"Well the good news is that it's not strep" said the nice doctor at the walk in clinic.
I had been kinda hoping it was because then at least there would be medication I could take that would start the healing process and kill the pain. Nine am on Sunday morning and I was the first person at the clinic after a night of gargling with salt water and fits of rather painful coughing. After hours of feeling like I was swallowing shards of glass I finally got up at 1am to check the walk-in clinic times and research do it yourself remedies for strep. Gargle with salt water and take acetaminophen were the recommendations. I did and managed to snag about three hours of fitful sleep.
"I'm going to prescribe a gargle for you. It's very important that you use it exactly as I tell you to. Gargle for four minutes. Set a timer. Do it right before you're about to eat your next meal. Spit out the gargle, eat your meal and then don't eat again until the next meal. No snacking."
"Well, that may be a problem because I have type one diabetes. If my blood sugar drops I have to eat. Is there a problem with eating?"
"Type one diabetes? Well, you shouldn't have to eat between meals just because you have diabetes."
"If my blood sugar drops too low I most certainly do have to eat something."
"Does your blood sugar drop between meals?"
"It could. One never knows when these things are going to happen."
"Well, if you need to eat, of course you can eat. But if you don't gargle first it's going to hurt. And yes, you're still contagious so don't go kissing anyone."
So I left the doctor who was very kind but didn't seem to be up to speed on his diabetes lore and headed to the clinic pharmacy to have my prescription filled.
The pharmacist handed it to me and told me to gargle for as long as I could. "The doctor told me four minutes. Does that make sense?"
"That sounds about right" he replied. Followed by "now you need to wait at least 30 minutes after you gargle before eating."
"Ummmm, the doctor told me to eat right after I gargle."
"That is not recommended. It numbs your throat so there is a risk of choking."
So I plodded home with my gargle in tow. I set the timer on the microwave, poured two teaspoons of green liquid into my mouth, tilted my head back and began. My plan was to gargle until I ran out of oxygen, tilt my head down, inhale, tilt head back and carry on. Repeat as necessary for four minutes.
No one mentioned that the stuff bubbles like crazy. Within about five seconds it was erupting out of my mouth like Mount Vesuvius on a bad day. I ended up having to put a paper towel over my mouth so that I wasn't completely covered in green bubbles. The prescribed amount lasted precisely 2 minutes and 30 seconds before completely evaporating into bubbles. By that point my lips were numb and my throat was numb. Kinda nice after the pain I was in but I figured I had better wait 30 minutes before drinking my coffee...just in case.
No point in burning myself right?