Thursday, October 12, 2023

modern medicine

for a long while, I've avoided modern medicine for as much as I could. eating healthy, getting enough activity, being in touch with my body - it actually works as advertised.

until, late last week, I was down with something.

it started off as a sore throat, and i treated it with the usual salt water gargles, warm fluids (finally digging into my enormous fruit/herbal tea stash!), plenty of rest, the drill.

nothing helped. if anything, I was getting progressively worse.

Tuesday night, a friend said it doesn't sound good at all and I should get urgent medical attention.

the online questionnaire of my "virtual doctor" app said it could be one of three things, and I need URGENT medical attention within the next 6 hours!

panic set in, and I set up a call with a real doctor, the first available slot, scheduled for quarter to midnight. can't believe doctors are up taking calls at that hour! (actually, I know why - they're NHS doctors doing overtime for some side money... gotta admire their devotion!)

the call was inconclusive, made worse by the fact that the app failed to work so the doctor called me on a regular call - so she couldn't see my actual state.

it was time for antibiotics.

I hate antibiotics. I've spent most of my life avoiding them. but that night, I slept so badly (or to put it more accurately, I spent the whole night groaning in agony as I couldn't even swallow my own saliva) that I acknowledged there was no alternative.

500mg of penicillin, 4 times a day, for 10 days.

500mg down, and I already felt better. I told myself it's probably the placebo effect, or maybe it's because I got out of the house to collect it and the fresh air helped?

another 500mg down, and it was definitely not a placebo.

that night, my throat was dramatically better. I was able to eat my first meal in days of solid food without agony.

but then, I had a strange pain in my right cheek. my right cheek was swollen.

at 4am, I acknowledged I couldn't take it any more, and I had to resort to another thing I avoided for ages: painkillers.

500mg of paracetamol and a bit of codeine later, I managed 4 hours of sleep (or was it 3?).

it's crazy, how much worse I'd have been if not for the last 100 years of medicine.

I'm still going to avoid antibiotics and painkillers as much as I can, but I have new found respect for how effective they are - when I really need them!

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