The Urban Sherpa - a blog by Christopher DeWan

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Read Work and Other Essays, a collection of nonfiction by Christopher DeWan.

Projectile Sputum rating=2

As I've been saying ... I'm sick. I was sick yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that. Regular readers of The Urban Sherpa will note that, yes, I've been sick since before Christmas. This week I had another check-up with the doctor, and before he could even ask how I felt, I went into a coughing jag that shot about a teaspoon of projectile sputum onto his previously pristine wall—at which point he started signing prescriptions like they were autographs, and sent me home with a slew of new pharmaceutical toys to pass my (rare) waking hours. Highlights include:

When you're sick, you suckThe Advair Diskus™. Joey Sweeny from the Philadelphia Weekly says that inhalers are "a sort of de riguer fashion accessory for weaklings everywhere." Mine is shaped like a purple UFO, and thanks to a trigger hidden behind a secret compartment, it has the feel of a James Bond stun gun. I love it. I'll probably get some shoes to match. But what, exactly, am I inhaling? The Advair Diskus is Fluticasone and Salmeterol ("flew TIH cah sone" and "sal MEE teh rall"). Turns out, "fluticasone is a steroid. It prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation. Salmeterol is a bronchodilator. It works by relaxing muscles in the airways to improve breathing." And all this time, I thought those inhalers were just breath fresheners.

SaltAire®. Speaking of breath fresheners, anyone ever try sinus irrigation? In theory, it's so simple: your sinuses are clogged, so you flush them with a nice, innocuous saline solution, and voilà, they are now unclogged. But nowhere in the manual does it tell you that you are dislodging thirty years of backed-up mucus and sending it straight down your throat. I can say without exaggeration that this is the worst taste ever—like a bushel of rotten celery is stuck in my sinus cavity and leaking, drip drip drip, all day long. I say rotten celery because, as gross as that is, it's better than confronting the truth about what I must actually be swallowing: old pus.

Levaquin®. Or, generically, levofloxacin. (That's "leev oh FLOX a sin.") A straightforward, if potent, antibiotic for killing bacteria of all shapes and sizes. Funny thing is, I was on this a month ago, and when it failed to show any effect, the doctor concluded that I was sick with a viral, not bacterial, infection—therefore, immune to antibiotic. But he prescribed the Levaquin again yesterday. Who says that doctors aren't superstitious?

In the spirit of superstition, I've decided, arbitrarily, that I'm going to be fully healed by Groundhog Day. If Punxsutawney Phil plays along, then I'll basically have slept through the entire winter...