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Bird's Blog

Poetry, musings, observations, commentary, rants, confessions...and who knows what else!

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Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Teacher, writer, poet, grandmother, lover, wine-drinker, chocolate eater, beach comber, hiker, traveler, Giants fan, San Franciscan. All work on this blog is copyrighted material.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sinus Infections, The Empty Spaces in Our Heads, and A Strange-Looking Thai Kitty

While in Thailand, I came down with a sinus infection. I’ve been getting a lot of those in the past three years – about 2-4 a semester. I knew that was a lot, but today I learned from a throat, ear, and nose specialist that a normal, healthy person may get a sinus infection about once every 2 years at most. And did you know that your sinuses, like your appendix and wisdom teeth, are a throwback to an earlier time in our evolution? Yup long, long ago when we were amphibians playing in the water, our sinuses served us well – as cavities to store air. But we evolved and moved out of the water, onto the land, and no longer needed to store air. And so today we have these empty, useless cavities in our heads (no – not that spot where your brain is supposed to be!). Sometimes, these spaces become obstructed – and mucus hangs out that warm, damp, moist environment – perfect for developing an infection. (We can only hope to evolve a bit more and have these empty spaces eliminated from our heads!)

As the infection came on in Thailand, I felt a sense of dread – you know – there goes the vacation. But I knew if I could just get some antibiotics, I could lick the thing (at least enough to enjoy the vacation and not be a drag on my companions).

Antibiotics are over the counter in Thailand. You can walk into the pharmacy, ask for zithromax, or amoxicilian, and the pharmacist will dispense it for you.

Of course, as most women know, sometimes a treatment of antibiotics can disrupt the delicate ph balance of a woman’s body and she might develop a yeast infection (candida) in her vagina. The yeast infection can be worse than the sinus infection. It's one thing to walk around with the sniffles, a headache, a cough, a raspy voice, an achy body and a low-grade fever, but it’s quite another to walk about scratching your crotch all the time (unless you're a guy playing sports) – especially if the yeast infection runs untreated – then the desire to scratch becomes rather intense and the scratching rather violent. It ain’t pretty folks. (You men just don’t know – being a woman ain’t for sissies!)

I didn’t want to start any antibiotics during my travels until I secured something akin to Monistat (for you men – that’s an over-the-counter suppository that eradicates the yeast infection). But at the time, I wasn’t in a major city – I was out in the sticks so to speak and the pharmacists we talked with didn’t know what the heck I was talking about (could have been lost in translation you know).

Finally, I was referred to a clinic with an ob-gyn. My friend went into the examining room with me to translate. The doc spoke English, but the conversation was in both Thai and English.

Thirty minutes and 25 US dollars later (this doc spent more time with me than my own internist and I didn’t have to remove a speck of clothing and don some ridiculous paper gown either), I walked out of the doc’s office with a 10-day treatment of antibiotics, antihistamines, and meds for a yeast infection. I love the Thai medical system.

The doc was very thorough too. He screened me first for bird flu before he even considered my claim that it was a sinus infection. Thai docs are on the alert for bird flu. It is definitely a concern. Bird though I may be, I didn’t have the flu.

My sinus infection however was pretty severe and required me to take a little time off from sightseeing. While my friends did some local sight-seeing, I hung out at their farm, resting for a day. I spent most of my time sleeping on the front porch, and when awake watching the ducks and the geese. And I had company. Kitty. Kitty hung out with me. I fell in love with Kitty.

She's pretty funny looking for a cat, but she is

quite a lovely looking puppy - part rottie and

part german shepherd. (No that's not me

holding her -I don't have hair on my chin, nor

stubby fingers!)

Kitty (part rottie, part german shepherd) is

sweet-tempered, but playful. She loves people.

She loves to hang out with humans. She likes to

hang out with the ducks too - when they let her.

When she gets older, her job will be to keep the

ducks away from the big house.

She tried to do that when I was there, but the

ducks were bigger than her and didn't pay much


I would have liked to have smuggle
d her home

with me. I did manage to bring a jar of lichee nut

jam and a small bottle of Purell on the plane

with me (despite the heightened security –

armed soldiers and bomb- and

e-sniffing dogs); I’m sure the little Kitty

of four weeks ago would
have been no trouble at


But Kitty as she is now might be more

difficult to smuggle onto a plane:

I miss Kitty. Wish that strange Thai cat was here


me now.

Maybe she is missing me too.


Blogger Mr Q said...

I would imagine that cranberry juice must come at a premium around those neck of the woods, is not only good for uti you know. Interesting information about sinuses, I would assume that you are familiar also with reflexology and the simple treatment for such annoying illness (sinus). I will be going there next month and as long as I don't get shot at, i'll survive all the other typical travel viruses. Hope your health improves so that you can keep blogging strong birdie.

August 30, 2006 5:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i must confess
that i did not know
that much about sinuses

besides air & infection,
i'm curious now about what else we might be able to carry around in there... spare change, car keys...

August 30, 2006 9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

August 30, 2006 9:39 AM  
Blogger K9 said...

/bark bark bark

love the pup er, kitty. nice looking little fella, the rottie part especially. hey boyedie, ever use a nettie pot? you flush out your sinuses with it. looks like a genie bottle. in health food stores (yeah ive been in ahelath food store, everyone working there looks like they need a steak!)


August 30, 2006 11:25 AM  
Blogger ThursdayNext said...

