Saturday, December 30, 2023

if you go to Key West for a visit, you perhaps should know the waters around it and the Florida Keys contain MRSA flesh-eating bacteria and you need to take precautions before you dive in

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park

Key West


    The day after Christmas, my younger daughter and her family flew to Key West for a vacation. She is a medical doctor. Before they left for Key West, I told her that the waters around Key West and all of the Florida Keys are full of MRSA, and she and her family should wait 24 hours after shaving, before going into the ocean. I told her to have hydrogen peroxide handy, to treat any nicks or scratches they got on the skin while diving, swimming or fishing in the ocean. I told her that doctors and divers in the Keys know the ocean is full of MRSA flesh-eating bacteria, which is fatal, if not properly treated.

    From Wikipedia:

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a group of gram-positive bacteria that are genetically distinct from other strains of Staphylococcus aureus. MRSA is responsible for several difficult-to-treat infections in humans. It caused more than 100,000 deaths worldwide attributable to antimicrobial resistance.

    Representative photos of MRSA abscesses, I found among many more by google searching MRSA images online:

    For over a week, I have dreamed of being in Key West, doing something, but I could not figure out what, or how the dreams applied to me now, up here in Birmingham. Had yet another dream (last night) about me being in Key West. The rear tire on my bicyle was low on air. There were old familiar faces, including 5-time mayor Craig Cates. during his victory celebration party after he won the first time, without a runoff, in 2009, Craig thanked me for that outcome, as did his campaign manager. At candidate forums, I had told the audience, if they didn’t vote for me, then vote for Craig, who was born and raised and had lived his life in Key West.

    Ruminating on all of that this morning, my thoughts drifted to what I still think isthe most important issue facing Key West and the entire Florida Keys: the sea waters there are full of MRSA flesh-eating bacteria. This is known to local divers, who carry hydrogen peroxide with them to dab on any nicks or cuts they get on their skin while diving. It is known to local physicians, who treat MRSA infections all the time.

    I learned of MRSA in 2003, when nasty abscesses erupted on either side of my penis and on my right buttock. I was sleeping nights in a tent in the wetlands near the city’s airport. At that time, the city had a free medical clinic, run by Dr. Ian Garriques, a retired infectious disease specialist. His clinic was in the local hospital on the next island above Key West, known as Stock Island. After seeing my abscesses, Dr. Garrizues got onto the hospital’s internal telephone and talked with a local surgeon, named Michael Klitenic, who came straight away to the free clinic and examined me. Dr. Klitenic called on the hospital phone and arranged emergency surgery that evening. I left on my bicycle and came back into town and went to the local Florida Key Outreach shelter, run by a non-profit, and was assigned a bed, for I could not sleep in a tent and safely recover from the surgery.

    That evening, I rode my bicycle back to the hospital and checked in and was assigned a room. The anesthesiologist came by and asked me if I was allergic to any anesthesia? I said don’t use a valium, unless he wanted me to sleep until the next day. He said he didn’t think it wise to use a spinal block, because if the MRSa had entered my blood and body fluids, the needle might transport the MRSA into my cerebral-spinal fluid. I tsaid had been a massage therapist and cranio-sacral practitioner, and I knew about that risk, and I agreed that he should use general anesthesia.

    After the surgery, I had three gaping holes in my flesh. Dr. Klitinek came by my room, examined the wounds, said I could do anything I wanted to do, except go into the ocean. I didn’t ask him why, but I figured he didn’t think the ocean was sanitary, as it was well known to be infected with bacteria found in human shit.

    I was put on a very powerful antibiotic, which tore me up internally. As those three surgery wounds slowly healed, I got a new huge MRSA boil between my anus and my testicles, and back to the hospital I went, to the ER, where I was attended by Dr. Garirques’ medical partner, whose name I do not now recall. He said he agreed with me that MRSAc can be passed by human contact. He lanced the new MRSA infection and injected it with an antibiotic and gave me a new prescription.

    The three surgery wounds slowly healed, and 4th infection subsided, but new MRSA infections kept appearing on my skin, and I went to see Dr. Garriques and he prescribed another round of antibiotics. The abscess healed, and a new abscess showed up, and back to Dr. Garriques I went. The newest MRSA abscess was on my right hand.

