I have strep throat. For the second time in my life, which is also the second time in two weeks. WHAT THE HELL IT’S THE WORST. It should be impossible to get strep throat after the age of like, seven, which is the age when you can sleep 24 hours a day and eat nothing but popsicles and not leave your house and it’s super normal and no one is depending on you to do anything, at all, ever, except turn in worksheets or maybe unload the dishwasher and even if you don’t it’s no big deal. But I did not get strep throat at age seven. It is somehow happening now, at age 26, which is really grown-up age.
Two weeks ago, I had a sore throat, which is like, whatever, okay, sore throats happen. And then the next day I also had a sore throat, this scratching monstrous thing. And by the third day, I still had a sore throat, and I couldn’t swallow anything without incurring this ravaging miserable pain, and I’d been walking around in this feverish haze that felt like I was a character in one of the very weird, hip, black and white, discordant music-ed films that we watched a lot of in East Quad my freshman year of college. That’s what it felt like. Also I’d been sleeping about…12 hours a day, easy. So I went to my doctor (she’s very cool by the way) and she was like, “Yep, boom, got that culture back from the lab, strep throat,” and so I started taking penicillin, and in a couple days I was back to normal me. I finished out the ten days of antibiotics (everybody out there, don’t you dare stop your antibiotics early – keep our bacteria docile!) and then…
48 hours later – which was Tuesday –
IT CAME BACK. THAT SNEAKY HORRIBLE STREPTOCOCCUS BACTERIA CAME RIGHT BACK.
Sore throat. No swallowing. Fever. Sleeping a million hours a day. Swollen tonsils with white horrible spots (I knew what to look for this time.) Back to the doctor. More penicillin.
So here I sit, having just finished my first 24 hours of antibiotics, and the real me is coming back. For example, it is nearly 6 pm and I’m still awake.
Being really sick has given me new perspective on normal-life. I don’t actually get very sick very often. I get colds and sometimes I get horrible headaches, but nothing usually lingers. Nothing shuts me down. When those antibiotics finally did their thing last week and I woke up finally one day feeling awesome, I got to revel in the full realization of what it’s like to just be healthy. To sleep eight hours and wake up feeling energized. To go to work and be productive. To have energy to run around and ride a bike and climb fences and do push-ups. To shout and sing and laugh. I felt like I’d been run through with lightning bolts, like someone infused me with some kind of sparkly magic, and then I was like, “Oh WAIT. This is just my NORMAL SELF.”
So when the strep came back two days ago, it was kind of a blow, because I’m back to this foggy lethargy. The thing is, I have meds. I have the solution. In a couple days, that magical sparkly everyday Liz will be back. And that’s not true for everyone. I know people suffering from all kinds of health issues, chronic pain, and cancer, and all kinds of injuries and illnesses and ailments, and that stuff doesn’t go away after ten days of antibiotics. They have to fight through that pain and fog every day and keep on trucking regardless, and that makes them intensely fierce warriors in my book. This is all sounding like a cheesy motivational poster, perhaps, but I’ve realized that a measly case of strep throat can make me a different person, and that there are people out there going through things that I can’t even imagine and continuing to rock it out every day. And I would like to give them high fives. And popsicles.