That was literally me. At approximately 14 years old, I left my tampon in too long.
Kudos to my mum, she had continuously reminded me not to ever, ever do this. On repeat! ‘Ugh’…I would think.. “Alright mum, I’m not that stupid!!”.
But here I am, lying in my bed with flu-like symptoms, dripping in my own sweat all whilst hallucinating a huge white skeletal spider the size of my double bed climbing on top of me. Yet, still I would not admit to my mum or even the visiting doctor, that indeed, yes, I had left my tampon in too long.
This is probably the most ill I’ve been in my life.
I was bed ridden for at least a week with constant hallucinations. I was even seeing faces appear at my window *shudders. Another time – a hand appears from under my wardrobe to snatch and grab at the mess on my bedroom floor. I won’t ever forget the imagery. I was never actually diagnosed – but in hindsight, I’m almost certain it was what I feared, Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Luckily, of course I lived to tell the tale. All without ever having to admit what I had done to cause it, to anyone! Especially not to my mum.
I didn’t want to let my mum down,
I didn’t want to have her think of me as that much of an idiot. In hindsight now I realise, I am not an idiot for making such a common mistake. That I could have at least told the doctor. I don’t think I knew that you can get confidential appointments from around 14-16 years old. The fact is..Death from toxic shock can occur in just two days, I should have told someone.
So.. Mum!! I’M SORRY! I bet you were worried out of your mind. I have never admitted this to you, even now, but yes, I did leave a tampon in too long, and thankfully, as you know, I didn’t die.
Apologies to all of you too, if I’ve scared you off using tampons for life, please don’t worry, just don’t forget them, take the lesson from me instead! You don’t want to experience the hallucinations, they weren’t fun. Also, of course, there are many great natural products on the market that lower any risk of this happening, such as a moon cup or period pants, plus they way better for the environment.
Jokes aside, let’s be clear, Toxic Shock Syndrome is a medical emergency and the treatment is immediate hospitalisation.
Note as well : leaving a tampon in, is not the only cause of TSS.
These are symptoms to look out for are;
- high temperature
- flu-like symptoms such as a headache feeling cold, feeling tired or exhausted, an aching body, a sore throat and a cough
- feeling and being sick
- a widespread sunburn-like rash
- lips, tongue and the whites of the eyes turning a bright red
- dizziness or fainting
- difficulty breathing
- confusion – (And in my case hallucinating!)
For more information on this or any other health concern you have, visit a reputable website like the World Health Organisation, NHS (UK), or call your local government health helpline for reliable information, and inform your doctor with any concerns.
Writer | Empowerer| Editor | Speaker | Founder @ Dear Teenage Me
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