The Irony Patrol.

Let us start with the fact that I contracted flesh-eating disease during the course of getting a skin biopsy — that it was being all precautionary and taking proper medical care of myself that nearly got me killed.  That’s just the start.  There’s also this little snippet from the upcoming Crysis novel, my own words penned just a few months ago:

I’ve seen bioweapons in my time. I was there when Egypt laid that pimped-out necrotising fasciitis down on the Syrians, back at the start of the Water Wars: You could see it eat the meat right off the bones in realtime, like it was some kind of Discovery Channel time-lapse. Those poor bastards died in minutes; the wounds actually steamed because the Strepto’s metabolic rate had been cranked so high. They had to retcon a whole new suite of bacterial enzymes just to handle the waste heat.

(Oh, and given the recent resurgence of misinformation in the wake of the cracked Crysis-2 beta being released prematurely onto bittorrent, I suppose I should repeat yet again — for whatever good it’ll do — that I did not co-author that game script with Richard Morgan, despite what everyone and their dog seems to be posting.  I just did the novel.  And contributed a few tech specs.)

Let’s move on to the night of the surgeries.  I was hallucinating for most of the time I wasn’t comatose, but they kept wheeling me past the big-screen TV in the waiting area — which, witnesses swear, was showing a biopic on one-legged amputee Terry Fox.  I don’t actually remember that particular movie; I do, however, remember snippets of the one that played earlier on the same channel, glimpsed briefly as they wheeled me from surgery to ICU.  There was a severed human leg.  On the shore of a Canadian lake.  Which was inhabited by, I kid you not,  a giant squid1.

I mean, what are the odds?

My leg, still unsevered, remains an open canyon.  The striped-bass appearance of the calf muscle twitching at the bottom of that fissure has faded; now it looks more like raw hamburger, or an uncooked taco that someone’s spat on.  (Not quite sure what to make of the white slimy film growing on the surface.  It seems a little too, too structured for my liking.  I think it’s growing its own nervous system.  And tentacles.)  Anyhow, tomorrow they’re going to be filling the hole with some kind of miracle gel, slapping a seal over the whole thing, and hooking it up to a magic vacuum-cleaner to pull the edges together.  At some point I am expected to walk again.  In the meantime, at least the cats will stop lunging at me every time my calf twitches.

I promised pictures.  I will deliver.  Still waiting to get the actual jpegs the doctor took during surgery, so you can get Before and After all at once.  Until then, all I can say is:  thank Christ for socialized medicine. I’d be either dead or broke if this had happened to me in the states.

1“Eye of the Beast”, in case anyone’s interested. A movie so bad that even bittorent returns no seeds at all…

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 24th, 2011 at 5:30 pm and is filed under Flesh-Eating Fest '11. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

76 Responses to “The Irony Patrol.”

  1. Ben Trafford

    Huzzah! He lives! I’m so glad to hear that you’re pulling through (largely) intact.

  2. keanani

    Good to hear from you Peter, and glad you are still under good care for your recovery.

  3. Kate Baker

    Relieved that you are doing better. Enjoying the post tag as well. As for the pictures, my stomach is flipping at your expert descriptions, but what the hell, bring em on.

    Get better soon.

  4. Jason Stackhouse

    Emerging from hibernation to say I’m glad you’re not dead or dying.

    Try for a nice, boring 2011, hm?

  5. Len W

    >Until then, all I can say is: thank Christ for socialized
    >medicine. I’d be either dead or broke if this had
    >happened to me in the states.

    Unless of course, it happened to you while you were in prison in the states.

  6. RedIndianGirl

    Dude, after the 30+ days of hospitalization I had last year, I sing homilies and light candles everyday for Tommy Douglas and the Canadian health care system. I had over a million dollars worth of medical expenses and didn’t have to spend one red cent. We are freaking lucky to have socialized medicine; it saves peoples’ lives every damn day, and I will fight for it with my last breath. They will have to pry my Health card from my cold dead fingers…etc, etc. I’m assuming you are having longer periods of lucidity and aren’t laying about in a cold sweat of fever…Want me to scare up a medicine man who will come and sing and wave a rattle over you? Let me know…

  7. Alehkhs

    Glad to hear they’ll be sealing you back up. I look forward to the picture sequence. Maybe it can be done in a similar fashion to the Fizerpharm “Vampires: Biology and Evolution,” presentation, eh?

