Saturday, 25 January 2014

Glorious Antibiotics - and Ode to the Spleen

This is cold and flu season. As one of the things taken out during my surgery was my spleen, every year my family and I get the flu shots. I had a round of different vaccines before my surgery, but unfortunately the lack of spleen will always make me susceptible to infections, and increases the likelihood that they can become serious. As you can imagine, I also try to stay away from particularly nasty plagues that are going around.

Unfortunately a couple of weeks ago my son came back from a sleepover not feeling well. I didn't think much of it until two days later, when I started feeling like crud. For me, things happen quickly. By the third day  I was starting to cough a bit, I felt congested and had overall malaise.  Normally these are the kind of things that most people will  ignore, thinking they are just getting a cold.

If you don't have a spleen however, you NEED to pay attention to your body and get checked out. So, feeling slightly sheepish I went off to see my GP.  She listened to my lungs -- and there was the beggining of bronchitis. I came home with a nose spray, an asthma inhaler ( !) and a prescription  for antibiotics. Her advice was to give the inhaler and nose spray 72 hours, and if I wasn't feeling better I should take the antibiotics, as I couldn't really take chances.

I got all three together and began using the first two. A day later I had a full blown cough and was wheezing like crazy. Although the inhaler helped a bit, I kept feeling worse and worse... so on the third day I started on the antibiotics. 

If there was ever a RAMBO equivalent in antibiotics, I have to say these are probably it. By the 2nd day of taking them I was feeling GREAT. I still  had to finish the 10 day dose, which meant I couldn't drive- you have to always check interaction with other medications- but by the time I saw my GP the following week I was doing just fine. If I hadn't taken them and the other medication when I did, I could've likely ended up with pneumonia.

Not everything needs antibiotics. Not everything needs a visit to your doctor. But -if you have a compromised immune system, listen to your body. 

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