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The “Pimple” This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


MRSA? I repeated the vaguely familiar letters in my head a few times. “Yes, your results read positive for MRSA. MRSA stands for ‘methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.’ The concern with MRSA strains of bacteria is that they are resistant to a number of the antibiotics normally used to treat Staphylococcus aureus infections,” the nurse explained as I listened in a temporary state of shock.

Am I dirty? Did I catch this from someone? Is there a cure? A million questions flooded my mind. I was traumatized and scared, but most of all, embarrassed.

A week before, I had discovered an odd bump on the back of my thigh. I didn’t think much of it, assuming it was a pimple from sweating at volleyball practice. I completely forgot about it until I woke up the next morning to a sharp pain in the same spot; the bump had grown larger and harder. ­Applying even the slightest pressure to the area caused horrible pain. I couldn’t imagine how a pimple could hurt so much.

I was mortified mostly because this “pimple” was so big and ugly. I decided to keep it to myself, not knowing the dangers of this infection. Maybe it would go away with time. The next day I woke up with an even bigger bump on my thigh. Now it hurt to stand and half my leg was swollen, hot and painful to the touch. I also discovered another small bump under my armpit, and another on my shin. In addition, I had a fever and felt nauseated. I knew this was not just a pimple; something must be really wrong.

Everyone catches colds or stomach viruses ­occasionally, but it didn’t seem normal to have painful bumps. I was nervous to tell my mom and go to the doctor, but the pain was so bad that I knew something had to be done.

I am so glad I went to the doctor when I did. If I hadn’t been treated when I was, MRSA could have hospitalized me or even taken my life. Thankfully, my mom and the doctor were supportive during the treatment. I was put on several antibiotics for a long time and given ointments. I also had to be more careful about shaving, covering cuts and scrapes, and washing my hands.

According to the doctor, I most likely caught MRSA from nicking myself shaving, then coming into contact with someone who is a MRSA carrier. I could have picked up the bacteria from anyone, anywhere, and when I cut my leg with a razor, the MRSA entered my body and caused a serious infection.

I realize this topic could make someone uneasy or cause them to assume I am not a clean person, but that is exactly why I am telling this story. I too used to think that MRSA was something that only dirty or sick people in hospitals got. I want people everywhere to know that MRSA is actually quite common in schools, locker rooms, and dormitories – anywhere people are in close contact. It is more common than people realize, which is why it is so important to be aware of your body and not be ashamed to seek help if you have health issues.

Your body is your home. Be good to it so it can be good to you for a long time.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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