    I told Dr. Garriques that we both were professionals and he could level with me. Did medicine have an answer for MRSA? He said he had talked with doctors all over America, and medicine did not have an answer to MRSA. I said that must be really hard on him, who had devoted his life to healing people. He looked like he might cry. He wrote a new script for the same antibiotic he had prescribed before. 

    That night in my sleep, I had a dream that caused me on waking to think I should take one day’s dosage of the new prescription, and then stop taking it and see what happened. So, that’s what I did, and as days passed, the new MRSA lesion began to recede, and after about 20 days it was healed over.. There was no way in medical science that infection could have healed, which left me to pin the cure on angels. That, and no new MRSA boils appeared on my skin.

    In 2004 or 2005, Dr. Garriques published a letter to the editor in the Key West Citizen, which was read all over the Florida Keys, that MRSA was being treated by doctors throughout the Florida Keys and was pandemic in the Keys.

    Around 2007, a friend of mine shaved one morning, went for a swim in the lagoon in front of his home on Summerland Key, and a few days later he had a MRSA abscess on his left cheek. His doctor prescribed something that finally got rid of it. Perhaps by then, Keys doctors had learned that prescribing several antibiotics, rotating between them every few days, along with steroid injections to shock MRSA, finally would prevail?

    In 2009, a MRSA lesion came up on the right side of my belly, after I got into a fracas with Mayor Morgan McPherson over something regarding his wife, who was lovely and a very respected educator in the local system. There had been a scandal in the school system, and law enforcement had interviewed everyone but Morgan’s wife, and I wondered out loud on my blog, (no longer available) why that was so? 

    Morgan was a very large man, and that night in my sleep, two huge gorilla football players slammed into my right side, and when I woke that morning, my low back was out and I would be weeks recovering from that. Meanwhile, the MRSA abscess appeared on the right side of my belly, and I wrote about that on my blog, (no longer available).

    A woman friend, who read my blog told me to go to CVS and buy a small jar of Vaseline petroleum jelly, generic would do, and a bottle of red iodine, and get flat kitchen knife and scoop out a small hole in the petroleum jelly and fill the hole with red iodine, and use the knife to poke and mix the iodine into the jelly, until the entire concoction was pink, and then I should apply a dab of that to the MRSA abscess 4 times a day. She said no bacteria can survive iodine. She said to store the remedy in a cool, dark space, with the lid tight, as air and light diminish idoine’s effectiveness. In about 2 weeks, the MRSA wound was healed over.

    I shared that on my blog, which was read all over the Florida Keys. 

    A friend told me of a physician up in Marathon, about 50 miles up US 1 from Key West, who had developed a band-aid with iodine on the patch, to treat MRSA. I got his email address and  emailed him about the petroleum jelly-iodine cure. He replied that it he wasn’t interested, because he could not make money off iodine and petroleum jelly.

    There was a hugely popular public forum at, called The Coconut Telegraph. Its owner had created my blog for me. I published a lot in that forum over the years, and some people there liked me, and a lot of people there really didn’t like me. 

    Around 2011, I published on the Coconut Telegraph what I had experienced with MRSA, and that local divers and physicians knew local waters were full of MRSA, and the risk of going into the water with a nick or scratch on the skin. I described the petroleum jelly iodine remedy, and was blasted by several Coconut Telegraph readers, who said I was full of shit and should be ignored.

    A reader then wrote on the Coconut Telegraph that he was a professional diver and Sloan was correct, local divers knew the ocean was  full of MRSA.

    A couple of weeks later, a woman on the Florida West coast published at the Coconut Telegraph that she lived on the Florida West coast and was going crazy over not being able to be healed of a MRSA abscess on her skin, and she read what I had published on the Coconut Telegraph and she used it and her MRSA was gone and her sanity and life were saved. 

