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Home and Health Report - cellophane
the story of an invisible girl
renniekins
renniekins
Home and Health Report
I'm home again. Yayyy! I drove home from Ohio late last night, and boy are my arms tired (wait, it's not funny that way...). I'm exhausted, and really glad that today is my friday off.

I'm also alive and essentially okay. My mouth/neck still hurts, but I have antibiotics and high hopes that it will feel better soon. I saw my doctor this morning. I would have seen my dentist, but I called her office yesterday and learned that she is closed on fridays. The woman on the phone recommended I visit my doctor today, but didn't sound panicked enough to send me hurrying somewhere earlier.

Wow, but you guys did a good job of making me nervous. I suppose I should have looked for somebody in San Antonio or Sandusky to see, but.... I don't know, it just seemed so strange to me. Broken limbs, gunshots, heart attacks, those seem like an emergency. But a sore mouth/neck?

It just felt like the struggle of finding medical care and drugs in a strange place, when I was swamped each day with important work meetings, was more effort than it was worth. (After all, the reason I was on the road was because I had customers to support and planning sessions to attend.)

Perhaps that wasn't wise. But truthfully, I was busy enough that I didn't even read most of my email and scary warnings until last night anyway. By then, I already had an appointment scheduled for this morning, so I waited.

The doctor listened to my symptoms, asked me some questions, then examined me. He eventually said that it looked like I had a strep infection. I blinked at him in surprise, and he said, "Like strep throat, only it's not in your throat."

Then I remembered: oh yes, this is Strep Throat Guy. Several years back, I went through a period where I was sick a lot. My primary doctor was usually busy, so I visited her partner, this guy, many times. Each time, he diagnosed me with strep throat. He never did a culture, and my symptoms were often different, but it was always strep throat.

Now granted -- each time I saw him, I only went because I was feeling quite ill and miserable. Also, the drugs he gave me always made me better. So clearly he was fixing my problems, but I also realize that streptococcal is a very specific sort of infection. It seemed unlikely to me that was always what was wrong with me. I used to joke that I would walk in there someday with a broken toe, and he would tell me I had strep throat.

I since have concluded that perhaps he uses the term "strep throat" to mean "an infection which clearly needs antibiotics". If you know antibiotics will fix the problem, why go to all the trouble of doing a throat culture. Nevertheless, it still amuses me.

So anyway, he said it was a strep infection, but not strep throat. I wanted to joke, "Strep gums? Strep mouth?" But he didn't seem to be in a joking around sort of mood. Actually, I'm not sure he's a joking around sort of guy.

He went on to say that I should gargle with salt water (yuck), and drink nothing cold. He said that sometimes salivary glands can become obstructed, and my symptoms matched up with those of a blocked parotid gland. Cold things can aggravate it, while lots of hot liquids should help it unblock. I guess.

I don't know why he couldn't just say I had an infected parotid gland; maybe it's really true that he's not capable of diagnosing me with anything but strep.

At any rate, he prescribed me some antibiotics and said that I could continue taking advil every three hours like I have been doing. I'm supposed to stop rubbing/touching/poking at the swollen areas (that's a challenge for me!), and I'm supposed to gargle. I successfully negotiated the salt water thing down to a peroxide mouth wash.

If it's still a problem on Monday, I'll visit my dentist and see what she thinks of it all. The girl on the phone said they can fit me in, all I have to do is call. But hopefully these drugs will resolve everything long before then. *crossed fingers*

(Oh, and to those of you who posted concern and made suggestions, THANK YOU! It really makes me feel good being reminded that you care, and it helps learning others' opinions, when I'm not sure what to do.)

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Comments
vikkilynn From: vikkilynn Date: March 10th, 2006 11:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's so weird that the doctor would tell you that you have a strep infection but not do a culture!? Hmmm. Strep is nothing to take lightly, since (if you internet-researched it a little) you know it can easily travel to the heart. :( Eeeep.

There was a doctor on campus at UW-Oshkosh who prescribed anti-biotics for everything. NO ONE walked out of the campus health center without penicillin, amoxicillin, SOMETHING cilin. Everyone laughed about it. It was all fun and games until my gallbladder almost killed me right under his watchful eye... UGH.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 11th, 2006 05:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, yuck. Yeah, doctors are weird. I can never tell if they're just making up answers, or if they really know what they're talking about. I know medicine's not an exact science, but still.
bjorng From: bjorng Date: March 11th, 2006 01:32 am (UTC) (Link)

strep, yech.

In 2004 I was diagnosed with strep six different times. Each time I saw a different doctor, and I had a total of seven different antibiotics (the first one didn't take).

In my case, they did a culture every time because I didn't have the "classic" symptoms visible in my throat. It was positive seven times out of eight. (The eight one was to rule out that I had some kind of resistant strain that was just recurring. It occurred between my third and fourth bouts.)

Hope you feel better soon!
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 11th, 2006 05:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: strep, yech.

Yuck, not a good year for you!

My many-bouts with strep time was way back in 1997 or so, and it culminated with the removal of my tonsils. That helped a LOT.... apparently they had turned on me, gone over to the other side.
nishar From: nishar Date: March 11th, 2006 01:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Get well soon Rennie. Why do you wish to avoid gargeling with salt water any how?
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 11th, 2006 05:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
It makes me gag, literally. I guess I'm just really sensitive to salt or something. I've never actually vomited when trying to gargle or rinse my mouth with it, but I've come close. Yuck, even the thought of it makes my mouth uncomfortable!

Thanks. (:
(Deleted comment)
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 11th, 2006 05:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree with the direct action; it's so frustrating waiting for Auntie (I like that!) to do her thing. I keep wanting to take more pills, in the hopes that they'll work faster. (but i don't)

I just can't stand salt water, it makes me nausous. So I'm gargling with a peroxide mouth wash, and drinking lots of tea and stuff. And giving my swollen gums occasional stern looks.
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: March 11th, 2006 02:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
I contrast this with your reaction to your bee bite back in 2002.

Then it was off to emerg. in the middle of the night.

In the long run that was a lesser affliction.

Never put your work that far ahead of yourself again.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: March 11th, 2006 05:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, even that one was two days after the event, and I only went because it was so painful that I couldn't sleep, and it seemed to be getting steadily worse.

In my head this time, I told myself that if it got worse I would take more immediate measures, but if it stayed the same i'd see somebody friday morning. Good point though, I should be careful.
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: March 11th, 2006 08:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Its the whole infection in your head thing, its nothing to mess with.
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