Two weeks of intense pain–the hippies are right sometimes

I would write longer, but everything in my head hurts right now:

My family is really hippie when it comes to medicine. I’ve found it exasperating sometimes. At my family’s home this break, I was trying to find tylenol (acetaminophen) for my headache in my family’s house, and finally in the back of a cupboard I found an ancient bottle that had expired in March of 2006. It was full. I complained to my mom, who looked at me seriously and said, “Drugs are not good for your body.” This is tylenol! Then I ask for ibuprofen. My 16 year old sister looks at me, and says, “the last time I took ibuprofen was when I busted my forehead.”

(That was several years ago, when she ran into a metal fire-escape outside a building, and got a 3-inch gash down to her skull. She had needed 2 layers of stitches for that. I should probably mention that she remained awake for the surgery with only local anesthetic, and didn’t even wimper.).

So yes, they are a bunch of Hippie Spartans.

And then this happened:

We all came down with a cold over winter break. They chugged ginger tea (you just chop up 1/2 pound of fresh ginger root from the chinese grocery store and boil it in an enormous stockpot of water), wore scarves, and napped under heavy blankets to sweat it out. Modernist Me decided to defiantly purchased snazzy 21st century cold medicine, and I started popping pills.

A few days later, I came down with an AWFUL sinus infection that has lasted for nearly two weeks and is still going strong. Headaches every day that tylenol doesn’t take away, insomnia from difficulty breathing at night, toothache all along my upper back teeth, fever, etc.

Meanwhile, my family have all bounced back to full health.

Apparently one of the ingredients in cold medicine, Phenylephrine HCL, is a nasal decongestant that drastically increases your chances of catching a sinus infection. Apparently the decongestant works short-term, but after 3 days in a row or so, your sinus gets more clogged, and once clogged, it is likely to be infected by an opportunistic bacteria. The opportunistic bacteria moves into the sinus after the cold has run its course,  and sticks around for a month or so. So I just traded 3 days of a runny nose for 2 weeks of a clogged nose and intense head pain. And, apparently many sinus infections last even more than 4 weeks. Antiobiotics should help, but I need a prescription for that.

Hah. I started taking medicine (unlike my hippie family) and look how one drug leads to another:

Family: Had a cold [ginger tea and scarves and naps] –> recovered after a week.

Me (with my medicines): Had a cold [cold medicine] –> felt better for three days and then caught a sinus infection –> took maximum dose acetaminophen and ibuprofen for two weeks –> had to urinate more often to flush it out, difficulty sleeping –> took sleeping aid medication –> sinus infection gets stronger, my ears start aching –> now I need antibiotics. And my poor kidney is working hard to flush all the acetaminophen out of my system.

One drug leads to another, and now I need prescription medication. That was stupid.

Moral of the story: I guess sometimes my hippie-spartan family is right. Trying to avoid pain just leads to more pain. And one drug leads to another, all “not good for your body.”

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3 thoughts on “Two weeks of intense pain–the hippies are right sometimes

  1. As they say the punishment need to fit the crime…likewise the treatment should fit the disease. I have a lot more respect for non-pharmaceutical treatments being pregnant and not able to take much of any pills. However, I’d not recommend a cancer patient going off their chemotherapy if they are not ready for hospice. Or a mental health patient with a severe diagnosis (Schizophrenia or bipolar) that has improvement with drugs to go off of them either. But a minor cold it’s totally fine to just go with fluids and rest. In fact, the medical providers tend to prescribe way too much antibiotics for virus diseases that do not work leading to these antibiotic resistant bugs that’s now a major problem. Treatment does not fit the disease there.

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