I’ve written before about the medical malpractice that has dogged my family over the course of the last 20-odd years. After losing my father though, my mother has clammed up as far as doctors are concerned. She believes in the body healing itself, given the right nutrition and state of mind, and that’s the reason I ended up with a horrendous infection.
Sometime in mid-January, I thought I was coming down with a cold. There was a little discomfort in my chest and I had the beginnings of a sore throat. I’ve had septic tonsillitis twice already, and thus was deathly afraid of a recurrence. That shit hurts. It feels like there are razor blades stuck in your throat, not only slicing at everything you swallow, but also at your throat itself.
Colds are not big deals though, and I have rarely, if ever, gone to a doctor for a piddling case of the sniffles. Plus, there were two friends’ weddings on the cards in the chilly north, and I had to get ready to attend. Weddings are insane things, with an energy altogether their own, so I must’ve averaged about 4 hours of sleep over the course of 10 days. Added to that, the weather was chilly; not great for an already achy throat. Suffice it to say, my infection clearly worsened.
Coming back to Mumbai though, I figured rest and relaxation were on the cards, and I could recuperate in peace. Granted being in my home environment was soothing, but work robbed me of any peace. I developed a nasty cough.
Ok, I figured, not a big deal. Coughs usually succeed colds, and I consider myself fortunate that I escaped the ravages of traditional colds: runny nose, heavy head, etc. But the cough was persistent. And it was getting nastier by the day. The few people I spoke to via the phone noticed a difference in my voice, and were treated to intermittent bouts of uncontrollable coughing. Therefore, I kept most of my interaction limited to emails and chat; as I didn’t want to freak people out any more than I had to.
Finally came to Pune, since mom had also contracted a viral infection around the same time. The only doctor she seems not to dislike intensely is here in Pune. He first checked her symptoms and wrote up a long prescription of drugs and tests. Nothing surprising there. But. BUT. When it came to me? Boy, was I in for a shock.
I took my place next to his examination table, and he asked me my symptoms. “An intermittent cough,” I said laconically, “and sometimes I think my tonsils swell at night. I had a congested feeling in my chest too, but that’s eased up. I think it’s better now, doc!”
He didn’t say anything, but asked me to open my mouth to examine my throat. Then peeked in my ears. Then had me do the breathe deeply thingie while he bunged the stethoscope over my back in a bunch of places. He sat at the desk, and proceeded to write out a prescription that was, I kid you not, twice as long as my mother’s. It has painkillers, steroids, and antibiotics.
By this time, I was well and truly flummoxed. Why did I need so much medication? Because, I had ignored the infection and, as a result, it had grown out of proportion and my lungs were full of congestion.
The next corker was that the medicines he had prescribed were the bare minimum, and if I didn’t see a change in a few days, he would up the dosage.
Finally, I need to have nebulisation immediately. For at least 3 days, 3 times a day. Because otherwise my airways were in danger of closing up thanks to the swelling.
Assimilating this information took me some time, and I was horrified to think that I had a respiratory infection, just like my father did when he passed away. It would have been quite the twist if I had to be hospitalised for the same horrible thing that caused my father to have a cardiac arrest.