Strep, an old friend of mine, came for a visit this last week. I was having dinner with friends, and from one moment to the next I felt that particular body ache which only means one thing, and by the time I got home I had raging chills and soon a fever of 103. But that's not really what this story is about.
Fast forward four days: It was nearing the end of recess and I quickly shoveled down some dry Life cereal, chased by a couple gulps of water, followed by my antibiotic. I continued my work at my desk for perhaps five minutes, at which time, I burped. It was a quiet burp. But in that instant, I felt the antibiotic shoot straight up to my nose and into my right sinus cavity.
I immediately tasted and smelled the most caustic, stinging, metallic substance imaginable, and felt a searing sensation in my nose. Truly, the horror of this situation is indescribable. The burning continued, while an intense headache ensued. Then my eyes began to water, and streams of clear mucus poured out my right nostril.
I felt the right side of my face begin to swell. I checked in the mirror and my right eye was completely bloodshot. I blew my nose a hundred times, I gulped two glasses of water, and I sneezed and sneezed, all to no avail.
Then the bell rang. I still had an hour left with 24 six and seven year-olds. My kids eyed me suspiciously but never came right out and asked what in the world was wrong. Fortunately, I had a fairy tale DVD ready for them, so they sat and watched Chicken Little while I felt my molars go numb.
The thought never occurred to me to call and ask for help. I guess I kept waiting for it to just go away, but it didn't. Finally, my blessed assistant principal walked in to check on a student when she saw me, her eyed grew as wide as saucers and she told me that I looked like I had gotten punched in the eye. I told what had happened, and she laughed, just as everyone else did that day when I told them what had happened. Thankfully, she also volunteered to take my class for dismissal.
My friend, Pumpkin Delight, volunteered to take me to the doctor, but I stubbornly insisted on driving myself. Fortunately, my Urgent Care experience was not one of those wait four hours to see the doctor nightmares. He saw me right away and declared that there was nothing he could do--it just had to dissipate on its own. However, he told me that it was not dangerous and that no damage was being done to my sinuses, eye, or respiratory system.
I still wanted to die.
Four hours, three Advil, and two Tylenol later, the pain and burning finally ceased, though my nasal passages felt like raw hamburger.
Moral of the story? Be extremely cautious when you take your antibiotics. And never, ever, even if you really want to, snort them.