Friday, January 16, 2015

Textbook Cases

No researched science today. I feel lucky to be out of bed; I don’t have the energy to research, so this post is based on experience and observations.
Colds last 7 to 10 days. Children get ear infections, not adults. That may be what the ‘textbooks’ say, but it’s not written in stone.
In November, I thought I had an ear infection. Since the age of 30, I’ve come down with them occasionally. What I actually had was a sinus infection. Somebody in our household develops one every year, seems like. Doc gave me antibiotics for 7 days and sent me home. I dutifully took the pills and eventually felt better. But not well.
In December, I went back, saying, “Something’s still not right.” Sure enough, I had a sinus infection. The same infection? Could be. So I got antibiotic#2 for 10 days.
10 days later, as I took the last of those antibiotics, I noticed my throat was scratchy. What the-? How can I come down with anything when I’m on antibiotics? Of course, antibiotics work on bacterial infections, not viruses, so I figured I had caught a cold.
Colds last 7 to 10 days. So I tried to be patient.
Eventually, “This is day 11 of the cold I came down with the last day of those antibiotics,” I told Doc with a bass gravelly voice. Guess what! Yep. Sinus infection. The same one? Who knows. So he pulled out the Big Guns, antibiotic#3, for 10 days.
I went home and climbed into bed for 6 days. Oh, I did get up - it’s hard to push fluids when you’re sleeping - but never for long, and when I was up, I didn’t have any energy.
Supposedly, antibiotics help you feel better after 48 hours. Not this time. On day 5, my throat was not as sore, and today, I have not needed a nap. But I only have 3 pills left.
Monday, I’ll see Doc again.
I used to worry when I made a character sick that I wasn’t ‘following the rules’ for that illness. But obviously, from this winter alone, illness doesn’t always ‘follow the rules’. And when I write science fiction - or fantasy, for that matter - I can make up an illness, and define its ‘rules’ myself.
If I have a spaceship of 500 people in quarantine because somebody came down with Martian Measles, some of the crew will catch it right away, others will take longer to show any symptoms. Some might take a few days to get over it; others might take weeks. Certain crew members had it as a child, and won’t catch it at all. A few others have had Martian Mumps, which is sort of related, so they probably won’t catch Martian Measles.

I can do that. I’m the author.

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