Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Strep Poker

Now that I have the ability to swallow without wincing, let's do a brief re-cap of the whole strep throat experience, shall we? (Gimme a break; since I was incapacitated for most of last week, I've precious few recent experiences to blog about).

My six readers know that the Boy went ten rounds with roseola and an ear infection two weeks ago, and his parents and grandparents spent the better part of those sicky days tending to a very unhappy toddler. As he felt better, though, I started feeling worse. And on Oscar Sunday I woke up in pain. Eh, whaddya gonna do? I self-diagnosed a change-of-season cold, went to work on Monday, and tried to convince myself that I was fine.

I kinda knew something was up when all I wanted to do was nap under my desk and my eyes were leaking like a broken water main.

Tuesday morning, I went to the doctor's around the corner from me. My master plan was to get there about 10 minutes before they opened 'cause it's one of those places that doesn't take appointments. But I was clearly delirious, because I went to the wrong shopping center. By the time I figured that little factoid out and hustled over to the correct shopping center, five other people had signed in before me. Those five people translated into a 45-minute wait to be seen by any medical professionals.

The only available magazine in the waiting room was an issue of Time that I'd already read cover to cover.

When my name was called, I followed the tiny Physician's Assistant to the cube where she took my vitals. My weight was down two pounds due to my inability to swallow anything thicker than broth. Then she led me to curtained exam room where she swabbed my nose and throat. Awesome. That's exactly what I wanted: to be jabbed in tender spots. During this swabbing frenzy, she chit-chatted about how she washes her hands like crazy. Maybe I'm sensitive, but I got the distinct impression she was hinting that the acres of white pus spots in my throat are a result of lax hand washing. Listen, my hands are STILL chapped from the umpteen times a day I scrubbed during the Boy's illness.

Then she shared that she will occasionally sniff water and spit it out to clear her nasal cavity of any bacteria that are thinking about setting up house. At that point, I decided I could stop listening to her advice. If I wanted to snort water, I'd plunk down some coin for a Neti pot.

She left to run the tests and see what they tell her about my ailments. Fifteen minutes later, the flu swab came back negative, and the strep swab came back inconclusive. So, Physician's Assistant-ette swabbed my throat a second time. Joy. Another fifteen minutes, and another negative result. Uh oh, what does that mean?

That means that mustachioed Mr. Dr. Man decided to send a throat culture out, because those tests are more reliable. I am then swabbed a third time. Mr. Dr. Man then says that if the throat culture also comes back negative (by Thursday or Friday), then I should come in to have a mononucleosis test done. Yipes! MONO? I'm THIRTY. And I'm not smooching anyone by Hubby, so mono seems very unlikely. To battle the unconfirmed strep, though, Mr. Dr. Man prescribed me some antibiotics and sent me home.

On the way, I drifted through the supermarket to pick up some sicky sore throat essentials: soup, pudding, throat lozenges, Thera-Flu. Unfortunately, the supermarket is remodeling and the ONE aisle that they hadn't totally restocked yet was the cold medicine aisle. Pickings were slim, and I had to knock a couple of clip boards and carboard boxes out of the way, but I managed to get everything and get home.

Cut to three days later. My throat is almost back to normal (hooray for antibiotics!), but my test results for strep still hadn't come in. During the Friday afternoon commute, I punched the doctor's office number into my cell phone so I could confirm that the test results were positive for strep. I mean, what else could it be? The symptoms fit, and the antibiotics were helping, which wouldn't be the case with a virus. But the nurse on the other line told me that the culture was negative too. Confound it!

So...my weekend kicked off with sitting in the doctor's office AGAIN, thumbing throught the dogeared copy of Time, and having blood drawn for a mono test which...drums please...came back NEGATIVE. A different doctor saw me this time and decided that my throat must have been crammed so full of pus that the strep test was negative because none of the strep bacteria had a chance of getting caught on the cotton swab.

Appetizing, eh? But I'm on my eighth day of antibiotics, and I am hale and hearty once again. 'Til the Boy dances with another childhood ailment, I guess.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think I have strep throat but i have no insurance so goin to the doc is outta the qustion. Is there any over the counter medicine that could clear it up? Please e-mail whireymil@unionplus.net