Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Garlic Guilt

Sigh. It's another bright and sunny morning here in southwestern Connecticut. It will be fairly warm today. I sigh because I am battling an entrenched bug that has kept me from doing just about anything, and that includes one fall chore I just never got to.

Mulching my new garlic beds.

Although I am a huge fan of the pungent bulbs, I have never planted it before. By the time I decided to do it, it seemed the hardneck varieties were all sold out online. (As I understand, the hardnecks will stand up to cold winters better.) I finally caved and bought a bunch of softnecks.

They were planted back in October, I believe. After the tender green shoots came up, I planned to mulch heavily, as prescribed. But one thing led to another, and here it is, early December, and I still haven't had a chance to put down a nice warm blanket for the bulbs.

I started coming down with some nasty bug the week before Thanksgiving. It was the whole nine yards, with a twist. I had the usual congestion and nasal drip, along with a nighttime cough that wouldn't stop, fever and chills, loss of appetite and energy. Within just a few days, the infection had migrated up my Eustachian tubes and lodged in my middle ears, muffling my hearing, and causing an earache and ringing in my ears.

My primary care doctor put me on a course of antibiotics, but after a full week on them, no improvement. By that point, I was feeling desperate to get better, but her office had already closed for the long Thanksgiving weekend. So I went to a walk-in clinic, where a PA prescribed a different antibiotic and Sudafed for my ears, both of which did absolutely nothing.

So, when my own doctor's office reopened on Monday, I returned to her, and she put me BACK on the original antibiotic, plus a second, high dose antibiotic, plus a nasal spray.

I had to return to see her later that week; while my cold symptoms had receded, the ears were still as plugged up as ever. I felt that the bug was still in my system, just latent. I was also getting very nauseous from the combo of the two antibiotics together; it was, I'm sure, a cocktail strong enough to kill a horse.

So she had me stop one of the antibiotics and put me on Prednisone (steroids) to try to reduce the inflammation in my ears.

While this third go-round on meds has helped, somewhat, I'm still definitely sick and my ears are still definitely plugged up. I guess it's been three weeks now, and frankly, I'm really sick of being sick. While I understand my doctor's reasoning in putting me on the Prednisone, I'm worried that doing so perhaps a bit prematurely allowed the underlying bacterial infection to resurrect itself, since steroids suppress the immune system.

I have an appointment this Friday with an ear, nose and throat specialist who perhaps can shed light on all of this.

Meanwhile, I feel that a part-time job I had just started a week before getting sick is in jeopardy, as I have been out repeatedly due to this illness. I missed out on Thanksgiving entirely.

This honestly started out as a post about garlic (!) but I see I have sidetracked significantly into a pity party. Sorry!

For a while there, I was dosing myself with three raw garlic cloves a day, since garlic has anti-bacterial properties. I actually liked the odor and taste of raw garlic. (Can't speak for anyone around me, though.) However, I had to stop doing that after reading the long list of warnings associated with the antibiotic. They specifically mentioned garlic, as I guess it thins the blood.

Well, guess what? I rechecked the med warning papers, and I see that the mention of garlic was on a different antibiotic, one I already finished up. So I guess I can get back to the raw garlic!

I have so much to do, and so much has been deferred. I am not done with my Christmas shopping; I would love to decorate the house. I had hoped to do grocery shopping and the landfill today, but I still feel far too sick; I don't want to see myself slide back after waiting so long for recovery to begin. Just keeping the dishes washed, my cats' litter boxes cleaned out and feeding myself has been about all that I can manage. My neighbors (bless 'em) brought me some homemade beef stew and chicken soup.

You really don't appreciate your good health 'til it's gone, that's for sure.