Before I was diagnosed with celiac, I used to get really bad ear and sinus infections about every six weeks or so. It was kind of awful, because I was pretty much perpetually on antibiotics, to the point where my doc would have to prescribe me two rounds of strong drugs to knock out my infection.
So needless to say, when I went gluten free and didn't get sick for one month ... two months ... seven months, I thought I was akin to Bruce Willis in Unbreakable, but instead of fighting Samuel L. Jackson, I was fighting, um, gluten. Since it was the longest stretch I've gone IN MY LIFE without getting (non-gluten related) sick, I was pretty sure that I had developed an immune system of steel, and I would no longer be brought down by sickness.
Until last Monday. We recently went 100% fall here in Chicago, so my slight sniffles and sore throat didn't really bother me too much. I've always sort of had seasonal allergies, so it made sense. I just chugged along, drinking more water and tea and popping throat lozenges when needed.
By Thursday, I couldn't swallow at all, and by the time I finished leading my cast through rehearsal Thursday night, I had a 102 degree temperature and I could barely move. Oops. I made the choice to call in sick Friday, which was a good plan, as I was unable to remain upright for longer than 15 minutes at a time. By Saturday morning, I was feeling a little bit better - enough to venture out of my house to run to Target (also, do you know how hard it is to check labels on meds for gluten? TERRIBLE HARD). That lasted, um, not long, and I promptly spent the rest of the night on the couch (Walking Dead Season 2 is On Demand? Sure, I can watch that). I was positive that I would wake up Sunday feeling right as rain, ready to face the world - or at least face cleaning the house. But then the oddest thing happened. Sunday morning rolls around, my alarm goes off, and I crack one eye to hunt for my phone. Something feels amiss, so I try to open the other one, as well. Nope. Not going to happen. In a panic, I reach for the mirror I keep bedside and am shocked when I see one of the Walking Dead zombies staring back at me. After slight hysterics, I decide medical intervention might be necessary, and head to the local Walgreens for a little chat with their nurse practitioner. Turns out, my virus turned into a sinus infection ... and that gave me pink eye. Pink eye! I have worked with kids for the better part of my adult life, and have NEVER caught it from one of them. Leave it to me to give MYSELF pink eye. I got sent home with an arsenal of pills, antibiotics and eye drops that make my kitchen look a little home meth lab-esque.
And that leaves me here. Monday morning. I should be at work, but I can't, as I am still pinky and gooey and contagious. Do you think this ever happens to Bruce Willis?
But if there is a silver lining (well, maybe not silver. Maybe just less green?), it is that this illness? Probably not the effect of the celiac monster. I guess I must still just be human after all.