Today, I had my much anticipated appointment with the ear-nose-throat specialist. I came in first thing in the morning and discussed the last four weeks of my condition with him. Today literally marked a full month of being ill for me, so he could tell I was not a happy camper, nor was this some simple cold. And so he explained that he’d spray my nose and throat to numb me, asked me to breathe through my nose (as difficult as that would be), and he gradually strung and then dropped a camera through my left nostril and down my throat.
I do not wish that experience upon anyone, even people I really cannot stand. If it lasted any longer than it did, I may have passed out.
He said he found a lot of inflammation on my vocal chords and larynx, and that I ultimately had a very common condition called laryngopharyngeal reflux, also known as silent reflux. As per usual, the nickname makes zero sense because in this condition, you are anything but silent. You are coughing, disgustingly phlegmy, and your voice is either lost or not fully there due to the inflammation of your larynx and vocal chords from the stomach acid that is eating away at both. He said this appeared to be a side effect from the virus that I had, during which I vomited quite a bit…. and vomiting causes stomach acid to travel up (which… it is not supposed to do) and inflame my throat.
So the good news is that this is easily treatable. I just have to take an over-the-counter antacid before dinner each night, then take a couple Tums before bed and elevate my head at bedtime. And I should be fully cured within four weeks.
I just have to avoid or minimize alcohol, caffeine, spicy food, and citrus. In other words, I have to avoid everything that provides joy. As I was learning this, I wondered to myself if I’d done something really bad to have deserved this illness as retribution.