Antibiotics, Resistance and the Perpetual Cold
I'll start off by saying that "healthy" is not a word I would generally use to describe myself, despite my doctor's use of it, mostly because I know better. Intellectually I know there are at least a thousand habits I would need to change in order to count my lifestyle as a healthy one. Spiritually I know I should treat my body like a temple, and I also know I treat mine more like a plow horse. I expect it to go when my brain says go, to go faster when I need it to, and to stop when I can finally allow myself to sleep. I also know that this does not work!
Habits, however, are hard to break. My lifestyle is one of priorities and while I am on my own list of priorities (which is a successful habit-breaking bit of change, as I used to not be), my brain and my soul are still prioritized much more highly than my body. I also know that my body tends to be much more healthy when I have money to spend on it. For instance, I don't dislike exercising. However, I much prefer exercising in a gym and membership is something I cannot currently afford. I also like to eat healthy, balanced meals, however I dislike (read here: suck at) making such meals, especially when I'm the only one who ends up eating them. So, right now, on the top of my priorities is getting a college degree which will help me find a job which will help me to better afford to take care of myself.
So, I've been sick for about a week now. With what? I don't know, except that it's not strep, because we tested for that. I also know it is virulent, because my husband caught it and his immune system kicks ass. But, it all started Monday. I took my son to the doctor for a big glob of wax that was stuck in his ear (this was a mistake, because the experience traumatized my son and he still has the glob of wax in his ear). I had had a perpetual sinus infection of some sort for about a month. I'm a stubborn sort, and since it had not interfered with my body-as-plow-horse mentality, I had not seen a doctor to remedy the situation. This is typical for me. However, when I got back from the doctors and joined an impromptu meeting (the meeting wasn't really impromptu, I'd just forgotten it was scheduled and it wasn't posted where it should be, so it felt impromptu) I couldn't stop coughing. Every thirty seconds or so I coughed this phlegmy, nasty sort of coughing that shook my whole chest. I was just shocked. I don't get sick fast like that. Usually it creeps up on me, so I know it's coming. I hadn't been sick (not really) before I went to the doctor and yet, here I was coughing up a storm. (My husband, of course, claims I got sick at the doctor's office, but usually it doesn't start so fast from there either.)
Basically, the coughing got worse. Tuesday I went to see my doctor and he said I was generally a young, healthy, vigorous individual and that I should do well on my own and he gave me a cough syrup laced with codeine to help me get over it. This is something he and I go through about twice or thrice a year. I get sick enough to go to the doctor, he says the generally I'm a healthy individual and should be fine, but if I get worse he'll give me an antibiotic. I get worse. He gives me the antibiotic and I get better. This pattern is pretty much set in stone for us.
Now, the thing of it is that I agree with him, to a certain extent. I know what antibiotic resistance is and I recognize the serious problem it poses our society. I'm not wasteful with antibiotics, nor do I seek out medication frivolously. And doctors that hand out antibiotics at the first sign of the sniffles bother the hell out of me (yes, they're still around, my step-son has such a doctor). My point is that it doesn't really matter how my congestion starts. As soon as it starts getting into my lungs it always turns into bronchitis and I always end up on antibiotics. This was true when I was a child. It's still true now. Part of it is my Mom's smoking, part of it is my smoking, but most of it is simply that my immune system was seriously compromised as a child by a staff infection, followed by open-heart surgery, and I've never really recovered.
As a world-wide society we are worried about antibiotic resistance. It's even hitting our pets. This is a serious problem which I recognize. However, does this mean people have to be complete immersed in their illness before antibiotics are used? I'm not sure, but I suspect not. Then again, that's how we developed this problem in the first place, so...
Maybe the solution is getting my tonsils and adenoids removed, like my six year old son who experiences a very similar problem. I don't know.