I have not had a head cold in years. Truly. And, in the meantime, several years ago, I was diagnosed with a rare condition called Samter’s Triad or Triad Asthma. It is asthma, nasal polyps and a hypersensitivity to aspirin, and, by extension, all the plants that produce salicylic acid to protect themselves against pests and that would be ALL plants to a greater and lesser extent. Tea is absolutely forbidden, all tea, except Chamomile. Blackberries (my favorite food) spinach, broccoli, etc. ad nauseum.
So I was thinking today about what I’ve learned on the internet about this cold. Nothing useful. I found nothing about the complications of a head cold when your sinuses are not as open and wide as they could be, should be; the complications of a cough for a person who has asthma. My sinuses don’t drain like normal sinuses, so…
I contended with the symptoms of Samter’s Triad for three years going to my doctor and getting “help” which, at one point amounted to, “Why aren’t you getting better?” She was angry at me because I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t smell anything, taste anything, hear very much. It was awful and scary.
Finally I realized she was an idiot because any good doctor instead of yelling at the patient because none of the treatments worked would send that patient to a specialist. So I went to a specialist, an Ear, Nose and Throat man. He found the polyps but couldn’t understand the asthma. He sent me to a brilliant allergist who tested me for all the allergens and when it came up I have no allergies, she said, “Do you take aspirin?”
I said, “Every night.”
“Have you had an itchy rash that you couldn’t explain?”
“Yeah, a couple of years ago.”
“There’s a rare condition called Samter’s Triad.” She explained it. “I’m going to treat you for it and we’ll see what happens.”
I left with a prescription for Singulair and went back to my ENT with this diagnosis. He put me on antibiotics, prednisone and a nasal steroid to shrink the polyps.
All good for all this time. Since 2013.
And not good now. It’s frustrating being a little old lady because (I am sure) doctors look at you as if you are just there to get attention. I’ve had bad doctoring in two serious situations so I’m not very trusting, and I’m probably a little hostile. Still, the really competent doctors in my life were there to help me. They listened and looked at the symptoms I presented as a puzzle they needed to solve, not “Why aren’t you better?”
Samter’ Triad isn’t something I found on the Internet and decided to “have” it because it’s rare and special. It actually is kind of a drag, not (for me so far) a major drag, but it’s still a drag. I have to wear a bracelet that says, “NO Aspirin!” because that shit could kill me.
So…the question of diversity. It’s been such a big issue and I don’t think we even get to the true meaning of it. Each one of us IS a “special little snowflake” actually, moreso biologically, probably than in the way that term is usually used. We don’t know all that much about the human body; no one has figured out WHY Samters Triad, for example, and there are thousands of other conditions that are big mysteries, too.
Interestingly, when I was first diagnosed, I looked up Samter’s Triad and read about it on some guy’s WordPress blog. He went through the Aspirin Desensitization process and is — at least for now — completely symptom free. I would like to do that, too, but like an idiot, I moved to the back of beyond and nothing is all that easy. Today I wish I lived in Denver, had no dogs, lived in a townhome or condo conversion and could go to a good doctor easily. I think I moved to Monte Vista with all the sanity that I’ve applied to my love choices.
As for that, last night, awake and barely breathing, I thought of how nice it would be if I’d managed to stay married to someone and we were living happily ever after and caring for each other.