSA bacteria which were 90% washed off every day I took a shower, but which rejuvenated themselves every day so that by night I had fully reconstituted patches of MRSA all over my body, ready to infect me through a break in the skin, or to similarly infect others.
He recommended that I shower 2 to 3 times a day, every day for a year. He prescribed pHisohex as a shower soap.
At first I showered thrice daily with pHisohex, but I started getting sick, and I realized that I was poisoning myself with the pHisohex. 3 times a day is too much.
So, I switched to the cheapest soap on the shelf -- Ivory.
Every day, three times a day, I soaped myself head-to-toe with Ivory -- scalp, hair, skin. The "dark places" were critical -- armpits, crotch, scrotum and anal area. Complete soaping and rinsing was absolutely necessary.
It worked. After I became "the world's cleanest human being," I clearly became non-communicable.
Except in two ways: Sex and potty.
At one point the MRSA entered and attacked a testicle. The doctor said, "IMPOSSIBLE! THE pH IS WRONG!!!" But then he saw my swollen testicle, fell quiet, and asked me if I would agree to castration, to save my life!!!!!!!!!!
It was at that point, in my raw desperation to save my masculinity, that I discovered, on my own, the most effective treatment of MRSA -- POWER WALKING.
At that time, I was deeply, deeply, deeply depressed. So, I forced myself to walk at a forced march rate -- 4 mph -- 9 miles a day, 6 in the early morning, 3 at night, with hard breathing, to work on the depression.
Immediately -- and I mean "immediately," within 24 hours -- the terrifying MRSA infection in the one testicle began to clear up. I thought to myself, "That's too fast for the walking to be strengthening my immune system." My theory is that MRSA invades my corpuscles through the same oxygen receptor point on my hemoglobin that oxygen uses in the lungs, in effect lodging a kind of "molecular fat man" in the doorway to the kitchen, literally starving the MRSA to death.
MRSA's average life span is 20 minutes. In a random colony there's going to be substantial front-end and back-end generational overlap. So, to effectively attack the MRSA, the power walking probably has to be a full hour at a bite, at least, to cover "grandparents," "parents" and "kids."
My family doctor, DO Leonard Kabel ("Mr. Castration") was amazed at the results of just walking every day for a week. After 7 days, my giant inflamed testicle had shrunk to below normal size. (Damage. It has taken about 5 years to go back up to normal size.)
Word spread. A pediatrician called me and asked what I had done. He almost cried as he told me about infants in his practice that had died. I told him about the showers and forced march walking, and suggested hyperbaric oxygen for invalids and babies.
So, I had two weapons now -- Ivory soap showers, and a forced-march walk to super-oxygenate the blood. (My fingertips turned bright red!)
Problem solved? No. I could tell, from break-outs after sex, even when sex immediately followed a very, very thorough shower, that I carried MRSA (despite the bad pH) somewhere in my reproductive tract -- probably in the undoubtedly-internally-severely-scarred testicle.
We thought that condoms might help. (My wife is no longer ovulating. So, no life-interest was invaded by condom use, while I protected what Catholic theology calls the "unitive interest.") But, surprisingly, condoms made little difference! I thought, "What??????!!!!"
And then I realized that it was in my sexual sweat.
I also read that MRSA tends to be enteric -- in the feces in the bowels. What a perfect hiding place!, I thought.
But then I had an idea: Tums.
Those disgusting little MRSAs could take testicular pH, and urinary tract pH -- but could they take a cloudburst of Tums?
So, secretly, I decided to risk calcium poisoning.
I bought a large bottle of Tums (I weighed 222 pounds) and, on a Friday (so that I could afford to get very, very sick) I ate 1 Tum every half hour, from sun-up to bedtime. (About 6 a.m. to midnight -- nearly 30 Tums!!!)
I ate plenty of well-masticated food and drank plenty of water all day, to drag the Tums into every dark corner of my bowels.
And I got very, very, very sick that night -- the mother of all bellyaches. I was in agony for hours, bent-over double in g-i tract pain.
I recovered by morning, and forced myself to do a power walk, to top it off with a good heavy load of O2. Gradually, we dispensed with the condoms. I even got Rise's permission to dispense with showers before sex, as an experiment. Nothing. So far, so good -- until last week. Pop. One popped-up on my thigh.
But then I saw that one son had an outbreak on his neck. Did I get reinfected by him, or did he get reinfected from me?
I don't know. The jury is still out.
Are your boils MRSA? Test: MRSA has a distinctive smell -- a very sweet smell in your armpits and in the crevices to the left and right of your crotch. If it smells wonderful there, in those places, while you are suffering from really nasty boils, in my opinion you've got MRSA.
Another test: Sit in the bathtub, with water pretty hot (and a quarter of a cup of bleach in the bath water). The hot water immediately drives the MRSA out of your skin into the form of little teeny whiteheads. These are incipient MRSA boils.
If your bathwater is hot, and if it has the one quarter cup of bleach in it, I took a raspy sponge, and dipped it in bleach, and very gently rubbed the whiteheads open. Gently. Gently. (Otherwise, you'll just reinject yourself.) Rinse the sponge like crazy in the bleachy water after each opening.
In any event, 3 Ivory Soap showers a day, being careful to get those dark places.
And walk, walk, walk, walk, like a crazy person, for an hour at a stretch.
With those weapons, you can control it -- if you're lucky, until your immune system finally overwhelms it.
It occurred to me that if your skin can't take the beating of 3 soapy showers per day, there's always the cancer-causing tanning booth.
I'll risk cancer to fight flesh-eating MRSA any day of the week.
No matter what, I've described a personal odyssey, here, some of it pretty darn foolish.
If you have MRSA, print this piece and take it to your doctor, and ask him what his opinion is, before you do anything. Please. That Tum thing was really dangerous!