I’d been fighting something that was lodged inside of me. Located somewhere from the shoulders up. In February, I had a raging sinus infection. Antibiotics – Augmentin, to be exact. Followed by Amoxicillin. Gone..sort of. I couldn’t seem to get rid of a weird feeling in my throat. Or that constant frog living in there. But I sucked it up. Then April happened. I caught some God-knows-whatall upper respiratory virus on an airplane that turned into a bacterial nightmare overnight. Complete with two infected and completely plugged ears. And here we go again. This time around, it was Zithromycin and cough syrup with codeine. Gone…sort of. Now it was July and I thought ~ “it’s Summer. I’m free and clear.” Wrong. Illness number three of 2015. Complete with the worst, most painful ear infection I’ve experienced since prior to my septoplasty in 1998. This was head cold HELL.
Finally, I acquired a brain and went off to see an ENT. The diagnosis was startling, to say the least. How many of you have had your tonsils and adenoids out? Well, surprise. They don’t really remove your adenoids. They “trim” them. And thus, the trim site in my throat was swollen and infected. This site is located directly above my eustachian tubes. Leading to the ear issues. Well, I still have to figure out why this happened, but in the meantime, more drugs. Ugh. Prednisone for the swollen throat. Cyclomycin for the infection.
Prescription drugs. How can I be only 50 years old and be so sick of them? I guess that’s what happens when you go on high blood pressure meds at the age of 35 and cholesterol meds at the age of 42. They work just fine, but when there are side effects, they are never, ever good. Hair loss, coughing and muscle cramps…just off the top of my head.
Enter Prednisone. The P.A. (I love him – I’ve already nicknamed him “Dan the Man”) warned me to cut down my coffee intake because this little pill would be like a caffeine jolt. That description doesn’t even touch what has happened to me since about day two on this drug. Energy. Good energy. Not the jittery kind that caffeine offers. Useful energy. Mood enhancement. I feel optimistic about pretty much everything at this moment. Clarity. Clarity of thought and word. This is some sort of miracle.
Example: this past weekend, on Saturday I planned a week’s worth of lunch and dinner menus, grocery shopped at a farmer’s market and Trader Joe’s, practiced the piano for an hour and walked the length of a local village including up and down hills by the Niagara Gorge. I topped all of that on Sunday. I went to church, prepared a stuffed roast chicken for the slow cooker, did five loads of laundry, made sun tea and cauliflower rice, practiced the piano again and….drum roll…cleaned out my kitchen pantry!! This might seem like a light day for some of you. You know who you are. You’re the ones who diligently tell us on Facebook every weekend about every chore you’ve crossed off of your “list”. For me, this was the equivalent of hard labor in Siberia. My new-found efficiency continued as I ventured into the work week. Did I use the word “miracle” already? I can’t help but think that this is what it’s like to be a (hate to use this word, but…) normal person instead of the blob that ate Tonawanda (my town).
Here’s the problem. In two days, I will be done with Prednisone. Caput. Dan the Man warned me that people come into the doctor’s office and ask for a refill, and he’s like ” ah, no…. sorry.” I’ve heard enough and seen enough, even in my own family, about prescription drug addiction to never, ever try to get more of this wonder drug. All I can do now is wonder what the rest of my life would be like if I could capture this energy and motivation and hold on to it forever. I am also smack dab in the middle of the Whole30 eating program (and loving it). So, there’s this tiny grain of hope in my brain that at least a fraction of this goodness is being caused by my new eating habits. But, what if the Prednisone is the reason why I’ve achieved Whole30 success thus far? What if it’s all been a tiny capsule of normalcy that will explode and dissipate by next weekend?
What have I achieved? The weird feeling in my throat is gone. The frog has almost left my throat to take up residence on the lily pad inside someone else’s windpipe. My pantry and kitchen are a pleasure to navigate and I no longer have spices in my cupboard that look and smell like bad marijuana. Most important of all is my sudden insight into just how easy it could be to get hooked on a prescription drug. I go back to Dan the Man for a follow up fifteen days from now. Necessary discussion about how and why my Adenoid stump went haywire aside, if he were – for any reason – to say “I think you need another round of Prednisone”, I would be dancing for joy right down the 4-lane 50 mph road on which the doctor’s office presides. It will still be hard to have sympathy for people who gamble, steal, sell themselves or whatever to pay for their nasty habit, but I’m pretty sure I have a better idea now of how it all might have begun for them. They feel like better people while indulging in their substance of choice. And doesn’t everyone want to feel like a better person even occasionally?