In the fall of 2012, I had a peritonsillar abscess. This is an extremely painful bacterial infection of the tonsils. Think strep throat gone wild and partying in a single tonsil. You can’t speak clearly, you can’t breathe well, and swallowing is incredibly painful. Treatment? You slice open the tonsil to let the infection drain, then give the patient antibiotics and some reasonably heavy duty pain drugs. If you’re lucky, this treatment is on an outpatient basis, but people are often hospitalized due to complications.
It is painful enough that you welcome the relief of the incision, by the way.
It used to have another name – quinsy. While it can still be fatal, people die of it less frequently than they used to. (Elizabeth I and George Washington are thought to have died of it).
While I do think modern medicine has its problems, I get upset at people sneering at it. I really, no kidding, would be dead by now if it weren’t for modern medicine and antibiotics. That peritonsillar abscess was the most recent of a series of infections (I used to be prone to strep) and illnesses that I’ve never really mentally tagged as serious. After all, I got better, didn’t I?
But looking at them from the lack of modern medicine perspective, and friends, I’m quite lucky to be alive.