Late last week I received an email from a dear old friend with words to the effect of I know it’s last minute, but my band is playing in town tonight, blah, blah, blah, I’ll leave you tickets at the door… will you come?
It had been a dog’s age since I’ve seen his face, apart from on television now and then – in fact, outside of a stray email every couple of years, I worked out that I hadn’t actually seen in him person since I was carrying Oliver around in the Baby Bjorn. Whoa… seven years? Of course I said yes.
As the day went on, the slight soreness in my throat was beginning to nag at me, and I felt I was coming down with a cold. And the evening was to be clear and chilly… Oh, ack. What to do?
Well, I did what I normally do in such a predicament: I took some extra-strength Tylenol, had a cup of coffee before leaving the house, and ventured out in a taxi to see my friend play music. I show up for people I like whenever I possibly can.
It was wonderful, and I’m so glad I went. As I sat in the theatre, alone, I sucked on a mint and listened with my eyes closed sometimes… and wondered if it was me, or were my tonsils actually swelling a little?
After the show we talked our fool heads off, he and I, and other members of his band – Toronto people, and musicians – all so incestuous in their ties to other bands over these many, many (twenty?) years that we’ve known each other, that we are not exactly strangers: I remember each player from some other time and place in my life. We all had a glorious time.
I went home at two A.M.
The next morning, my sore throat was just raging. I chalked it up to not having enough sleep, and being out late in the November night… I had coffee and took more Tylenol. All the muscles in my neck and upper back were stiff, like I couldn’t s-t-r-e-t-c-h them enough, no matter how hard I tried. But evening, I opted to take a nighttime Cold & Flu tablet, and prayed that Martin wouldn’t be to late coming home, should I have to put myself to bed by eight o’clock.
But my throat raged like I’d been swallowing broken glass. Every swallow hurt me in a way that killed. KILLED, I say!! I’d never had a sore throat like this in my life. It’s my penance for staying out so late in bars with boys in bands and booze and full moons I thought. I’ll go to the clinic in the morning.
Which I did do, and I arrived early, only to be told there would be no doctor at the clinic today, sorry for the inconvenience. Seriously? So, WHAT’S THE POINT OF HAVING A CLINIC THEN??! Gah.
I was already exhausted, and decided to just go home and try to deal with my malaise. Which got progressively worse all day, to the point that I could barely even drink warm water, and with every swallow, I felt a tear ready to make it’s escape from my eye. Every. Time.
I didn’t eat much. (I just said I could hardly drink anything.) I couldn’t sleep much either. Every swallow was torture. I could barely turn my head without my neck killing me, for all the swollen lymphnodes. I couldn’t even open my mouth wide enough to look inside my own mouth without wanting to die. I started to talk funny.
No Tylenol could help. No amount of chamomile tea or gargling with salt water, or aspirin-laced water, or honey-laced anything was helping. I sucked on lozenges with anaesthetic like my life depended on them. I barely slept a wink that night. Again.
The next day I went back to the clinic, and after waiting (oy, the waiting…) for over four hours to see someone, I finally had a confirmed positive strep test, and a prescription in hand for antibiotics, which are the most miraculous thing ever made by man, and I thank my lucky stars that they are available to us all.
Less than 24 hours later, I feel like a new woman. I have just a regular sore throat now, which I can totally manage. And I believe that was the most exhausting part of it all: managing the pain of this thing. I liken it to labour pain (not that they are in any way similar) in that it hurts like holymarymotherofgod and there’s nothing you can do about it but suck it up and try not to cry
too much. I’m so happy to be back on the road to health.
Also, I find it amazing how many times I’ve been told to remember to finish my medication by loving friends out there… let me just say that as a child of a doctor and otherwise science-y people, this has never been an issue with me. A person must ALWAYS finish what’s prescribed to them. This rule comes second only to not taking someone else’s prescription medication. Honestly, If you don’t know that, then you’re just dumber than dumb.
I’m on the mend… but who is going to come and do this laundry?
PS – My husband is amazing, and I am so thankful that this all happened over a weekend when I could be busy being thisclose to death, and he could care for the children and make me soup.
Ever felt like hell? Tell.
Candace! You poor thing… I can’t imagine having this thing EVER AGAIN! I would have been swinging from a rope by now if I’d had to suffer this kind of thing for SIX MONTHS!! My goodness… swallowing over a hill… yes. Exactly. I could cry at the memory of it.
And thanks for the tip – if it does come back (and I don’t kill myself first) I will inquire about a different anti-b. I hope you’re completely in the clear now!! (The alternative is just… yikes.)
Oh, you it, lady. TERRIBLE pain!! Anyway, I’m back – feeling MUCH better, and FINISHING my meds. Thanks for the good vibes, Julie!!
Thanks, Carol! Yes, it was a long wait, but at least I got seen… and I’m actually glad it was bacterial and not viral, because if I’d been sent home without a prescription of some sort, I would have been forced to find something stronger to ease me. Like heroin. Or something. 😉
Oh Tracey, you have my sympathies. After not having strep for 19 years, I had recurring strep infections last year that plagued me from June to December. (I mean plagued me…like maybe 3-5 days in between and then I had it again.) It was the most exhausting, awful period, trying to work and take care of a toddler.
At the onset, I would get fevers and headaches, and the pain and swelling on the outside of my throat and around my neck and in my ears was absolutely excruciating. I would ice my neck and my throat from the outside trying to get some relief, and drink hot water with honey and lemon for the inside (and drool at night from trying not to swallow). It always felt like I was trying to swallow over a hill, to me.
I hope it does not come back to bug you again, but if it does, here is a tip: get a different type of antibiotic each time. My doctor kept prescribing the same one, and when I finally insisted he try another kind, it cleared up within 3 days and never came back.
the eating of glass! gah! hurts so bad…glad to hear you’re on the mend.
Strep throat is killer painful! Sorry to hear that you had to suffer through it. And waiting 4 hours to see the doctor, that’s crazy. I hope that you’re on the mend!
Oh, we will find musicians together one day, woman – live music is balm for the soul, don’t you think? One day, for sure!!
And yes, I kick strep in the taco. Oy.
Oh lady – I know: the flu like that can be just a killer. I’ve been there… once. Indeed, husbands like these are golden. 🙂
Loathe the strep…and loathe being sick with kids.
Loathe that I couldn’t have gone with you …..musicians…..hmmmmm
Wow! So wonderful that you got to get out and catch up with old friends. That’s one of my all time favourite things to do. But your throat? Sheesh. I don’t think I’ve ever had strep-throat, but I did have to take my first sick day in three years last March. The flu got me. In a bad, bad way. I slept for three solid days and woke up looking like a prisoner of war. My husband brought me warm things to drink and Advil, put cool cloths on my forehead, and kept the kids from giving me too many feel-better cuddles. They’re good to have around, husbands like these. 🙂