Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Antibiotics are saving my life

I was doing so well there. I had reclaimed my picture rich and heavily laden blog back from the depths of doldrums. I was gaining support from my friends and receiving encouraging words.  And then I hit a wall, there was a very loud SPLAT, followed by the sight of a limp, almost lifeless body sliding down the wall falling into a pile down at the bottom. Where for the last two weeks I have been, mostly immobile slowing fighting a very uphill battle.

I don't know about you but I tend to be nostalgic about certain eras. For me it is the end of the Edwardian era in England and the mid 1920's Africa. The fashions are fantastic (so are the 1940's for that matter). Life was a bit simpler then and parts of the world I dream about were almost unmarred by human hands. As much as I dream about these times I am always thankful that I live now. For modern medicine has helped me many times over my existence so far in my sojourn here on planet Earth. Plus I am a fan of indoor plumbing and electricity (mostly).

Two months ago I awoke with a throat on fire. Now knowing what I do about being sick and antibiotics I fought that sore throat with lime, and ginger seeping in boiled water and sweetened with real honey. I lost my voice but battled on. My symptoms lessened I figured I was getting better. Then WHAM! I got hit by sneezing, congestion and coughing. This too slowly left. We went on over night trip for the weekend and I was feeling like myself again. SMACK! I was taken down by body aches, congestion, coughing and that horrid post-nasal drip that fills your stomach and gives you a false sense of having eaten.

This time I went to the doctor. I explained that I had been sick for more or less two months and it needed to end. She looked me over, asked me a few questions and in under ten minutes I was sent out on my way with a prescription for a decongestant and a basic antibiotic, if I really needed it. I felt frustrated with my experience with my doctor because I really felt like I had just been driven through a drive-thu of medicine. Why do people become doctors these days? You certainly cannot treat anyone in under 10 minutes! (trust me I have had this happen before)

A week later I found myself once again at my doctor's office. She prescribed steroids for the weekend and ambien for sleeping. She almost gave me cough syrup with codeine before looking at my chart and seeing I was allergic.  I was also referred to an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor.

By this time I could barely breathe through my nose and my coughing fits were so incredibly bad that I nearly vomited anytime I had one. Tuesday morning dawned after a horrible up all night episode and I was walking into yet another doctor's office.

My ENT doctor looked at me, talked to me and prescribed three weeks of antibiotics with a course of steroids.  He didn't quite say how bad my infection was but the slight shock in his voice as he looked at the back of my throat and the fact that I get to have a CAT scan before my next visit with him are an indication of the severity.  This is where you would think that my story changes, right?

I picked up my new antibiotic prescription and read the literature like I always do. ( I am a good consumer). The warnings scared me a bit but I seriously did not want to end up in the hospital so I took my first dose.
That was at about 5 pm PST. By 8 pm I was occasionally smelling weird chemicals when I breathed in through my nose and I was starting to get agitated. By 10:30 pm I had moved on to overly anxious and nervous  My body was completely worn out and yet I couldn't settle at all. I finally fell into a very fitful sleep sometime after 12:30 am, where I kept having the same versions of one dream repeatedly. I was up by 7 am and on the phone with the pharmacist. She told me I should take my next dose of antibiotics because the side effects should mostly go away. Did I mention that when I awoke that morning both of my eyes were bright red with mucus oozing out of them?! I waited until 8:30 AM to leave a message for my doctor's nurse because I wasn't about to take anymore of this drug. And then it happened. I suddenly felt like a dementor from Harry Potter had sucked out every last bit of happiness from my body. I have never in my life felt such despair or loneliness. 500 mg of this crazy super powerful antibiotic had sent me on the roller coaster of a life time.None of my behavior was normal or rational. I was so incredibly thankful that my husband had stayed home with me that day. Who knows what else would have happened!

Of course for whatever reasons my doctor's office didn't call me back until 4:40 pm PST that Wednesday (they close at 5pm). I was taken off that one drug and placed on another one . My chest no longer feels like it is on fire when I cough. Every day I take one more step closer to being healthy and rid of this crud. And even though I am swallowing gigantic horse-pills down my throat twice a day I am super thankful that we have antibiotics in this day and age.

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