Updated: Aug 21, 2019
The room is quiet, except for the intermittent beeping of the heart monitor. A young boy is confined to the hospital bed, barely breathing. He has lost a lot of fluid. The doctor, standing at the foot of the bed, lowers his head in anguish on reading the reports. It’s a resistant strain of E. coli; which means those 5 days of antibiotics has done nothing. He has to start a stronger one soon. The infection is spreading to the blood, he thought. The boy seems delirious, running high temperature and barely conscious. He scribbles down new orders for the nurse; a stronger antibiotic, an antipyretic and some IV fluids and leaves the room.
They looked confused, attacked all of a sudden on their turf that they were defending. What just happened? A flush of chemicals has been destroying their numbers by millions a day and the enemy was gaining an upper hand. They did everything right. They produced toxins to keep the common enemy at bay. They maintained the intestinal layer so that external agents would not get in. They even maintained their reproduction rate with respect to other friendly micro-organisms around so that all can live in peace and harmony. Not just that, they digested the food for the human, produced nutrients that the human absorbed, and also metabolized inactive molecules to their active form so that they can be used; all this in the bargain that they could live and flourish there. But they never knew what hit them. If only, instead of killing all the good ones, they were allowed to grow and fight. If only they could raise the body temperature to kill the invaders. If only the doctor would know how fiercely they protected their turf. If only someone thought from their perspective to protect this human…..