April 28, 2000
Tonsils My Ass


It's one of those Good News/Bad News/Good News Days again.

The good news?  I'm sick. I am really, truly, genuinely, honestly, legitimately, physician-sanctioned, flat-on-my-back-in-bed, feeling-like-gently-microwaved-shit SICK. I've got something called lymphigi ... lumphagani ... lymphagit ...

(An infection of the lymph glands.)

I finally broke down and went to Kaiser on Wednesday afternoon. David picked me up at my office right after lunch, that day, and took me to the hospital. (This after I had stoopidly attempted to work for a few hours that morning ... until everything started to go gray around the edges.) At the hospital I was given one of those infamous Kaiser Hospital five-minute "examinations," and it was then determined that I've got a big bad infection cooking in my neck and my head and assorted *outlying regions.*

(At first the earnest little doctor tried to convince me that it was my tonsils. "Wow!" I said. "That will come as quite a surprise to my mother!" According to my baby book, I had my tonsils -- and my adenoids -- taken out on Oct. 15, 1959. Do they grow back?)

I was given a handful of prescription slips ... ordered to go home, get into bed and DO NOTHING for the remainder of the week ...

... and here I am. Like I said, that's the good news.

Why is being sick "good news," you ask? Because it means that I wasn't imagining things, a couple of days ago, when it felt like my head was trying to unscrew itself from my neck. And it means that I prolly will live to see my grandchildren, after all.

AND it means that it wasn't just a "pulled muscle," forcryingoutloud.

The bad news? I'm not at work today.  I wasn't at work yesterday, either, or the day before that (except for the afore-mentioned morning hours), or the day before that. This is turning into a six-day "weekend," basically.

Why on earth is this BAD news, you ask?

Because it makes me extremely nervous to be away from the office this long. Who knows what sort of mischief Franz could be up to?? I stayed home on Tuesday, remember, and when I went back into the office on Wednesday morning he had completely trashed his office, changed all of his appointments for the week, filled my *In* basket with bazillion-page magazine articles he wants me to copy and distribute to all 200+ TPC employees and jammed my voicemail box up past storage capacity again. (I suspect he got into my Penguins, too. But I can't prove it.)  And this was after me being gone for just ONE day! God knows what horrors await me on Monday morning.

I've talked to my pal The Human Resources Director Person a couple of times since I got the diagnosis. She insists that I stay home and get well, and she assures me that everything is "under control." I want to believe her. I really really really do. But there is an all-too-familiar undercurrent of hysteria in her voice that says, "We're seriously considering the tranquilizer darts again."


So that's the bad news. I'm on enforced impromptu *vacation* ... and I can't even relax and enjoy it.

The other "good" news?

I received a swift, concerned, collectively-alarmed response from the medical community at large earlier this week, when I first posted my complaints about the pain in my neck. (It's so much fun getting my *medical professional* pals all riled up, every time I publicly flaunt my ignorance! Maybe I'd better not tell them about the big bumpy thing on my foot.)

A cutely exasperated message from Chriss:

"IF it's a swollen gland, don't play with it or "pop it in and out of place" (sheeesh). It would be swollen for a reason....its reason for existing is to trap bacteria otherwise free to roam around your body and make you feel "sick-sick". If it hasn't digested the bug and gotten back to normal in a day or three, you would probably benefit from a course of antibiotics to help it along.

Or it could be a pulled muscle. =)


And then there's this one, filled with interesting information and advice. I have never heard of "pollen trauma" before, but I am instantly MAD about the phrase! It is so benignly sinister ...  like "Hello Kitty homicide." Anyway, here is what Dr. Tim has to offer:

"Three different lymph glands in the neck on each side. Sublingual (under tongue), submandibular (under jaw) and parotid ( along side ear) can be felt as swollen with your finger when you are fighting an infection or allergic reaction. A lot of pollen in the air this year! Many people reactive to things that did not previously bother them. Lymph nodes in the neck drain these tissues and could also be swollen and very painful for the neck. This is the immune system doing it's job, unfortunately can be painful, but temporary.

Eating local honey can act as sort of an inoculation against local pollen trauma. Hmmm... from P. trauma to pollen trauma!

Vitamin A up to 25,000 IU temporarily, vitamin C 300mg six times per day, feverfew, echinacea and zinc could be helpful. Lots of water and less diuretic also would help.


Thanks, guys. Too bad none of you work for Kaiser Hospital in Oakland. (Tonsils, my ass.)

At any rate ... I'm heading back to bed now, and I plan to pretty much live there for the duration of my unscheduled vacation. Just typing this much of a journal entry is making things go fuzzy on me again. David has helped me lay in a supply of all my favorite "sick foods"  --  orange ice cream, canned spaghetti, canned peaches, Ritz crackers, Tropicana Pure Premium (everything orange, I just realized!). I've got the piano in bed with me, and the laptop, and a stack of old "Yahoo! Internet Life" magazines, and I figure that ought to be enough to entertain me. I'm probably just going to sleep all weekend, anyway.

I'll crawl back to the computer when some of the fog lifts ... or when I actually have something interesting to write about again.

Whichever happens first.

throw a rock