Well THAT was fun….


There I was, minding my own business on Friday afternoon when I noted the beginning of a sore throat.  I’m a doctor. I see sick people every day.  “Virus,” I said to myself.  “I’ll get over it.”

All day Saturday it was bothersome, but not urgent.  “I’ll pick up some antibiotics after church tomorrow.”

We had dinner with friends, and when I arrived home Saturday night, I had shaking chills. “Definitely need to get some antibiotics tomorrow,” I told myself.

But on Sunday I woke knowing that it was too late.  My airway was obstructing, I had trouble breathing and the left side of my face and neck were markedly swollen.

I’m a doctor, and I see people abuse the emergency room all the time. “Would a reasonable person call this an emergency?” I asked.

“Yep,” I answered….and off to the er we went. Antibiotic, fluids and arrangements for a followup ENT appointment were made to treat my peri-tonsillar abscess (the same thing that killed George Washington).  I went home, took some liquid pain medicine, had trouble swallowing it, and made the decision to “pull rank.” I am a doctor, and yes, there are some perks to that….

I called the director of my health plan’s clinic, explained to her what had happened.  She called the on-call ENT on Oahu (200 miles away) and he said I needed to come see him now.  On Oahu.

So, they flew me and DH to Oahu, taxi to the hospital, ANOTHER er visit, a bit of morphine, and an ENT consult.  One scalpel, followed by blunt clamp exploration, followed by blunt finger exploration, followed by rupture of putrid pus and blood into my oral cavity (quickly suctioned out, thank you,) followed by more morphine, followed by voucher-paid taxi to an overnight hotel, and then flights back to Big Island for DH and I….. (by the way, all this was not a doctor perc….this is SOP for Kaiser in Hawaii…the perc was that I could call a friend and easily get the process started on a holiday weekend.)

I still hurt, still have (literally) no voice (I can only talk in a whisper), but I can breathe.

And boy, does ice cream taste and feel good!