It has been a crazy past few months for my health, or at least the appearance of my health.
For about 30-something years now, I’ve had problems with my tonsils. This has included one or more bouts per year of tonsillitis, quite a few cases of strep throat and a ton of colds that just seem to end up hitting me as sore throats and lasting way longer than it seems like they should. All standard symptoms of someone who needs their tonsils removed, which is what various doctors have been telling me and my parents for the past 30-something years
When I still lived at home, and this decision wasn’t up to me, it turns out that my grandfather (who was a pediatrician) disagreed with how quickly most doctors would removed tonsils, so whenever a doctor would suggest that I have mine out he would suggest that we just wait and see if the problem went away on its own. The problem of the moment would always go away, even if it was due to come back in a few months, so we kept that cycle up for many years. Eventually, I became an adult and it became my problem… and it wasn’t long before I ended up noticing the pattern of illness hitting my throat and headed into see a doctor. Canadian healthcare is great if you need something and if you don’t have the money to pay for it, but that benefit produces a system that is generally short on resources. When you go into a Canadian doctor, in my experience, with something that isn’t absolutely necessary (even if it would be a good idea in the long run) then they are likely to suggest you not bother with the procedure, that you try a prescription instead or just waiting it out. That lack of enthusiasm, combined with my own lack of confidence about what I needed, led to many more years without my tonsils being removed. Over the past few years in the US medical system though, I’ve had so many different doctors look at my throat and straight-out tell me that my tonsils really need to come out, that I finally decided to do it. I made the appointment and on Tuesday of this week, they were removed. Now I’m stuck at home, recovering, with a very sore throat and some great prescription pain killers…
What makes this whole experience a bit confusing to my co-workers is that I’ve also been going through a completely different and unrelated medical problem at the same time. For reasons that aren’t completely understood, the hair on my head has started to fall out… rapidly and in big patches. This is a medical condition known as alopecia areata, essentially partial hair loss. This isn’t a sign of any underlying health problems, but it sure looks like it is… and people don’t really seem to believe you when you tell them that it is just a weird type of hair loss and that it isn’t anything to worry about. Combine that problem, which eventually led to just shaving my whole head to avoid looking all patchy, with scheduling some time off for some upcoming surgery and people start looking at you like you aren’t going to make it through the summer.
Fun stuff… but in both cases it is temporary and I’m happily recovering… maybe I’ll even manage to have my hair grown back in over the next few months.