Saturday, March 21, 2009

On Almost Dying

I got very very ill this week. It started on Sunday night with a small tickle at the base of my throat. I thought little of it.

On Monday morning I had a mild sort throat. I figured I'd be fine but I was a little worried. I was a little worried it might be a big sore throat because it was affecting my desire for coffee. General a little temperamental touch of sore throat will not make me switch my coffee routine, but this drove me to tea. Not a good sign.

I went to work anyway. It started to hurt a bit more on the train so I bought some hydrogen peroxide to gargle with. A little H2O2 in a larger amount of water makes a good gargle just don't swallow. I figured I'd be fine. Half way through my first class I knew I wasn't going to be fine.

I went to the bathroom to check. White spots all over the back of my throat. I had strep. End story. I never for a moment though it was anything else I knew. I'm seriously prone to strep and have had it a lot more than I like to think about. I knew it. I taught my second class, told my head teacher I had to go to the doctor immediately and there was a good chance I would not be able to work again until Thursday and went to get on a bus. I should have just taken a cab downtown but I figured the bus was a better option. And hour later I was walking around and getting to my doctors office a nice ENT I visited two years ago when I had my last round of strep.

He took one look at it, said it was Strep, gave me some antibiotics and sent me home. That should have been it. I'd write a blog about the pain and end of story. But it's not.

The pain this time was bad. It was miserable bad. I've never had strep like this before. There was pain in every part of my body. On top of that I couldn't sleep. Two hours I might pass out and then I would wake up crying. It was awful. I expect that the first day. But not the second. This time it went on for four days like that. I was taking the medicine but I couldn't eat. And I was nauseous. I've never had that with strep before. After three days of being confined to me home, having increasing difficulty talking, still massive body pains, nausea and fever I decided I needed to go back to the doctor. I was to have a check up on Friday but when I woke up Thursday morning I just knew I had to go.

If I'd been living in the states I might have toughed it out longer, waited until I finished my run if antibiotics. Had I done that I'd be dead. End story. But I'm very luck that I'm in the land of cheap and affordable universal health care. I could afford to go and I did. I got to the office waited for my turn and was in to see the doctor in about a half hour. He's good so he's always pretty busy. He took one look at me and looked worried.

"How is it?"

I tried to talk to to him but it mostly came out "imm ot eter n ct alk uch. pain. so uch pain."

"Okay, open up."

He looked in my mouth and sat back and looked even worse at me.

"Okay, this is bad. You illness has abscessed. It's gone into your deep throat. I'm going to need to do a little surgery, put a drain in to get it out. Okay?"

I heard the words abscessed and throat and I froze up. I know how bad that can be. People die from not having that treated. All the symptoms all the pain I'd been having came back to me and I thought of how close I was to being in real trouble.

I just nodded at him.

He sent me to wait so he could prepare the surgery. He'd do this in the doctors chair in a few minutes. He saw a few more patients to steel himself for it. I didn't even begin to know what to expect. When he called me back he told me he'd give me a local anesthetic to help with the pain and I said yes. He poked me a bit then told me it was going to hurt a little.

It did not hurt a little.

It hurt more than I can describe. And what's worse is that I was also choking. I won't go into all the details but this is something everyone sort of knows. You get a bump or a boil, it hurts, what do you do, lance it and drain it. It heals in a couple of days. That's what he was doing. In my mouth.

He had to do it three times.

After choking it all out I sat there crying spitting blood and puss into tissue with tears in my eyes. He looks at me and pats me on the back. "Don't you feel better now?"

"No. I don't" I said to him clearly. He sonogramed my throat to see if he had gotten all the stuff there was to get and then sent me on my way with more antibiotics and a not to report again in the morning.

I got home and cried. Then I slept for about two hours. Then I had to admit. I did feel better. I could talk a bit more and actually enunciate. I could eat, which was nice since I hadn't done that in almost a week. Granted I couldn't eat much but I could eat semi solid food.

I went back the next day and he did it all again.

This morning when I went back he told me I was on my way and I'd be okay by Monday he thought.

I feel better now. Much better. I'm still getting dizzy, getting a lot of headaches but he says that's all from the abscess. That happens. Either way I'm not dead. And I'm pretty happy about that. I keep thinking about that. What I worried about most while being seriously ill was work.

I've decided a priority shift is in order.


Anonymous said...

I'never heard of this condition before. You were lucky to understand early that something was going wrong and smart to go fast to the hospital

GeologyJoe said...

oooou. bummer. rest and get well.

linda said...

Good Christ my throat hurts just from reading this. I am so sorry for you and so glad you are alive. Am also selfishly wondering if this is some sort of cosmic sign to me as I was just thinking about returning to Korea...

Damn it, girl! Get better!