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Author Topic: I thought I was better(question for Hatrack Medicos)
Tinros
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So back at the beginning of October, I was diagnosed with mono. I got so sick I ended up going home for a week, and missed a full two weeks of classes. Once I started recovering, the pain in my throat went away, and the fatigue started subsiding. I started playing my flute again.

Well, over the past week or so, the pain in my throat started returning. At first, it was like muscle soreness- dull, not pinpointed to one area. I don't have a flashlight to look in my throat, but from what I could tell from the mirror, there was no swelling, and my throat's not still white. However, over the past couple of days, the left side of my throat, near where my tonsil is, has felt like it's being stabbed repeatedly. Tylenol doesn't help the pain. I can't swallow, and even breathing hurts. It still doesn't look swollen or white, though, so I'm not sure if it's related to the mono or not.

I have an appointment with student health services tomorrow, but until then, the pain is keeping me awake. The worst part? I can't miss any more classes. If I miss more, my grades drop automatically, even though I have straight a's in all my classes. There are some department heads who want my teachers to drop my grades as it is, since I missed two weeks of class. They just kind of ignore the fact that I was bedridden with a contagious virus for those two weeks, a virus that could be easily spread when sharing pianos and things like that. So I'm stuck going to classes that I'm in no condition to go to.

What should I do about this?

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rivka
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[Frown]

No suggestions, I'm afraid. But much sympathy!

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ketchupqueen
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You should look up your school's policy on illness and get whatever medical documentation you need to fight the grade drop. If nothing else you may be able to get extensions or something. Good luck.
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Tinros
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The school lets each department head set their own policy. The class I'm having trouble with is Group Piano. My class is taught by a T.A. She doesn't want to drop my grade- but the department has a strict "Only two absences per quarter" policy. The department head is insisting that she drop my grade, but thus far, she's refused(your grade drops for every absence after two excused absences, since it's a "skills" class, not an "acedemic" class).

The agreement that they reached was this: My grade would not be dropped if I 1. kept up with the rest of the class, and 2. didn't miss any more class for any reason. The keeping up with the class I don't have a problem with- I actually tested into the class, the only freshman to do so, and since I have 9 years of previous experience on piano, I'm actually way far ahead of the rest of the class. But I really don't feel up to going to class. Especially sicne I may be contagious- who knows who may use those keyboards after me? I don't want to cause a school-wide epidemic.

I just don't know what to do. Do I go to class and get other people sick, not to mention delaying my own recovery, or do I skip class, and let my grade drop? Note: if my grades drop, I get kicked out of the Honors program, resulting in a loss of my scholarships, housing, scheduling placement, etc.

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pH
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First of all, how low do they have to drop? You usually shouldn't be kicked out automatically. I think most schools will give you a probationary period.

Secondly, go to whoever is the boss of the person with this ridiculous policy and take many doctor's notes. Have a doctor call. Have your parents call, if you must.

-pH

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Tinros
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Below a 3.4, I think. I would be kicked out at the end of the year.

I don't even know who that person's boss IS. He's the department head, so I don't really know who to go to.

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Theca
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I'm not sure you're that contagious. Just don't kiss anyone.

You could have a new strep throat infection, that can be spread of course. You could wear a mask in class for that. See what the health services people think you have and what they suggest.

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Tinros
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So they told me it's unrelated to mono. I'm pretty much over the mono now.

It's an ulcer.

In my throat.

And it hurts. Badly.

They said it's viral, so there's really nothing they can do about it, but they perscribed a thing I can put on a q-tip and swab on there to help with pain. At the moment, I'm not allowed to play my flute until it's completely gone- playing could cause it to get worse. They said it would last 2-3 weeks, and I'm already through a week of it. Unfortunately, I have juries in four weeks, and if I can't practice, I'm screwed.

Le Sigh.

But, I'll be able to go to classes, at least ones that don't require playing flute or singing, which is... two classes out of six. Sigh again. But once it's gone, I should be back to normal. I look forward to that like you wouldn't believe.

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pH
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Can you use Chloriseptic? That might be easier to get to the back of your throat than a q-tip.

-pH

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Samarkand
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Hmm . . . has anyone mentioned the possibility of getting your tonsils out? I don't want to advocate surgery, but I do wonder.

Also, get thee to an ENT. GPs and NPs are fine for run-of-the-mill stuff, but if you're having recurring throat problems I think you should go to a specialist.

The boss of the head of your department is the Dean of your school. So go have a chitty-chat with him or her. Also approach your registrar. And go to the counseling/ health department, because even though you don't have a mental health or emotional issue, they should still be able to guide you through the process of not having your grades shot due to illness.

