Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Soaking my head might have been a better plan

"To clear your sinuses, soak your mains* in hot water for five minutes," the ENT doc said, before writing out a prescription for penicillin. I ignored her first instruction, to focus on the second.

"I just told you I’m allergic to penicillin," I said. "I don’t think this is a good idea..."

"It is a very small dose, a child would not feel it. Just try one pill and call me if you have any problems."

Stupidly, I took the medicine. Six hours later, the doctor did not answer her phone. In between bursts of fury at my stupidity, and throwing up, I was singing late Beethoven - a bad sign. I called my OB and she told me to try another tablet because perhaps I’d adjust to the medication. I gave up on doctors for the night, and ignored her advice.

In the morning, I tracked down the ENT. She said, "Oh my god, you were true. Skip the antibiotics for now, but please, keep on soaking your mains, it is very important."

Freshly bathed, my hands are happily warm and typing away. My nose? Still waiting for clarity.

*mains = hands in French. We live in the Czech Republic and neither doctor or patient is French. This did not lessen the surrealism of the day.


Tommy Williams said...

No real advice other than not to take penicillin if you're allergic to it. Maybe the "soak your hands" advice arose because the steam from a warm bowl of water opens up the sinuses sometimes. Maybe boil some water, put it in a bowl, drape a towel over your head, and enjoy the steam bath.

Or you could try eating lots of wasabi. That has been Dawn's solution to clogged sinuses. She prefers the wasabi sandwiched between a bit of specially prepared rice and a slice of raw fish.

Julia said...

Soaking hands (and actually arms up to the elbows) is apparently a common treatment for sinuses in the Czech Republic, or so our babysitter says. She clarified the treatment for me this afternoon - soak for 5 to 10 minutes in water as hot as you can stand, then wrap your arms in a towel to preserve the heat and get into bed.

I'm a bigger fan of steam baths, but thought I'd try it anyway, especially as it was the doctor's only advice after antibiotics!

The wasabi sounds good too though. No raw fish for me for a bit longer, but I have eaten wasabi for my nose in the past. It definitely works.

lizardek said...

Eeek, woman, you know better than to take penicillin when you're allergic to it! I second the wasabi method!

Karla said...

You alarm me. I thought the Czech doctors were supposed to be quite competent, and this suggests not.

I say do the wasabi.

Julia said...

I know I know, it was stupid to take the medicine. Since I haven't taken it, I haven't had a reaction in years and the doc's present persuasiveness overcame my past memories. It was a good lesson in not getting swept away by the righteousness of a medical authority.

Czech doctors have their strengths and then they have their home remedies. The home remedies seem safer sometimes.

lenabee said...

I'm so sorry I went brain dead regarding the antibiotics allergy! Nothing is called penicillin here (my only possible excuse, poor as it is.)

tuckova said...

I like the home remedies here (including the magical raw onion and honey for a sore throat: who knew?!) but I have taken home more than a few bizarre prescriptions (things that I've taken home, Googled, and thrown from me as if the bottle itself could be harmful (example: pheonbarbital for newborn jaundice. No phototherapy or anything else: she went straight to phenobarbital. I went straight to another doctor, but I'm still gunshy.)

Julia said...

I've thrown prescriptions away too - when I was first pregnant in September I couldn't stop throwing up and got prescribed something on the FDA's D list (way down there in "no way if you're pregnant" land). I ripped that note up straight away and just got on with life with an extra hour or so set aside for cleansing my soul (digestive tract) every morning ;-).

What's the scoop with the raw onions and why do I not know this? Perhaps it is a Moravian home remedy?

tuckova said...

Chop or grate an onion, eat it by the spoonful about 30/70 with honey. There are also things like "onion juice" or "let stand for 3 hours, then eat a spoonful every hour" or whatever, and I'm sure if you're sick long enough you can try all that, but I just chop a bit of onion very tiny and put it on a spoon with honey. You have to be pretty sick to think it's a good idea, but it does seem to have cough-soothing and mucus-clearing properties that hit the spot. And the onion breath prevents others from getting close enough to catch what ails you, so: BONUS.

I hope you're feeling better soon.