    Meanwhile, for those interested in a particularly bad, made-for-tv movie concerning lake squid, I’ll just leave this here…

  8. D

    All good to know. You are missed, and I’m hardly the only one relieved beyond words.

  9. The Ragi

    I hear canes are all the rage nowadays.

  10. Derryl Murphy

    Boy, did this post ever gin up a great conversation with me and Jo and the boys. Glad you’re doing well, my friend. Remind me to tell you my flesh-eating disease joke when we talk next.

  11. Bahumat

    Glad you’re on the mend, Peter. 🙂 We’re all crazy excited about the new books upcoming!

    Please have the good grace to die not-mid-novel? And maybe stipulate in your will that nobody should attempt to write sequel series based on your books. Call it the anti-Herbert clause.

  12. ScottC

    Very happy to have to still with us, Peter. This is the first time I’ve ever been happy you’re Canadian, and actually had access to universal health care. We’ll just let the fact that it sounds like it was a tainted medical environment that infected you with flesh eating bacteria in the first place, slide for now.

    By the way, I second “The Herbert Clause”. I don’t want anyone raping your books, and stringing out Jukka in a series of awful romantic adventures to cash in on your inevitable demise from terminal bad luck.

  13. ScottC

    Also! Out of respect for the near fatal aspect of your brush with the wonderful world of nature, and the fact that I didn’t know if you were entirely out of the woods yet, I withheld the drive-by one liner I was dying to use last week. Now that it seems you’re doing well, I need to get this out of my system:

    This is how the Zombie Apocalypse starts.

  14. TheEchoInside

    Random interesting thought, combining that precognition research and that quantum time influence stuff, for a pet anecdotal theory. What if the intensity of emotion from this experience caused influence on the past, effectively catalyzed the mention of it in your work and the comments? Just imagine, every time you write about something horrible, you might be predicting your next life adventure… Comforting thought, yes? ;P

    Also, I keep thinking you’re like this guy:

  15. Leona

    I’m glad I got here before the BEFORE pics. I will admit that the first thing I did was google necrotizing fasciitis.This led me to the wikipedia page. When I say “the” wikipedia page I feel that the definite article is justified. Suppressing the urge to throw up all over my laptop screen took up a lot of cycles, but somewhere in there I was totally rooting for you.

    Also for some reason this entire event failed to surprise me. You are the sort of person who would battle a flesh-eater and win. It’s kind of written in your aura. It must have been scary as hell though, and just cos I’m not surprised doesn’t mean I’m not awed and super-glad that you survived!!

  16. Lance

    Glad to hear that you’re healing! Though I have to say, had you written a book in which a character contracted necrotising fasciitis from a biopsy, it would likely have been rejected as “not credible”. The irony of the situation is incredible.

  17. Mirik

    Welcome back, sir. Please recover safe, sound and painless! Socialized medicine be praised, all hail the carrying capacity of institutionalized distributed medical risk!

  18. seruko

    in all fairness if you lived in the states you could sue, so that any surviving cats could then reap the benefits of the settlement 20 years after you died, or perhaps it would just burden you with crushing legal bills. YMMV

  19. Val

    I think I said this before, but I think it is awesome that you are still alive.

    As for all the coincidences, this just proves that you’re living in a Droste effect, inside a novel written by your alternate self. Although I don’t imagine pleading to the Peter Watts one level up will get you anywhere very nice.
    Alternatively it could be a Far Side cartoon in which he might try to make you an ill-fated scientist something along the lines of “Unbeknownst to Dr Watts, the . . . “etc.

  20. magetoo


    I suppose that explanation would at least clear up my confusion over the question of who writes this ridiculous stuff.

    I mean, “Biologist SF author battles flesh-eating bacteria!” is so groan-inducing it’s almost daytime soap opera bad.

    (Peter: Still looking forward to reading more of your books, though.) :)

  21. Emily

    Wow, any more irony and we’d be looking for the magnet up your arse.

    I see you have the same medical humour that I do. And let me tell you, this makes my body devouring a fetus right around New Year’s that much less impressive.

    Glad you’re heading back towards alright, all that said. I am still selfishly just getting to know you and would be very displeased if you weren’t around.

  22. Nick

    Mr Watts, I’m very glad to hear that you’re doing better and on the mend. Please take care of yourself, and I hope that you’re back on your feet soon.

    I would say that at least this is all experience and research for your novels, but it sounds like you’ve already done the research into this.

