Tuesday, April 19, 2011

188. Recovery

So Cayden and I learned a little lesson about the importance of communication that day. We thought we'd already mastered it, considering our entire relationship was built on phone calls, emails, and that night under the stars in Brooklyn. But put two swollen tonsils and a fever between us, and we almost broke. Go figure.

"Wow, you must be in some serious pain," the doctor said while shining a light down my throat and nearly gagging me with a tongue depressor.

It wasn't the first time I'd gotten that reaction from a doctor. It usually started with a "Wow," "Holy Moley," or "Goodness!" and ended with "these suckers are huge!" "This is impressive!" or, one time, "I have to show this to someone else!" Yes, there was a time back in college that the doctor brought not one, but two different doctors in there to show me off like a science project.

"How long ago did this start?" the doctor asked, pressing her fingers against the swollen glands in my neck.

"Thursday," I croaked.

"And you're just now coming in?" she asked, with a look of disbelief.

"I was in Rome, then London. Just got back last night."

"Wow, that must have been rough getting sick on vacation."

"You have no idea," I said, shaking my head.

The strep test came back positive, and neither of us was surprised. The good news was, it wasn't mono! A nurse came in and stabbed my "hip" (butt) with a huge, thick needle and injected an antibiotic in me that was the consistency of honey. Not the most pleasant feeling in the world. Then she handed me a prescription for a 10-day antibiotic and a bottle of hydrocodone, just as I suspected.

The next day I felt 80 percent better and the day after that, 100. It was a miracle. I hated knowing that had I had that shot on Thursday I would have been just fine to go out with Cayden's friends that Friday and I would have been back to "happy, cuddly" me by Saturday. I was tempted to ask for a spare syringe and some of that honey-goo so I could teach myself to self-inject for next time.

Then I decided there wouldn't be a next time. It was time to part ways with my problematic tonsils. I made an appointment with an ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor) to see what we could do about my chronic sinus infection and "impressive" tonsils. I'd had enough.

"So, if you had to decide right now which was worse, would you say it's your sinuses or your tonsils?" the ENT asked when I sat down in her out-dated green leather chair.

I thought about it for a minute. I'd been battling a sinus infection since December, and my strep throat only lasted six days. My sinus infection had fought off two different antibiotics and that painful ass shot, but the shot alone had crippled my strep. I'd had issues with my tonsils since I was a kid, but the sinus situation only started a few years back. I was stumped.

"Sinuses," I decided, after a quick game of eeney-meeney-miney-moe (I just now realized I've never had to spell that and I have no idea how to).

"Open wide," she said, while wearing a weird strappy headlamp, like a coal miner.

I did as told.

"Wow," she said. Yes, another "wow."

"This right tonsil is huge! It's almost touching your uvula," she said, pulling away and putting a hand on my shoulder. "That's your hangy ball." Hey lady, thanks for the clarification. I thought you were talking about a lady part for a moment.

It had been three weeks since my strep had surrendered, so my tonsils weren't swollen to my knowledge. That was them reguar size.

"These need to come out."

It wasn't news to me. I was supposed to get them out over spring break when I was 7, but Mom and Dad decided on Disney World instead.

"You're going to need at least a week and a half off to recover from the surgery, and I'm not going to lie, it's excruciating. Probably one of the worst surgeries to recover from."

Well, thanks for the brutal honesty.

"So how soon could you get that time off?"

I pondered my no vacation policy. Was surgery really considered vacation? No, I decided my health and overall quality of life was more important than my job, so I'd risk it.

"Sign me up as soon as you can."

"Let's do a sinus cat scan to see what's going on in there, too."

Oh, goody. Yes, let's do that.

A week later I sat down with my mom and my ENT to look at my cat scans. In one picture, you can see that my septum angles to the right, and then curves back to the left. In other photo you can see that the honeycomb-stuctured sinuses near my eyes were clear on the left side, and unsurpassable on the right. And in another very impressive photo, you can see the two large sinus cavities in my left and right cheeks.

"Black means air," the doctor pointed to the left cavity, that was filled with nothing but black. "And gray means, well, gray is bad," she said pointing to my right cavity that was completely filled with gray. "And do you see this different shade of gray at the bottom of your right cavity, just above your wisdom tooth? Well, we won't know what that is until we get it out and send it to the lab, but I'm concerned about that."

I thought back to the 8 months I lived in a black-mold infested 400-square-foot apartment in New York City. Did I have asbestos in my nose??

"So, now we're pushing back your tonsillectomy and we're scheduling you for sinus surgery."

"Can't you just do them both at the same time and knock me out for a month or so?" I asked, hopefully. Blacking out for a month would mean I wouldn't have to miss Cayden every day.

He'd been trying to work out a deal with his company that would allow him to work one month there and then one month from Dallas. Otherwise, he was going to leave. They needed him. BADLY. So he was almost sure they'd cave. I tried not to get my hopes up, but days after he revealed his potential plan to me, I'd already started clearing out half of my dresser for him. While his company was deciding, he was interviewing with another company. His first interview went great. He nailed his second. They'd do his third interview the week after that, which turned into the week after that, which turned into the week after that. Every week, I crumbled a little more on the inside. I knew he'd have to put in 8-week's notice if he quit. And he couldn't quit until he got an offer. So I assumed I wouldn't get to see him until at least 2 months after the offer that hadn't come yet.

March 21, a month after I'd left London, Cayden's company turned down his month-here-month-there offer. The same day, the other company made him an offer making $20,000 more. That had been his plan all along: to make as much money as he could before he moved to Texas.

Sinus surgery is scheduled for May 12.

Cayden will be here in three days. I already started doubling up on my Vitamin C :)



  1. I couldn't pick out of the reactions, so I will just say YAY for Cayden being there in three days!!! =)

  2. so is the new job still in the UK or is it in Texas?