The Free Dictionary  
mailing list For webmasters
Welcome Guest Forum Search | Active Topics | Members

What does "bacteria are tricky" mean? Options
Koh Elaine
Posted: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 1:19:55 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/4/2012
Posts: 4,265
Neurons: 17,288
(1) When I was in the hospital after I had broken three parts of my left shin bone in a traffic accident, the surgeon who was treating me told me after a week that "bacteria are tricky.' What did he mean by that? Unfortunately, I didn't have the chance to ask him what he meant. Maybe, I was too distraught.

Did he mean that my leg might be amputated because the bacteria might cause serious damage to my inner tissues over the next few days leading to a need for an amputation? Fortunately, my leg was not amputated.

Could someone let me know if my guess is correct?

(2) Another thing I would like to ask is why the nurse often touched the toes of my injured leg and asked me whether there was feeling on my toes. Does it also mean that if the toes had no feeling, my injured leg had to be amputated?

Could someone please let me know if I am correct?


Thanks.
Wilmar (USA)
Posted: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 1:41:06 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/4/2015
Posts: 1,288
Neurons: 472,599
Location: Vinton, Iowa, United States
Before anyone else responds, please let me just mention that no one HERE can tell you if anything means that your leg needs to be amputated. No one.
thar
Posted: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 2:11:16 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 17,865
Neurons: 72,446
Saying 'bacteria are tricky' is just saying it is hard to predict what will happen. There are no simple rules, that if you do one thing, the effect is predictable.
They can give the same treatment to two people who look to be in a similar situation, and in one case the bacteria are killed or the infection is controlled, and in another case the bacteria are unaffected and the infection gets worse.
He was just expressing the natural uncertainty a doctor has when it comes to treating bacteria. They are tricky - they don't fit into simple categories of 'less serious' or 'more serious'. They just have to wait and see.
So, potentially, yes, he was saying it could get worse. It should get better. It probably will - he just couldn't be completely sure of that.


Edit
The two meaning of tricky are
1'difficult, hard to deal with - (a tricky maths problem, a tricky situation
And
2 Devious, deceptive, dishonest, trying to trick you (that man is tricky - I don't trust him).

This could be a sort of middle meaning, or combination. Hard to deal with because they are unpredictable and don't reveal how they are responding to treatment.
It is hard to tell, not knowing how that particular doctor uses that word.

The checking for numbness in the feet is checking there is no damage to or pressure on nerves or blood vessels in the leg, either from the original injury or from inflammation or infection. If there is any indication of that, you would investigate the cause and perhaps try more aggressive treatment before it got so serious that tissue in the foot started to die and amputation became a possibility. You don't want to app!y aggressive treatment if there is no need for it. Just as soon as necessary if it becomes clear (eg by loss of feeling) that there is a problem.

(Not a medical professional, that is just my college biology)

Glad you are OK now. ?
Parpar1836
Posted: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 2:13:04 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/30/2014
Posts: 292
Neurons: 10,034
Location: Rochester, New York, United States
I wouldn't interpret it in such a drastic fashion. "Bacteria are tricky" could mean that the patient might develop complications, especially if the bacterial infection was resistant to the antibiotics s/he'd been getting.

The nurses would be testing the patient for signs of numbness, paralysis, or nerve damage. If the patient feels sensation in the toes, that'd be a good sign that s/he would retain use of the limb, that the nerves and muscles were okay.

If there's (Heaven forbid) gangrene, then one can worry about the prospect of amputation. But even if there is gangrene, that doesn't necessarily mean amputation is imminent; there are drastic measures that can be taken to save a shattered limb.
Romany
Posted: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 6:18:37 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 14,388
Neurons: 44,818
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

I thought that Thar's measured and common-sense answers to Koh's question was anything *but* drastic.

It seems pretty obvious that Koh was worried, so he was being totally objective in every way, to stop her fantasising about fatal outcomes, and amputations and gangrene!

Koh - yeah, bacteria can be tricky. Crossing the road can be tricky. Eating street food in some places can be tricky. Walking alone can be tricky. In fact, life itself is pretty tricky. Unless we want to spend it locked away from everything in a locked room!!

Best wishes anyway, for a complete and speedy recovery.
Hope123
Posted: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 11:04:46 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/23/2015
Posts: 8,285
Neurons: 47,599
Location: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Elaine, your doc was probably just telling you why he was monitoring you and to watch for any signs of redness or pain. It is just a phrase we use to say one has to be careful. As Thar says he cannot predict outcomes but I'm sure amputation never even entered his head nor his nurse's head at that stage of the game. We have a saying - think horses, not zebras. (unless you live where zebras are of course 😀)

Romany, I think Parpar was adressing Elaine, not Thar. ?

The past is to be respected/acknowledged, not worshipped. It is in our future we will find our greatness. Pierre Trudeau
Lotje1000
Posted: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 2:40:45 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 11/3/2014
Posts: 983
Neurons: 478,922
Location: Leuven, Flanders, Belgium
Romany wrote:

I thought that Thar's measured and common-sense answers to Koh's question was anything *but* drastic.


Given the timing of Thar and Parpar's responses (and, indeed, the measured and common-sense nature of the answer answer), I'm assuming Parpar was responding to the OP, not to Thar.
Romany
Posted: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 5:14:20 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 14,388
Neurons: 44,818
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

Sheesh. It's a wonder I manage to walk from a to b on my own, considering one of my feet is always so firmly lodged in my mouth!

Sorry PP if I got it round my neck - my eyes were just dragged to 'gangrene' and 'amputation'. I was imagining poor old Koh at her computer freaking out completely, and with Pavlovian conditioning I jumped in.

I do apologise if I caused you hurt or embarrassment.
Ashwin Joshi
Posted: Friday, September 29, 2017 12:22:22 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/3/2016
Posts: 1,420
Neurons: 74,278
Location: Jandiāla Guru, Punjab, India
Elaine good that your leg was not amputated.

Bacteria (good and bad) came in to being millions of years ahead of human beings. We, the humans, in spite of so much advancement in medicine and science, can not annihilate bacteria completely because they have learnt to live in most adverse condition, some even live without oxygen. They have gone trickier than human race. Doctor cautioned against infectious and harmful bacteria when he said, 'Bacteria are tricky".

He touched the toes to watch your reaction. With your reaction he, perhaps, wanted to be sure about health and condition of the nerves of the injured leg of improvement.





Me Gathering Pebbles at The Seashore.-Aj
Koh Elaine
Posted: Friday, September 29, 2017 10:15:35 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/4/2012
Posts: 4,265
Neurons: 17,288
Thanks to all of you.
Users browsing this topic
Guest


Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.

Main Forum RSS : RSS
Forum Terms and Guidelines | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2008-2018 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.