Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.
1 Peter 5:8-11
This weekend has provided me with quite a few new, interesting experiences — not all of which, I hasten to add, I would like to repeat. Back-story: My cold seemed to be abating by Tuesday, when I rode to work and went to Life Group as usual; I even felt fairly perky on Wednesday. But by Thursday morning, I started wilting again, feeling droopy and tired. Friday, my nose started running as badly as before, only more gunky (no more details!), and over the course of the day felt increasingly exhausted although I did nothing all day. My coworkers commented that I didn’t seem myself.
Clearly I needed to consult my disease expert (who did, after all, diagnose my case of pink eye perfectly). After describing my symptoms to her, Mom agreed with my depressing conclusion: I had come down with a sinus infection. Fortunately, although I’ve never suffered through this before, Mom has had so many sinus infections she was able to give me detailed, blow-by-blow instructions on how to combat it effectively.
First, she said, go to a doctor. Only a doctor can prescribe the antibiotics that will kick a sinus infection quickest. I did this, but since I’m a healthy 23-year-old who’s planning to leave this area fairly soon, I don’t have a general practice doctor. I called around several places, and listened to their irritating phone menus. One option, though, made me laugh: The machine lady said, in English, “For an interpreter, press 8.” If you needed an interpreter, you never would have gotten so far! …Anyway, Ian and I went to the Marlborough Hospital ER, and the entire visit took just over an hour. I read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. When I sat down to get registered, the friendly lady there asked me, “How are you today?” I laughed, because it seemed so funny to be in an emergency room having somebody ask how I felt. After I did some more waiting in a chilly room, the nice doctor who saw me prescribed antibiotics. She was left-handed, but told me she had learned to do surgery both right- and left-handed, apparently a huge advantage. She also said, when she found out I was from Seattle, that I looked Seattle-ish — her exact words were “Sort of Earth-mother-ish.” What about holey tennis shoes, paint-stained and holey jeans, a T-shirt, my REI jacket, and a bandanna made her say that, I have no idea.
Second, Mom told me to get a daytime decongestant that contained both guaifenesin and pseudoephedrine HCl. She warned me that I would have to ask the pharmacist specifically, since people can also use those ingredients to make meth. Sure enough, when I asked for something like that, they said “We’ll have to see some ID.” That’s the first time I’ve been carded when buying cold medicine! The stuff I ended up with, the delightfully named Mucinex D, is pretty intense. Clearly I won’?t be taking this right before bedtime. For the night, she said Afrin nasal spray works well and lets you sleep, too. I hate nasal sprays. Oh, well; I hate waking up a dozen times a night to ineffectively blow my nose, too.
Third, my nasal adviser suggested nasal irrigation. As she described it — “Boil 1 cup of water, mix in a half-tablespoon of salt and quarter-tablespoon of baking soda. Then you just sort of snort the water up into your nose, and stuff will run out of your nose and down the back of your throat. You’ll feel much better, really.” — I admit I filed that into the “Make affirming noises and forget about it later” category. But Mom insisted that she found it made a huge difference, and that I should really try it. So, hardly believing what I was doing, I did. And amazingly, after the incredibly awkward experience of trying to snort but not inhale warm, salty water, my nose did feel clearer. Granted, I choked and snorted a bunch (Ian commented on the very strange noises coming from the bathroom), and lots of snot-water mixture came out both my nose and mouth — a truly disgusting experience. But afterwards my nose kind of tingled, and I certainly could breathe more freely than I have in a week. I might even try to go find an official…er… neti-pot thingy to facilitate the rinsing. Then again, maybe not.
This experience (which, alas, appears to only just have started) certainly has made me appreciate that I’ve never had a sinus infection before. I can only hope not to get one again in the future. But if I do, at least I will be prepared.