Bronchitis and Other Illness

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I am writing to you from the comfort of my couch, propped right in front of a wood-burning fireplace. There’s soft Christmas music playing off of the speakers in the room, and a few scented candles are lit off to the sides, scattered among shelves of books. Everything crackles with warmth.

It sounds so peaceful, doesn’t it?

Fuck you, wrong.

I am nearing the end of a long battle with a severe case of bronchitis. I’m slumped on this couch, coughing and sniffling, backing up my sinuses more and more. I am only fourteen. This feels like premature torture, this feels like what only the elderly must suffer through. I literally just had my first period two years ago and I feel like I am dying today.

I am a lamb with an extremely poor immune system. If someone in the room is sick, I’ll catch it. Guaranteed.

I wasn’t always like this, though. I used to be in perfect health, only catching a cold every few winters. But then asthma came, and my tonsils grew, so I began picking up coughs, stomach bugs and strep all the time. Like, all the time. My mom would tell me I smelled like strep throat every morning before school.

In 2013, I had strep throat eight times. Oh, yes, eight grueling cases of an excruciatingly painful throat infection. Most of those times, I was put on an antibiotic that I was allergic to. Every time I came to the pediatrician, they’d swab my throat (it was so often that I completely lost my gag reflex), tell me I had strep, and prescribe something new, only for me to have an allergic reaction to it and have to go on another one. And another one. And at that point, a 5 day infection had become a 21 day infection.

Now, I had missed so much school that year due to this chronic strep. It was getting bad. Teachers were getting irritated with me, but I couldn’t help it. I kept missing, catching up, and then missing again. Not only was I missing school due to illness, but my mental health was crashing down as well. So, haha, joke was on them.

My tonsils were huge. They were disgusting, really.  I’d open my mouth to a new pediatrician, and their eyes would literally pop and they’d remark “Wow, those sure are big!”, and followed by that were endless questions about if I could swallow, if I had trouble breathing, if I snored at night. Like, yes, my man, of course I snore, I can’t fucking breathe.

I did have trouble breathing at times, and I could close my tonsils together to form a stopper in my throat. It was getting bad.

My ma took me to an ENT doctor in mid May to see what we should do about my allergies and tonsil size. She took one look and said I need my tonsils out as soon as possible. We scheduled to get them out three weeks from then, the morning after I graduated 8th grade.

So, I kicked off my summer break by getting surgery (I also got my adenoids removed) and spending the month of June and most of July in bed, in pain.

Now, six months post surgery, I couldn’t imagine life with tonsils.

Thanks, tonsils. You showed me suffering.

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