Seven stages of sinus sufferance
These places are recent discoveries of mine and date back just a few months to the kickoff of 2007, when my once-a-year sinus condition became a full-blown, 12-month epidemic. Here's my list of no-gos:
1. Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor: After three visits to an un-named doctor's office, I realized how much fun I was not having. You're surrounded by people coughing, breathing heavily (and at times wheezing), sneezing and irritable because of their symptoms. I found myself sitting here every two weeks because inevitably when my prescription would end, my symptoms returned. While waiting, you can't even enjoy the Newsweek sitting on the waiting room coffee table unless you're willing to risk possibly catching the bubonic plague. Cough, cough, turn the page, get a life-threatening disease ... I don't think so.
2. CT Scan Wearing Unattractive Sinus Surgery Headgear: After an x-ray determined there was a cyst in my right sinus, my doctor prepped me for surgery, which required a CT scan of my head. A white plastic apparatus was plugged in my ears and nose and wrapped around my head. For nearly 20 minutes, the device squeezed my head like a grape. I was told to keep to the device because I'd need it for surgery, or if I ever wanted a starring role in a "Saw" flick or needed a good Halloween costume.
3. The Other Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor: When dealing with surgery, a second opinion is always a good idea, or at least that's what my parents said. So, I went to The Other Doctor and sat with the same grouchy people, reading the same infected magazines. This doctor was convinced he could rid me of the cyst without surgery, a technique he referred to as "a sinus wash." Sounds lovely right? Perhaps it would be similar to some exotic spa treatment. Instead, I choose to call this procedure "absolute hell." He rammed as many foreign things into my sinus to rid me of my cyst. Nothing happened and my problem remained.
4. 61 Pokes in the Arm: The Other Doctor recommended allergy testing before resorting to surgery. So, I spent two hours with a lady named Charlotte, chatting about weather and pets as she injected 61 needles in my arm, creating an interesting pattern probably never to be used by a tattoo artist. The good news is this was the only time I've gotten to sit in a recliner at the doctor's office and I had some gnarly evidence that I really was sick.
5. Results Are In: Charlotte sits me down a week later to break the bad news to me. I'm allergic to it all: wine, beer, cheese, my dog, bermuda grass, anything people consider fun. Life as I know it has ended, as well as my lovely run with two down pillows and a down mattress pad, which I'm also allergic to.
6. An Appointment with Charlotte for the Next Three Years: Now, once a week I visit Charlotte. I'm in and out with no time to sit in the recliner. She alternates which arm she pricks each week and the good news is surgery has been avoided. I'm supposed to wait for 15 minutes after my shot to make sure I don't have some bizarre reaction to my meds. Don't tell Charlotte, but I always sneak out early.
7. What Remains of My Allergies Remains in My Trunk: The revelation of exactly what I'm allergic to has kept me feeling better along with whatever goods Charlotte puts in my arm each week. But evidence of my four-month struggle can be seen simply be peering into the back window of my SUV. There you will find a sinus headset, down mattress pad and two fluffy down pillows.