Yup. It’s that time of year again. Sinus season. On “bad” years, I actually end up with sinusitis twice. If you are like me, you feel it coming. The “death mask” of pressure behind the cheekbones that gets worse at night and presses on your upper row of teeth. Eyes watering from the pressure not only there but also above the eye sockets. A migraine headache when you don’t suffer from migraines. Feeling the tingles in the ears as they, too, become infected, inflamed, and in pain.
Then comes the endless carousel of over-the-counter relief. If you are quick enough (and can stand to do it), you neti-pot the problem out of existence (either using an actual Neti-pot or the ghetto version with a thick straw and a cup…with distilled water ONLY). That’s how my dad avoids sinus infections.
So, then the pills set in. Note: sinus infections tend to creep up when my immune system is at its weakest, so I am especially prone when I’m not getting much sleep. My sister recommended a form of Benedryl (severe allergy sinus headache) mixed with Zyrtec D for daytime. I kept (stupidly) putting it off.
I should also note that I’ve had this lovely sinus infection (that began, interestingly enough, as a sore throat) since Monday after the anniversary trip. During this episode, I have pretty much overdosed on Hall’s cough drops (at the height of the sore throat popping one an hour…even at work). I am singularly unpleasant to be around when I have a sinus infection. If you are within speaking (whining) radius, you know I have a sinus infection (not to mention the snorting, sneezing, coughing, strangled voice). I am not a pleasant “sickie.”
By Friday, I was in desperation mode. I slunk around campus and generally tried to talk as little as possible. The weird thing is: I would feel better during the day–but at night the “death mask” of pressure would settle again. Finally, Saturday night, in desperation (because I had forgotten to get the Benedryl and Zyrtec and Josh had just returned home after countless hours of overtime), I clawed through the “medicine” cabinet in the kitchen. There, among Josh’s Wal-itin (Walgreens brand Claritin), was a packet of little red pills that read Pseudophedrine HCl. As in, the real stuff. The stuff meth lab scientists have rendered almost impossible to get. As in, the stuff that works.
As a child, I very rarely had sinus infections. Why? (And this epiphany hit roughly half an hour after I took my first dose of little red pills) Because you could buy real Sudafed. Not the fake stuff the Sudafed company now markets to pick up on pharmacy shelves when you are so sick, and so in pain, that you can’t wait in that long pharmacy line to flash your ID and sign the card scanner pad to receive your allotment of 2 packs of pills. Seriously? When I’m sick, I do not wait well in lines. Especially to buy meds that should be available over the counter…truly over the counter.
Anyway, I didn’t have sinus infections as a child because my mom would dose me with real Sudafed once I started having signs of anything that could resemble congestion or sinus problems.
(By the way, American court system, I have a singularly creative answer to deal with meth lab addicts and their suppliers…it’s probably not legal, but it involves people suffering from sinus pain having free license to cause suffering to those found guilty of crimes involving meth. I think if that were advertised as a solution…and if it happened once or twice…there would be far fewer meth labs. I don’t have much empathy for those who have committed crimes that lead to it being difficult for me to obtain meds to keep me from getting sick or to ameliorate my symptoms.)
Anyway. The truly wonderful thing? Recently Walmart has started having bins of cheapie cheap meds (88 cents). I believe this came from that same brand of cheapie cheap meds. And…it works.