Last Spring I learned some new things. One was a bit of history, because until last spring I had no idea what George Washington died of. Old age, eating some poisonous plant, a spider bite. (I’m not good with remembering history, unless it’s classical music or plants.)
The other lesson was a new illness, and came in the form of a huge abscess in the back of my throat. The condition is known as Quincy, medically titled Peritonsillar abscess. The cause can be viral or bacterial, but is most noted for being a result of tonsillitis or strep.
While most people would be horrified by this illness and it’s treatment, (the method of resolution is barbaric) I found the learning experience to be fascinating, and my doctor visits a source of amusement. I do not, however, want to go through it again.
A week prior to my doctor visit, I thought I was coming down with strep, so I began taking tons of herbs.
Here is the tincture formula written to 3o ml.: 5 ml. of poke root, w/equal parts goldenseal, usnea, calendula and cleavers, with 5 drops of high quality cinnamon leaf essential oil.
It’s a massive formula, but I was beginning to feel massively bad. I took 60 drops of this 4-5 times a day. The infection seemed to get better. I stopped taking it after 5 days.
But things got worse, and not in a strep way, but in a way I have never experienced before. I decided to see a doctor.
I called and told the nurse I thought I had strep, but that my only symptom was my throat. The appointment was made for that day.
Nurse comes in, takes temperature, pulse, talks to me about my symptoms and leaves. The doctor walks in and looks at me suspiciously and quietly.
He says, “You don’t look sick and you have no fever.”
He checks my lymph nodes along my neck, and gives me this, “What the heck are you doing here?” stare. I point to my mouth. He gets his magnifying glass, he looks in and literally backs away!
I ask, “What? Do I have strep?”
His reply is nervous and tense, “What you have is way worse then strep, and you need to go the the specialist right away.”
At this point he picks up the phone, panickly dials a number and begins answering questions. One reply he gives is, “Yes, she is still breathing.”
Wow, I’m thinking, this is just like on those doctor shows. He hands me an address, and sends me on my way.
(I’m still, to this day, reveling in the fact that the doctor back away from me. About 4 feet away. It was great. I love that part.)
I get to the Ear Nose and Throat specialist who sees me with no waiting. He walks in and does the same thing. With a skeptical stare he says, “You don’t look sick. And you have no fever.” I point to my mouth. He peers in, and he says in a too calm voice, “We need to open that up right away.”
Apparently, what they can see is an enormous abscess in the back of my throat. I have a big mouth (seriously) so it hides in there quite nicely. I am in a good deal of pain, and have trouble swallowing, but I have no other symptoms. No raging fever, large swelling in my neck, no swollen lymph nodes, ashen gray skin color, headache, muffled voice or facial swelling. And given the fact that this specialist says it could rupture at any moment, it is a fairly advanced abscess. One that, he claims, that puts some people in the hospital. But there I calmly sit, showing no overt signs of illness.
I ask him, “What’s the big deal anyway?”
He turns to me, and in a grave voice says, “This is what killed George Washington.”
“No way?” I reply. “That’s cool.” Okay, not cool that GW died of this, but that I have what he had and am not dying of it.
The doctor does his deed. Within minutes of me walking in the abscess is open. I will give no details of this, only that it hurts like you don’t know what, and is horrible and barbaric. But he tells me I did great. That most people throw up, scream or bolt from the chair. I tell him I can’t imagine anyone doing those things knowing the doctor is in the back of their throat with a scalpel.
I am put on high doses of antibiotics, which makes me nervous because I am allergic to so many, and because I have Chrons Disease, which I treat without Allopathic intervention.
And now we come to why I like this doctor. He is fascinated by my ability to control my Chrons naturally, and by the fact that I showed no signs of severe infection. He wants to know what I’m doing.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t talk. The back of my throat had just been sliced open, and it hurt like hell. Besides, I was/am quite guarded when talking to any doctor who is not my GP about my condition and how I manage it. It made me feel good, though, that he was impressed by my health and ability to manage it.
Recovery: I took the antibiotics for 4 weeks with mega doses of probiotics. Keep in mind you cannot take the two at once, for the meds will kill off the probiotics. This is a tough time dance to do when you are dosing antibiotics 4 times daily, but it is the work.
I also kept taking the same herbal formula, but I changed the formula equation to be lower in goldenseal, and higher in lymphatics (calendula and cleavers).
After 5 days of this, I went for a checkup. My doctor was not in. I had a very chatty (not good listener) PA. She was nice, but seriously, she didn’t stop talking.
She tells me,”You are the water cooler conversation.”
A woman with an abscess who is tough in the chair and shows no signs of serious infection is big talk around the ENT office. I tell her I used to be a classical musician, and pushed out 2 kids. You learn some physical discipline from those experiences.
The PA told me I was healing very quickly. She said that most people in my position after 5 days are still extremely ill. That it looks better by nearly 2 1/2 weeks, not by 5 days. This was good news.
I leave, and vow to never have to revisit that illness. Though I do find abscesses fascinating, I don’t want one in the back of my throat again.
The healing I attribute to the lymphatics. They worked wonders. I had other health issues while taking the antibiotics. My intestinal tract was in an uproar. It took about a month to get it back in shape. But if put in this position again, I would do everything the same way. The nature of this infection was such that it warranted the use of antibiotics.
I learned a lot in from that illness. I learned a piece of history, that doctors can be our allies, and to more deeply trust my body when given a challenge.