Painful Memories

Posted: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 3:22 pm
By: Doug Lund
Comment | Trackback Bookmark and Share

I can count on one hand the number of times in 32 years at Keloland, that I missed work because I was sick. I mean, REALLY sick..not suffering from one of those mysterious 12 hour bugs which some people get. You know, those that show up at sunrise and disappear at sunset.  There were lots of times when I probably shouldn’t have gone in..choosing instead to contaminate my colleagues with clouds of germs from constant sneezing and coughing. But the truth is, I hated to miss an on-air shift and was just paranoid enough to worry that whoever they got to fill in for me would do a better job and take over permanently so I rarely called in sick. 

I might have this week, though, if I had a real job because an old nemesis, tonsillitis, has raised its ugly head for the first time in years..looking like morel mushrooms at the back of my throat and making the decision to swallow an excruciatingly painful one. 

These are not my tonsils but that's what they would look like

These are not my tonsils but that's what they would look like

I can hear some of you saying..why didn’t you have them taken out when you were a kid?  Well, once my friend made me gag after showing me his extracted tonsils floating around in a jar of formaldehyde. They looked like a couple of the creatures my mom would use to make oyster stew.  Still, my bouts with tonsillitis became so frequent and painful; I agreed to have the surgery next time I had a flare-up. Sure enough, my tonsil troubles returned but this time, mom took me to the clinic in nearby Brookings where the doctor gave me a shot of penicillin and, amazingly, within a couple hours, the swelling in my neck went down and those disgusting white deposits attached to each tonsil disappeared.  I had several more occasions to get that penicillin shot but each time it took longer for the drug to do its magic. Thankfully, by the time I’d graduated from high school, my annual battles with tonsillitis had become a distant memory. Until now, that is.  I woke up in the middle of the night Sunday with a familiar unpleasant feeling in the back of my throat. I’ve been doing battle ever since with dozens of Advil, Amoxicillin (left over from my root canal in May) and something I’d never heard of before that  is saving my sanity; Cepacol sore throat lozenges. cepacolTheir active ingredient is similar to what the dentist rubs on your gums to ease the pain of the anesthetic shots. They don’t taste great but sure do live up to the claims of working instantly to ease the pain. The only trouble is, you have to keep one in your mouth pretty much at all times and I’m running out.

I’ve found that a distilled beverage on ice has a soothing effect too and I believe we have an adequate supply of that in the cabinet.

“Honey, would you mind making me a cocktail? “I’m sick.”

10 Comments

  1. Dan says:

    Fifty seven years ago at age five, my tonsils were removed. I was held down and a cloth was placed over my face while drops of ether made me pass out. Obviously it made a life long impression as I remember it as if it was a couple of years ago. I think an ice cold Tuaca would have done just as well had I waited and delayed the procedure. I think my anesthesiologist was Vincent Price.

  2. L McKinney says:

    Hope you are feeling better soon

  3. Hemmingsen says:

    I had mine out when I was 12…and kept them in a jar. I don’t recommend surgery at this late date if you can avoid it.

  4. LisaB says:

    Oh – how I can relate to this! I lived through years to tonsilitis as a kid. Several times a year – everyone else had strep throat, I had tonsilitis. But, I grew up in the 60′s, when they Drs said it was better to keep your tonsils if at all possible, so keep them I did. Unfortunately, they were enlarged from being infected so many times.

    Then, about 5 years ago, I had another round of tonsilitis. I headed to my Dr, who called in nurses & others to see my tonsils! They were so swollen they were blocking my airway. They couldn’t figure out how I could breathe. I think I was so used to it, I didn’t even notice. So, after the swelling went down, I went under the knife. I can speak from experience – if at all possible – don’t have this done as an adult! All the horror stories they tell are true. This really must be a surgery that’s much easier for kids. I missed nearly a month of work, and could barely swallow, let alone breathe for somewhere between 10 days and 2 weeks!

  5. LisaB says:

    Oh – how I can relate to this! I lived through years to tonsilitis as a kid. Several times a year – everyone else had strep throat, I had tonsilitis. But, I grew up in the 60′s, when they Drs said it was better to keep your tonsils if at all possible, so keep them I did. Unfortunately, they were enlarged from being infected so many times. I lived on chloraseptic back then, similar to cepacol. Not the greatest taste, but did the trick!

    Then, about 5 years ago, in my mid-40′s, I had another round of tonsilitis. I headed to my Dr, who called in nurses & others to see my tonsils! They were so swollen they were blocking my airway. They couldn’t figure out how I could breathe. I think I was so used to it, I didn’t even notice. So, after the swelling went down, I went under the knife. I can speak from experience – if at all possible – don’t have this done as an adult! All the horror stories they tell are true. This really must be a surgery that’s much easier for kids. I missed nearly a month of work, and could barely swallow, let alone breathe for somewhere between 10 days and 2 weeks!

    So, hang in there, Doug! I hope you are able to overcome this, as I sure wouldn’t wish that surgery on anyone.

    BTW – love your column. I read it all the time, but this is the first one that I just HAD to comment on!

  6. Denny says:

    removing tonsils as a child is not always best either—-my old mechanic George Pander had a lot of difficulty with speaking all through his life—reason is, his Dad had removed his tonsils with a pair of pliers.

  7. Dave B says:

    I had mine removed 5 years ago @ 39 yrs of age and ws back at work in 3 days and eating normally in 5…went really really well compared to the horro stories I had been hearing. Good luck.

  8. Mary Snyder says:

    Okay since we’re all telling ‘our’ tonsil stories. I had mine out at 15yrs old. (1968) Dr Stransky in Watertown SD removed them while I sat across from him in the operating room of the local hospital. He put a blindfold like thing on my eyes so he wouldn’t accidently poke them and blind me during the procedure. I imagine people were scared and did jump, so it could’ve been a possibility. He numbed my throat and took my tonsils out while I sat there. Took a total of about 30-40 minutes. No pain, could eat without a sore throat within hours and didn’t have the effects of the anesthesia. I have never had a sore throat since. Was sick all the time before that and I am glad I had the option of staying awake and not having Vincent Price.

  9. michael says:

    Wow. That’s quite a photo. I have now learned never to read your blog while eating.

  10. KD says:

    I too get the seasonal sore throat (fall and spring), credited to my to tonsils of course. A couple of years ago I asked my doctor what it would take to remove them at my age (35 at the time). He said “Sure we could, but you might bleed to death.” Reminded me of the commercials with the prescription drugs “You will have clear skin, but may experience blindness.” Of course, I still have the tonsils.

Leave a Reply