    I posted at the Coconut Telegraph that the local governments, lodging industry, ocean sports industry, and the Tourist Development Council needed to be warning visitors to the Florida Keys about the horrible risk they took by going into the ocean with a nick or scratch on their skin, say, from shaving. Visitors enjoy their trip, go home, have a MRSA outbreak on their skin, go to their doctor, begin fighting for their lives, and they and their doctor don’t have a clue how they got it.

    Nothing came back from Coconut Telegraph readers. 

    The Florida Keys economy then, and today, is totally dependent on tourism. 

    During the 2014 Key Westmayor’s race, in which I was a candidate, there was a candidate debate on a popular local radio station. I told the listening audience about the MRSA problem in the ocean and that tourists needed to be warned about it. Incumbent Mayor Craig Cates said I was wrong, Key West waters were clean and beautiful and safe - Ya’ll come! I shook my head.

    Around 2016, a homeless man I knew well contracted MRSA and was put into an intensive care room in the hospital on Stock Island. I rode my bicycle up there a couple of times to visit him. He was hooked up to IV drips. He said he was getting one antibiotic, then a different antibiotic, back and forth, to mitigate MRSA’s ability to mutate. And, he was receiving a steroid for a while every day, to shock and weaken the MRSA. He was in the hospital about 3 weeks, as i recall, before he was released. He did not have a recurrence of MRSA.

    MRSA was greatly feared by homeless people in Key West, who knew about it. A long-time homeless man there told me that back in the old days, homeless people kept vinegar handy, to pour on a cut, nick or scratch on the skin, to prevent catching MRSA.

    Many times I saw homeless people in Key West with gauze bandages around their wrist, arms, ankles and lower legs, which meant they had MRSA. After the homeless shelter was built on Stock Island in 2005, homeless clients with MRSA were segregate from other clients.

    During my time in Key West, I became very good friends with a couple who published Key West the Newspaper, Naja was American, Arnaud was French. The blue paper relentlessly rocked the establishment boat in Key West and the lower Keys. The blue paper had a very large reader base, extending into the U.S. mainland.

    Arnaud operated a salvage boat and was in the ocean in diving gear as part of that business. He caught MRSA. He and Naja knew how very difficult MRSA was to treat, and how expensive going into the local hospital on Stock Island would be. Since Arnaud had dual citizenship, he flew to a French Island in the Caribbean, where he was treated in a hospital for a lot less money than he would have paid at the hospital on Stock Island.

    Earlier this year, I realized something that I had not understood when I lived in Key West. I realized osquitoes were Mother Nature’s first line of defense against the invasive species, humans. Mother Nature’s second line of defense was occasional kick ass hurricanes. That kept invasive species somewhat in check.

    Eventually, the invasive species created a Mosquito Control Board, which acquired aircraft and helicopters and modern insecticides, which got rid of most of the freshwater breeding mosquitoes and made Key West and the Florida Keys far more comfortable for the invasive species, and far more attractive to real estate developers.

    As did widening of US 1 and building a much bigger diameter freshwater waterline from the mainland to Key West. Before the new waterline was built, real estate development was dead, because new construction could not tap into the old waterline, which was maxed out.

    After the new waterline was built, development exploded in the Florida Keys and Key West. Septic tanks and cesspits were all over the keys, as were people living on boats and dumping their raw sewage into the water. 

    The raw sewage, and the silt from bulldozing roads in new developments and dredging new canals, drifted out to the beautiful reef, which began to die, to the point that 95 percent of it was dead when I arrived in Key West in 2000, homeless.

    Also in play, the Florida Legislature declared the Florida Keys an area of critical environmental concern, and new residential real estate development permits were tied into how fast the Keys could be evacuated ahead of an incoming hurricane. The faster the Keys could be evacuated, the more new residential building permits could be issued by local governments, and the more hotels and motels could be built.

    The local Keys governments and chambers of commerce said they were trying to save lives by enabling quicker evacuation before hurricanes, but the real reason was to please developers.

    I had loved the Florida Keys since my family spent spring break at the Ocean Reef Club on the upper east end of Key Largo, That’s when I fell in love with fishing the flats for bonefish.

    We came back the next year at spring break, and stayed in Islamorada, where I caught my first bonefish, and was totally hook, line and sinker gobsmacked in love with fishing in the Florida Keys.

