Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dancing with a Petri Dish

Common cold

An antibiotic won't help at this point, not even if our mothers said it would. Most upper respiratory infections (like the one I presently have) are caused by a virus, not a bacterium. As a matter of fact, indiscriminate use of antibiotics is one of the reasons for the existence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. We've inadvertently trained these guys to survive in the presence of medications intended to kill them. It's like a scenario straight out of a 1950s science fiction film.

To paraphrase Jimmy Buffet, it's my own darned fault. I've got a little carpal tunnel syndrome working in my right hand and I've been wearing a wrist stabilizer to decrease stress on the median nerve -- that's the one that gets compressed in carpal tunnel. So, because it's a pain to take the stabilizer off to wash my hands, I've kind of cheated a bit lately, and probably rubbed my eyes or some such thing and infected myself.

As a consequence of being lazy, I get to feel crummy off and on -- another sign this is viral and not bacterial. And since it's an upper respiratory tract infection, I not only get to practice coughing, but also my nose-blowing skills. For the most part, an over-the-counter antihistamine has been fine to keep me breathing. Last night, however, the mucous cells in my nasal passages went into overtime and breathing while lying down was impossible. In desperation, I took a nighttime cold remedy that had a little bit of pseudophedrine in it as a decongestant. That's how this post almost got written at 3.00 in the morning.

Since I've managed to stay well for the past couple of years, I'd forgotten that pseudophredrine may cause drowsiness or excitability, depending on the person who takes it. Me, I get wired. So, there I was, baking brownies and wondering who of my friends was on-call somewhere, also wishing they could sleep. But at least I was breathing for a change.

This morning, a trip to the store has added nasal spray to the mix and I'm more or less functional. If this lasts another ten days, it's probably got a bacterial component and I can get a script, but I'm hoping for recovery before then. As for dance class, I think I'll sit this one out tonight. Dancing with the stars is one thing, dancing with a Petri Dish for a partner is quite another.


(Creative Commons image of common cold virus via Wikipedia)
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