Drop by Drop

Synopsis: The last habitants of a village refuse to let themselves sink into oblivion.
  2 nominations.
10 min

So there's this story

in medical history,

back in the 1840's, about

a man who gets hired

at a hospital in Vienna

and he starts to notice

that there are two

maternity wards,

and in one of the maternity

wards, the death rate

among moms and their

children who were being born

is a lot higher than in

the other maternity ward.

And he's like,

okay, let's look at

what's different

between the two of them.

What could be causing such

tremendous death

rate in one of them?

And the only difference

that he found was that

one of these maternity

wards was run by midwives.

The other one was run

by medical students

who were delivering the kids.

And he's like okay, what's the

difference between those two?

And the difference

between those two was that

the medical students were

going and doing autopsies

and working with

corpses afterwards.

So he thought they must be

carrying something on their hands

from the corpses over to

the moms and their children.

And he took this idea to

the doctors and was like,

you know, you guys should

maybe like wash off your hands

while you're walking

between these two areas

or before you help

deliver a baby.

And the doctors responded with

no, you're absolutely insane.

We could not be responsible

for killing our patients.

It can't be our fault.

At this point, nobody

knew what a germ was.

This guy's name was

Ignaz Semmelweis.

He essentially invented the

idea of washing your hands,

but when he was alive, it

was almost impossible for him

to get anybody to listen to him.

He actually ended up

dying in an insane asylum

because he just went crazy

because nobody listened

to such a simple,

mundane solution

that ended up saving hundreds

of thousands of lives.

It just seems so boring

and simple today,

and when I heard this story,

it just made me wonder,

well, okay, what

else is out there?

Has this changed?

Are there still

Ignaz Semmelweises

who have these simple solutions?

Or is change in the medical

world just like the water

that's going through their hands

and it just moves

slowly drop by drop?

- Ready?

Good job, I got my drop.

I often say we need a pink

flamingo on the front yard

and calling us the last resort

because many, many

patients have been

to so many other places

and so many other doctors

that they're at their wit's end.

Even when I went

to medical school,

allergies and even severe

allergic conditions

like asthma were so

poorly understood

that we were often being

taught about allergy and asthma

in the chapter of

psychosomatic disorders.

There was a tendency

back in those days

to blame allergies and allergic

manifestations of diseases

on psychiatric disorders.

This just shows

you how much things

have changed over

the last 30 years.

You can have vaginal irritation,

vaginitis from allergies.

You can have chronic

bowel problems

as my nurse was mentioning

a few minutes ago

related to ingestants.

And probably one of the

biggest things with allergies

is when people have all

of this stuff going on,

they often have fatigue,

they often have a

quality of life issue,

they don't feel well

and they're tired.

I went back to my doctor

and said, you know what,

I think I have food allergies.

She said, there's no such thing.

I think the general

perception is allergies

are just some minor thing that,

oh, if you complain about them,

you're just kind

of whiny and nerdy.

We see so many

people who are hopeless

and when they come here, and

they come from miles around,

Montana, Florida, we have people

that come from China

every two years.

So they're not coming because

they have a little cough

or a little post-nasal drainage.

They're coming because

they're very complex

and nobody's figured it out.

- It's 2008.

I have had issues with allergies

when they had the flood

over here in Cedar Rapids.

It was the first

time I was tested,

and I was very much

allergic to mold and dust,

and I would lose my voice.

I mean, it was ridiculous.

To where, you know,

when you're having

like a bronchial attack

where you can't talk,

you can't breath, you

can't do anything.

I thought I was just sick,

and then they had

my allergies tested.

At the first place,

they had two allergies,

and I'm like, okay, well, I

tried doing four Benadryl a day.

Try working and driving; it

didn't really work very well.

I have a 10 year old that has

the same type of allergies

and we thought she had a cold

most of the time because...

Forever telling her

to get a Kleenex.

And after going through

the test and we found out,

wow, we live in Iowa,

surrounded by corn fields,

soy beans, wheat, trees,

grass, the whole nine yards,

and we're allergic to it.

Allergies can really

define you because it defines

how you see the world

and what's around you.

But a lot of it, I don't

remember because I was so little

and I think I blocked

out a lot of it,

and I rely mostly on my mom

to tell me what

actually happened.

The first time I knew

Alex had allergies was when

I had him in the

high chair one day

and I gave him a

half a piece of toast

with just a thin layer of

creamy peanut butter on it,

and I washed him

break out in hives

and I knew that it

was the peanut butter

because he had not

had that before,

and so luckily, it was

treated quickly with Benadryl.

I was able to treat it

quickly with Benadryl,

follow up with the pediatrician,

had a discussion about this,

and of course, we

avoided peanuts,

but from then on, I

was on alert as to

what other foods maybe

he's sensitive to.

I've always

had the allergies.

Nobody else in my

family is allergic

to really anything at

the level that I am.

- Alex is our fourth child,

and so I was an

experienced parent

but I had never had

a reaction like this

with any of my kids.

I had a few allergic

reactions with peanuts

when I would eat peanuts, and

I would just like break out

and it would be, my

throat would swell up

and I'd just down

a bunch of Benadryl

and that's pretty much

all I've ever done

is taken so much medication.

When I started taking

Alex to the allergist,

he did a lot of the skin

testing that was normal

for environmental and yes,

some of that did show up

and we started allergy

shots at the age of five.

However, he really

did not listen to me

when I said, what about foods?

Couldn't there be other foods

if he's allergic to peanuts,

then how do we test for that?

And he really dismissed

me and said, well, mom,

we just can't test

for everything.

And you know, you can't

take him off of all foods.

So the treatment

really didn't help.

The shots didn't help; Alex

just got progressively worse,

and then he started having

this muscle pain and cramping

and that was causing

problems at school,

sitting in his desk and just

being very uncomfortable,

waking up with leg cramps,

and that was terrifying.

They sent me to elementary

school in second grade

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Carolina Freitas

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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