Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Few Things on a Thursday: A Tale of Strep Throat

Photo Source: The Daily Funnies
The week began with such high hopes. A three-day weekend? Yay, right? Until you wake up on Tuesday to discover that you have strep throat. Oh my... ah! So I've been on the couch since Tuesday. Thank goodness for the option to schedule posts in advance, or else it would have been a very dull week online at The Tally Tales...

Now, let's be honest. It didn't happen overnight... I spent the weekend with a scratchy, sore throat. But let's not forget that I am a first-grade teacher. I spend 80% of my school year with either a runny nose, sore throat, lack-of-a-voice, or a variety of other aches and pains associated with working with small children all day, every day. I'm not whining; I'm just explaining why my first instinct when it comes to physical ailments is not to run to the doctor; it's to suck it up and reach for the home remedies. Generally, home remedies are my friends. My medicine cabinet contains copious amounts of vitamin C, honey, cinnamon, B12, and even the good ole' effervescent vitamins. (I've recently been told that grape seed extract is great for your immune system, so I'm looking into that one.) 

You know the gargle-with-salt-water home remedy? It's probably my most-often-used home remedy. (It's actually noted as a treatment for strep throat, according to the various sites I visited.) Well, for the record, it does not help strep throat. Not even a little. Not even enough to give you a little peace of mind. It may help the common-cold scratchy throat, but it's got nothing on strep. Also, chamomile tea and lemon tea provide a bit of relief, but they're not cure-all options. I did see some garlic and honey suggestions, but I gave up and called the doctor before I got around to trying that... 

I suppose my point is that, even if you hate those doctor visits (and I really, really do...) sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and be sick. Strep is no joke, people. 

I spent Monday night battling a throat that began sore and scratchy, but grew steadily swollen, raw, and painful. I reached for the chloraseptic spray countless times, even though it did nothing more than burn. You know those moments when you just need to believe something will help? Well, those are my chloraseptic-spray moments.  When I woke up Tuesday morning, (I use the term woke up lightly... I never really slept that night...)  I put on my big-girl panties, called in sick, and went to the doctor, certain that I had strep throat. 

This is how the visit went: I walked in the doctor's office and completed the sign-in sheet by writing "strep throat" on the "reason for visit" line. I seated myself near the restroom because I was also fighting waves of nausea. (Strep throat makes me nauseated along with everything else.) From the waiting room, I sent my mom the following text: I have strep. Will let you know after the doctor agrees. (Well, it was something like that.) I used GermX about 15 times in the small waiting period. I mean, I knew why I was sick, but I couldn't account for every other individual in the waiting room. The whole time I sat there, I thought, I don't trust sick people. I always think that when I am sick and waiting to see the doctor. Ironic, isn't it???

The nurse finally called me to do the usual pulse, blood pressure, and weight checks. When she asked for my symptoms, I said, "I have strep throat." Now, I understand that I am no doctor. I understand that they see sore throats and hear about false suspicions of strep a lot. I understand that they rely on the sound, medically-proven evidence before diagnosing a condition.

I also know when I have strep throat, and I had strep throat.

Nevertheless, we discussed symptoms. I took advantage of the opportunity to constructively complain (aka whine) in as few words as possible, and as my last symptom, I explained "It hurts to talk. A lot." Again, irony? Finally, she said, "I think we should do a strep test." Well. Duh. I know I sound so bratty, but judge not, reader; it has been a rough week, and that was a very rough morning after one very, very long night.

So, in spite of my expert-diagnosis, they did the lovely strep test, which involved wiping, poking, and scraping (I know, I know; the nurse was really trying to be gentle) my sore, swollen, raw throat with a cotton swab. Five minutes later, the doctor walked back in, looked at me, shook his head, and said, "Wow, there's a lot of strep in there." 

I shot him my most gracious, sincere I-told-you-so look.

For the next few minutes, I listened as he provided me with a thorough description of everything I would experience in the next couple of days: possible rash (don't worry; it will go away on it's own!); nausea (try to stay hydrated!); severe throat pain and body aches (take Tylenol!); yada, yada, yada. Finally, I walked out with a printout of my prescription, while the real thing was transferred electronically to Walgreen's. (To make it even better, I have a penicillin allergy. So, I can't get the quick-fix shot; I have to opt for the five-day Z-pack treatment.) 

I left feeling grateful for the meds, and wondering how on earth doctors say so cheerful considering that all they see all day are sick people in sad, foul moods. People like me at that moment. Yikes.

I went to the pharmacy only to find that there was some mix-up in the prescription transfer and after numerous phone calls to the doctor's office, we finally got the situation under control. It took about an hour of painful, nauseated, and fatigue-filled waiting to get the meds. 

I returned home and collapsed on the couch, following doctor's orders to stay there until Thursday. 

Thursday.

Which means I have missed half of this already-short school week. Nothing aggravates me more. I hope other teachers out there handle sick days better than I do, because I am just not very good at dealing with orders to rest and relax while those lesson plans and good intentions for the school week go wasting away. I have a wonderful assistant who has taken perfect care of things while I have been out, but in spite of that, I am miserable because I am stuck at home doing nothing. I'm just not a do-nothing, rest-and-recover kind of person. 

So I'm back at school today, on this Thursday. Usually, at this point, I am wrapping up one week and gathering plans/materials in preparation for the next week. Can you begin and end a week at the same time? We'll see! Either way, I am finally off the couch...