Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Full 8-hour Day

Today is the first 8-hour day I have put in since leaving the office last Friday. Now, I'm running the last 45 minutes of the day on room temperature Dr Pepper, but I'm still here and my head isn't akin to the air around Los Alamos, full of dirt and smoke.

Here's what was discovered. I had fluid in a third of my left Eustachian tube. "And that's your 'good' ear!" my doctor exclaimed after looking. The right ear, the one that did hurt, filled, too. Getting both of those drained is necessary.

That tightness in my chest, well, that's fluid, also. And, because I am somewhat susceptible to bronchitis, all this fluid is going to act like a sybaritic playground for bacterial development. Time to dam the river that is post-nasal drip and send any bacteria setting up shop eviction notices.

I've mentioned I'm allergic to Augmentin, right? You know that Augmentin is just one of a whole arsenal of  'wonder' drugs developed in the wake of penicillin's discovery. My doctor knows that I want the least invasive medication first. Give me generic and give me cheap. If it was good enough for Great Aunt Hazel, it's probably good enough for me. Except when it's not. I broke out in a rash, first on my stomach. I watched as it eventually went 2/3rds of the way around my body before I was given a cream to stop it. It does not work to say, "It doesn't itch. It doesn't itch" when your brain is screaming, "WHY AREN'T YOU SCRATCHING???"

What this means is that my 'wonder' drug means "I wonder how I will pay for anything else after I buy this." The last two times I've needed an antibiotic I've asked, "You're really sure that I can't take amoxicillin? It was augmentin that gave me the rash." "Nice try, but, no." (Heavy sigh) I know that the pharmacy tech is going to look at this, at my insurance, emit a sad sound and say, "You know this costs $40, right, for 10 pills?" Yes, yes, I do know it. But I also know that the consequences of taking a drug to which I am allergic are more. I will pay the $40.

These are a dusky red and 3/4ths of an inch long. They are coated to swallow easier but I also am to try to drink 8-10 ounces of water when I take these. Since I know I'm not drinking enough water, that's not hard to do. I can't take these within 4 hours of taking any multi-vitamin or supplement. Since I'm supposed to be taking glucosamine/chondroitin, this is a problem. I take the antibiotic with my cereal in the morning and take everything else with dinner in the evening. I have taken 2 antibiotics and already feel better than I have since Thursday of last week.

We talked about my knees. There has been, I will admit, very minor improvement in pain. It's most noticeable in my hands. I didn't take the Meloxicam on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning I was back to being unable to clench my hands or grip things without considerable pain. The next step would be an MRI, particularly of the knees, to ascertain if there was any tearing of cartilage. He doesn't think that's warranted. In fact, he'd rather not have me do that at all, that it's a waste of money. But, this is going to be a very slow healing process that will be solely dictated by my body. I'm going to have more bad days than good probably for another month, but he believes, as long as I don't fall as I did in April, I will heal. I will admit that once I stand up and get going, it's not as bad as it was. It's just getting from a seated position to moving in some direction is still very painful. I need to check in at the beginning of August.

Let me tell you about the other item I received from the doctor visit, the cough syrup. It comes in a bright red bottle but it's almost completely clear. There's a very, very slight rosy color to it. I'm going to try to photograph it because, when put on a spoon, it's almost invisible. You know how, in certain light, sometimes water can appear to not be there? I am not able to convey, precisely what I see when I pour out a teaspoon of this stuff. I see the edge but that's all I see. If liquid mercury were transparent, that's what this cough syrup looks like. I am allowed to take up to 2 teaspoons at night to stop the cough. I won't be doing that, ever.

I came home from the pharmacy, looked through the reams of paper I get with my new bottles of stuff and had a coughing fit. Well, let's take a teaspoon of this right now. Ten minutes later, I was looking for my head in the corners of the living room, convinced it had become detached somehow and was floating about the room. I sat down in my recliner, reclined and was out in roughly 10 seconds. When I awoke, 90 minutes later, Pilchard was asleep in my lap, and I hadn't coughed nor did I have the desire to. I was told that, to start the day, I could take 1/2 tsp before heading to work. Right, and then I have to negotiate traffic while in an addle-pated state? No, thank you. I'll suck cough drops at the office, if it gets that bad.

My doctor and I shared the laugh that I hadn't seen him in about 18 months and then everything went to pot. There is a lot of truth to his come-back, "That's because you don't see me once a year." Guilty. If I'm feeling great, as I had been, I figure I'm doing what I should be doing. A physical wouldn't stop soft tissue damage from falling, nor would it have pinpointed what it was that caused my massive allergy attack. As the body ages, one probably should spend a bit more to maintain it.

That is where things stand right now. Occasionally, I cough a deep, hacking cough that causes any cat near me to flee. I probably bruised either my lungs or pulled a rib cage muscle when coughing so stopping the cough made my chest ache go away. If only everything was that simple to fix. I feel the need for a nap which I will probably take even though I may be up until midnight. Slow steps in the right direction now. By this weekend, I might have enough energy to cook myself dinner.

Beverage:  Dr Pepper


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