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  • Writer's pictureKristin Woodward

strepped out: 4 realizations brought on by the plague and painkillers


i am a sickness denier. i admit it. i am generally healthy as a horse. so when the odd sore throat or sniffly nose comes on, i basically tell it to fuck off and get on with my life. last Friday, to my utter disbelief, this just absolutely was not possible. a Thursday sore throat (which i honestly attributed to too much wine Wednesday) blossomed into full-fleged ibuprofen-resistant throbbing torture. by the time Spy returned home after several (ahem) receptions that night, i found myself wide awake at 2:30 in the morning unable to respond as he deconstructed the evening. it literally hurt too much to speak. Friday morning, another prescription-grade dose of ibuprofen later and nothing. i cancelled a work breakfast to head back to bed, thinking i just needed an extra hour after the middle-of-the-night pillow talk. i woke up at 11:30. and didn’t feel any better. i looked at my throat in the mirror and was horrified to see that it was nearly swollen shut. how am i even alive?? i wondered.

fast forward through a doctor’s appointment, where i was officially diagnosed with strep and 2 pharmacy visits to get an antibiotic and narcotic painkillers (oh, hell no, CVS. i will not forfeit 9 of my 20 pills because you only have 11 on hand. taking my prescription elsewhere, thankyouverymuch!). i have literally never felt this terrible in my adult life that i recall — labor included. this shit is horrible and i would not wish it on my worst enemy. okay, well maybe on that dude. but damn, y’all. this is some rough business!

with the help of my pharmaceutical friends, my fever broke at some point Friday night, and by Saturday morning, i felt like a million bucks comparatively. i made the morning soccer game (she scored her first goal!), but bowed out of the evening school fundraiser happy hour on the grounds that if anyone got sick i did not want to be held responsible. by Sunday, i was down to one pain pill at a time and it was almost like Friday never even happened. now i’m halfway through my antibiotics and reflecting over a few things the whole ordeal taught me:

1. never get sick again. dear as Spy is, our house falls completely apart when i’m incapacitated or otherwise absent. i woke Saturday morning to a poopalooza (dogs) and a kitchen that looked like it had undergone the apocalypse (humans). piles of newspapers, mail, stuffed animals and clothes had sprouted up overnight. and apparently gourmet meals with 16 courses were prepared, based on the number of dishes strewn across the kitchen countertops. how could so much damage be done in a mere 24 hours? it was one of those times i’m beyond thankful that some type of 911 emergency didn’t befall the household, requiring teams of medical workers and CSIs to come traipsing through and comment amongst themselves about how the house looks so nice from the outside, you’d never imagine the utter squalor the family lived in. thank god i was feeling better and was able to do a whirlwind clean on it all — then promptly take a nap.

2. white foods have healing properties. i don’t care what we have been brainwashed to believe over the past several years about starches and processed foods. “don’t eat anything white” has been a popular saying. and true, i guess no one actually meant cauliflower when they said it, but still. white food has gotten a bad rap. Friday, i’m proud to say, i ate exactly 3 things and they were all white. oatmeal — not the fancy steel-cut kind, but a regular old Quaker instant packet, potato & cheddar soup and vanilla greek yogurt. admittedly not the unhealthiest whites i could have found, but certainly a bland and carby departure from my regular diet. and it was effing fantastic. i’m definitely attributing my quick recovery to their medicinal powers.

3. you can’t stop at just 1 House of Cards. i knew this before, but damn if i didn’t stay up way too late for a sick person watching just one more. i just-one-mored myself through i think the last 4 episodes of the new season. omg it is just. so. good. and of course now, i’m left feeling a little empty, jonesing for more. they said this would be the last season, but no way in hell that is happening the way they ended it this time. guess i’m going to have to fill the void by catching up on Girls and diving into Southern Charm while i wait for Mad Men to start and the obviously forthcoming announcement of HOC season 4. gaaaahhh.

4. alcohol and antibiotics do mix. with one of the most beautiful weekends we’ve seen yet this year, a neighborhood of folks happy to be outside socializing and a keg that still needed to be emptied after Saturday’s school fundraiser, some Sunday day drinking was the obvious and unavoidable end to the weekend. i’ve never been a stickler for doctor’s orders, but am usually generally pretty good with the oft-repeated advice that you shouldn’t drink while on antibiotics. well, Sunday i did a little research. and it seems that there is more myth than medical fact to that advice. sure, you don’t wanna go out and get hammered when you’re sick and medicating because you’ll end up dehydrated and feeling worse. but it turns out that alcohol doesn’t lessen the effectiveness of most antibiotics. one theory about the myth is that it stems from early Penicillin treatment of STD patients. the doctors believed patients would engage in riskier sexual behavior or simply forget to take their regular doses of their meds under the influence of alcohol, thus rendering the treatments less effective. this new knowledge in hand, i thought it couldn’t hurt to try a little vodka in my afternoon orange juice. and, guess what. it didn’t.

stay well, everyone!

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