SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK
I’ve been fighting the mother of all sinus infections this week … which is not a comment about my mother, mind you.
Why are really big things called “The Mother Of”, anyway? Seems a bit insulting to mothers. You know what? I’ve been fighting the cousin of all sinus infections. Think that cousin from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, who shows up with his brood, parks his RV on your lawn, and can’t be kicked off the property without a nuclear exchange.
I haven’t talked about it much because I get sick all winter, every winter, and I can only get at best three columns out of that before I get boring even by my standards. Illnesses around the holidays are a tradition in my household, like fruitcake, and just as welcome. The only real difference this year is that I’ve been battling some extra-intense back pain at the same time; but if I had a dime for every time my back hurt I could pay for a spine transplant.
If John F. Kennedy could have chronic back pain, be President, and still romance Marilyn Monroe, I guess I’m okay as long as I stay out of the Bay of Pigs.
About a month ago I went to my family doctor, who approved my sinus infection (Thanks, Doc!). I took the antibiotics, but apparently have those super-germs that eat medicine for lunch and still have enough energy to sledgehammer the inside of my skull. In short, it didn’t go away. Being a guy, I did nothing; most men are convinced that almost any problem will go away if you ignore it long enough, which explains a lot when you consider the ratio of males to females in Congress.
Then, the first day of the Thanksgiving break (in other words, all the Doctors were golfing in Florida), my ear started bleeding.
The typical guy excuses followed: It must have been a pimple; I cut myself shaving; it’s from an old childhood injury when we used to act out Three Stooges routines.
In the end I went to a clinic that’s sponsored by my workplace; not because I don’t like my regular doctor, but because there’s this whole work thing where they encourage us to go to the clinic because it saves money, somehow. I know it saves me money; how it saves them money, I don’t know.
Anyway, I had the good fortune of being examined by the oldest Doctor I’ve ever met in my life. How old? He told me about how his grandfather graduated from medical school just after the turn of the century … the turn of the last century.
He poked and prodded. A lot. This made me feel good, because I like my medical people to be thorough, although it also made me feel bad because of the intense pain. The sinuses above my eyes were so swollen it looked like I was in makeup to play a Klingon in the next Star Trek movie. I knew this because my fiancée greeted me that morning with, “Captain, Klingons off the starboard bow!” Ha. Ha.
The real surprise was when the doc poked a spot below my eyes, prompting me to scream a traditional Cherokee phrase that roughly translates to: “Ouch!”
My sinuses, the doctor proceeded to explain, were like the Japanese army on Iwo Jima during World War 2; we could bomb them all day with over the counter meds, but eventually we’d have to send Marine antibiotics in to dig them out.
That seemed a bit too politically incorrect, as would asking him if he was actually at Iwo Jima. He substituted that with another example: “We’re going to have to use antibiotics that are like General Grant during the Civil War: He said, ‘We’ll hold the line all summer if we have to’.”
Which I hope doesn’t mean taking antibiotics all winter. Still, if I’m to understand that my sinus infection is General Robert E. Lee, maybe I’d better start drinking the whiskey Grant used. It might not heal me any faster, but after awhile I won’t care.
This doc obviously has a grasp not only on medicine, but on history. He gave me antibiotics so powerful that they’ve been banned as part of the U.N. nuclear test agreement. These antibiotics, he told me, were the Chuck Norris of medicine; in fact, they’re the only ones that work on Chuck Norris. They’re not called controlled substances, because they can’t be controlled; they’re the drugs Albert Einstein warned President Roosevelt never to use. They’re so powerful that if you take two pills from the bottle at the same time, they might collapse reality into a bizarro world where politicians make sense and reality TV is real.
I confess to being concerned.
Still, later I learned of a new method to clean the sinuses that basically involves sticking a fire hose up your nose and giving yourself a sinus-enema.
After that, drugs didn’t seem so bad.