However. About once or twice a year I do battle with a bout of strep throat. Strep throat has been in my life forever, like that annoying relative that just won't go away. They aren't around you all the time, but it seems like just when you're having the time of your life and nothing can go wrong...BOOM! There they are. It's like that.
When I was little I used to get strep like, a million times a year. Or maybe it just seems like it because it was always such a traumatic experience for an impressionable youngster like myself. Many of my childhood memories involve me, or one of my siblings, or both, curled up on the couch in a heavy blanket, lethargic and glassy-eyed, feeling positively awful, or retching into an ice cream bucket while Mom holds your hair out of the way with one hand and holds your head up with the other. Thanks, Mom.
One more thing that I remember about those times. Mom would always--always!--tell you to open your mouth wide, after which she would peer inside for an unimaginable length of time. She would ho and hum and squint, intently searching for something deep inside your mouth. And you would have to hold your breath while she did it cause you don't want to get Mom sick, of all people (who would take care of you then?)! Finally, Mom would be satisfied, take a step back (finally giving you a chance to haul in a breath of air), put her hands on her hips, sigh and say, "Yep. You've got the white patches."
All my life I was baffled by the mysterious white patches that Mom saw on my throat when I was sick. Over the years, I tried so many times during my bouts with strep to see them in the mirror, but never could, and it drove me crazy. Fast forward to modern-day Lincoln NE, to a house, to some people, to a tickle.
So there I was. Sitting quietly minding my own business. Or quite possibly not. I could've been tormenting any of my various siblings...but that is neither here nor there. I was doing something. I felt a tickle. I cleared my throat. The tickle got worse. Fine, if you're gonna make me work for it! I put my fist to my mouth and coughed. The tickle settled down into a sharp-ish pain in the area of my tonsils. I looked at my watch. Yep. It's about time for my bi-annual strep throat diagnosis. Aw, man.
So I continued my day to day activities, waiting for the inevitable chills to wrack my body from the inside out or the twinge in my stomach, shortly preceding a hasty trip to the bathroom which would seal my couchridden fate. For two days, nothing seemed amiss, other than my declining throat and dilapidated tonsils. Everything else appeared to be in working order. Odd.
That night, at work, my sore throat was beginning to become unbearable. Against my better judgement, I didn't drink water all evening because it was too painful. Finally, I found a mirror, curious to see the extent of the damage. What I saw made me stop cold and my heart skip a beat. My eyes widened and I could hardly believe what I was seeing. A zillion memories flooded through my mind of my mom saying, "Yep, you've got the white patches...white patches...white patches..."
I was staring at the back of my throat, at the legendary white patches that Mom had so often seen inside my throat. I felt like a treasure hunter having finally dug up the long sought-after X marks the spot. Like Columbus getting his first glimpse of the New World. Like Mario after finally rescuing Princess Peach from Bowser's Castle. There was a moment of magic and a feeling of triumph. I've finally seen the white patches!
Then I remembered that my throat was on fire and every time I swallowed it felt like I was swallowing broken glass. And this morning it took the doctor all of 2 seconds to make her diagnosis, write me a prescription, and send me on my merry way after making me promise to come back if everything gets worse (it always makes me nervous when they say that).
Several minutes later, I was standing in line at Walgreens (who should totally give me something for saying their name in my blog), prescription in hand. When it was my turn, the pharmacist guy was asking me all these questions and all I could really do was grunt in the affirmative or negative, as my tonsils were doing their best to close around my esophagus.
So now, here I am. Waiting for the Amoxicillin to work its magic. I don't care if you're a believer or not, but antibiotics are beautiful things. Think of all the simple sicknesses that used to be deadly, but now all we have to do is take a pill twice a day and we're fine?? And the doctor told me the antibiotic would either cure me completely or make me break out in a rash.