  23. Marek Krysiak

    What a relief – I feared that you’ll find Jesus or something but all you’ve found was taco.
    And you got into yet another wiki article – ‘Necrotizing fasciitis: Notable people afflicted.’
    Now – write me ‘Dumbspeach’, please. No, really – Polish edition of ‘Blindsight’ is out of stock (and it was hardcover only) – so there’s a big bunch of guys here who will seriously kick your butt if you die on us now, Mr Watts.

    Get better.

  24. Mr Camm

    Congratulations on having two legs.

    I would see it as a great kindness, if you could, after a well deserved rehabilitation period, embark on a brief ambassadorial trip to the UK citing the benefits of a socialised health care system. It seems our ludicrously fucking inept coalition government have taken it upon themselves to become to become a sort of slow-motion necrotizing fasciitis on the already delicate flesh of our beloved NHS.

    If you could have a word, that would be nice.

  25. Peter Watts

    @ScottC: ” We’ll just let the fact that it sounds like it was a tainted medical environment that infected you with flesh eating bacteria in the first place, slide for now.”

    I got the biopsy taken at a private clinic, not one of those socialized ones. It was the private system that got me sick. The public system got me better.

    Didn’t see that one coming, didja?

    That said, though, it’s not like I don’t have any complaints about Canadian health care. I mean, seriously: what genius came up with the idea of cardboard urinals as a cost-saving measure?

  26. Tinjaypan

    Peter, happy and relieved you’re getting better. But jeezus, spare us the pics! Hear you about socialized medicine. Japan has a form of it, it works and it’s one of many reasons I’m here and not in the US.

  27. ScottC

    The Blogging Dead wrote:

    It was the private system that got me sick. The public system got me better.

    Good to hear it Peter! I was afraid that would be the inevitable token naysay to the socialized medicine love train forming here. Luckily, most of the people that might offer that point are currently distracted in my country trying to set back worker rights a century or so.

    Private clinic disfigured and nearly killed you though, eh? I’d wager there are shambling hordes of lawyers descending on you as we speak.

  28. Johan Larson

    Good to hear you are getting better. Are you expected to make a full recovery, or will your leg always be a bit of a problem?

  29. Deckard

    Excellent news – the silence from your end was getting a bit deafening – very glad to hear you are on the mend. I am concerned that “TheEchoInside” might just have a point – perhaps it would be a good idea to write about bunnies and flowers and other such happy themes – or at least about winning the lottery! As for Canadian health care – we ought to keep working to make it MUCH better – but it’s kind of like democracy – the WORST form of government ever conceived …. but still one hell of a lot better than any of the alternatives.
    As for ironies – they’re going to slap a “gel” in your leg and seal it up? …. better keep an eye on that bugger.

  30. Sheila

    @Val: I don’t want to live in a Peter Watts novel. Especially not on the same continent as the main character.

    At least this one would be the novel in a near future setting instead of a far future setting. One wouldn’t want to be on the same planet as the main character in that one.

    (maybe a different continent isn’t safe enough. a different hemisphere is probably safer. and I definitely wouldn’t want to meet the main character, unless it’s during the dénouement. Behemoth had a happy ending, and that kid survived meeting Lenie.)

    @ScottC: I was dreading some lame-ass coming by to snipe with a comment like you were dreading. glad that’s forestalled.

    @Peter Watts: Get better asap so you can kick some ass. Also, please don’t be living in a universe where you are a character in one of your own books. It’s not safe for the rest of us.

  31. Sheila

    @TheEchoInside: I learned about Optimal stopping the other day, and now that you bring up the precog topic, one could try out some experiment with a horrid or blissful or blase outcome to see if the subjects optimally stop.

  32. Anony Mouse

    “Call it the anti-Herbert clause.”

    Or the anti-Tolkien, or anti-Ludlum….clause.

    With regard to socialized health care, I had a very fun time a couple years ago in a bar in San Antonio at a table full of Texicans. The conversation got around to Obama’s plan for the US health care and it was amazing the misinformation that they have been given about the Canadian Health care system. They were under the impression that you couldn’t select your doctor and that you couldn’t get a second opinion. And then the discussion turned to gun control.

    In honour of your near death experience, I downloaded Starfish to my new Kindle and re-read it. I guess I owe you another beer.

  33. Kelly

    I got the biopsy taken at a private clinic, not one of those socialized ones. It was the private system that got me sick. The public system got me better.

    More power (and funding) to the public system.

