I’m still thinking about what today’s fresh content will be about, so meanwhile, here’s a repost from January 18, 2018. I am reposting it as/is, with minimal edits.
Leave it to George Takei to provide early morning food for thought. He’s always posting controversial stuff that gets the masses “talking”… or posting. This morning, he posted about model Lauren Wasser, who, in 2012, lost her right leg to an infection. Wasser, who is now 29 years old, was 24 when she experienced flu-like symptoms while menstruating. Wasser was a tampon user and evidently unaware of the risks of toxic shock syndrome, a life threatening bacterial infection that can sometimes come about through tampon use.
Wasser went to a birthday party the night the infection started and her friends told her she should go home because she looked unwell. As the night progressed, Wasser grew more ill. Her fever rose to 107 degrees. Her kidneys were failing. She had a heart attack and very nearly died. Fortunately, there was an infectious disease specialist at the hospital, who recognized the symptoms of TSS and removed the offending tampon. Wasser’s condition improved, although her mother and godfather were told they should plan her funeral. Later, doctors told her that she needed to have her right leg amputated or she would die.
Five years after her dramatic medical ordeal, Wasser has also lost her left leg to TSS. It was the article about her second amputation that I read this morning, just as the coffee was hitting my brain stem. As horrifying as I realize being a double amputee is bound to be, I was also horrified by some of the nasty comments left by readers. Some of them apparently think Wasser is wrong to try to bring awareness to how she got so sick.
Wash your cooter and change your tampon?
I dunno, maaan. Y’all always be cuttin’ eyes at each other like something may have to go down one day so you don’t wanna get too friendly with each other.
That’s why dudes love seeing gals make out so much: Because we just wanna see y’all gettin’ along. #GirlPower
Yeah I don’t get it. She made a dumb choice and is trying to blame the manufacturer. All tampons come with a warning about TSS and say to leave in no longer than 8 hours. It was also pretty much the first thing you learned in sex Ed. I’m sorry she went through that but there is no crusade to be had.
This is just a sampling…
I will admit, I did laugh inwardly at the one person who compared this situation to that of adults eating Tide laundry pods. I laughed, not because I think the two situations are comparable, but because I don’t understand how in the world some people can think eating Tide Pods is a good idea. If I was going to comment about another person’s stupidity and lack of self-preservation, it would be in response to that trend, which seems incredibly foolish to me.
Wasser’s case, however, just seems very tragic to me. There she was, a perfectly normal, young, healthy woman living life. She did what countless women do every month. She got her period, used a tampon, and came down with a near fatal infection that almost caused her death and robbed her of both of her legs. I can’t understand how some people think she should be criticized for getting so sick and wanting to share her story. Isn’t it enough that she’s lost her legs?
I do remember hearing about the risk of TSS in the early 1980s, when I first learned about menstruation. I have never been a tampon user myself. I tried them a couple of times and they were never comfortable, so I have always stuck with using pads. Some people say that menstrual cups are the best thing going now, but I’ve never used them. Since it appears that I’m now in perimenopause, I see no reason to try them now. I haven’t had a period since late November. This is the first time since I was 14 that I’ve missed a month. To be honest, it’s kind of a weird feeling knowing that my chances of motherhood are now practically nil. Where did the years go? On the other hand…
Anyway, I will be glad to be finished with the whole experience of having periods. I’m sure some of my readers will be glad when I stop writing about them, too. ETA in 2023: If I make it to New Year’s without having a period, I will be officially in menopause. Yea!
As for Lauren Wasser, I feel nothing but empathy for her situation. She’s fortunate to have friends and family who are willing to help her. Not everyone is so lucky. I applaud her for being brave enough to speak out about her experience. TSS is rare, and it doesn’t just happen to women who use tampons. However, the risks of TSS associated with tampon use should not be overlooked. I agree with the commenter who mentioned that reading the warnings on boxes of tampons is somewhat akin to reading the terms and conditions on Apple products. Plenty of women use tampons and don’t know the risks of TSS. Lauren Wasser’s case puts a tragic face to what can happen. I think she should be supported rather than criticized. And if her story saves someone else’s life… or just their legs… so much the better.