Strep Break


I started to feel dodgy on Tuesday afternoon.

“Huntsinger & Co. is the firm working on the brownfield project,” I said to a coworker. Then my throat started to close up. A wave of dizziness swept over me.

That was the beginning.

I ducked out of kettlebells class Tuesday night. I went to bed early, hoping to head off any sickness as my throat got more raw by the minute. But Wednesday dawned painful. I thought possibly I had slept with my mouth open, thus the sandpaper throat. It didn’t go away. I didn’t get outside and run, either. I texted in sick and went back to bed.

Thursday, I thought somebody had force-fed me a box of rocks. I didn’t run. I texted in sick again and made a doctor’s appointment. Because my colds usually progress from headache to sneezing to coughing to nearly losing my voice. Sore throats pass by quickly in the progression, almost unnoticed between all the nose-blowing.

“You haven’t been in for awhile. Let’s get your height and weight,” the nurse’s assistant, a tall two-toned blonde said.

Why, oh why, do they need my height? They keep getting my hopes up that I will have grown or something. Or maybe I’ll have endured some catastrophic vertebrae collapse, thus shrinking expontentially.

“OK. Now step on the scale…”

Another favorite. I gazed purposefully at the white wall. No need to be discouraged *and* sick, right?! She calculated the total in pounds, then quickly shifted it to kilograms. Why not just make it stones? So much more palatable.

I followed the attendant into the examination room. She took my blood pressure (106/60) and checked my heart rate and temperature. Of course, I presented with no symptoms. I had no fever (thank you, ibuprofen) and appeared healthy due to all the running and exercising.

“Are you a smoker?” she asked, her back to me as she wrote on my chart.



“Ever been a smoker?”

I sighed inwardly.


I shook my head. My parents would have killed me.

She turned back around.

“I’m going to test for strep. So it’s going to be like I’m gagging you, okay? I have to swab the back of your throat.”

Fair enough. Like a DNA swab, only more intrusive. I stuck out my tongue under the wooden depressor and she pushed on the back of my throat with the world’s longest Q-tip.

“How long will the results take?” I asked, swallowing after she finished.

“About five minutes,” she said, smiling over her shoulder.

Like a pregnancy test.

“But if it’s not strep, it’ll take a few days to get a throat culture.”

Great name for a rock band, eh? Throat Culture, now live at the Palladium!

“Make yourself comfortable,” she said to me as she left the room.

I looked around. A few closeups of flowers ringed the room. The scuffed and dingy linoleum used to be white. A window looked out over the street. The brown vinyl-covered examination table sat in front of me in the middle of the room. To the left, I saw kleenex, latex gloves, cotton balls and a sink below some cabinets, but nothing to read.

That’s when the doctor walked in.

“Hi, Susan. How are you?”


“I’m alright. How about you?”

“Fine, fine. I wanted to see you. You’re a healthy adult otherwise. No fever. No allergies. Nothing else going on. Are you a teacher?”

I laughed. So many teachers in my family. Did that vibe rub off on me?!

“No, I work for the City.”

“Ah,” she said. “Lots of teachers get strep. How did you get it?”

I told her I knew where I got it from. My resistance has been low due to stress and lack of sleep. So I caught the sickness easily.

I don’t like getting sick. Never have. I don’t like to think of myself as dependent and susceptible to regular human weaknesses. But I am. Yet I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139), and I will recover. Sometimes I have trouble slowing down. I have to believe God knew I needed a break. Now, I’m looking for the good God will bring out of this.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. – Romans 8:28






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