Oh Birdie, Kitty is a perfect mix of breed and so cute. She makes me want a hop a plane to Thailand and go get her!

Knock on wood, I have never had a sinus headache, I just get migraines instead! I think it is great you can get zitrho over the counter there, it should be that way here, too, instead of having to wait and see a doctor.

August 30, 2006 12:12 PM  
Blogger Jack K. said...

Hope you are feeling better soon.

I can tell that Kitty misses you. That last photo is a true give-away. She is pining away for you and the ears are perked up to catch the sound of your return.

I just noticed, she is not made of copper. Wow. lol

August 30, 2006 2:15 PM  
Blogger Bird said...

Mr Q - I am ready to try accupuncture for these chronic sinus infections - but perhaps reflexolgy is a better way to go - no needles, right?

/t: i hadn't thought of that utilizing the space instead of eliminating it. hmmmm...you know - i need more hard drive and memory space - perhaps those sinus cavities could accomodate that.

TN: migraines - yeech - you poor thing. i think those are far worse than sinus headaches. yousa!

K9 - i thought you might appreciate that cat - since she's part rottie. and my new doc gave me one of those nettie bottles. i must say, i feel a bit like felix unger with all the meds and trappings that doc gave me! he told me that i needed to wash my nose out - like washing hands (which means squirting salt water up your nose twice a day). yeah, felixa the bird - that's me. ugh.

jack - hahahaha - if my copper cat wasn't so low maintenance and unaware, she'd be quite upset that i have replaced her for kitty in my affections. let's not call it to her attention, ok?

August 30, 2006 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

am looking into the possibility of renting mine out: small gatherings, wedding parties, and the like, and i believe others are looking into this, too -- could be the start of a whole new industry, or a new hole industry... who nose?


August 30, 2006 8:50 PM  
Blogger disguised said...

Are the sinuses feeling better yet? From my experience, the nettie pot combined with acupuncture is the way to go.

Here's to good health! (A glass of wine raised to you.)

August 30, 2006 10:41 PM  
Blogger Jack K. said...

Your secret is safe with me. However, I cannot vouch for the copper cat. Just don't let her face the computer screen.

You might also want to consider Reiki. No pins, needles, or painful manipulations. It is a method to come into harmony with the universal life energy. I have already placed you on my list to recieve daily "doses" of Reiki energy. Use it or not. It is your choice.

Serve well, care about those you serve, and share the love in your heart.

August 31, 2006 8:09 AM  
Blogger boneman said...

sinus problems is almost the worse...

there are worse....

but, more importantly, is it my imagination, or, did Kitty actually grow about an inch and a half just while you were taking pictures?

August 31, 2006 3:34 PM  
Blogger CROAK said...

Great post.
I have all the things you have mentioned so can comiserate with you to the full.
And...it explains why my need to go back into the water on a regular basis... even as a frog I am compelled by my cell memory to paractise filling my sinuses with air whilst under water.
Sinus infections are something that seems to run ( pardon the pun) in my family...

Cute dog...bit wary of rotties myself but this one seems rather content in her own mixed skin.

Wonder how the Thai govt can give such good medical service...good to know it is there working.

August 31, 2006 5:17 PM  
Blogger Bird said...

hahaha boneman - the last two pics of kitty are from this week - the other pics are from about 3 or 4 weeks earlier.

croak - this was private medicine in Thai. and frankly, i am not sure how it works really for regular working folk. it works great for folks with a US income (thai baht is 38 to the dollar).

but lots of foreigners go to thailand to have cosmetic and reconstructive surgery and dental work - beacuse it is so inexpensive, but the quality of care is quite good.

to all- thanks for the sinus advice!

September 01, 2006 6:21 AM  
Blogger bronxbt said...

fwap fwap BONK! (at least the swallows in my area)

thanks for such a sweet post.
kitty is so lucky to have spent quality time withchoo.. and yesh, likely that sweet soul thinks of yer pettins' often.

they have such an IMPACT on our lives, don't they! any animal does! my sister and her family recently had to put their family dawg of 14 years to sleep due to cancer... jes' thinking about that brings a schnorffly tear to my eye... then of course my mind immediately jumps forward into MY future when someday i'll likely have to make that decision regarding my puppers...

oh my. i'm a mess jes writing this.

anyhoo... good entry, good info on nasal schnuffles, and doggie-goodness.


September 01, 2006 10:15 AM  
Blogger K9 said...

/bark bark bark

boyed, thanks for the condolences on the braves. good little run we had tuesday night 4 runs in the 7th and andruw catching BB's big one....but wednesday was weird cause schmoltzy's pretty solid. we're 4 down in our division so like i told you, no hope.

i actually LIKE SF though so...

i have a piece of public art out at braves stadium (the Ted)....it depicts a cubistic game between the dodgers and SF....and includes big bosomed gals eating hot dogs in the crowd. HOWL!


September 01, 2006 1:00 PM  
Blogger Bird said...

hallo bronxbt! oh dear - the swallows in your neck of the woods need some flight lessons! hahaha!

K9 - oh how i want a picture of that art piece - it sounds perfect!

September 01, 2006 10:11 PM  
Blogger boneman said...

Dawgs are the best medicine, I think, fer most problems that arise physically.
If not dawgs, then cats.
And, here, you have the best of the two, eh?

September 03, 2006 3:24 PM  
Blogger boneman said...

You DO know I mean as live friends, don'tcha?
Not t'eat 'em fer medicinal value.....

September 12, 2006 1:52 PM  
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