It all started a week ago today. I noticed a slightly sore throat when I was working at my weekend job. “Huh“, I thought, “That’s odd. Well, I’m just run down from my week of traveling for work.” I trudged on at work and went right home to bed.
In the middle of the night, I awoke in a cold sweat. “Huh“, I thought. “That’s odd. Maybe I have a little 24-bug-flu-thingy. I’ll be better tomorrow.” I ran a bath of hot water and it took a while for me to start warming up. Then I started to be a little concerned.
The concern grew when I awoke the next morning in another puddle in my own sweat and unbelievably freezing. (Mind you I had done this song and dance three times already in the middle of the night: 12am, 2am and 5am, respectively). Stripping off my wet pajamas, I went onward to the hot bath again. I told myself (again) that it was just a little flu, and that if I slept in the Monday morning, I would be fine enough to go to work Monday afternoon.
When I woke on Monday morning, in an even larger puddle of sweat then before (and another night of a sleepless-cold-sweat-needing-a-warm-bath), it became clear to me that going in to work that day didn’t seem very likely. And, my throat really started hurting. I knew that sore throats we not common with the flu, and who in the hell gets the flu in August anyways?
I tried to “drink lots of fluids” (the advice everyone likes to say when they hear you’re sick), and cross my fingers that I was going to be on the mend by Tuesday.
Tuesday was a low day. I woke up with a lot more pain in my throat and many, many more fevers. Fortunately, I already had a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon for something totally unrelated, so I was so happy to get an examination to make sure I wasn’t going crazy. I don’t have a thermometer or a roommate with a thermometer, so I had no idea how high my temperature was. I drove to the doctor’s office and about halfway I immediately regretted driving myself. I was very dizzy, and another fever was coming on fast. I fortunately made it to the doctor’s, but promptly texted Number 3 to see if she could bring me home afterwards.
Upon the receptionist learning I thought I had the flu, she immediately made me wear a mask over my face and I felt like a leper. Everyone in the doctors’ office stared at me, and scooted away from me.
They finally called me back and determined that my temperature was 101.6. Yes! So, I wasn’t crazy after all…
My doctor, who I love, finally came in to find me curled up in a ball on the exam table, sweating. She must have been slightly concerned. Although all of this was happening, I still thought she would tell me, “Oh, Brittany, it’s just a little flu. Be patient. It will go away.”
But, instead, here is my memory of our conversation:
My doctor who I love: Open your mouth and say ‘ahh’
My doctor who I love: Oh my gosh!
Me: Oh, yeah, well, I have really big tonsils. Actually, my brother and sister do too–
My doctor who I love: Brittany, I know you have big tonsils. They are very infected.
My doctor who I love: You definitely have strep throat.
My doctor who I love prescribed me antibiotics and sent me on my merry way. Just as I was leaving, she reminded me, “Brittany, drink lots and lots of fluids. Especially water. This is so important because you lose a lot of water when you sweat with your fevers.”
So, here’s the think about that. Drinking water. Well, drinking anything. If you know me, you know that I am one of the annoyingly crazy people who carry around a water bottle with me everywhere I go. I drink easily 24-48oz of water everyday. I LOVE water. But since Monday drinking anything – especially water- was so unpleasant, outright painful, that I avoided drinking as much as possible.
Number 3 picked me up, took me to the grocery store to fill up on soups, to Jamba Juice to get a smoothie, and then to the pharmacy to get my meds. She was my hero.
The rest of the week (well, until today) has been kinda of blur, so here are the highlights:
My mom came to take care of my on Wednesday. She did all my dishes, all my laundry, walked Tahn, and bought me lunch, smoothies and dinner. She took me an on errand to buy Tahn more dog food and practically tucked me into bed on Wednesday night. When she left, I was so grateful to hear and so glad that she came to help me. All of my friends (rightfully so) were staying away from me because, as my doctor said, I was extremely contagious. But, my mother came in the line of fire and took the risk of getting sick to help me feel better.
My condition worsens
Unfortunately, I did not feel better. I felt worst. I actually felt worse every single day.
I completely expected to wake up Thursday morning feel remarkably better, almost better enough to go to work. After all, my mom had just pampered me the following day and it was my third day of antibiotics! But…I felt really awful. My mom was very worried and insisted I called my doctor. I thought she was being slightly dramatic. But, since I was still pretty delirious, I thought I should listen to her. I left my doctor a message Thursday afternoon.
The f-ing gnats
This entire week of being sick, gnats have surrounded me. They are in every room of my apartment, except, oddly enough, my kitchen. I have not idea where they’re coming from. They fly around my head, fall into my water (let’s be honest, I wasn’t going to drink it anyways), and literally annoy every ounce in my body. I think I’ve killed about 100. In a moment of frustration and desperation, I texted my dad, asking, “How do I kill gnats?” His response? “Use a sticky trap. From the hardware store.” Well damn. There was no way I would be making it to a hardware store anytime soon.
