Introduction

55 years ago I caught TB.

I was infectious which meant treatment in a sanatorium for 5 months with a cocktail of medications, rest and good care. The treatment lasted 18 months.

At the time my whole life was turned inside out. Looking back, it changed me completely. I hope it made me a better person. There is a great life after TB.

Geoff

7 Replies

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  • That would have been in 1961 approx. Can you tell me what the medication was at that time?

  • Hi Tom,

    The Daily regime was:

    1 injection, Streptomycin

    6 Tablets INA (Ioniaside??)

    2 doses P.A.S

    I counted every injection all 123 of them. When I had 3 consecutive negative sputum tests (ie in my last month at Sully Sanatorium) I was put onto 2X4 pycamycin. They were like flying saucers and had to be dunked into a glass of water to soften the rice-paper covering. Hold it too long and they broke in the back of the throat, not pleasant.

    I was taken into hospital at the end of October 1961 came out the end of March 1962 and returned to school in September 1962.

    Hope this helps,

    Geoff

  • I should have said that I post here from a patient point of view. It sounds like you were treated when the medication for TB was on an upswing and recovery rates were better although I don't think PAS or streptomycin are front line any more. I was treated in 1979 for TB pericarditis and received isoniazid, streptomycin and rifampicin. From what I remember it was the rifampicin that made all the difference with the nasty side effects such as skin rashes and staining my pee orange as it exits the system. I got ill very quickly but because it was diagnosed early and treated early I was only in hospital for 5 week although off work for 5 months with the treatment lasting a year. I've done a bit of research on TB pericarditis finding out that it has a high mortality rate if not treated. At one point I was certain I was going to die, I'm pretty sure it was the rifampicin that pulled me around. Perhaps someone can tell me just how effective it is compared to the others.

  • Hi GeoffTwo, thanks for sharing your story. We always welcome good case studies, please get in touch if you are happy to share your story elsewhere - I think I recognise Tom-G as one of the case studies on our The Truth About TB website, for example: thetruthabouttb.org. Thanks Tom-G!

    GeoffTwo was treated during a really pivotal time for TB treatment. The advent of antibiotics and Sir John Crofton's Edinburgh Method - combining antibiotics to overcome and avoid drug-resistance - revolutionised TB treatment. Whilst this was already very successful, including Rifampicin proved even more successful and it remains in the gold standard treatment regime today.

    Unfortunately, though TB treatment does cure TB, we are still stuck with these medications that have not been improved upon in decades. People today continue to endure the awful side effects that you experienced back in the 60's and 70's. Sadly, these side effects and the length of time TB treatment takes is one of the reasons why so many people do not stick to their treatment - risking drug-resistance, death and passing TB on to others. This is why TB Alert advocates for funding and political priority for new and improved TB medications.

    Thanks again for sharing your stories. This helps us raise awareness, support others and illustrate what needs to be done to see the end of TB.

    Best wishes,

    Helen

  • I would welcome any contributions I could make to help others.

    Geoff The Welsh One

  • My Mother contracted TB in 1940s it was found when she was giving birth to my sister,who was born deaf and blind due to TB,Mother was sent into sanatorium where she remained for nearly 3 years,had a lung removed,and sad to say started smoking again when returned home.She passed away at 59,but had gone on to have 2 more children,my sister passed away at 18 months in hospital when an outbreak of Dysantary spread through the ward.My brother was 3months prem but is now over six foot tall and takes size 14 shoe,my sister is a beautiful 60 yr old.amazing when you think about our Mother and what she went through,thank god we now have antibiotics and children are not deprived of the parent for long periods,i still recall the day my little sister passed away,that was in 1949.

  • Yes, I am very grateful. If I had contracted TB a decade earlier I doubt whether I would be here now. I had TB when I was 14, 15. When sitting my A levels at 18 my parents encouraged me to take up smoking to help relax me. Fortunately my wife persuaded me to stop.

    Even in the early days there were some patients who did not respond. Some became institutionalised, sadly. I was fortunate and even though I seem susceptible to chest infections it is a small price to pay.

    I still think of those on the ward with me who did not make it.

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