Take It Back

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Manage episode 218658736 series 1951941
By Data Crunch Corporation. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
What if one day, out of the blue, you find yourself sick—really sick—and no one knows what's wrong. This is a podcast about a sleeper illness and what one team of data scientists led by Elaine Nsoesie is doing to reduce its reach. Sam Williamson: "It felt as if I were on some kind of hallucinogenic drug. I felt really, really hot. Really cold again. The room started spinning. I got tunnel vision. I was about to black out." Ginette Methot: "I'm Ginette Methot-Seare, and you are listening to Data Crunch, a Vault Analytics production. Today we're going to talk about something that could affect you or someone you love if it hasn't already." Shawn Milne: "It still is a pretty vivid memory for me just because it was such a, such a terrible thing." Ginette: "This is Shawn Milne." Shawn: "Both of us just booked for the bathroom because we were both throwing up." Ginette: "He's describing a sickness that both he and a friend suffered from." Shawn: "On the way home, we had to keep pulling the car over, and we were just both throwing up on the side of the road. It was absolutely terrible. We were just both up all night just throwing up. Just so beat." Ginette: "While Shawn's experience lasted about 48 hours, Samuel Williamson, the person you heard speak at the beginning of our podcast, had one that lasted for about a month." Sam: "I did go to a doctor for it after a while. They convinced me to go to a doctor. He in fact told me that my stomach was just tired, which I thought was a very strange diagnosis. So he suggested that I don't eat anything for a week. I think I lost about ten to twelve pounds in the first week, and so I went a week without eating anything, and came back a week later, and he asked me if the symptoms had gone away, and I told him 'no, they were about the same,' and he said, 'okay, well you can't eat anything else for another week.' I went about three days and then pigged out." Ginette: "While everyone's body reacts differently to this type of sickness, stomach pain was one symptom that everyone we interviewed described." Amy Smart: "I remember at one point, lying on my couch in excruciating pain, and thinking, ‘this is like having a baby, only with a baby, I know it's going to end.’" Ginette: "Amy had two little girls when she got sick, and she became so ill and weak that she couldn't take care of them. Fortunately, her mom lived nearby and could take her girls during the day, and her husband was able to stay home from work to take care of her." Amy: "I couldn't, I couldn't eat. I wanted to because my body was so depleted, but I couldn't drink. I couldn't keep anything down. We went to the ER because I was so weak, and they put me on IVs and gave me morphine for the pain." Ginette: "But for Amy Smart, the person speaking here, things got a lot worse." Amy: "All that was coming out both ends was blood. And I remember feeling like, 'this is what it feels like to die.'" Ginette: "Amy described to me that it literally felt like life was leaving her body." Amy: "I didn't know when it would end, when I would feel better again. If it would take days or weeks or ever. I remember thinking, 'I'm so glad it's me and not one of my little kids' because I don't know how they would have survived it.'" Ginette: "Now put yourself in her shoes for a second: you're sick and only getting worse. When you go to the doctor, the doctor isn't sure what's wrong." Amy: "They first thought it was stomach flu, then maybe Giardia, then maybe salmonella, and then they cultured it and found I had E. coli." Aside: "E. coli contamination. Possible E. coli contamination. E. coli contamination." Amy: "By then, once it was diagnosed as E. coli, it was a relief because then they knew how to treat it, and they put me on Cipro. By then the Center for Disease Control gets involved and is interviewing and trying to match the strain." Ginette: "Now as an interesting side note,

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