I still didn’t have my car on Thursday, and I was getting pretty tired of soups, so I texted my dear friend Summer to bring me lunch. Not only did she bring me lunch, but also she brought me lunch from my favorite restaurant, and then also made a separate trip to buy me apple juice. She made my day.
Eating and Drinking
Summer was so kind to bring me lunch (that I was craving so badly) but as soon I took a bite, I realized it was way too difficult for me to swallow. I had to take a usual “bite” and break it down into 3 or 4 smaller bites. It was a chore to eat. And, it was incredibly painful. I would actually hold my throat every time I swallowed water or food because it slightly eased the pain.
It would take all of my energy to drink a glass of water. I couldn’t have the TV on, or my computer open. I would have to sit and sip the water. I would focus on the next tiny sip until the entire glass was gone. I felt like my sweet nephew, Buddy. Who gets easily distracted when he eats (and especially drinks) so whoever is feeding him has to remove all stimuli so he could drink. That was me. Like a seven-month-old.
Apple Juice and Oranges
At around 3 am on either Thursday or Friday morning, I discovered that after I ate an orange, my throat would feel temporarily better. It would feel good enough that I could actually drink water. I could drink water without feeling like knives were tumbling down my throat. IT WAS A MIRACLE. Then, I tried drinking apple juice. Apple juice had the same effect! Waaaa-hooooo! Now I could drink water and eat food again!
Doctor appointment #2
My doctor called back Friday morning, but I had my cell phone turned off. I had learned that all week, my parents and friends felt that at 9:30-10am was a good time to call or text me to see how I was feeling. They didn’t know that was the time of day I got my best sleep and was woken up with each text or phone call. By the time I got the message and called my doctor back, it was early afternoon. By this point, I really couldn’t talk very well. I had to repeat myself on the phone many times for the doctor to understand me. (Apparently, this was very alarming to her. I didn’t see the big deal). She asked me a bunch of questions (that I will not bore you with) and she did not like any of my answers. She wanted to see me right away. I still didn’t have my car, because every time I had arranged to get it from Number 3, I felt too dizzy to drive. So, I called Number 3 to see if she could bring me to the doctor’s. She wasn’t available, so I called Summer. Summer was there in 10 minutes and drove me to the doctor and sat in the waiting room while I was seen.
(Quick side note: my doctor mentioned on the phone that there was a chance that if she couldn’t help me, I would have to go to the emergency room. As a good daughter, I promptly relayed the message to both of my parents. They. Freaked. Out. Well, my dad didn’t outwardly freak out, he was very calm. But I know him so well, and I could tell by the way his voice changed, he was freaking out. My mom freaked out. She was going to drive back to Sacramento to help me right now. “No, no, no” I told her. “Let’s wait to see what the doctor says.”)
In the doctor’s office, she looked again at my tonsils and then immediately left the room. A couple minutes later, I could hear her outside my door, consulting another doctor, discussing whether or not I should go to the hospital. They both came in and looked at my throat. “No” he said. “I don’t see an abscess.” (Oh? I didn’t tell you? They though I had an abscess in my throat and would need to go to the ER to get it drained. To. Get. An. Abscess. Drained).
She swabbed my throat and then explained my treatment plan. She would give me a prescription of super strong antibiotics, a prescription of steroids to bring down the swelling (I know, I was a little unsure about that too) and a shot of antibiotics before I left the office. Now, I am not a fan of shots. Hell, I hate anything that brings me pain. But, I was happy to get a shot to help me feel a little bit better. I just wanted to feel better.
My doctor came in with the syringe. Being a good little patient I rolled back the sleeve of my arm.
My doctor who I love: Oh, no, Brittany. I’m going to have to give you a shot on your bottom.
My doctor who I love: Yeah. I’m sorry. That’s where this shot goes.
Me: Like a little kid?
My doctor who I love: Yeah I guess.
She asked me to turn around, and … guys? She asked me to take off my pants. I thought I was going to die of humiliation.
I did like I was told, got the shot like an adult.
And, then I couldn’t stop laughing. I laughed for the rest of the appointment, most of the way home with Summer, and for another 10 minutes on the phone with both of my parents. I got a shot on my butt! Well, it’s another thing Buddy and I have in common this week.
I had a few more favors to call in to my great friends – my friend Jessica who brought me to the pharmacy to pick up my new meds and to Number 3 to bring my car to me. My friends really helped out above and beyond.
Today, I feel so much better. I can totally eat now, and it is no longer painful to swallow. I’ve had a few doses of antibiotics, and one dose of steroids. My dad is coming up tomorrow to help me out a bit, and most importantly, take care of Tahn. My sweet Tahn has had a terrible week. Besides my mom walking her on Wednesday, she has had no exercise. She’s been going a bit stir crazy, so I know she will be thrilled to see my dad tomorrow.
Lessons Learned? Sometimes, you get really, really sick and you just have to go with it. You have to listen to your body. Exercise and eat right. (I think a few days of traveling and not eating well messed up my immune system).
My friends and family are remarkable.
And? Sometimes you just need a shot in your ass and then everything turns around.