March 10th, 2006


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.)