14 September 2010

The Little Grape of Wrath

I started getting a sore throat over the weekend but it didn't seem like a big deal. The kids are back at school and have been fighting colds with their classmates, and I thought it would just run its course and go away. Yesterday at work, I noticed that I seemed to be breaking out in cold sweats, chills and was having trouble swallowing- on top of that I was short of breath. I work at a job that keeps me moving on my feet all day long, so the shortness of breath was the thing that started to worry me. Not wanting to take any chances with what I thought was strep throat, or even worse the big heart attack I keep warning the kids they are pushing me towards, I decided it was time to go to the local Med Express.

I don't know if you have these types of establishments where you live but I think they are the greatest invention since canned beer and sliced bread. Instead of calling your regular physician, and hoping they can squeeze you in the during the next 8 to 12 months, you simply walk in these places, tell them what's wrong and get seen in a matter of minutes. My doctor is a great guy who I really like but I limit my visits to him to stuff like routine physicals- I have no doubt I could call him with a collapsed lung, or partially amputated arm, and his receptionist would ask if I could hold off coming in until 2011.

Like most incidents of adversity, whether great or small like this one, I even had a brief moment to quietly meditate on some Buddhist mindfulness. In this case, because the reception area was extremely busy and noisy, I simply closed my eyes for a minute and reflected on how fortunate I was to have access to excellent medical care when compared to the vast majority of souls on this planet. No matter what the problem was, I was confident I would be quickly patched up and back out the door.

The doctor took a look in my mouth, said something like "hmmmm", took another look and furrowed her brow. "Have you had any trouble breathing ?," yes I replied, "well typically you would want to go the ER at the hospital for something like this." It seems I had a raging case of Uvulitis (the Uvula is the little thingy that hangs from the roof your mouth at the entrance to your throat and means "little grape" at least according to Wikipedia) and it was so swollen it was partially blocking my ability to breath and swallow- which would account for me drooling all over my shirt at lunch. So, I got a shot of steroids in the butt to take down the swelling, some more oral antibiotics and steroids and was sent home with strict orders to go to the hospital if I couldn't breath- sarcasm obviously not being part of the medical school curriculum I just kept my reply to myself and headed for the door.


  1. Holy crap I just flashed back to a MASH episode involving a tracheotomy. I hope you feel better soon, and don't skimp on the ice cream.

  2. I guess I know why NFL linemen are so big. After that steroid shot, I awoke at 4 AM with a raging hunger. I went downstairs and ate 6 waffles while my cat sat there looking at me as if to say "what the hell are you doing up ?" 3 hours later, I ate breakfast.