Sunday, August 23, 2009

Got Any More of that Snake Oil, Doctor?

A few months ago I started suffering from globus pharyngeus (the sensation of having a lump in your throat), which is often caused by muscles in your throat tensing up when they shouldn't. A very common cause of that is post-nasal drip, which I've had since allergy season started earlier this year. I finally got tired of it and went to the doctor.

My doctor said that he was certain the globus sensation was being caused by the post-nasal drip and asked if I had taken any allergy medicines. Now, I've taken various allergy medicines over the years, but nothing has been effective since I took Rhinocort as a teenager. In fact, with the sole exception of Prilosec (for heartburn), I have not had a positive experience with a prescription medication in over ten years. Prescription dose ibuprofin for that back pain a few years ago? Nothing. Muscle relaxants for the same problem? Drowsiness, but no relief. Allergy medicines? Again, drowsiness and the same stuffy nose. The inhalers, steroids, and nebulizer medications I was given for the allergy-related inflammation of my nose, throat, and lungs that left me gasping like a fish for a month back in 2007? Nothing but false hopes and a disorienting buzz from the steroids.

So I told the doctor the truth; i.e., I don't have any faith in the effectiveness of allergy medicines. Well, he told me he was certain that prescription Zyrtec for the allergies in general and Flonase for the nasal problem should take care of the congestion and, by extension, the globus sensation. Well, I recognize that I'm not a doctor and don't have my doctor's training or expertise, so I went along with it and took the medicines...

The Zyrtec made me drowsy in the morning and irritated my throat. Did it help my allergies? Not at all. When the bottle of pills finally ran out, the only change I noticed was that I wasn't drowsy anymore and that my throat wasn't as irritated. What about the Flonase? What did it do? Well, it didn't do much for the congestion. But it did do something: horrible, frequent, profuse nosebleeds. I have had the three or four worst bloody noses in my life in the past two weeks. Even when I'm not actively having a nosebleed, I keep finding a small amount of blood in my nose. The most irritating part is that I stopped taking the Flonase after several minor nosebleeds and one major one. The subsequent incidents occured shortly thereafter. I'm going to be seriously upset if this lousy medication did long-term damage to my nose.

You know, as an engineer I've learned to stop putting faith in equipment, designs, brands, and companies based on significantly less bad experiences than I've had with various medicines. Maybe I should just avoid them lest the next batch of snake oil I'm offered actually finishes me off.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe snake oil would do the trick. Or a humidifier?



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