Tuesday, August 31, 2010

An Abscess and an Absence

My short, one-and-a-half week at home was supposed to be a storm of productivity. Dentist appointment, doctor's appointment, hair appointment, clothes shopping, Goodwill-donating, tailor-visiting, laundry, unpacking, re-packing, gym, gym, yoga, gym.

Not that that all hasn't happened, but there's been a slight damper on my chirpy spirit, which has taken most of its toll on my gym-going: my Peritonsillar abscess.

I'm as befuddled as you are. It started out last Monday, after I left the dentist. I felt the beginnings of a sore throat, but it was a strange one in that it wasn't the back of my throat that felt badly, it was sort of off to the side. I took a cough drop and didn't think much of it, but last Wednesday, when I sat in the cold drizzle at the Red Sox game for four hours (and haven't posted pictures of it yet--bad little blogger!), I came home feeling all kinds of achy and generally flu-like. My neck was stiff, my throat was tight, and I had a pulsating headache.

Then, I felt the lump. On the right side of my throat, near my right tonsil. It started growing, and growing, and growing. Saturday we went to the beach and I came home a bit sunburned, and went to bed feeling a little warm. I woke up completely drenched in sweat (I just spent the entire summer sharing a teeny room with L. sleeping without air conditioning in 90 degree heat...I don't sweat that much when I sleep!), and knew I had had a fever. Plus, Saturday night I woke up and my difficulty swallowing was so painful that I cried every time I had to swallow. My body woke me up throughout the night because my saliva would pool at my throat and I would choke.

Basically, I knew something was bad news bears, indeed. This wasn't your normal sore throat.

I Web MDed it, because obviously I was looking to give myself a panic attack, and boy did I get one. I had every single symptom for a Peritonsillar abscess, which are the following, in case you're actually interested in my tonsils:

Progressively worsening sore throat
Difficulty swallowing
"Hot potato voice" (this is sort of funny, if it wasn't so painful)
Neck pain
Tender, swollen lymph nodes--usually only on one side (mine was on the right)
Lump in the throat, usually only on one side.
Ear pain on the same side as the infection
Uvula is shoved/stuck away from the side of the infection (mine was sticking to my right side)

While I diagnosed myself with having this, I read the treatment, and learned that in many cases the abscess has to be surgically removed by making a slice with a scalpel and draining it. Naturally, being the strong and sturdy person that I am, I cried for a good half-hour just thinking about it.

Why didn't I go to the doctor, you might be wondering? Well, I had a physical appointment scheduled for Monday, and I just kept saying that I would wait until then to see what was wrong. In retrospect, I do wish I had gone earlier, and if I had needed surgery, I definitely would have wished I had, since L. and Andrew fly in on Thursday night.

But, as you read, I did not need surgery! I did, however, correctly diagnose myself. The doctor confirmed the abscess and prescribed antibiotics to treat it. Even after one day, I feel SO much better.

Oh, and the "absence" part of this title? I got weighed when I got my physical, and asked them to compare it to my last two years' weights (so, two years ago would be before I lost any weight, and last year would be after my first summer of doing South Beach.) For some reason she couldn't pull up the data on two years ago, but I know it was anywhere from 155-158. I was 5'4 (well, still am) and a size 10. Last year, I weighed 149, which is surprising because I thought I lost so much weight last summer, and a size 8. This year? 138, and a size 6! Woo hoo! That was enough good news to make me temporarily forget about the abscess.

Oh, and PS: I'm doing something tonight to alter my appearance...I'll post before and after pictures after it's done!


  1. Ouch! So happy you didn't have to have surgery. One of my life goals is to never have surgery. Ever. I'm glad everything is getting better, though, because it just sounds awful!

  2. You poor thing. Thank goodness you're feeling better! Way to go with the weight loss lady!