Wednesday, October 2, 2013

In the Twilight Zone

In the previous post I wrote that I thought I had a cold or flu. I no longer think I did or do. I'm not quite sure what's going on. Whatever it is, it caused my sinus infection to change and become much more "active".

I went to see Doctor B the ENT today and had a very long visit. It was an "on call" day for him so I don't think he books many appointments and had time available.

[Although I must say that throughout this entire experience I have only felt rushed by a doctor once or twice in dozens of visits.]

One remark he made is that perhaps what I'm experiencing is my immune system having reached a high enough strength to launch a real response. That would explain the "active" sense that I have.

Doctor B used an instrument to look very carefully around my nasal cavity. If he could see active drainage from the sinus openings he would have taken a sample to culture. That might tell us exactly what bug we're fighting and in turn tell us exactly what antibiotic to use. Unfortunately, at the time of the exam my sinuses were not draining.

He commented that this infection has surely been stubborn, but that he is equally stubborn and we're going to figure this out. He didn't mention it, but from reading online I've learned that long-simmering sinus infections can have very serious consequences including bone and eye damage, loss of smell, hearing damage and even brain infection. I think those would require an infection lasting much longer than mine, but still.

So in the spirit of stubbornness, Doctor B prescribed the sixth course of antibiotics since May. Clindamycin this time. A one week course to start with perhaps a second week depending on the outcome.

If we really can't get rid of this with oral ("systemic") antibiotics, an option is to use intravenous antibiotics. However, that treatment requires admission to the hospital, probably for about three days. That's a very expensive and less enjoyable option, but it's in our back pocket.

The bad taste in my mouth that started on the weekend is still present. I have tried eating something each day but everything still tastes bad. So I've been tube feeding almost exclusively. That's quite a setback from those days last week when I was getting all my calories via my mouth, but this is temporary. I hope to be eating again by next week.

My sleep has improved a little. I did not have nasal congestion throughout treatment but I did have it over the weekend. Last night I was not congested. The last two nights I have only woken up twice each night. Better sleep helps a lot.

I felt very weak earlier in the week. Yesterday my big exercise was walking around Target with Wonderful Wife for 15 minutes. Today I feel a bit stronger and Wonderful Wife tells me I have more life in my eyes. Even though I've been tube feeding only I've been getting in at least 1800 calories every day.

I haven't driven a car since treatment started in June. Once I was on narcotics I was not allowed to drive. I've been chauffeured around by Wonderful Wife for months.

This evening I drove myself to the pharmacy to pick up the latest prescription. Progeny the Elder was playing in the yard and when she saw me about to drive away she ran over. "You're driving?" she asked with surprise? "Without Mom?"

I had really hoped to show my face at work this week but I'm not sure that's going to happen. I had gotten to a state where I wasn't spitting every few minutes but now the frequent spitting is back.

I'll get there.

I just realized that there is an assumption I have that I haven't been explicit about: that the sinus infection is contributing to more fatigue and other discomfort than I would normally have at this stage of recovery. I have the expectation that if I could get rid of the infection I would feel consistently stronger and energetic. That assumption could be wrong.

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