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Alphonso Evans rolls his wheelchair into a weight machine in the gym at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, Ga.
“I’m not so much worried about dying from a heart attack or diabetes, because I’m active. I know what to do to work against it: watch what I eat, exercise,” Evans says. “But what do I do about an infection? Or fighting off a bacteria — something inside me that I don’t see until it’s too late?”
Evans, 67, is fully paralyzed from the chest down and has only partial use of his hands. And like a lot of spinal cord injury patients, he’s prone to infections, especially bladder infections.
About two years ago, he came to the VA medical center for what he thought was just another bladder infection. Turns out, he also had a bone infection and developed pneumonia. He ended up in intensive care. “It scared me,” says Evans, who lives nearby in Hephzibah, Ga. “And I don’t scare easy.”
Bladder infections, like many others, are increasingly becoming resistant to antibiotics.