Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Strep That Wouldn't Die, and other stories. Or other story. Or question, really.

So after being symptom free for a few days I woke up yesterday with a painful sore throat again.  Took a Vicodin immediately, and a Tamiflu, and a Keflex.   Went to my morning workout.

Then I felt nauseous.

Great, I says to myself, I says.

I called my primary care doctor and told him what was up.  I didn't know if I got the same thing AGAIN, or if I didn't get rid of it the first time, or what.   I got in to see my doctor a few hours later.  Supporters of the ACA, remember that sentence in a couple of years -- you probably won't see it ever again.

I digress.

Anyhow, the doctor thought because of the stomach issues I originally had that it was probably a virus, but he did a swab for strep anyway.  Told me to see what happens and go back on the Keflex.  He was surprised that it had responded as quickly as it had before, and this, too, led him to believe it was a virus.

Long-story short, it was strep.  Probably stuck around because I didn't take the full course of antibiotics.  Stupid me, took about three days worth and when the symptoms ended, I figured I didn't need any more.  THIS WAS DUMB.  Take the full course of antibiotics.  I feel like a putz because (a) I didn't get all-the-way better, and (b) those superbugs that are resistant to all antibiotics and will eat through steel and become sentient and take control of the world's nuclear weaponry and hold us all hostage unless we come up with money are being strengthened by (1) the use of very powerful antibiotics to treat stuff that would respond to less powerful stuff, and (2) people like me who stop using something before it's all the way gone.  I'm sorry world: I vow to do my part from here on out.

As for the nausea, that was likely just taking those drugs on an empty stomach and then working out.  I usually don't need food to take stuff but I think the combo of the three may have been enough to tweak my innards.  Blech.  Anyhow, false alarm, thankfully.  After two solid days last week of projectile vomiting that would have impressed William Friedkin, I'm glad that didn't come back.  Although I was kinda looking forward to dropping these last five pounds...

God bless the good people of Arkansas, including BB and BJ, who responded to my email immediately and were prepared to sync up with my doctor out here.  I also got a long list of tests to run on my blood which attests (no pun intended) to UAMS' thoroughness and emphasis on prolific testing, which I love. As it turns out, they weren't needed in this instance.  But I was ready to get tested for everything from Parvo (sounds gross) to salmonella to feline distemper to Gumbo Limbo virus.     The last two are not serious.  In fact that last one came from a google search I just did for "funny sounding virus names."   Turns out there are a LOOOOOOT of viruses out there, folks.   See for yourself if you are astonishingly bored.

Now, as for the other story / question.   My friend EW commented in the last post that I should get a flu shot.  My primary care doctor suggested this, too.  The traditional wisdom from UAMS is that a flu shot in my current state (or perhaps recent stake) is useless as my immune system won't mount an immune response, and that was probably true for a while.  But my CD4 count is 510 now, which means it might actually do something, and my PCP said "better to have a muted immune response than no immune response."   So I guess when flu season starts up, I'll get a shot.


I still like Purell and Tamiflu, personally.


  1. Enjoyed following your journey - great sense of humor.
    What I honestly don't understand, as a physician who believes we should be single payor but ACA is a imperfect step in the right direction, is how someone with Cancer wouldn't love the ACA. You are uninsurable if you lose your job and don't have a spouse with insurance, especially with myeloma. I have seen many of my patients lose insurance with an illness and then have the private market exclude them from getting it back. The exchanges are free market - just mandate that everyone play - only way to spread the risk. Don't think its perfect, but as a doc just don't believe it is fair that today in this great country, many patients are completely left out if they are hard working middle class people who have an illness that devastates them. Better to have some insurance and wait a day to be seen than to have nothing at all. And to shut down the government over it... I digress as well. My very best in your journey.

  2. Uh oh, broke the cardinal rule "Always finish the whole course of antibiotics", but thankful you saw the doc and are now on the road to complete recovery from strep. Thanks for the humor in your post...we all need a reason to smile today! P.S. We are big Purell fans as well!

  3. Wow! I can't believe you take Vicodin for a sore throat. That's a big hammer!

  4. My comment is a general alarm for all fellow travelers. It's a simple formula: Compromised immune system + nasty flu virus lurking = high probability of getting sick. So get the inoculation.

  5. Been taking a long break from blogs and MM stuff. But, I read this and had to comment. With strep, especially, you never stop the antibiotics before they're all done. Leftover strep bacteria can mutate and attack your kidneys. I know a couple who lost their 8 year old daughter because of that. Also, strep commonly causes nausea in some people. Had a nephew who used to get strep all the time as a kid and it always started with nausea for him. Be well.