I had a cold. When I started this blog post, I was living through it. At the beginning, of this cold, I thought it was just going to be a cold. I had no idea that this cold was going to be a cold like no other. A cold when you have a suppressed immune system is a cold like no other. When on boxing day I began to feel a little ropy I took myself to bed. What I didn’t realise was that this was going to be a week that I saw a lot of my bed and any thoughts of normal everyday activities became a thing of history.
So let me take you back to then.
Day 4: I have a cold. Everyone gets colds, so sympathy is hard to come by in the real world. But the world I exist it is a special world, a world post-transplant is a world of excitement and possibility. But also risks, as when you have a suppressed immune system, (therefore weakened) a cold becomes far more challenging as your body struggles to fight the infection. My family understands I’m struggling, and it’s a relief to be sick over the Christmas period as the pressures to actually be working on my projects is a little reduced by the social and family element of the festive season. I am restless though. As the days slip past and I am too exhausted to leave the house I wonder when the weight of this infection will lift.
This is the cold of stages. Each one a progression from the next. I feel I am on a journey of infection. I wonder if it will ever end. It’s been going on since Tuesday, probably started Monday, and now we are on Friday.
At the beginning, as the throats burned, and the nose blocks I seek the advice of the coordinators, who inform me to stay hydrated and if I get a temperature to walk into the nearest A&E. Looking for some added tips I head to one of the online support groups I am a member of. The physical support group for The Royal Free ended before I even knew it existed so the online support groups and the individuals I have met there have been invaluable. Yesterday was spent using the internet and the groups to source natural health remedies for the common cold. An old favourite is honey, mixed with lemon but after some research online, I also found a sore throat tea recipe.
Sore Throat Tea Recipe
apple cider vinegar (1 teaspoon)
honey (1 teaspoon)
lemon juice
cayenne pepper (just a pinch)
“Simply add all the ingredients to very hot water and mix up thoroughly.”
I attempt the recipe and seeing another version where the quantities of fluid are increased to tablespoons I try that, then and possibly overdo the cayenne (which my father has especially gone out to get me, I am so lucky to have such support and love in my life).
The Apple Cider Vinegar is filled with vitamins and minerals which encourage general health but it also kills bacteria through its inherent antibacterial properties and its high acidity. This high acid lowers the pH in the mouth and kills the very same bacteria that cause sore throats (Home Remedies for Life).
Lemon Juice has alkaline properties which may suggest that lemons have the same bacteria fighting abilities as the apple cider vinegar. Honey is known to contains several healing properties and then Cayenne pepper is a painkiller and a healing aid.
Combining these make for quite a fiery beverage which seems to set light to my throat, but a day later the burning pain in my throat has been reduced.
Unfortunately, we have also moved on to the next section of this infection. The throat has been replaced with a headache which feels as though someone has drilled into my skull and alongside this a toothache of all things! I post about this in one of the forums is answered by a dentist who informs me it is probably sinusitis as the nerve endings in the teeth go up into the face.
Sinusitis is also known as a sinus infection or rhinosinusitis, is inflammation of the sinuses resulting in symptoms. Common signs and symptoms include thick nasal mucus, a plugged nose, and pain in the face. Other signs and symptoms may include fever, headaches, poor sense of smell, sore throat, and cough. I can tick quite a few of these off. Sinusitis is a common condition in which the lining of the sinuses becomes inflamed. It’s usually caused by a viral infection and often improves within two or three weeks.
The sinuses are small, air-filled cavities behind your cheekbones and forehead.
The mucus produced by your sinuses usually drains into your nose through small channels. In sinusitis, these channels become blocked because the sinus linings are inflamed and swollen.
The NHS website also informs me that, “The symptoms of sinusitis often clear up within a few weeks (acute sinusitis), although occasionally they can last three months or more (chronic sinusitis).” I am hoping for the former rather than the latter.
Of course, it could just be cold as I am self-diagnosing. But I am pretty sure I am right.
So what have I learned this week from being sick?
