Blog roundup: Sick as a dog edition.

thTwo weekends ago I came down with what seemed like an upper-respiratory virus: congestion, low-grade fever, and general aches and pains. In addition I felt sharp pain in my face whenever I coughed (which was often).

The fever disappeared within two days but everything else hung on, and dug in. After nine days of feeling that I’d been beaten with several efficient hammers, I reluctantly made an appointment at the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center.

“Reluctantly” because I figured there wasn’t much to be done about a virus and that I didn’t have a full-blown sinus infection that could be treated. But I was so tired of hearing my own breath wheezing and clotting that I figured it was time.

Besides, my Aunt Elna was known to have broken ribs while coughing, and eeeewwww.

Professional demeanor prevented the doc from saying “You sound like crap” but I think that’s what she meant. No pneumonia (“although it could turn into that”) so just as I thought: no antibiotics.

Instead she prescribed a short course of steroids (the asthma has kicked up considerably), bed rest, lots of liquids, inhaler use every four hours and a neti pot twice a day. She did write out a script for amoxicillin but said not to fill it unless I still have face pain in 10 days’ time. Apparently “sinusitis” isn’t supposed to be treated with drugs until it’s gone on for two to three weeks.

As a kid one of my biggest fears was getting water in my nose. I was always the one who pinched her nostrils before jumping into the pool. As an adult who pours water directly into my head via the neti pot, I can tell you that child-me was right. It’s not comfortable. I really dislike it. But I’ll do it because doctor’s orders.

(My friend Sonya Ann wrote a very funny, if slightly mucus-y, column about this very topic. You should go read it.)

More things to read

The big win: a prescription for a codeine-based syrup (aka “the purple drank”) so I can get some uninterrupted rest. I took a half-teaspoon last night and knew no more; can’t imagine abusing it recreationally, a la the link above.

So I may maintain radio silence for a few days, especially since I have a magazine deadline on Tuesday. In the meantime, here are a few good reads:

5 PF lessons from Wrestlemania” at I Pick Up Pennies: Large and sweaty men in Spandex apparently have much to teach us, money-wise.

It doesn’t matter that you can’t take it with you” at Red Debted Stepchild: Ever heard the phrase “life is short – buy the shoes”? I hadn’t, until Erin of RDS brought it up. Or, rather, shot it down: “Maybe instead of YOLO-ing like crazy when it comes to spending, we should be applying this ‘life is short’ philosophy to our relationships.”

Hoarding, divesting and the frugal impulse” at Funny About Money: Should you buy more expensive (but longer-lasting) clothing once in a blue moon, or churn the cheaper stuff every year?

Don’t get fooled by financial aid letters” at Reuters.com: “The confusing and sometimes misleading financial aid letters that colleges send out this time of year can cause unsuspecting families to sign up for educations they can’t afford,” notes money expert Liz Weston. Some schools don’t include the total expense of attending, for example, or mix loans and grants together under “gift aid.” If you know someone whose child is about to pull the trigger on a college acceptance, make sure the family reads this article first.

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  1. Tina in NJ

    I hope you feel better soon, Donna. Instead of a netty pot, I use canned nasal saline under pressure. It ain’t cheap, but at least I’m not pouring water up my nose. I’d run by the doc first, though.

    • Donna Freedman

      Thanks, Tina… Canned saline under pressure? Sounds like a hand-held weapon of mass destruction.

      • Tina in NJ

        Arm and Hammer makes it. It’s called Simply Saline. A friend from church, who is a vocal instructor at Juilliard, recommended it. I used to get laryngitis at least once a year. I’ve lost my voice once in the last six or so years with this stuff. It works, and I sincerely doubt it would have any side effects other than a salty taste.

  2. Feel better very soon! The Neti pot will get easier with time, I promise.

  3. If you ever get to where you can stand it, Donna, there’s a fabulous thing called Alkalol which is non-Rx but you have to ask for it at the pharmacy. It’s described as a ‘mucus solvent.’ But ya gotta be prepared – it can clean out your sinuses like nobody’s business. Just don’t let it run down your throat.

    Feel better soon.

  4. Big fan of the “neti-pot”…I have used this thing for a couple of years now and ….I’m sold. The funny thing is, my Doc basically “dissed” the thing when I told him I was getting one and asked his opinion. When I went in for my check up recently, I heard him suggest one to the patient before me…crazy.

  5. That sounds like what DH & I have! It seems really bad this year! My ribs are killing me!
    Hope you feel better soon, Donna!

  6. Betsey

    Try Sambucol…it contains elderberries which will kick that devil right out of you!

  7. Linda in NE

    Yep, had that coughing crap too. Took Sambucol and Musinex and upped my dose of garlic and Vitamin D3 but still thought I’d cough up a lung for two weeks straight. Could only sleep upright in the recliner for two weeks to get relief from the coughing at night. It finally tapered off in the third week and I still occasionally cough. Not fun. Hope you get to feeling better soon.

    • Donna Freedman

      Last night was my second dose of the codeine cough syrup. Being able to sleep straight through has made a difference: I still feel punk but at least I got some rest. That helps.

  8. Fell better Donna! The crud is going around…lots of rest, a hot bath or two, and hopefully you’ll be feeling better soon!

  9. Ro in San Diego

    Hope you feel better soon. On the subject I recommend Sinus sense. I think it works better than the Neti pot. I like the canned sprays too.

    • Donna Freedman

      DF has a Sinusense. I’m just afraid of the turbo nature of the thing, especially after reading Sonya Ann’s post. (Although DF swears by it.)

  10. Just went through a sinus infection in mid-March. My suggestion is Vicks on the sole of your feet (along with socks to save the sheets). It stopped me from coughing, no idea why! But I’m sold on it. Hope you feel better soon!

  11. Thank you for the link-y love! I would hug you but you have cooties. All said with love though!
    Get well soon!

  12. Christy

    I like to use my Neti-Pot. I turned all my family onto them. Just be sure to use bottle distilled water! Look up WHY. Try warming up the water a bit.

    They are helpful during “flu” or “cold” season to combat pro-actively catching it from other people.

    They are wonderful for people with seasonal allergies. For people that work in dusty envoirnments or smelly ones too.

    You will get used to it, when you are through being sick you will swear by it.

  13. Catseye

    A friend took Sambucol for the flu this past winter and she highly recommends it. Get better soon, Donna.

  14. I started off with a slightly sore throat on a Sunday morning. By Monday morning I was in urgent care with strep throat and some serious chest congestion and head congestion. By Wednesday, I was back in urgent care. The doctor thought it was pneumonia, but it was “serious case of bronchitis.” I could not sleep because I could hear my breath rasping on inhalation and squeaking out when I exhaled. So, the antibiotic for strep was changed. Then, I went to an already-scheduled allergist appointment. I was given three more inhalers besides the rescue inhaler I carry. In one weak I was given 7 prescriptions and three otc meds. One inhaler is for swallowing, not breathing into lungs. That made three appointments. And, like I suspected, I am allergic to beef. Get better soon.

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