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
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 smuggled her home
with me. I did manage to bring a jar of lichee nut
jam and a small bottle of Purell on the plane
home with me (despite the heightened security –
armed soldiers and bomb- and
substance-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
Maybe she is missing me too.