    In 1963, my father bought a home on the Atlantic Ocean on Lower Matecumbe Key, in lower Islamorada. That’s when I learned to pole my own boat and catch bone fish all by myself.

    Back then, the Florida Keys truly were paradise.

    In early 1995, angels sent me to Big Pine Key, where, whenI was in law school, I had caused a large Tarpon near the Old Wooden Bridge remains after a fire burned it mostly down. During that 1995 trip, on the new concrete bridge, I had a vision that nearly ripped my heart out: that since I loved the Keys so much, I would be used to try to protect them.

    I ran the first time for the Monroe County Commission in 2006. My campaign mantra was, “No more new development, period, the end. The Florida Keys already are way-over-developed and there is not a person living here who can look in a mirror and honestly say otherwise."

    At a candidate forum in Key West, I was asked what did I think of the talk about making Mosquito Control part of the county government again? I paused, said, I would get rid of Mosquito Control, because I think the chemicals it uses are more dangerous than the mosquitoes. The incumbent county commissioner sitting beside me, chuckled, said, “That would create a lot of affordable housing.”

    It that context, it occurred to me earlier this year that Mother Nature took high offense to being raped in the Florida Keys, and She responded with MRSA, and early this year, 2023, I wove all of that into The Return of the Strange, which was the sequel to the novel, Heavy Wait: A Strange Tale, which fell out of me in April-May-June 2001, in Helen, Georgia, where I spent nights in a tent on a friend’s land that summer, to get away from the Key West heat, mosquitoes and hurricanes.

    The Preface of Heavy Wait explains how it was inspired by a dream I had while sleeping in a doorway in Key West, featuring that friend, who was a street performer I had met in Key West earlier in 2001. In the dream, he was riding a 6-foot unicycle and juggling and he was teaching me how to do my own street act. The next time I saw him was Helen. He was doing his act on the town square, riding a 6-foot unicorn and juggling. 

    We had dinner afterward, and then returned to his home outside of Helen, where he said he had heard I wrote books. I said, yes. He asked if I had ever written a novel? I said, yes, three. He said he had a great storyline for a novel, did I want to hear it? I said, yes, He told me the storyline and ask, if I could write that novel? I said, yes, I had lived the first half of the story line in 2000. His jaw dropped.

    Heavy Wait is a really wild ride that starts off in Birmingham, Alabama, and wends its way down to Port St. Joe and Apalachicola, Florida, then back to Birmingham, then to the Oprah show, and then to the Caribbean island, Dominica, then back to Birmingham, and ends up with the disbarred lawyer hero Riley Strange in a north Florida prison, and his 2nd wife, Willa Sue Jenkins, who looks just like Rile’s 1st wife, Mary Lou Snow, who died tragically, writing to her good friend Oprah, who made Willa Sue and Riley the most popular people in America, with a great deal of help from President George Bush and his Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who had Riley prosecuted for saving Willa Sue’s life and her sanity.

    Return of the Strange takes up where Heavy Wait left off, and then all the gloves come all off after Oprah and Larry King and their legions of fans are chanting “Riley for president!” and “Willa Sue for First Lady!”, while on Oprah and Larry King Live Riley is eviscerating America at war and the invasive species, and on the Coconut Telegraph he is evicerating the local governments in Key West and the Florida Keys for lying down and spreading their legs wide to developers hell-bent on destroying Mother Nature’s beautiful Florida Keys.

    Both tales can be read for free at the internet library, Heavy Wait should be read first. Here are links:


Anonymous said...

Happy New Year, Don Q.... may the force be with you!

Sloan said...

Heh, thanks. Most days, I wish the Mother Ship would relieve me, but since that hasn’t transpired, I keep trying. This particular post was a while hatching, there were quite a few dreams leading up to it. Back in Alabama since 2118, mostly I am publishing on a newer blog, here’s the link to the same post at that blog: Also, I’ve done a loot of podcasts that are launched into You/Tube and Torrent: The Redneck Mystic Lawyer Podcast. And now there are quite a few of my books at the free internet library: The podcasts are at that libarary’s torrent.