    Alyx and I are so relieved to hear you’re home and healing. After this, Peter, it would be justice for you to win several multi-million dollar lotteries. But there’s no cosmic justice — I know you don’t believe in a just universe, just a cold and vastly indifferent one — so I will hope that the universe loses its unseemly interest in you. May you no longer live in interesting times. A little healthy stability and boredom would be just the ticket.

    Can’t say I’m not looking forward to the interesting and undoubtedly gross surgery pics, though. You can stop being interesting after that.

  34. Hannu Blommila

    Really glad to hear you’re on the mend, Peter! Got worried over here. Well, what can I say? Socialized health care rocks, it has saved my sorry ass countless times over here as well. And in case you’re asking, no, we don’t have cardboard urinals…

  35. Hannu Blommila

    Really glad to hear you’re on the mend, Peter! Got me worried over here. Well, what can I say? Socialized health care rocks, it has saved my sorry ass countless times over here as well. And in case you’re asking, no, we don’t have cardboard urinals…

  36. Hannu Blommila

    Agh! Double post. Sorry…

  37. Hljóðlegur

    I mean, seriously: what genius came up with the idea of cardboard urinals as a cost-saving measure?

    The janitorial contractor?

  38. Mike Tevee

    Isn’t all bacteria “flesh-eating” in some way?
    What’s makes this one so voracious? Or what prevents the
    immune cells from engulfing and doing away with these critters?
    Resistant to Phagocytosis?
    Maybe you or someone can use this tragedy to educate us hoi polloi.

  39. Mike Tevee

    oops “Aren’t all bacteria..”

  40. Mike Tevee

    Wiki to the rescue:
    “Flesh-eating bacteria” is a misnomer, as the bacteria do not actually “eat” the tissue. They cause the destruction of skin and muscle by releasing toxins (virulence factors), which include streptococcal pyogenic exotoxins. S. pyogenes produces an exotoxin known as a superantigen. This toxin is capable of activating T-cells non-specifically, which causes the overproduction of cytokines and severe systemic illness (Toxic shock syndrome).”

  41. Sheila

    I hope you feel educational when you post pictures. Please please.

    What are the mechanisms of the biopsy process that caused it? Why doesn’t this happen more often whenever someone has a cut or a puncture? What were the results of the biopsy?

    and how edgy should I feel around my cats? One of them has little needle claws.

  42. Soon Lee

    Will you be changing your name to Gregory House?

    Glad you’re on the mend.

  43. Karen Bridson

    Is it wrong that I really enjoyed reading that?! I’ve been starved for the details and you’ve really delivered here, Peter, thanks! Can’t wait for the pics. You really gave us all a scare, Mister…

  44. Nyth

    Ever since reading Blindsight, I’ve been following your blog. For the longest time I’ve been meaning to jot a few posts thanking you for writing such an awesome book; for inspiring in me an interest in biology and neurology; inspiring me to keep writing fiction (which I had sort of given up on), blah blah blah things of that nature. But, due to my exceptional skills in procrastination, I always said I’d do it later and never actually did it. Well, all things considered, I figure now is a damn good time.

    So anyways, yes. Thank you for your thought provoking book and insights into technology, biology and the future. Blindsight is among the most interesting things I’ve read in my life, and I recommend it to everyone I meet who might be even remotely receptive to it. Ironically, I chose it at random out of a list for further reading in the back of a role-playing book (Eclipse Phase) I was browsing. One of the best random choices I’ve made by far.

    Get well soon.

  45. George Berger

    Hi Peter—Great news to hear that you are getting better. I too was helped by socialised medicine and am with you there too.

  46. Andrew

    I didn’t comment earlier as I didn’t really have anything cheerful to say — it’s an evil disease and difficult to be reassuring about. I’ve looked after some poor unfortunates in Intensive Care who’ve lost multiple body parts to necrotising fasciitis (and frantic surgical debridement to try and stay ahead) and still succumbed. I’m glad you’re not one of them, on the mend and relatively intact.

    I’ll second your gratitude for socialised healthcare. Even though as a doc it means a much smaller pay cheque I’d not want to work in a fully private system.

