Sick abroad…What wll we do?

The dreaded Neti Pot!

Last Tuesday during the night, I wandered in and out of fitful sleep with my head pounding.  I never get a headache!

Dragging myself out of bed, choosing to ignore the heavy feeling in my head, I went about my day knowing something just wasn’t right.  This feeling continued all week long alleviated to a degree with various attempts: Tylenol, Motrin, and Aleve.  

Saturday morning, awakening with the worse headache yet, now with a stuffy sensation in my nose and head, I realized I had a sinus infection.  In the past, a sinus infection resulted in an immediate visit to the doctor or urgent care for an antibiotic prescription.  

Every few years in the fall, I’ve developed a sinus infection.  Whether it was due to an allergy from ragweed, prevalent at this time of year, precipitating an infection or merely a coincidence, this is a familiar plight.  Antibiotics always work within 24-48 hours, resulting in an enormous sense of relief.

Everything is different now. After the past two years of retirement and obsessively learning more about health online, we now both feel adamant that antibiotics should only be taken in a life threatening scenario.  

Generally speaking, for me, a sinus infection is not life threatening unless it develops into a more serious respiratory or otherwise infection. It is painful and annoying with pulsating headaches, congestion, sinus pain, trouble bending over and rampant lethargy.  It varies for the individual.  (No intention to offer medical advice here. Please see your medical provider for care.)

Why not give in and take antibiotics, I thought several times while bent over the kitchen sink, Neti Pot in hand, pouring warm salted water into one nostril and then the  other?  Yuck!  This is not fun!  

For us, it’s more than the desire to avoid antibiotics at all costs.  We must learn to cope with the inconvenience of minor ailments that we can easily attend to ourselves.

Many times over the years, I wearily visited the doctor, five days into the achy flu, the dry cough, the flaming sore throat, the sore elbow or the swollen knee, convinced that the ailment was only getting worse.  Leaving his office, prescriptions in hand, I already felt better and wondered why I hadn’t just “waited it out.”  Placebo effect, perhaps?  

Yes, it could be.  If so, why can’t “waiting it out” while taking advantage of home remedies, proven holistic and alternative remedies, plenty of rest, lots of fluids and a light diet provide the same end result?  In some cases it may.

So, here is my first illness since last fall, and I am trying it out.  Motivation?  To prove to myself, that while along the way in our travels when we are living on the island of Madeira, (for example) for three months, 1200 miles from the coast of Lisbon, Portugal that we can be proactive as opposed to reactive when it comes to our health.  

It’s about tolerance, creativity, patience and good sense.  Of course, we will seek medical care wherever we may be, if a situation is serious or life threatening.  I will post here with the results of this “experiment.”

The Neti Pot is calling me. I put it off this morning when I stumbled out of bed, head spinning, promising myself I’d do it at noon.  Well, noon has passed.  Here goes!