April 24, 2009
This is going to be a good week, with three major health milestones for me.
In two days, I run my first 5K, the George Washington Parkway Classic. I’m trying not think about how early I will need to get up. Instead, I’m thinking how I’m going to keep running, for just about 35 minutes, an okay pace, and then I’ll have done it. That’s it, right?
This all started when one of my coworkers asked who would be interested in training for a 5K or 10 miler for this upcoming race. Within a couple weeks, our combined groups were some 15 strong. Cheryl, the mastermind behind the running groups, took over the schedule for the 10 miler training. I suggested the Couch to 5K that Allen and I had tried a few years ago. (During that training, I was completely derailed by strep. This time I’ve had strep twice in the 7 weeks I’ve been running, and I’m still going.) The 5K training became a run/walk group. We started running just 60 seconds at a time, alternating with walking. Last week, I ran 3 miles on the treadmill on Wednesday, and then 3 miles outside on Friday. I’ll admit it – I cried a little after I finished that.
Sunday is the big day. I’ve been under the weather this week (see Exhibit C) and haven’t run at all, but I plan on getting limber with a short run tomorrow and then resting and drinking plenty of water. And then – watch me go!
I’ll keep this one short because it’s not just toot my own horn day here. (But maybe it is.) My second health milestone this week is that I expect to end April with a 25 pound loss since January 1. I’ve been doing Weight Watchers fairly diligently, and it has been rewarding me with a lost pants size and dropping pounds. The most satisfying and revolting part of this process has been buying meat at the supermarket and mentally calculating how many tenderloins I have lost.
This health milestone is more of a “first,” and it’s a mixed bag. Would you believe that I have strep throat again? If you check out my last post about strep throat (er, my last post period), please do note the date. When I started recognizing the symptoms on Monday, I was incredulous that I could have strep throat twice within a month. And it’s not that it never went away; the antibiotics seemed to work last time. Mercifully, this case was mild – the advantage being that it wasn’t as painful but the disadvantage being that I had to wait for a throat culture to go to the lab and back and thus not get antibiotics until Thursday. I’m on them now though, and I’m resting up for that race on Sunday. So, along with my other health milestones, I chalk up two cases of strep within a month’s time, but that also means two confirmed positive test results to show the ear-nose-throat specialist so I can be tonsil free in 2009!
Now, off to bed, and no more electronics for the night because I’m trying to get better sleep…but that’s a health story for another day.
March 29, 2009
Conversation between me and my dad:
Dad: Your brother is dissing you on his blog.
Me: What? Let me look at that.
Dad: He’s talking about how you haven’t posted since Obama was inaugurated.
Me: I just posted today! But I didn’t see his post first. I get these emails from grandma saying she misses my blog too. I mean, I was going to write about my strep throat, but…
Dad: Yeah, that’s not even news.
Me: I know. My whole blog is going to be about strep throat.*
Dad: Yeah. Save it. Count it.
November 2, 2008
Yesterday, we drove back to Virginia, disappointed that our trip was cut short. Even if I had gone to an urgent care center in Connecticut, if it were strep, I’d still have been contagious for a few days.
We got to the urgent care center just after 7 pm. My fever turned out to be higher than in the morning: 100.6. They took a rapid strep test, which came up negative, but the doctor thought it looked like strep and gave me antibiotics anyway. She also suggested (as my mom had earlier in the day) that I should talk to my regular doctor about having my tonsils removed because I get strep so often. However, we all know it comes from the kids, so they may just say I’m out of luck.
Today I’m staying home and resting out the contagious period, if that’s what it is. The good news it that I can go to work tomorrow; the bad news is that I HAVE to go to work tomorrow, even if I’m not feeling well still because I had not yet registered for the substitute teacher network and there’s a problem doing it. Guess I won’t be spending time on sub plans!
Now we just need to figure out when we can get back up to Connecticut!
