Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My tonsils may be trying to kill me

Warning: I'm talking about being ill in this post. So if medical stuff makes you squeamish, you might want to skip this one. Although it's really not that bad - there's no surgery, or profusely leaking bodily fluids, or broken anything... Read at your own risk, I guess?

My body hates me. In October, my tonsils came after me. I started feeling a little sick on a Wednesday - my throat was slightly sore. I assumed I was coming down with a cold. Thursday morning, it was definitely sore. And I decided to use all my energy baking cookies (because I'm terrible at making decisions when I'm sick. And because I'd promised my friend I'd make them for her birthday, and I keep my promises!). So work that evening was hellacious. I wrote a lamentation/ode to Nyquil. (Proving that suffering leads to the creation of art, if you can call this poem "art.")

A Sickness Lamentation
If only I had worked here
For more than three weeks.
I would have enough leave time
To just skip out
And go home
And sleep.
The sleep of the dead,
A healing sleep,
A Nyquil sleep.
So when I wake up
I will feel new
And whole
And free of this plague.
My eyeballs won't hurt,
And my back will feel fine.
My constant desire
For hot fluids
Will have evaporated.
Oh, Nyquil!
Your beautiful, sleep-giving embrace
Waits to enfold me
In unknowing bliss.
The next three hours
Will feel like torture,
As I anticipate
Your sweet, medicated taste.

Yeah, "poet" is obviously not on my short list of "Jobs I'd be Awesome At."

Friday morning, the Nyquil had failed to produce my anticipated result of helping me sleep off my "cold." My throat felt so gross I skipped out on going to the fair for my friend's birthday to get more sleep. When I finally got up, I looked at my throat in the mirror and was terrified to see a huge white spot on my right tonsil. I gargled with salt water, which of course didn't get rid of the white patch. I drank some tea (which was way more helpful in soothing my throat than the salt water. I'm pretty sure the "gargle with warm salt water" sore throat remedy is just made of grossness and lies.). When I started feeling achy all over I took my temperature: 101°F. My natural response was to start panicking that I might have strep throat, and I didn't have enough leave time at work to take an extra day off, and it would look super sketchy to call in sick the day before my scheduled vacation day, and I wouldn't be able to go see my friends that weekend, and my entire life was going to be ruined, and…! (I was seriously freaking out about this situation, y'all.)

I managed to calm myself down ("Don't start freaking out until you know you actually have strep," I told myself) and I took myself to the doctor's office, where my temperature was down to 99 (woohoo!) and the quick strep test came back negative (Hallelujah!). But, as the doctor noted, it was pretty obvious my tonsils were infected because of the patches of bacteria, some of my lymph nodes being swollen and painful, and my tonsils being huge. Interestingly, they asked multiple times whether my tonsils were normally large, which I had no clue about because I generally only look at my tonsils when I'm sick and my throat is sore, so of course my tonsils are all swollen at those times! Honestly, I don't spend much time looking down my own throat when I'm feeling perfectly fine. (Subsequent checks seem to show that it's plausible I have largish tonsils anyway, but I don't really have any to compare them to, so I still don't know.)

Anyway, it turns out recurrent infections (e.g., getting strep throat every year for about 4 years - yep, did that) can leave you with abscesses in your tonsils in which bacteria - or sometimes food that you eat (that is seriously one of the most disgusting things I've ever heard) - can get stuck and lead to infection. Awesome. My tonsils are trying to kill me.

And then the doctor and the pharmacist colluded to kill me some more by prescribing antibiotics that came in horse pill form. Or possibly it's like Murphy's Law of Medicine - any condition involving a sore throat will be treated with the most gigantic pills available. But I managed to choke (sometimes literally) those suckers down and get cured! Yay! Now I've just got to continue keeping an eye on my tonsils in case they do this again and actually explode or something. (Not sure if that's actually something that might happen, but the doctor made possible future infections sound pretty dire, so I'm assuming exploding body parts would be involved. Or, y'know, just a tonsillectomy.)