Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Common Cold

I don't want to brag, but medical maladies are kind of my thing.
Ok, that is obviously an exaggeration. I am, for the most part, your typical, healthy twenty-something year old. But I do get weird medical ailments that most people my age aren't fortunate enough to get.

Skinned Knees

Recently, I have had a propensity for skinned knees. I won't go into too much detail because if you follow the link you will see I have already explained it. I know that skinning your knees isn't exactly a medical issue, but I might be able to argue that I have a some kind of inner ear issue, or perhaps just terrible balance. Either way, the glaring scars on me knees will testify to the fact that my skinned knees were in fact an threat to my overall health and wellness.


And not the kind you put on a roof. The kind that you usually get as an... elderly person. I may have mentioned earlier that I am twenty. Something. Twenty-something. But in 2011 I was blessed to get shingles anyway. Chest pains for over a week, a searing headache, and the ever so delightful rash on my side. Luckily, I had a textbook case which was easily recognized by a co-worker when I told her my symptoms. This enabled me to get to the doctor very quickly and I was able to get treated before it got too bad or too painful. But, since pain is really all relative and I haven't actually experienced all that much of it, I felt like it was pretty bad.


Don't feel bad if you haven't heard of it, I hadn't either. Until I got it. It started out as a small red spot just lower than my chest. I noticed it, watched it for a few days, and then decided I was going to wait the mere 2 weeks until my dermatologist appointment before doing anything about it. I mean.. It was one red spot, it didn't itch or hurt, it wasn't growing or spreading... how bad could it really be?

About a week later one of my co-workers had a student in her class who was severely bitten by bed bugs. This of course caused a mild panic amongst all teachers who had been in her room, hosted the child in their room, had other students from her class in their room, or had their own students in her room. I of course fit all of these categories.

So it was completely reasonable that I jumped to the conclusion that I, too, had been affected by the bed bugs when I arrived home one Thursday to find my chest completely covered in tiny red, oval shaped bumps. Obviously, I panicked. But after a few minutes of hysteria I began to realize that the "bites" did not hurt or itch and soothed myself with the knowledge that these must not be bed bug bites. They were just some other weird, unexplained, non-itchy bite that I had covering my chest.

Two days later when I was at the dressing room at Ross the hysteria quickly returned when I realized my entire torso was covered in those little red "bites." For an extended time I just stood there, unsure of what to do. But after a quick polling of my mom, my sister and three of my closest friends, who all gave me the same advice (GO TO A DOCTOR) I decided to go to the doctor.

The doctor (who I made say "It is not bed bugs" out loud, more than once) told me I had a textbook case of Pityriasis. He kept making jokes, comparing it to Christmas, which I am sure he thought was funny due to our closeness to the actual holiday, but it didn't endear me to him or to the red spots.

Luckily I had a textbook case of this as well, which meant there was literally nothing I could do to get rid of it. It is a rash which has an unknown cause, which has no cure and which goes away in an indeterminate amount of time.

Which brings me to my most recent medical calamity.

I woke up the Friday before spring break feeling the pain of a thousand razor blades down my throat. It was almost unbearable. Seriously, I wish there was a way to explain how much it hurt. I have had sore throats before and since (which is impressive considering this was only 3 weeks ago) and nothing compares to how much this hurt.

By the next day I decided that there was a slight chance I had overreacted. I know those who know me best will be SHOCKED to know that I may have overreacted about something, but even I was willing to admit that a sore throat with no other symptoms was probably nothing. As the weekend progressed I did my best to just deal with the sore throat since there were no other symptoms. The thing was... I couldn't get it to go away. No combination of pain killers, cold medicines, cough drops and chloreseptic sprays did even an ounce of good at stopping the pain. At one point every two hours I was taking an alternating combination of ibuprofen and severe sore throat syrup, with cough drops intermittently mixed in and I would swear under oath that it provided absolutely no relief to the fire that was blazing inside of my throat. To say I was miserable would be an understatement.

I knew it must be something terrible. I was unable to sleep, the swelling in my throat was now on three out of the four sides, and I had started to develop a teensy bit of a cough. I rushed myself to a walk in clinic as soon as humanly possible and cried to my mom on the phone when I got there over an hour before they opened. This wasn't an accident or a mistake, I purposefully got there that early because I was in so much pain it was more satisfying to wait outside of the doctor's office than to wait in the comforts of a bed with a pillow and a blankie.

Do you know what that doctor told me? It's JUST A COLD. Nothing we can do for you, no prescriptions to write, no magic cure. A COLD. Me, of the premature shingles, and the extrememly rare pityriasis, I had... a cold.

She must have been able to tell I wasn't pleased with her diagnosis because she did then write me a prescription for antibiotics and some kind of liquid numbing agent to help with the pain.

Due to my lack of sleep, the ineffectiveness of the liquid numbing juice and the just overall extreme pain, this entire debacle ended in an soup spilling event in which Michelle found me, sobbing on the floor, surrounded by puddles of noodles and broth, incoherently mumbling about a sore throat, no sleep and a burnt hand.

The Common Cold.... Ugh. 

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