November 1, 2008
April 24, 2008
When panic is as lethargic as mine was last Thursday, it becomes something more akin to dread. In my feverish haze, the realization that I had strep throat moved me to action. But I just couldn’t move very quickly.
France’s pharmacies (and pharmacists) are so sophisticated, I was secretly hoping that I could just walk in and get antibiotics just by showing the white spots on my throat and big puppy dog eyes. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be that easy, but the pharmacist referred me to the nearest doctor with walk in hours.
However, my American insurance only covers emergency room visits. I weighed my options. Both were nearby. Either way I’d pay in advance. I wasn’t sure where I’d have a longer wait. Could I really go to the emergency room with strep throat?
I tried to call my insurance company. I didn’t know if I needed some kind of pre-approval for the claim. I called the number on the back of my insurance card. The phone card was acting up. I slumped over in the chair, completely drained from just a few minutes’ activity. Finally I got an automated message saying I should call back during business hours.
I decided to walk to the nearby doctor’s office first. However, their walk-in hours had already ended (around the time the pharmacist was recommending him). I realized I hadn’t brought my passport anyway. I walked back home to find it.
Then I headed to Hotel Dieu, the hospital on Ile de la Cite. It’s fortunate that there’s a hospital and emergency room within walking distance of my apartment. The man at the check in desk was a mumbler, and I thought I might throw up if I couldn’t sit down soon. He took his time inputting my information in the computer. I wondered if I looked as bad as I felt. Finally, after what was probably only minutes, he waved me to the waiting room.
I sat down and closed my eyes. My name was called almost immediately. The nurse took my vitals, including my temperature. She said my fever was gone. I shrugged. I still felt it, the chills and the flushes. This was just another step towards getting the antibiotics. She sent me back to the waiting area. A man sat next to me. I grappled with the thought of moving away from him, so I wouldn’t give him strep. I satisfied myself instead by breathing through my nose and turning my head away.
I didn’t sit there even five minutes before my name was called again. A nurse led me back to an examination room. The doctor entered, and I listed my symptoms again. I mentioned that the nurse had said I was no longer feverish. “You’re on the border,” she said, “37.9.” I nodded, not knowing what the conversion was. (I later checked the internet and found this to be a fever of 100.2.) She felt my lymph nodes, which were swollen. Then she looked in my throat.
“Oh yeah, those are some nice white spots there.” She asked me if my voice normally sounded as it did then (raspy and halted). Within just a few more minutes, I had prescriptions in hand, along with a note excusing me from work for three days. (I’d be contagious until Sunday.) I’d already cancelled all my babysitting and tutoring for the rest of the week.
The whole visit might have taken 30 minutes. Now it was time to pay. The caisse was closed, but I stood in front of the window anyway. I contemplated walking out of the hospital. The people sitting in the payment area didn’t seem like they’d care (particularly since they were acting closed). A man in front of me in line finally threw a small fit, and they told him to go to a different counter. But they took my paperwork and charged me 22 euros for my visit. (That is, the fee for my emergency room visit, with no insurance coverage, was 22 euros, or about $35.) I would have been more astounded if I didn’t feel so crappy.
I started to walk again, and inertia took me back to Ile Saint Louis and to the pharmacy. The pharmacist smiled at me as if I wasn’t spreading contagion in her little shop. A six-day course of antibiotics and some fever reducers cost just under 8 euros, or about $13. She gave me a paper to submit for reimbursement from insurance.
I went back to bed and effectively stayed there until Monday. In fact, on Friday, my body created cold sores in both nostrils and across my entire upper lip, giving me the Angelina Jolie effect (except not very jolie, quand meme), thus guaranteeing that I would not leave the house during my contagion and for a few days afterwards. Sometimes, our bodies just know what’s best. (I never thought I’d be saying herpes was what was best for me, ever.)
I hope I never have to go to the emergency room in a foreign country again, but if I do, I’ll rest assured that I’ll be seen quickly and treated inexpensively. Still, I’d be happy if strep throat didn’t come around for another couple of years.