I just bullied a doctor into giving me drugs.
The glands on my neck are so swollen that they are visible to the casual observer. Both of my ears hurt, and my throat feels as if it is coated with ground glass. I have been running a mild fever off and on for the past three days, which means I am taking 600 mg of Motrin every six hours round the clock – both for the fever and to alleviate the pain enough for me to sleep or function.
I contract some lovely form of this every winter – usually it starts out in my sinuses and migrates to my ears, although usually only one. I got – lucky? - this year as it pretty much started out in both ears, all at once.
So this time, rather than torturing myself trying to sleep or rest (have you met my three small children?) while feeling like I have hot pokers inserted in my eardrums and shivering away under the down comforter, multiple wool blankets, and the hot water bottle, for well onto two weeks before finally caving and hieing myself to the doctor, I called the doctor first thing this morning (Monday) and scheduled an appointment for this afternoon.
Yes, it exhausted me to bundle up two small kids and pack them into the car and chivvy them from parking lot to elevator, from waiting room to examining room. But I sustained myself by thinking how much better I was going to feel even just tomorrow morning, after two doses of killer antibiotics.
After twenty minutes of distracting and entertaining my boys by looking out the window and enthusiastically exclaiming “Bus!” Every. Single. Time. a bus passed (and my doctor’s office is on the main thoroughfare), the doctor finally came into the room.
Now, I have a wonderful PCP. She’s young and energetic and sympathetic and really listens to me. But due to the nature of the practice, sometimes I am unable to get in to see her on such short notice. And when that is the case (not often), the practice gets me in to see a doctor as soon as they can, which I do appreciate. And let’s face it, we’re not talking intricate brain surgery or even any sort of complicated care of a chronic disease – we’re talking giant swollen glands and hurty ears. If I could write prescriptions myself, we could all save everyone here a whole bunch of trouble. But I digress – Dr H was not available today so they set me up with Dr L. Who looked to be about eighteen, and had the acne to match. He came into the room wearing gloves (this does not fill me with confidence re: the sterility of said gloves, how do I know he put them on new after his last patient?), gingerly examined both ears, had me say AHHHH and looked at my throat from, I am not kidding you here, three feet away – his arm was fully outstretched, little otoscope-y thingey held by the tips of his fingers. I have to say here that if anyone in the room were worrying about catching something gross from someone else, *I* was not the one with four or five huge oozing cold sores all over MY mouth. But again, I digress.
Then he looks at me and seriously – SERIOUSLY – suggests that my symptoms are “probably” viral, and sinus-related (except my sinuses are the ONLY part of my head that doesn't hurt), and that means treating the symptoms (with Motrin - duh! and something called Magic Swizzle which, frankly, to me? Sounds like a sex toy) and riding them out. Rest, sleep, etc. (Have you met my three small children?) If my symptoms persist in “a week or two,” I should return and we would “reassess.”
This is where I turned into the patient I always swore I would never ever be – and I fixed him with my steely glare and said, slowly, deliberately, “Give me the antibiotics and no one will get hurt.” Okay, I was minimally more polite than that, but you get the idea.
He right-quick agreed to a course of amoxicillin – “I like to give a ten-day course, even though I see Dr H generally gives you a seven-day course” (in the thought bubble over his head: “because you scare the piss out of me and I never want you to have to come back here again, ever.”)
Ten minutes later, I was on my way, with my achy breaky ears and my sore, swollen throat, and my fever of 100, prescription clutched in my hot little hand.
Don’t start pontificating to me about the abuse of antibiotics leading to resistant killer strains of monster bacteria pummeling the crap out of the human race and its collective immune system – I don’t have time for that. I don’t care. I need my drugs NOW. I need to be able to swallow and breathe without pain, because in case you haven’t noticed, those two things are sort of vital for everyday living. And I KNOW I do not get adequate amounts of rest and sleep – have you met my three small children? But right now I am snuggled in bed under all the blankets, a hot, sludgy mug of tea with lemon and honey and a healthy slug of brandy at my side. RESTING. If only the damn children would go to sleep.
Apparently Magic Swizzle is used for (among other things) numbing the throat. Check this page out. But does anyone lese notice what I did? Yep, you did? Hard to miss, no?
The medication may be helpful in the management of mouth ulcers and canker sores.
Gives entirely new meaning to the phrase, "Physician, heal thyself."