Cold update

Went to see a doctor yesterday. (Technically a Physician's Assistant.)

She told me the following:

  • It can't be just a cold, because no cold lasts more than 10-14 days. (At least three doctors have told me previously that my past multi-week illnesses were just colds. I'm not sure who to believe.)
  • She couldn't detect anything wrong other than post-nasal drip. (She prescribed a nasal spray that I've used before, a few years ago, without any effect. She said it might take two weeks to show any significant effect.)
  • She thought it was possible I might have a minor sinus infection, so she prescribed antibiotics. (I am always reluctant to do antibiotics, but when I pushed back, she said that without them, it might take several more weeks to get over it if I do have a sinus infection. So I got the antibiotics.)
  • She thought it was possible I might have allergies. (As far as I know, I've never been allergic to anything, but it's possible.)

In other words, she wasn't sure what was wrong, but she offered some possible paths toward improvement, and I figure it can't hurt to follow those paths.

While I was there, they gave me a tetanus/whooping cough vaccine shot (it's been a while since I had a tetanus shot, and they're apparently now combining that with pertussis vaccine), and they cleaned the excess wax out of my ears. Full-service medical appointment!

In retrospect, it occurs to me that perhaps taking a dose of DayQuil four hours before the appointment was not my wisest choice; it may've masked some symptoms. But without the DayQuil, I suspect I would've been too miserable to make it to the appointment.

Today, I'm feeling a bit better, but still sick. And I'm ridiculously cold—the heat is turned up in my house, and I'm bundled up in semi-winter clothing, and I'm still shivering. Kam suggests I may have a fever, but I can't find my thermometer. Perhaps I will take a hot bath or drink some tea or something.

At some point I will blog about something other than this cold. I'm mostly only writing this entry to provide followup info to those who recommended that I go see a doctor.

3 Responses to “Cold update”

  1. Elizabeth Oakes

    Poor baby…sadly, I know this story well, I’m a chronic upper-respiratory sufferer. Stay bundled up–hats and scarves, even indoors–keep the bedroom warm at night. Humidifiers help. Baby aspirin’s good for the inflammation and pain caused by postnasal drip, and I heat pots of water and breathe the steam under a towel (just like in old movies!) to help loosen up the goop in the nose and lungs–you can add salt, eucalyptus, lemon, whatever works for you.

    If you’re blowing out yellow stuff, you’ve got a sinus infection, and the key is to make your nose run even MORE, so the infectious crap can slide out and the tissue can heal. Saline nasal spray can help with that, though you might have to steam first to even get the spray up there. Same with coughing up yellow frogs–keeping the lungs moist so you can get as much out as possible helps move the process along. Showers, humidifiers, steam. As always, your mileage with these techniques may vary.

    Speaking of mileage, I don’t know about the specific duration of viruses, but it doesn’t matter–the nasty symptoms persist because of the damage viruses do. “Cold” viruses can cause subsequent inflammation, sinus infections, and bronchitis, and all take time to resolve beyond the life span of the viruses themselves.

    So sorry you’re suffering, but know you’re not alone. I have several friends who have also had their “colds” for a month or more, or repeated bouts (I’ve had three extended incidences since October, and I got the flu shot.) Hang in there, and when all else fails: watch musicals and cartoons.

  2. Jed

    Thanks, Elizabeth! I appreciate it, and I may try some of your suggestions.

    I should clarify that I don’t have various common symptoms for this kind of thing—for example, my coughs are all dry, and when my nose does run, it’s clear. So if I do have a sinus infection, it’s a very mild one.

  3. Elizabeth Oakes

    Sounds like inflammation, then. Musicals, cartoons, and a little brandy should help–er, and keep the baby aspirin in the mix, though not with the booze. 🙂


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