You guys have probably noticed I sort of stopped posting suddenly; I apologize. Since moving to Arizona I have suffered insanely bad sinus infections during spring and winter. This year I got my first one in January – five trips to the ER in three days, CT scans, x-rays, and a consult with a maxillofacial surgeon before we found a medication combination that worked. Everything backed up into my teeth and jaw, caused massive swelling, nerve pain, etc. It took twenty days on antibiotics to clear it up and half of that time doubling up on Ibuprofen and Percocet for insane levels of pain (that’s after hospitals tried Toradol, Norco, and Morphine without even dulling the pain). Well, guess what. It’s back.
I noticed I was starting to get allergic inflammation and jaw pain when I went outside, so I made use of my “Jolly Roger” Vogmask, an N99 respirator mask that protects me from the airborne allergens.
I started taking children’s Benadryl and a Tylenol sinus medication. Then the landlord said our entire building was being treated for cockroaches and everything had to be boxed up and covered in plastic tarps because they were using a fogger. As soon as my mom and grandma started digging through and sorting stuff, I got worse.
By the time we started in my bedroom on Sunday, March 10th, I ended up in the ER again wearing “Nightmare Before Christmas” pajamas and watching Ghost Adventures while I waited for the doctor. That same night the bad swelling, burning, and nerve pain hit in my jaw. I was fortunate to have all my meds already, but ended up sedated on Percocet the day they wanted to come murder cockroaches. I was in such bad shape they considered me a liability, used a sticky bait instead, and went on their way.
Four days into my treatment my mother got taken to the hospital for a severe infection caused by her own medical conditions, so between running errands for her, I’ve been living on four medications, too much ice water, an ice cold rice pack (probably my next DIY post), vegan soups, and cartoons. Yes, I’m 30. Yes, I said cartoons. I’ve been binge watching Sabrina: The Animated Series, Monster High, and Vampirina. At home it’s been a Service Dog, two black cats, and me all piled on my full sized bed.
Friday, March 15th, my fiance and I had Physical Therapy (I took my Vampirina water bottle since my antibiotics were due in the middle of my session). We went there, went to the hospital to visit my mom, then went to his place for dinner – vegan pizza. I didn’t take my Vogmask with me because I can’t really exercise in it without getting winded. By Saturday morning the pain that had mostly left my jaw before was back. So roughly five or six days on antibiotics and the swelling and pain still comes and goes with my exposure to allergens. Saturday morning I went right back to wearing the Vogmask every time I left my apartment.
I ended up spending the weekend adding garlic and anything with Vitamin C to my “menu”. What’s frustrating is that it helps boost the immune system and kick the sinus infection, but doesn’t help with the allergies. Pollen doesn’t care.
Monday morning (a week into my antibiotics) was the day I was dreading: my appointment with my ENT/Allergy Specialist. There’s been a lot of talk recently about me requiring maxillofacial surgery to fix what’s causing my chronic sinus infections. My ER doctor actually gave me the business card for the specialist believing they could find a solution for me that would allow me to avoid surgery.
My fiance drove me to the ENT and came with me to my appointment. The first thing they did was immediately spray something in both nostrils to numb my nose and sinuses. It also numbed my throat and upper teeth. The next thing they did was another CT scan. I should glow from radiation: since January I’ve had three CT scans, two x-rays, and an ultrasound.
The ENT specialist reviewed the scans, did an exam, and said I didn’t need surgery, confirmed that my allergies are the cause, prescribed me Flonase, and sent me on my way. So ultimately I got told what I already knew: I’m allergic to Arizona.
Arizona is my equivalent of Hell – and the Highway to Hell is lined with pollen.