Monday, December 20, 2010

My Tonsillitis Week

So on Wednesday morning I'm collapsed on the floor of my kitchenette, having made a mess of myself with my breakfast of canned peaches.  I lack the strength to stand up, despite the peaches, and I start feeling I've reached a serious nadir of health and personal dignity here.  I'd spent Tuesday in a similar, if less profound stupor, but at least then I'd been in bed and not all sticky with canned peach syrup.  Monday had arguably been worse.

Let me tell you about Monday.  My fever began Sunday afternoon.  I ate some kimchi, took some ibuprofen and went to bed early.  I made all the right moves.  Even so, I was roused deadly early Monday morning by serious chills.  This was bad news for me because the heat was already on and I couldn't get any warmer in bed.  So, after due deliberation, I made for the shower.

Soon I discovered that even the shower's maximum hotness was insufficiently hot for my needs.  There wasn't enough water or heat to stop my convulsing.  It was maddening, trying to spread what there was as evenly as possible over my surface area, struggling to maintain a constant level of misery.  And I was committed to the shower:  it was bad, but once I was naked and wet, every other place was worse.

I made a high-risk, naked dash to turn up the power on the water heater.  This was dangerous and really unpleasant but it worked, turning my shower into a shamefully inefficient jacuzzi.  I stayed in there long enough to get pruney hands.  Once I'd toweled off, I spent the rest of the day lying on the floor in a stupor.   

So yes, I was at a low ebb Monday, but on Wednesday I nonetheless felt I had finally arrived at my Waterloo, on the kitchenette floor.  I had a hazy recollection of OTC medication labels warning me to discontinue their use and seek medical attention if fever persists or worsens after 3 days.  What I had was at the very least persistent.  My strategy of lying in stupors and eating ibuprofen plainly wasn't gittin' er done.  I spent a long time on the floor, wondering if I could make it to the doctor on my own or if I'd need to call someone for help.  Being a rugged individualist badass type person, I found the strength to dress myself and shuffle over to Dr. Shim's.

Dr. Shim checked my temperature, looked at my throat, and was like totally shocked.  His voice didn't say "whoa!" but his face did.  I didn't think my throat could be too nasty bad, considering I was still eating solid food, but w/e I hadn't taken a look so for all I knew it was just total carnage in there.  He said "you have tonsillitis, with severe inflammation!"  My first thought was that he'd want to have my tonsils out.  I'm a child of the '80s, a benighted decade when tonsillitis was something that cost you part of your body, like appendicitis or being born male.  But all Dr. Shim did was spray some "medicine" on mine and prescribe an injection and a course of pills.

I'd heard of and declined this injection before.  I went to Dr. Shim after my last set of sick days, just to get a document in case someone at school thought I'd been playing hooky.  I was already nearly recovered and only had a cold, but he prescribed some pills anyway and offered me an injection for my aches/pains, which I turned down because it's just a cold, dude.  This time I was weak enough to trust the doctor's judgment and allow a nurse to give me the jab.  So I dropped trou and leaned over, and while she was judiciously slapping my bare bottom I reflected on the unpredictable turns my life has taken.  I don't know what she injected into my pasty flank, but I felt much improved afterward.  All told, the medical attention, injection and pills cost me about $6.20.  Not bad.  Here's a picture of the take:

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