Oh, and get written confirmation of all your past and current symptoms and medical advice and start giving it to everyone in sight. Eg., e-mail your flute teacher a copy of the e-mail (if you don't have it in writing, GET IT) from whoever told you not to play flute so it's not just you saying that. And then request that your flute teacher contact the people responsible for juries.

Really, there's no reason why you couldn't hold off on juries this semester and still be advanced in other classes and do juries at the beginning of next semester. Anyone who says otherwise is just silly.

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Theaca
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Viral throat ulcers are very painful and she shouldn't need to see a specialist for it. Has nothing to do with tonsils either. I actually wondered about an ulcer when she described the pain.

I like cepachol lozenges too for pain.

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Tinros
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This is pain unlike any I'd ever imagined. Breathing hurts.

I talked to a doctor about getting my tonsils out, and he said only if I had recurring tonsilitis would I need that, since tonsilectomies aren't actually all that common anymore, what with antibiotics and all.

The jury won't be a problem. I talked to my flute teacher today(well, I wrote on a sheet of paper, and she responded), and she said that if I really couldn't play come juries, I'd just get an incomplete this quarter and redo it next quarter. It shouldn't affect my gpa at all, seeing as I wouldn't "fail" the class, just get an "incomplete."

Samarkand: I don't have a car. If I wanted to go to a sepcialist, I'd have to go to the campus hospital. The campus hospital charges somewhere around $800 for a regular checkup from a normal doctor, let alone a specialist. I don't even WANT to know what surgery would cost. And I don't think they take our insurance. So pretty much, that's off-limits except in absolute emergencies.

I asked around, and apparently, the Student Advocacy Center is really good about dealing with problem teachers and grades dropping unfairly. The people I talked to said that the center gets all the documentation they need, then confronts the teacher. Right now, I can still go to piano, so I'm okay. My band director understands, too- she said as long as I'm there and going through the fingerings, I don't have to play. She just wants me present for changes and stuff like that.

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rivka
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I'm glad you're getting it worked out. It's hard enough being sick. Being sick AND having to deal with school bureaucracy sucks.

(Of course, I am a member of such a bureaucracy, but I sympathize anyway!)

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Samarkand
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Tinros - can you get into a specialist over break at home? With insurance coverage? I trust Theaca's superior knowledge on the throat ulcer issue, but continuing upper respiratory issues are a big deal for anyone, and huge for someone in music. Makes everything hard, some things impossible. So maybe inquire of your at-home GP if they have an ENT they like?
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pH
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I simply do not understand why your student hospital would charge $800. What would they do if you had to go to the emergency room? Aren't they supposed to, like, treat students who live on campus?

-pH

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Theca
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It's not that I know anything about throat ulcers, but I'm not really sure why you want her to see ENT for having mono and a sore throat. ENT's are nice surgeons but that's mostly what they are. They really can't help with mono and viruses.
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Tinros
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There's an ENT near where I live, where my mom has gone a couple times, but I don't have the time to go, nor the need to. If I continue getting throat infections and whatnot after the ulcer clears up, then I'll go, but if I stay healthy, then there's no need.

I'm really not wanting to stick this pain medication in my throat. It's called Triamcinolone Acetonide Dental Paste USP, 0.1%. It looks- and smells- like poo. No, seriously. Not to mention, I don't have a flashlight with which to see when applying this stuff, and jabbing this ulcer would probably not be the best idea. I think I can wait until I get home tomorrow afternoon to apply it- after all, it's not to heal the thing, just to numb it, and I'm taking ibuprofen, so the pain's not bad right now, just annoying.

I think I'll live, as long as I take it easy and get enough rest.

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Theca
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Triamcinolone is a steroid. Helps with inflammation, swelling, and healing. Not aware that it has anything for numbing it, but I suppose it could have some lidocaine or something in it.
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Tinros
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Should I avoid drinking anything after I apply it?

Geez, I hope this stuff works. This is seriously painful.

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Tinros
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So I tried putting some on. It triggered my gag reflex, and I nearly threw up. Also, since the ulcer is right next to where my tongue meets my cheek, it almost immediately got wiped off. The pain was too much, and I couldn't get it to stay on.

What am I gonna do now?

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pH
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Steroid injection? I don't know if they'd do that for something like that...

-pH

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Theca
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Ask for a "swish and spit" liquid preparation to use instead of the paste. There are some with steroids in them, some just with numbing medicine. Actually, if you do the swish and spit first and follow it with the paste, that also might work.
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