From the research I have carried out through the online support groups it looks like to have a cold or an infection over Christmas is the norm for those of us on autoimmune suppressants. Apple cider vinegar is an essential store cupboard requirement. There is a difference between pure honey and not “pure”, normal, shop bought honey and the former is far better for you than the latter but costs quite a bit more. Don’t plan anything for the week of your cold, it’s going to be a right-off. So, snuggle up, settle down and watch what you want to on Netflix. Eat those chocolates you were feeling guilty about, and enjoy being here, sick or not, because it is a blessing to be alive.This is the cold of stages. Each one a progression from the next. I feel I am on a journey of infection. I wonder if it will ever end. It’s been going on since Tuesday, probably started Monday, and now we are on Friday.
At the beginning, as the throats burned, and the nose blocks I seek the advice of the coordinators, who inform me to stay hydrated and if I get a temperature to walk into the nearest A&E. Looking for some added tips I head to one of the online support groups I am a member of. The physical support group for The Royal Free ended before I even knew it existed so the online support groups and the individuals I have met there have been invaluable. Yesterday was spent using the internet and the groups to source natural health remedies for the common cold. An old favourite is honey, mixed with lemon but after some research online, I also found a sore throat tea recipe.
Sore Throat Tea Recipe
apple cider vinegar (1 teaspoon)
honey (1 teaspoon)
lemon juice
cayenne pepper (just a pinch)
“Simply add all the ingredients to very hot water and mix up thoroughly.”
I attempt the recipe and seeing another version where the quantities of fluid are increased to tablespoons I try that, then and possibly overdo the cayenne (which my father has especially gone out to get me, I am so lucky to have such support and love in my life).
The Apple Cider Vinegar is filled with vitamins and minerals which encourage general health but it also kills bacteria through its inherent antibacterial properties and its high acidity. This high acid lowers the pH in the mouth and kills the very same bacteria that cause sore throats (Home Remedies for Life).
Lemon Juice has alkaline properties which may suggest that lemons have the same bacteria fighting abilities as the apple cider vinegar. Honey is known to contains several healing properties and then Cayenne pepper is a painkiller and a healing aid.
Combining these make for quite a fiery beverage which seems to set light to my throat, but a day later the burning pain in my throat has been reduced.
Unfortunately, we have also moved on to the next section of this infection. The throat has been replaced with a headache which feels as though someone has drilled into my skull and alongside this a toothache of all things! I post about this in one of the forums is answered from a dentist and who informs me it is probably sinusitis as the nerve endings in the teeth go up into the face.
Sinusitis is also known as a sinus infection or rhinosinusitis, is inflammation of the sinuses resulting in symptoms. Common signs and symptoms include thick nasal mucus, a plugged nose, and pain in the face. Other signs and symptoms may include fever, headaches, poor sense of smell, sore throat, and cough. I can tick quite a few of these off. Sinusitis is a common condition in which the lining of the sinuses becomes inflamed. It’s usually caused by a viral infection and often improves within two or three weeks.
The sinuses are small, air-filled cavities behind your cheekbones and forehead.
The mucus produced by your sinuses usually drains into your nose through small channels. In sinusitis, these channels become blocked because the sinus linings are inflamed and swollen.
The NHS website also informs me that, “The symptoms of sinusitis often clear up within a few weeks (acute sinusitis), although occasionally they can last three months or more (chronic sinusitis).” I am hoping for the former rather than the latter.
Of course, it could just be cold as I am self-diagnosing. But I am pretty sure I am right.
So what have I learned this week from being sick?
From the research I have carried out through the online support groups it looks like to have a cold or an infection over Christmas is the norm for those of us on autoimmune suppressants. Apple cider vinegar is an essential store cupboard requirement. There is a difference between pure honey and not “pure”, normal, shop bought honey and the former is far better for you than the latter but costs quite a bit more. Don’t plan anything for the week of your cold, it’s going to be a right-off. So, snuggle up, settle down and watch what you want to on Netflix. Eat those chocolates you were feeling guilty about, and enjoy being here, sick or not, because it is a blessing to be alive.