Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thank God for Modern Medicine

With what felt like fire in my lungs and throat, and a discernible wheeze with each breath, I was once again faced with my human mortality and fragility. And this description lacks the literary embellishment that I may use when writing a normal essay. For the most part, I am a robust individual with a strong physique, but the fact that these qualities do not translate into a superior immune system is painfully obvious. After reading the nap time stories to my children on Monday it was apparent something more was wrong with me beside a simple virus, since with each sentence I had to make a protracted effort to suck air into my lungs. At this point I think the armies of bacteria begin to set up their encampment in my lungs to battle me to the death. Bronchitis is miserable, thank God for antibiotics.

Also, I wanted to give a shout out to my husband who asked me in the midst of all my misery, "Why do you get so sick?" This posed as if I was intentionally trying to harm myself. The only appropriate reply is, "I get sick on purpose. I lick shopping carts and pay phones so I can bring some nasty viral scourge into our household." (credit for quote to Suzi)

Every time I need antibiotics, I remind myself that the infection that I harbor could put me in the grave. When I was in high school, my AP Comp teacher put this into perspective for the class when she asked,

1. Who has broken a bone?,

2. Who has needed antibiotics?, and

3. Who has been in the hospital for a few days?

After all the hands in the air were tallied only 10 of 30 were unmarked by an uncertain early death. All the things above would have or could have led to the death of the individual without modern treatment. And as I qualified in two of three categories I could have been dead twice by high school. Since then, add a couple more nasty sinus infections and a breach baby and I could be dead six times or more.

I am not one to run to the doctor at the first sign of illness. But I asked the doctor last time I got a bad sinus infection what would happen if I did not treat it. She said the bacteria can drain into your throat and lungs and cause bronchitis and then pneumonia. Not being a huge risk taker in this area, I generally do not want to try to find out if my body can battle bacteria on such a massive front. Antibiotics have been way over used during the past 15 years but sometimes there is a need. My respect and admiration goes out to the incremental advances in medical treatment and the scientist who work for the sake of healing people.


Karen said...

Oh, I can relate! I came down with double pneumonia a few years ago after some virus my son passed along to me and I have deep gratitude for powerful antibiotics and for the doctor who filled my arms with boxes of samples so I wouldn't even have to wait to have a prescription filled before starting them!

Commenting on how it was always me that caught every nasty, exotic disease that came along my husband said I must have a weak constitution. I told him it was because the kids didn't wipe their noses all over him all the time and they didn't sleep on top of him when they were sick and breathe in his face all night.

Weak constitution. Hmph.

Julia said...

With the level of exposure at our house between five kids it is a wonder that we ever are well...

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