    Now to those cardboard/papier mache urinal and bedpan thingies… I worked my way through med school as an auxiliary nurse (bottom rung of the nursing hierarchy, did all the washing, dressing, cleaning, bed making, “code brown” cleanups etc). If you’d ever had to clean up to reuse a ward full of plastic or chrome toilet devices by hand, you’d sing praises to the heavens for the option to drop the whole stinking thing into a grinder from whence it just goes into the sewerage. 😉

  47. David S.

    I’m very glad to hear you’re on the road to recovery. I hope all continues to go well and you beat that bloody bacterium. But dude, seriously, there’s no need for pictures…

  48. Andrea_A

    @Peter Watts: What about writing a Case Report (together with your doctors) and get it placed in a serious medical journal? — Glad to see you’r on the mend … And I’ve to praise socialised medical care, too. Got even my salary paid after accident/during rehab (according to Gerrman law).

    @Sheila: It seemed that he picked up the aggessive strain as nosocomial infection. But it won’t be a bad idea having iodine at hand …

    @Len W: Paradox — but fits to this case:
    The Scott sisters are eligible for parole in 2014, but Barbour said prison officials no longer think they are a threat to society and Jamie’s medical condition is costing the state a lot of money.

  49. Ensley G

    Glad you’re alive and relatively well (though the urge to refer to you as “Festerin’ Festus” is almost indescribably powerful). Heal quick!

  50. TheEchoInside

    I’ll happily volunteer for the blissful section ;P

    @Peter Watts
    With that tidbit, I wonder if you’ve nearly become the conservative Antichrist. A convicted felon, who served no time, yet a productive member of society. Moral without religion, from the towers of higher education. Whose life was put in danger by the private system and saved by the public one. All you need is to become a millionaire who doesn’t mind taxes and the circle is complete. ;P

    … Having had to clean up after people in a job long ago, I’ll join your chorus, in empathy.

  51. Jannie

    Just to make this scenario complete, please tell us they’re going to apply leeches. . .:-)

  52. Tim

    I discovered your fiction ’bout four months back, after reading the Richard Morgan review of Starfish. And the ‘crawl feels like home to me now. So, being a newcomer, I would like to join the thundering ranks of well-wishers in wishing you well.
    I wonder, could all the good vibes be measurably contributing to your recovery?

  53. Tim

    Oh yes! Almost forgot. I was curious about “plastinated”, so I looked it up. Coincidentally (?) I found this:

  54. RedIndianGirl

    And PS — is that slimy white coating the fascia replacing itself? Or has it been totally destroyed now?

  55. Mark Robinson

    All the best in your recovery Peter!
    I think I still have some faith in our NHS in the UK (a lot of illegals also have faith in it; that’s why they come over here and gain access to free health care… )

  56. Daniel

    Did they ever work out what that boil you posted back in January? Since there was a month or so between that and the last update, I assumed that it wasn’t NF. But what was it? Did it just provide an entry point for whatever toxin-secreting S. pyrogenes, or did the biopsy merely punch a hole through the granulated tissue, or did your strain of strep pick up a virulence factor from a plasmid?

  57. Janbo

    Ditto the well-wishes. I, too, am still alive. Wonders never cease. Re-read Starfish recently, and it still kicks major arse. Thanks for being alive and writing.

  58. cd

    Glad to see you’ll be able to enjoy the money you’re gonna get once I buy the novelisation of Crysis II: Cry Harder.

  59. Ron Pinder

    Damn, that was a close one. Those rogue algorithms are nasty. Speedy recovery Peter. Looking forward to your next novel.

  60. Sarah Ennals

    Someone on an earlier comment thread lamented that there are no “sorry about your flesh-eating disease” cards – I’ve tried to remedy that, with a series of increasingly tasteless greeting cards I had the gang at Third Monday sign last week – where should I send them?

  61. Sunday Artist

    Dear Squid Overlord, I’m relieved to know that you are getting better. Long lives socialized medicine !
    @Nyth: After reading Rifters 1 and 2, I am keeping Blindsight to savour it later. I “know” it will be good.

  62. Mirik Smit

    Despite this adversity you came in Fourth in the Best SFF Novels of the Decade Readers Poll:

    Congrats sir! Must be a small victory, compared to nigh annihilation of the old legs, but it’s something for the old career at least. Lotsa people looking up your books to get their read on, no doubt.

  63. ScottC


    An “appreciation” piece for Blindsight from Elizabeth Bear coming on Thursday.


  64. Soon Lee

    “Blindsight” checks in at #4 at the poll, in the company of books that have sold a truckload more copies. It’s the quality, not the quantity!

