Random Brain Droppings: Naegleria Fowleri

randomlychad  —  June 10, 2013 — 8 Comments

Random Brain Droppings promises to be a semi irregular series here on the blog. Mostly when my mind gets all discombobulated with disparate thoughts.

For instance, have you ever spent time doing research on WebMD? I know I have (and really I know you have, too. It’s okay, fess up–this is a safe place).

Have you heard of Naegleria Fowleri? I hadn’t until several years ago when I watched an episode of the X-Files. Which featured a “brain eating amoeba” as the creature of the week.

Which I know, thanks to WebMD, is N.fowleri. It’s an amoeba that lives in the silt found in warm water–whether lakes, rivers, or pools. If the water is dirty enough, or not properly treated, N.fowleri can be present.

Here’s the thing: I’m a sleep apnea sufferer. As such, I use a C-PAP device. It keeps my airway open while I sleep. It also causes, due to the nightly blowing of air, a recurrent sore in my left nostril.

Which on occasion almost daily bleeds. If it’s a choice between dying young of one of a host of complications caused by apnea, I’ll take “Bloody nose” for $100, Alex. It’s a small price to pay for continued life.

Because of this sore, and because I live on the Internet, I’m careful when I swim now. I plug my nose when I do cannon balls, y’all!

But not when I dive. Because I figure I’m swooshing into the water, and there’s less chance of it being forced up my nose.

What did I do on Memorial Day? I did cannon balls, I dove, I had fun with my kids.

What did I do on my last dive? I closed my eyes underwater as I serenely glided towards the shallow end.

You know where this is going.

I made full facial contact with the upward slope separating the deep from the shallow end. Blood streamed from both nostrils. And other than being, I don’t know, happy to be alive, happy to not have a broken neck. Happy to only have pool rash on my nose, what did I think about?

What thought consumed me?

Naeglaleria fowleri.

I was sure, due to the fact that it’s suitably warm here in Arizona, that mom’s pool wasn’t the cleanest is ever been, the ratio of blood to water contact, that I was going to contract N.fowleri, and those nasty little vermin were going to start munching on my grey matter.

Not withstanding that I, you know, hit my face, the fact that I had a headache afterwards only served as confirmation: I was going to die.

It was just a matter of a little time. My wife and kids were going to witness my rapid decline into coma and death.

And there was nothing anyone could do

Truth be told, my pool accident, coupled with Internet over research, fed into one of my greatest fears:

Losing my mind.

Because, you see, it may not be a great one, but it is amongst one of the few things I’ve got. I’m not musically inclined, not exceptionally coordinated.. . But I can string a sentence, or two, together from time to time.

And the thought of losing my mind freaks me right the heck out. I imagine it would you, too.

What’s something you’re afraid of? Go ahead and share. This is a safe place.




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Christ-follower, husband, dad, blogger, reader, writer, movie buff, introvert, desert-dweller, omnivore, gym rat. May, or may not, have a burgeoning collection of Darth Vader t-shirts. Can usually be found drinking protein shakes, playing with daughter, working out with his son, or hanging out with his wife. Makes a living playing with computers.Subscribe to RandomlyChad by Email

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