Coming out of tonsillitis

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Thursday, March 27, 2014


SWEET tooth, I always have. In fact, I delight over taking a cup of coffee that is half-filled but of equal concentrations as that of a full cup. I then add my favorite low-fat creamers and low-calorie sweeteners that are available in most groceries.

And perhaps due to the bustling and stressful nature of my work as a health profession educator, although it is unhealthy, I always ended consuming more than two cups of sweetened coffee in a day.

Maybe because I know for a fact that when we are in so much stress and pressure, our body needs more glucose in the blood in order to produce energy that I had made a vanity out of this unhealthy gratification.

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This basic principle in physiology can well explain why chronic stress can precipitate a certain classification of diabetes- the Type 2.

My penchant for sweets is not narrowed on coffee alone. As far as beverages are concerned, I also consume chocolate drinks, sweet soymilk and other flavoured milks that are gaining popularity nowadays.

In moments of hypoglycaemia (low sugar in the blood), because again being in the profession I am means eating meals not on time, I immediately grab a small bar of chocolate that I always carry inside my bag.

I guess most nurses do the same especially those stationed in special areas like the intensive care units or operating rooms.

In short, sweets have been like a best friend to me until one day I woke up with a horrible sore throat.

Being a nurse I was, I prepared a warm 'saline' oral solution that I would utilize as a gargle to provide myself a transient relief from the aching throat and it was effective.

Later that day, the sore throat had gone worse. The pain was tolerable, well perhaps because I have high threshold for pain, but whenever I swallowed food or fluids, it so tormenting that I felt as if a fish bone was caught in my throat.

By nighttime, I started to develop fever and by midnight I began shivering as if it was winter.

By then, I accepted the fact that something was indeed wrong. And my clinical reasoning was telling me that it was tonsillitis.

The day after, I started to self-medicate with a broad-spectrum antibiotic and paracetamol for my fever. I was responsive, nevertheless and so I continued this self-treatment for two days until I realized my condition has actually worsened.

My fever was soaring as high as 39.1 degrees Celsius and my throat was so inflamed that I could actually palpate the tenderness from my neck.

I inspected my mouth with a mirror and tongue depressor and to my surprise, I saw yellowish fluids that I know were pus invading my tonsils.

"I have to see a doctor", I urged myself then.

Upon seeing a specialist, I was diagnosed with acute exudative tonsillitis. I was also prescribed with two types of aggressive antibiotics to weaken and eventually kill the causative bacteria, some anti-inflammatory to soothe the pain and antipyretics for my fever.

I had also used a povidone-iodine oral solution as gargle to aseptically clean my oral cavity and throat.

I was so responsive to the antibiotics prescribed but it also had its drawbacks. For instance, its adverse effects to me was gum inflammation that I had to have soft diet not only because of my tonsillitis but also because my gums had gone sore.

Also, these aggressive antibiotics had upset my stomach that I had to sit on my throne from time to time.

I was really sick, so to speak. And this may somehow justify my brief hiatus from writing my column last week.

I also had to take an off from work to recuperate.

Overall, the experience made me live the realities of the physiologic as well as the social drawbacks of assuming the sick role.

That being sick is not just a matter of physical aberration but also a disruption from the fulfilment of social roles and expectations.

Sweet tooth, I'll always have. But I'll never look at sweets the same way again.

[Email: polo.journalist@gmail.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 28, 2014.

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