Monday, January 3, 2011


It's been a week since our return from Arizona. What started as a scratchy throat on Monday moved up into my sinuses during the flight, and my ears are still popping today, just like I've spent the past 7 days in that awkward, stuffy-headed, ear-popping condition that I usually feel after landing and on the way to pick up my baggage. By Saturday Cheryl convinced me to go to the walk-in clinic (a much nicer place than I expected), and she drove me there like a sick puppy since I was and remain somewhat hazy and tired, extremely sleepy despite my frequent naps this week.

The doctor gave me some antibiotics like I expected. So I asked Cheryl (I really wanted to ask the doctor--except he seemed pretty tired and not in need of idle conversation) how it is that we've become so dependent on antibiotics. What would happen to me, I asked her, if this was 100 years ago? "You'd be dead," she said, which is probably true, though I might have been more happy to hear some regret in her voice. "People died all the time."

I used to have some stronger feelings on the subject--about allowing the body to heal itself without resorting to antibiotics and other extreme measures (sending a pill in to kill everything not nailed down is pretty extreme). But a few years ago I put this belief to the test and powered through a cold by simply ignoring it. One of our dogs broke a pipe outside and I went out there to fix it, in the rain and cold, and by the next day I became delusional with a fever, thinking all sorts of wild thoughts. In particular I entertained the notion that my illness was due to some sort of poisoning that I received while haggling for a tapestry on the dark back streets of a market in Grenada, Spain, all of which are historically accurate facts, except for the poisoning. I had a bad case of pneumonia that took a month to completely get over. So when Cheryl suggested the walk-in clinic this Saturday I was quick to go.

As it is, the human race is full of people like me, people who probably should have been thinned out a long time ago, like when I have pneumonia in the 6th grade. Too bad--I like it here now.

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