Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas sinus infection

As it turns out, I've been walking around with a sinus infection for the past week.  I've felt like complete and utter hell, but I couldn't really do anything about it because I had 895,000 final essay exams to grade, and then it was Christmas.  Actually, I tried to go to a "Take Care" clinic on the 22nd, and that was a total fail.  First of all, I had to drive through Mall Traffic 3 days before Christmas, and second of all, when I arrived, I was informed there was a 4 hour wait.  The scare of driving through Mall Traffic and also having found myself in an exit only lane for the interstate by mistake (think: The movie Clueless when the character D accidentally merges onto the freeway in LA) was enough to scare the sinus infection away from me, at least for a moment.  Since I was supposed to be at work and was trying to do this on my "lunch hour," I did not have 4 hours to wait, so I turned around and drove back through Mall Traffic so that I could continue grading the 895,000 essay exams sitting on my desk.

I was determined to power through this.  I mean, come on.  I'm Melissa.  When I was in Nicaragua doing my field research, I put bandaids on things that should have had stitches.  Instead of going to the hospital to get an IV for 2 weeks of Vortex, I drank some coke and just kept going.

Well by today, I am no better, and I am so completely frayed from being unable to sleep for the past 8 nights due to the congestion.  I haven't taken a breath through my nose since December 19.  I'm taking the day off anyway... even though I'm not technically allowed to take sick or vacation days until the end of February, I've worked 20 hours of unpaid overtime in the last couple of weeks, so I just get to use that as "comp time."  What better to do with my comp time than go to a doctor.

There are like 7,000 doctors that my insurance covers, and I have no idea who to go to, so I just picked the closest one.  When I called her office this morning, I found out that in order to be seen by her, I had to have a "new patient evaluation," and the first available opening for said evaluation was January 19.  I think I gave an involuntary sob and said, "But I am sick nowwww," and they told me that they would let me know if there are any cancellations.

I suppose I could have kept calling doctors and seeing if there was another one who would see me, but I decided to try going to an Urgent Care Clinic a few miles from here on easily navigable roads that would not necessitate going through Mall Traffic or the freeway.  The good people at the urgent care place were nice and the whole process did take quite a while, but all things considered, I cannot complain.  They did x-rays and found that I did in fact have a sinus infection, and prescribed an antibiotic (that I hope does not send me into anaphylactic shock) and pseudoephedrine.  I told the doctor that I was nursing and I was concerned about pseudoephedrine drying up my milk supply (I'm glad I knew that because it did not seem like that information would have been volunteered to me).  He said that yes, decongestants can have a drying-up effect for some nursing mothers, but that I could drink lots of water and pump to counter balance that effect.  And I was all GEE.  You have no idea what I have been through to nurse this child.  I am already drinking a lot of water and pumping and making like, I don't know, a half an ounce of milk a day.  After I finished off the domperidone, my temporary burst in supply has precipitously declined.  If I add pseudoephedrine to the mix, I have a feeling that is the end.

So I am completely miserable and even more miserable at the thought that the thing that might bring me relief from these symptoms might also put an end to my fragile milk supply.  There is so much sinus pressure in my face that it feels like I am giving birth through my eyeball.  I know we might be at the end of nursing anyway, but still, I don't to put the nail in the coffin myself.  I keep thinking, if I can just tough this out maybe a few more days, the antibiotics will kill off the infection and then I will feel better.  The pseudoephedrine only treats the symptoms, right?  It would just make me more comfortable in the meantime.  But god, I would really like to be more comfortable.

Thanks for reading.



Rachael said...

Just stopping by to offer some moral support! My nose was horribly blocked up about two weeks ago, and even if I wasn't nursing, I can't take pseudoephedrine (makes my heart race). Trying to sleep with a stuffed up nose is awful. I feel your pain.

Have you ever tried a neti pot? It might not work very well with your nose so clogged... but maybe if you went for a run, took a long hot shower, chugged some cayanne pepper and used a neti pot, you might be able to clear out some of that congestion naturally?

Good luck...

Karen Joy said...

I second Rachael's suggestion of a neti pot. And put some drops of colloidal silver in the water. (Some detailed instructions here:

Other remedies, like chamomile tea with raw honey (start with whole chamomile blossoms, if you can) are harmless to you & Will, but serious germ-fighters.

OOH, I want to assuage your feelings that quitting nursing now is fine, but OTOH, I was compelled to stop nursing my youngest for a medical reason when she was 15 months, and I still regret it. I'm angry that the doctor prodded me into it, and I'm angry that I gave into her, and especially since my "baby" is my fifth child, and I'm 37, and it's not likely that I'll have more children, I really mourn the loss of those would-be months of nursing. My baby is 26 months now, so it has almost been a year since we stopped nursing, and I'm still sad. SO. I do encourage you to take those heroic steps to continue to nurse, if you feel compelled to do so!!

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