  65. Alistair

    Ahem… It’s not for reasons of “Christ” or “luck” that there is socialized medicine in Canada. Legislators (obviously with voter support) decided to rig things in favour of people rather than of corporations. I’m very glad my buddy is not screwed by bad luck for life. Well, not the SAME bad luck event anyway! PLEASE stay away from a third thing, OK??? 🙂 Cross my fingers, knock on wood.

  66. Selphares

    Glad to hear that you are doing better again, I first noticed the news now on your website and hope that ou get better soon.

    As well I can only agree that it nearly is a kind of odd thing that a writer about a topic like that gets attacked by flesheating bakterias. While I not exactly belive in sometimes prediction things there are quite often cases where the universe semms to hhave a kind of ill and odd sense for irony.

    I really wish you to become all healthy again

  67. rm3154

    socialism is bad
    socialized medicine has socialism in it
    therefore socialized medicine is bad
    canada has socialized medicine
    therefore canada is bad

    the only question is: what are we going to do about it

  68. proudinjun


  69. Thomas Hardman

    Dr Watts: Glad you’re on the mend! Sorry to read your description of the leg, it’s far too visual and compelling. But biology often isn’t pretty, especially healing.

    I’ve been trying to sort the irony out into various piles, the most interesting one being the fact of the type of infection and the sort of writing the author does. Really, what are the odds? So slim, one wonders if maybe this is in fact how the Zombie Apocalypse starts (or at least a global epidemic or pandemic of NF whether a strep or MRSA type thing), or perhaps someone just doesn’t like hard-SF writers. Or someone’s trying to get rid of the sort of SF writers who would be the first to spot anyone trying to intentionally engineer organisms to start the Zombie Apocalypse. See also Herbert’s “the White Plague” if you can stand anything that plodding.

    As to the healthcare in the States: even if you’re not insured, “EMTALA” law requires that no emergency room can turn away a patient, regardless of their ability to pay. Lots of people never do pay, and the financial administrators shift the costs of those who can’t pay onto those who can pay. This “cost shifting” is one of the reasons US health-insurance costs are through the roof. For those who do have first-class insurance (which has a first-class price tag) the medical care available is also first class. And as someone else said, if someone screws up — whether or not you have insurance — the lawyers descend, further adding to costs for the patient (and/or their insurer).

    But it seems that Canada has done right by you, healthcare-wise, and that’s really all that matters.

  70. Kamekos

    “Until then, all I can say is: thank Christ for socialized medicine. I’d be either dead or broke if this had happened to me in the states.”

    Indeed. In the States you would probably have to sell your house for only one day of the treatment you are undergoing.

    Here in Uruguay we have socialized medicine also, and when my dad got Erysipelas, he had to pay US$ 6, the fee for Emergency Room admittance. Nothing else for the rest of the 20 days in the hospital.

  71. animoller

    Argh, horrific! How did you get it?!

  72. random K

    Awww, how special. Looks like nature is once again trying to prove Peter Watts right by helping us all kill ourselves. Looks like we may have a proto-βehemoth. I feel so warm & fuzzy. Now where did I put those cyanide pills ….
    “For the past 40 years, I have been a scientist in the professional and military agencies … this pathogen is unique and of a high risk status. In layman’s terms, it should be treated as an emergency. … This previously unknown organism is only visible under an electron microscope (36,000X), … it would be the first such micro-fungus ever identified. There is strong evidence that this infectious agent promotes diseases of both plants and mammals, which is very rare.” – “manganese deficiency in soybeans in particular appears to be an issue in key U.S. farming areas.”

  73. Thomas

    Ironic the source of the infection was your very own health system. My son almost lost his life and left arm to this disease from a random cut near his elbow. I’m insured and the whole thing cost me about $23. The fact is, some pay, some don’t, but they get the treatment, period. If they are deep in debt afterwards, there are many agencies and sources of help, and ultimately, can’t get paid if the money doesn’t exist. Glad you healed, many don’t.

  74. Peter Watts

    The only thing I’d clarify here is that the source of the infection was a private clinic that specializes in cosmetic surgery. I was referred to them by my family doctor (who lacked the expertise in skin lesions to make a diagnosis herself) — and the bill goes to the government, not me — but the bug was not introduced at a public hospital or anything like that. This was for profit strep.

  75. Gern Blenston

    I’m so disappointed. I love your work. I just can’t believe that you really condem a whole system on a single bad luck event. It sucks to hell that this happened to you, but seriously? Blame an alternative culture because *you* got screwed?

    I’m just saying…

  76. Peter Watts

    Uh, Gern. What are you talking about?