Well, I missed a week. And it wasn’t because I was too busy, or because I had nothing to say, or because I’m losing interest in this creative journey. Instead it was because I spent most of last week spending every spare moment I had sleeping. I was sick.
I don’t get sick very often, but when I do, it’s usually strep throat. I must have had strep throat every other year since I was ten years old. I’m not sure why I seem to be so much more susceptible to it than the average person, but I am. And it’s awful. I would not wish strep throat on my worst enemy. I am convinced that it is one of the absolute worst non-life threatening, seasonal illnesses. It feels like absolute torture. If you’ve never had strep throat, you may not know what it feels like. Basically, it’s all your standard yucky flu type symptoms – achy bones, fever, runny nose, hacking cough, and then on top of all that, excruciating throat pain which is pretty constant but which reaches new levels of torture when you swallow. So basically, it’s horrendous.
Have you noticed how you never really appreciate the simple things until they are gone? You never realize how much you actually use your pinky finger for everyday stuff until you’ve accidentally sliced it open with a kitchen knife. You are never more aware of the essential usefulness of your back until you pull a weird muscle. When I have strep throat, I long for the time when I will be able to actually breathe without thinking, when it will not take every ounce of courage I have to swallow.
Before I had a baby, sick days meant spending 90% of my day in bed or in the tub, watching movies, or reading a book, focusing solely on one thing: recuperating. Now that I have a whole little life relying on me for it’s very sustenance, my former way of coping is no longer an option. Which means that last week was completely exhausting. Did I mention my 16 month old had it too, along with a healthy dose of croup? They were not fun days. Thankfully, the Hubs is pretty amazing at helping out, and took over life when he got home so I could sit and rest. Even with all that extra help, at the end of each day, I fell in to bed ready to crash, eager for that moment when your body surrenders into the bliss of deep sleep.
Except, I had strep throat. So instead of sleeping, my nights generally when something like this:
- Arrange bedside table with items necessary for the night ahead. This includes: kleenex (the lotion kind, because it’s day two of strep so the nose is already rubbed raw), Cepacol’s (the best ever throat lozenge for when you feel like your throat is on fire), Vapo rub (for the feet to help with coughing), lip balm, and Vaseline, for the lips and nose respectively.
- Heat up hot pad in microwave and tuck in around feet because right now your fever is around 101, and you are freezing. In about 30 minutes when the Tylenol kicks in, you will curse the hot pad, fling it from the bed and strip off as much bedding as possible which will feel glorious, until 2 am when the Tylenol wears off and you wake up feeling like you’ve been lying outside in the -20C snowbank for the last four hours.
- Place head on pillow, close eyes and attempt to sleep.
- Realize that you can only breathe through one nostril and you aren’t getting enough oxygen with each breath, so now you are feeling a little panicky. Try to blow your nose, but this only seems to transfer the occlusion to the other nostril.
- Switch to mouth breathing.
- This works for about 4 minutes, until you inevitably drool all over your pillow, and end up with a super dry mouth.
- Spend a couple minutes wondering how you can have a pool of saliva in your mouth at the same time as having the driest mouth you have ever experienced.
- Realize that the solution to this problem is to swallow. Spend the next several minutes debating getting up and spitting the saliva into the sink instead of swallowing.
- Decide that you are definitely not getting up. You are going to swallow.
- Gather your courage.
- Writhe in pain because it feels like razor blades are slowly sliding down your throat and into your esophagus.
- Decide a lozenge will help. Pop lozenge into mouth and try to hold it with your tongue as far back in your throat as possible to enhance the analgesic effect on the most hurting parts.
- Nearly choke on lozenge. This triggers a coughing fit, which results in even more razor blades being shoved down your throat.
- Realize your lips are chapping off due to the dryness. Apply lip balm.
- Decide to start with this whole falling asleep thing again.
- Place head on pillow. Immediately recoil as you just lied on the big pool of drool previously left by open moth breathing attempt. Turn pillow over to dry side.
- Attempt to nose breath. Nope. Ok, open mouth it is.
- Repeat steps 3-19.
Oh, strep throat. As much as I hate it when I have it, I feel grateful when it’s over. That first time you swallow and think, “hey, that didn’t hurt!” is pretty awesome. The bliss of breathing freely is something to enjoy. We are officially over the great strep throat infection of 2014. So long, strep throat. Come back never.